OHS is not broken but does need attention

Recently an article was posted on SHPOnline called “Health and safety needs a re-brand“.  The article by Anna Keen ties in with the Safety Differently or Safety 1-Safety 2 movements but needs to be considered carefully.

The street interviews were conducted in England where occupational health and safety (OHS) has undergone such a slagging off by the tabloid media that the Health and Safety Executive had to devote resources to countering the misrepresentation of OHS.  This misrepresentation has been occurring since the mid-2000s.  The video in the article is conformation of the success of the tabloid media outrage that even led to a pathetic attempt at comedy at OHS’s expense.

OHS, particularly in the United Kingdom but less so in Australia, has a perception problem which is clear from the video but will re-branding be enough?  

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Suicide Prevention Forum and Mental Health First Aid for workers

In March 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its latest figures into the causes of death. A lot of media attention was given to the figures showing an increase in the suicide rate.  It found that

“Among those aged 15 to 44, the leading causes of death were Intentional self-harm (suicide)…”

Dr Claire Kelly, Manager, Youth Programs, Mental Health First Aid Australia, talking at the Suicide Prevention Forum 2016
Dr Claire Kelly, Manager, Youth Programs, Mental Health First Aid Australia, talking at the Suicide Prevention Forum 2016

On the day those figures were released, the

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Labour Hire Inquiry submissions address OHS, sort of

The Victorian Government has concluded the public hearing section of its inquiry into Labour Hire. Industrial Relations Minister Natalie Hutchins has said in a media release that

“Evidence has been put to the inquiry suggesting widespread  underpayment of award wages, tax avoidance, nonpayment of superannuation, poor occupational health and safety practices, maltreatment of workers and backpackers on visas, and, in some instances, allegations of illegal conduct.”

This article focusses on the occupational health and safety (OHS) evidence provided through the

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Queensland plans for a safety culture for quad bikes

[Guest Post from Dave Robertson of Quadbar]

Cover of QLD Quad Bike Plan_2016-2019On March 3 2016, the Queensland government released its “Statewide Plan for Improving Quad Bike Safety”. The document covers a wide range of issues but risk controls like substitution and engineering only get small mention.

According to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations,  Grace Grace, the government intends

“…to create a safety culture through education and awareness as the immediate first step toward improving safety outcomes for quad bike users and their passengers.”

It must be noted that the plan covers occupational and recreational use of quad bikes but it is also important that the Statewide Plan does not indicate how the success of the plan and the safety culture model will be assessed.

Continue reading “Queensland plans for a safety culture for quad bikes”

WorkSafe enters battle over quadbike safety

Quad bike Say Safety_v151_04_10A decision by WorkSafe Victoria about the fitting of crush protection devices (CPD) to quad-bikes (All Terrain Vehicles/ATV) gained the major prominence in the latest edition of a major Australian farming newspaper, The Weekly Times.  The newspaper reports that

“WorkSafe Victoria is tightening rules around quad bikes that will see them banned in workplaces unless appropriate rollover protection is fitted.”

Some of the argument over the last 24 hours has been around whether this means that CPDs are mandatory and, as always, cost.

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If you build it, they will come

Cover of SIA_draft_Strategic_Plan_ConsulationThe Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) continues to rebuild its reputation and its credibility.  In February 2016 it released a draft Strategic Planning Framework and is seeking public comment. (Consultation closes on March 25)  A major difference in this approach is that the SIA is encouraging this draft plan to be distributed widely, outside of the SIA’s membership and is seeking comments from non-members.  The SIA has never been known for its transparency and this new openness is to be applauded.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide the SIA with as much feedback as possible on the draft framework. Continue reading “If you build it, they will come”

Victoria announces a new OHS review

Cover of -Improving-Workplace-Safety-For-VictoriansOn 11 February 2016, the Victorian Government announced a review into occupational health and safety (OHS) but you would hardly have noticed. The media release gained little attention in any of the mainstream press and yet its terms of reference are quite broad.  It will be interesting to see how the review panel sets its agenda.

But, hang on, wasn’t there already some sort of review into WorkSafe Victoria?

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