Fixing the future by planning for the future

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) often sets the occupational health and safety (OHS) agenda, as it did on workplace stress and bullying.  On 21 May 2018 the ACTU released a research report entitled “Australia’s insecure work crisis: Fixing it for the future“.  The opening paragraph provides a clear indication of the report’s tone:

“The incidence of non-standard work in Australia is alarming. The fact that our national government and some employer groups seek to deny this reality and refuse to support reforms to better protect workers in insecure non-standard employment is a disgrace.”

There is a lot of useful information in this report but there is also a lot missing, a lot that could affect workplace safety.

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Grenfell’s “race to the bottom” equally applicable to workplace health & safety

Occupational health and safety (OHS), building safety and public safety often overlap but never more so than in the instance of the Grenfell fire of June 2017.  The UK Government has just released the final report into the incident and there are many interesting lessons for workplace health and safety and its social role.

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OHS – The Hidden Profession

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Australian research usually makes use of the industrial and activity categories created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  This creates a problem for research into the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession because there is no specific category for the OHS professional.  Perhaps even more importantly, it creates problems for readers of these research reports because we risk imposing an interpretation on the data that is false.  SafetyAtWorkBlog sought clarification from the ABS.

The ABS has a category that seems Continue reading “OHS – The Hidden Profession”

It’s not “all about safety”

The Australian media on May 16 and 17, 2018 contained several articles about the dropping of a blackmailing case against two prominent trade unionists, John Setka (pictured right) and Shaun Reardon.  There are many issues and allegations in this legal action which started from a contentious Royal Commission and an ongoing dispute between the CFMMEU and the Grocon construction company.

Some unionists, such as the ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus on ABC Radio, say that the current case was “all about safety”.  It is not all about safety and such misrepresentation needs to be called out.  The original dispute was over the election of Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) – whether these could be appointed by the company or the union.  This quickly became about power and influence not specifically about workplace health and safety.

There is no doubt that Setka has a

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Good data but never enough

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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released two statistical reports on May 16 2018, one concerns eye injuries and the other, hospitalised injuries.  Some occupational injury data is readily accessible, particularly on eye injuries.

“Eye injuries in Australia 2010–11 to 2014–15” states this about occupational injuries Continue reading “Good data but never enough”