Yes, No or N/A?

Recently, SafeWorkNSW launched a health and safety campaign for those who provide services in people’s homes, essentially Home Care providers.  The message is good and simple, but this article is less about the campaign than the risk assessment and checklist forms they promote.

Many checklists expect a Yes/No answer but fail to ask a question.  SafeWorkNSW’s Home Safety Risk Assessment is an example of this problem.

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Sentencing and OHS prosecutions but few solutions

Most submissions to the inquiry into Sentencing Occupational Health and Safety Offences in Victoria are now publicly available.  They raise a lot of different issues and some grumbles even though the Sentencing Advisory Council provided some structure to the topics it wanted addressed.

A major purpose of any penalty is to deter harmful and damaging actions from being repeated.  SAC reiterates that any sentence 

  • deters the offender and others from committing similar offences;
  • punishes the offender in a just manner;
  • facilitates the rehabilitation of the offender;
  • denounces the behaviour that the offender engaged in, and
  • protects the community from the offender. (page 7)

The CFMEU’s Dr Gerry Ayers opens his submission with Deterrence by quoting Gunningham and Johnstone from 1999, who wrote:

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The Human Rights of workers strengthens

Work health and safety is a fundamental human right. Last year, I asked “so what?” Australia is strengthening the relevance of this international human right at the local level, but you wouldn’t notice unless you looked hard.

The federal government’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has been receiving public submissions on the ratification of ILO Conventions 191 and 187. It’s such a hot topic that it received only two submissions!!; neither opposed the ratification, but they provide some useful context to the aims of occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia.

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The immediate future of OHS in the UK

Later this week, the United Kingdom hosts an election which the Labour Party, the “party of working people,” is expected to win. Its party manifesto has been out for some time, but its workplace strategy has received less attention. Given the synergies between the UK and Australian industrial relations and occupational health and safety (OHS), Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay, deserves an outsider’s analysis.

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We must understand the social pressures on employer safety decisions

There is a cost-of-living crisis in large parts of the world, there is a climate emergency, there are wars and political instability and insecurity everywhere. Why is occupational health and safety (OHS) still considered important? Well, it isn’t really when compared to these global and existential crises, but that is the microcosm in which we operate. However, this does not mean we should withdraw into our safety shells and ignore the world. We can’t; the world intrudes on our microcosm and affects us directly and indirectly.

So, it is useful to understand how pressures external to our work and workplaces affect our choices and the choices of employers.

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Gun control, primary prevention and OHS

Our experience with a global pandemic has blurred the lines between what is public health and what is occupational health. In that context, it’s worth considering the public health strategies and interventions. There are three levels of interventions: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Recently, on NPR’s All Things Considered, a public health specialist in the United States, Dr. Cedric Dark, discussed public health proposed strategies in relation to gun control in light of a recent report by the US Surgeon General.

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The Occupational Moral Injury Scale

Many people are promoting various tools, usually apps, for identifying and managing psychosocial hazards at work. Some experts in the field of organisational psychology are cool on these tools, others are dismissive of poorly designed tools promoted by rent-seekers, others promote free tools, and some say that all the information required is already available if you ask for it and if the keepers of the data will share.

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