Below is the list of occupational health and safety (OHS) issues for the next three years, put to the Australian Council of Trade Unions and passed, at its Congress on 18 July 2018. Some were expected but others will cause concern, primarily, for business owners. Perhaps the major concern is that these commitments are to be rolled out nationally.
Governments use legislation and the threat of punishment as a deterrent for dangerous actions and poor decision-making. Imposing harsh consequences is hoped to change the behaviour of companies and individuals. Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws are no different with deterrence being used to justify the introduction and enforcement of Industrial Manslaughter laws, for instance.
The Australian Senate’s current inquiry
Book publisher Routledge has recently released books about occupational health and safety (OHS) that are very critical of OHS’ role, or that of the health and safety professional, in modern business. Below I dip into the
- The Fearless World of Professional Safety in the 21st Century
- The 10 Step MBA for Safety and Health Practitioners, and
- Naked Safety – Exploring The Dynamics of Safety in a Fast-Changing World.
On June 5 2018, Sharon O’Keeffe of the North Queensland Register newspaper aired the response of the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Mick Keogh to claims from the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on the safety of quad bikes and crush protection devices (CPDs). O’Keeffe says “the gloves are off”.
In March 2018, the ACCC announced its intention for a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes, or All Terrain Vehicles (ATV,) that included CPDs.
With little surprise, at the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Conference in Victoria on 26 May 2018, Premier Daniel Andrews has included the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a formal part of the campaign for re-election in November 2018.
According to his media release, if re-elected,
“.., employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and face up to 20 years in jail.
A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians are safe in our workplaces, with the offence to also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent member of the public..”
There are a lot of steps between an incident and Industrial Manslaughter charges.