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.
The Australia Institute has released a “factbook” about The Dimensions of Insecure Work. It is little more than a snapshot of some of the labour situations in Australia centring on the fact that
“Less than half of employed Australians now hold a “standard” job: that is, a permanent full-time paid job with leave entitlements”
This changed demographic is significant whenever the Government or its departments and agencies take about job and employment figures. The reliance on full time employment as the core metric should be reviewed and revised but this is likely to change our view of the world through official reports .
Throwing chocolates to delegates, audience participation, push-ups, book giveaways, hand-eye coordination exercises – not the usual elements of the opening keynote speaker of a safety conference. Day 2 of the Safety Institute of Australia’s recent conference had a more traditional opening with presentations from a State workplace safety regulator and Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) agency. If entertainment is your thing, jump for the chocolates, but if information is why you attend conferences, Day 2 was the better one.
The first speaker was
Dr Rebecca Michalak has only recently come to my attention, mainly through challenging some of my statements on social media. I was able to meet her and watch her presentation at the Safety Institute of Australia’s National Health and Safety Conference in May 2018. It is likely her voice will become heard more broadly in coming years as she challenges elements of the Establishment.
Many elements of Michalak’s conference presentation can also be heard in the Fit For Work Podcast of Sally McMahon but there were a couple of statements that were notable.
“I had a theory that it’s not either/or – it’s an “it depends” thing and what I found across all well-being outcomes, six coping strategies and two samples – that’s 48 mediations – it makes no difference and in fact, most coping strategies make well-being worse.” (emphasis added)
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.