Recently an article from an international real estate and investment company stated:
“Marrying health and wellness with design, the WELL Building Standard is catching on fast in the West, but the trend is just starting to take off in Asia.”
This statement is debatable but the recent concern over cheap, flammable cladding in high-rise buildings in Australia should speed up the attention on Safety in Design principles that underpin such initiatives. Continue reading “Green Building can generate OHS returns”
On 30 September 2015, SafetyAtWorkBlog highlighted a conversation about inspector numbers from the Tasmanian Parliament. The information was confusing but crucial in understanding WorkSafe Tasmania’s occupational health and safety enforcement capacity and strategy.
Below are some questions posed to WorkSafe Tasmania in an attempt to clarify the issues and the OHS regulator’s replies. Two responses prompted comment on workplace health and wellbeing strategies.
Recently an Australian law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, conducted a series of seminars that provided a different perspective on issues related to workplace mental health and safety.
The Victorian Government has just released its first discussion paper into labour hire practices and insecure work. As has been discussed when the Inquiry was announced, occupational health and safety (OHS) is part of this inquiry but OHS will only gain the attention it deserves if someone advocates on behalf of worker safety exclusively and thinks about safety in this sector, differently. Continue reading “Insecure work inquiries should embrace and expand the safe system of work”
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is an integral stakeholder in the improvement in the safety performance of quad bikes. However, some of its past strategies have been belligerent, divisive and have limited the safety debate. There are hints that the FCAI’s communication strategy has changed and this can only be for the better.
On October 1, 2015, FCAI issued a media release that was a gentle questioning of the Star Safety Rating program recently advocated by quad bike safety advocates and researchers. The FCAI says that the research on which the rating system is based
“…does not correlate with real world performance is premature and needs to be further explored.”
Continue reading “A possible change in approach on quad bike safety”
I was honoured to speak recently at the monthly meeting of the Central Safety Group. As the meeting occurred during Safe Work Australia Month it seemed appropriate to stir debate about the nature of occupational health and safety (OHS) and how it applied.
Here is a selection of points that I intended to make. Discussion developed in a manner that allowed for many of these to be only touched upon but that was the intention of the presentation – to encourage OHS professionals to talk about OHS rather than about specific hazards. Continue reading “Stirring the OHS pot”
Testing for drug and alcohol effects in workplaces sounds sensible but what do you do when there is no evidence that it improves worker safety or reduces risk? Apparently ignore the evidence, create industrial tension and impose unnecessary costs on industry.
The Australian national government and the Victorian (State) government have both pledged to introduce drug and alcohol testing for the construction sector. The Victorian Government also promised to introduce drug and alcohol testing for parliamentarians but everyone expects a backdown on that election pledge.
Recently two researchers in Adelaide, Ken Pidd and Anne Roche published a research paper in Accident Analysis & Prevention asking “how effective is drug testing as a workplace safety strategy?“. The abstract states:
“…the evidence base for the effectiveness of testing in improving workplace safety is at best tenuous.”
This week in Australia is Mental Health Week. Some call it an Mental Health Awareness Week. Either way the Australian media will be full of experts and “experts”. Workplace health strategies will not be excluded but when reading and listening to this media content, one important point should be remembered – “mental health” is significantly different from “mental illness”.
Such differentiation should not be dismissed as semantics because health, illness, problems and disorders involve different levels of analysis and diagnosis and, therefore, different strategies, interventions and control measures.
One of the most neglected occupational health and safety (OHS) management tools in Australian workplaces is the safety risk register even though they fit well with the renewed emphasis on OHS Due Diligence.
Every OHS professional dreads
An article last week touched briefly on the issue of the effect of synthetic drugs in the workplace in the context of drug and alcohol testing. The Australian newspaper on 28 September 2015 contained a front page article (paywalled) about mining company concerns over synthetic drugs at work, however it is an article that deserves greater analysis before anyone considers this as part of an evidence base as it is creatively constructed and relies on statements from a toxicologist working for drug testing laboratory. Continue reading “Front page drug testing article is marketing”