The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) has recently published an article about the significant Human Resources trends for 2019. The trends identified include
- “A Change of Government”
- “Gig Economy Classification”
- “Sexual Harassment”
- “Technology Trends”
SafetyAtWorkBlog will be more specific in its occupational health and safety (OHS) “trends” for 2019.
It is difficult to make a book about occupational health and safety (OHS) law interesting. Some try with creative design but the most successful is when laws are interpreted into real world circumstances. Thankfully Breen Creighton and Peter Rozen have written the latter in the 4th edition of Health and Safety Law in Victoria. Independent Australian publishers, Federation Press, recognise the significance of this edition:
“This is an entirely re-written and greatly expanded edition of this standard text on occupational health and safety law in Victoria….[and]
…Critically, the new edition locates the 2004 Victorian Act firmly in the context of the harmonised work health and safety regime…”
This discussion of context lifts this book from an analysis of one State’s OHS laws to an analysis of harmonisation, which may be offer a useful counterpoint to
One of the noticeable things about the Australian Senate’s report into industrial deaths is the workload it expects Safe Work Australia (SWA) to do in the implementation of the 34 official recommendations. Whether Safe Work Australia has the capacity and skills to undertake these tasks is not addressed.
The Senate report expects Safe Work Australia to develop various data-sets and public lists and to work with State and Territory occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators. But the lessons from OHS harmonisation and Safe Work Australia’s Model Laws reinforced that workplace health and safety is controlled by the States and Territories and that, although an Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed, party and local politics knobbled the harmonisation program so that several years on, Australian OHS laws are only slightly more harmonised than they were before the program began.
In the early 1990s, a program for National Uniformity of OHS laws was cancelled for political reasons. Prior to harmonisation there were strong calls for a national OHS regulator but this could not be undertaken without Constitutional reform. That lack of a single National OHS regulator is all over this Senate inquiry report.
Many companies have bloated workplace procedures. Many of these seem to involve workplace health and safety. Some people blame this on a bureaucracy designed in the olden times by someone, that somehow still exists and is maintained by someone or some process that no one sees or knows. Some prominent Australian researchers have looked into this issue and have written about “safety clutter”* which they say is:
“…the accumulation of safety procedures, documents, roles, and activities that are performed in the name of safety, but do not contribute to the safety of operational work.”.”