FIFO, Fairness and the Future

Trucks in Super Pit gold mine, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

SafetyAtWorkBlog’s article about the safety of Fly-In, Fly-Out workers has generated some discussion through its mention on LinkedIn which has raised some interesting points.

A common thread seems to be that it is impractical to build townships and facilities to support remote mine workers and which also provide services to workers’ families. One commenter posed these questions:

“Are we going to drag the FIFO families out to these areas, build houses for them, along with all the associated infrastructure to support them, for what may be only a 3-5 year construction program? Is it fair to drag the partners and families of FIFO workers away from their family supports (parents/friends, etc)? Away from decent medical care? Away from schools/universities?”

This may have been intended as rhetorical but prompts a question that I frequently ask when I consult with clients – “why not?”

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You have to be in it to influence it

Kevin Jones with Marie Boland in March 2018

The public submission process for Australia’s Independent Review of Work Health and Safety Laws closes today.  So finish up your draft and tell the Government what is working and what is not. BUT if you cannot finish the draft, do what I did, and contribute directly to the Review using its online (Engage) portal which will remain open until the end of May 2018.

Safe Work Australia has told SafetyAtWorkBlog that the Review continues to seek: 

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Safety satisfaction survey surfaces in Safeguard

Australia’s independent review of the work health and safety laws is handicapped by performance criteria not being included in the original harmonisation process.  This lack of forethought is not unique and many infrastructure projects, in particular, fail to include research opportunities and priorities in the design of the project.  These omissions provide more significance to surveys of occupational health and safety (OHS) perceptions such as the report that was released (not yet available online) this week by Safeguard magazine in New Zealand and will feature in the magazine’s next edition.

The survey is based on responses from over 900 people and is the third annual

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iWitnessed tool holds promise for workplace safety

On April 3, 2018, the University of Sydney launched a new app

”to assist victims and witnesses record information in a way that can help with convictions and prevent miscarriages of justice”.

This immediately sparked my interest in using the app as a record of workplace incidents.

iWitnessed is intended as a tool to assist a person’s memory when confronted by an incident or a traumatic event.  The app steps you through the basic evidence-gathering questions of what happened, where, when, who was injured etc.  

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Pfeffer cuts through on OHS

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“…if we truly care about human beings and their lives, including how long people live…. we need to first understand and then alter those workplace conditions that sicken and kill people” (page 25 – “Dying For A Paycheck”)

Jeffrey Pfeffer has been doing the rounds of the Safety and Human Resources conferences for some time, talking about “dying for a paycheck”.  This year he published a book of that title, a book that should be obligatory reading for occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals and, more importantly, company executives.

This book is one of the few that I have read from cover-to-cover and wanted to do so in as short a time as possible because I wanted to understand the big interconnected picture of business management and policy setting that Pfeffer discusses.

Pfeffer presents a lot of data packaged in a fresh and fascinating form but regularly complains about the lack of data.  One of the joys in the book is being tantalised by what data he presents but then being frustrated when realising that that is the extent of the data available.   Continue reading “Pfeffer cuts through on OHS”