Australia’s ABCC argument is not about safety

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is on a pathway to an election.  On March 21 2016, the Prime Minister wrote to the Governor-General to continue a convoluted process sparked by the Senate’s refusal to pass laws that will allow the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).  One of the justifications for the need to pass the laws is to improve workplace safety, as in the excerpt below for the Prime Minsiter’s letter.  This position is unjustified.

Turnbull safety GG

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OHS formally enters professional sports

On November 9 2015, WorkSafe Victoria charged the Essendon Football Club with breaches of the occupational health and safety (OHS) law over its controversial supplements program. This blog has watched how the Australian Football League (AFL), in particular, has acknowledged its OHS obligations and duties.  This interest has been shared by Dr Eric Windholz who wrote about the charges today.

Windholz acknowledges that WorkSafe Victoria has established a formal presence in professional sports with its decision to prosecute.  

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Australian Football’s corporate approach to OHS

Recently the CEO of the Australian Football League (AFL), Andrew Demetriou addressed a breakfast gathering in Melbourne on the issue of “OHS in the AFL”.  He spoke almost entirely about policy initiatives without specifically addressing occupational health and safety but after a while we came to understand he was speaking of OHS from his senior executive perspective rather than the level where traditional control measures are implemented.

This was a legitimate approach to OHS but one that is rarely heard, perhaps because the AFL is a unique sporting body.  There was no mention of concepts dear to the hearts of CEOs such as Zero Harm or Safety Culture.  In fact there was hardly even a mention of Leadership.

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