I have tinnitus. There I have outed myself along with 18% of men and 14% of women, according to a research report* from Hearing Research journal published recently. For those unfamiliar with tinnitus it is a persistent buzzing or ringing in one’s ears usually caused by exposure to loud noise. It is relevant to occupational health and safety (OHS) in a number of ways:
- It needs to be considered in issues of communication
- Tinnitus can be distracting
- Tinnitus may be a symptom of poor noise management practices at work.
The research study conducted by David Moore and others was focusing on “lifetime leisure music exposure” so workplace noise is mentioned in the report only in passing.
It is common that unless a worker is deaf or seen signing, the default assumption is that everyone’s hearing is undamaged. The research data above shows that the assumption is false. More…
In August this year Safe Work Australia released “Perceived Levels of Management Safety Empowerment and Justice among Australian Employers”. The justification for the document is to better understand leadership culture in line with the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022. It is always useful to understand how business owners and employers see workplace safety as only when we understand their “way of seeing” safety, can we effectively engage in improving occupational health and safety (OHS) but this report could have been so much more.
The perception survey on which the Perceived Levels report was based is an application of the Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) which is “a tool for diagnosing occupational safety climate and evaluating safety climate interventions”.
The Perceived Levels report found
- Small business operators felt they didn’t display management safety empowerment and management safety justice enough.
- The level of activities in these area varied in different industry categories
- Most employers felt they displayed these activities frequently.
- Employers with apprentices and young workers felt they displayed these attitudes more.
“Management safety justice” may seem like an odd concept as it is relatively new to Australia and there is very little information available online to clarify. What might help is the list of questions that was asked in the survey on this topic: More…
When talking about workplace health and safety there is almost always questions about why one type of workplace hazard is given more priority than others. This is most common in discussing the neglect of mental health and psychosocial issues in comparison to incidents that result in physical injury or death. The reasons given are almost always social ones, external to the workplace. A commentary in The Guardian newspaper for 1 November 2016 by David Conn adds another reason. More…
Following, ostensibly, the Four Corners exposé of labour hire exploitation in Australia last year, the Victorian Government established an inquiry. That Inquiry’s final report has been released with lots of recommendations, several pertaining to occupational health and safety (OHS). The Government’s media release response is HERE.
The main recommendations related to OHS are:
I recommend that the Model Work Health and Safety Act approach to regulating labour hire relationships be adopted in Victoria. In the absence of Victoria adopting wholesale the approach under the model laws, I recommend that Victoria adapt an approach which matches the substantive provisions under the model laws in this regard.
Late yesterday four adults were killed on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland Australia. Investigations are ongoing and it was only recently that the names of some of the victims were released. The first few days after any fatality are confusing as new information is uncovered, old concerns are voiced and our sympathies for the dead expressed. However there are usually some comments that are unhelpful, and this morning was no exception. More…