Occupational health and safety (OHS) is rarely reported on in the mainstream newspapers but every week OHS is there, adding a contect to a scandal or subtext to a public health risk. Last weekend was no different. The Guardian of September 16, 2023 reported on a review of personal relationships by BP, a prison escape, deaths from air pollution, a more relaxed approach to work, shoplifting and customer aggression, and more.
When Australia harmonised its occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, the management focus broadened to include work, and not just workplaces. Some “knowledge” or white-collar work can be done anywhere, and employers have often struggled to understand how to extend their OHS management systems and duties to apply to this revised or expanded system of work. Current OHS guidance on working from home is too “big picture” when employers are addressing localised decisions.
It seems that being “mindful” is now more commonly advocated than being careful. “Mindful” has become the equivalent of “careful”, but these words have different meanings and are not interchangeable. Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws impose a Duty of Care, not a Duty of Mind.
Much of the social media discussion on Mindful vs Careful seems to originate from parental sites or well-being advocates. One example can be found here in a discussion of a child’s reaction to each of these words.Continue reading “From mindful back to careful”
Human Resources (HR) professionals must start thinking of worker mental health in occupational health and safety (OHS) as obligations under OHS laws are being refreshed throughout Australia. But the reverse is also true; OHS people must give HR professionals more respect than in the past. As such, new words for psychosocial hazards, job design and workload management may be needed. One of those words could be “busyness”.
The calls for banning engineered stone‘s importation are curious and likely to be acted on later this week.
Politicians, unions and some OHS associations have undertaken a risk assessment and determined that elimination is the most effective harm prevention strategy. Previous risk assessments of silicosis have been reported on in this blog for some time without banning the material. The risks have not changed even with increased inspection and enforcement. So what has changed? Politics.
“One of our key roles as the regulator is to understand why workplace injuries happen” –Dr Natassia Goode. Worksafe Victoria, February 9, 2023.
Dr Goode made this statement at a research seminar for the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research. She went on to explain those “widely acknowledged” causes in an expansive discussion about “systems thinking“.
Last week, the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) conducted presentations of its latest research programs. Those projects included:
- Vicarious Trauma
- Evaluating Pilot Programs
- Bitumen Fume Exposure
- Systems Thinking