It is not possible to write as many occupational health and safety (OHS) articles as I would like to, and my newspaper clippings files are bulging by the time I get some time to tidy up. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) is an expensive business newspaper that often touches on OHS matters even though OHS may not be the core of the story. Below is a short discussion of many of those clippings from 2020. Most of the AFR articles are paywalled but can often be tracked down through other measures.
Guest Post by Dr Rebecca Michalak
About couple of weeks ago, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) featured a piece on a law firm that had introduced a mandatory approach to reporting sexual harassment – referred to as a ‘no bystanders’ rule.
To be clear upfront, here is my disclaimer – I am not directly commenting on the law firm in question; there isn’t enough information in the articles to make any objective judgements on that front. The references used from the two media pieces are for illustrative purposes only. Call them ‘conversation starters.’
In the AFR piece, the contractual obligation was outlined to involve:
“…chang(ing) ‘should’ (report) to ‘must’ – so any staff member who experiences, witnesses, or becomes aware of sexual harassment must report it,”
with the affiliated claim being,
Continue reading “‘No Bystanders Rule’ Bullshit”
“That shift really reinforces that there is zero tolerance – and there are no confidences to be kept; it needs to be outed – bystanders [staying silent] will no longer be tolerated.“
Infographics are increasingly used to summarise sometimes quite complex reports about occupational health and safety (OHS) matters. But often the nuance of the facts being depicted are stripped away in the translation process. There is one graphic that is repeatedly used in the context of mental health that seems to misrepresent reality for the sake of clarity.
Australian discussions about workplace bullying and sexual harassment at the moment is in a mess indicating that insufficient work has been spent on clarifying what these terms mean, how the consequences are managed and whether the harm can be prevented.
In Parliamentary debate on the 2020 Budget, the Liberal Party’s Sussan Ley, said:
“The Morrison government will establish a respect at work council to provide practical support to employers and employees to prevent and address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. We know it’s a barrier to women’s workforce participation, particularly for women working in male-dominated fields, and the government is committed to eradicating it from Australian workplaces.”page 100, Hansard
Respect and countering incivility are important in building a workplace culture that is equitable and safe. However a discussion on sexual harassment of women by a Federal Government Minister in November 2020 rings hollow when the government has still to respond to a world-leading inquiry into sexual harassment in workplaces handed to them early this year.
Hospo Voice, a trade union for Australian hospitality workers has released a report on a survey of more than 4000 workers between March and June 2020. #RebuildHospo: A Post-Covid Roadmap For Secure Jobs In Hospitality has all the limitations of other surveys done by members of an organisation rather than independent research but this report offers a framework for safe and decent work that reflects many of the occupational Health and safety (OHS) that SafetyAtWorkBlog has reported on.
The union claims that hospitality workers endorse four important work elements:
- Secure jobs,
- End to wage theft,
- Safe and respectful workplaces, and
- Justice for migrant workers
OHS has a thin presence in this report, mainly discussed in that third bulletpoint but an integrated analysis would show that OHS is involved with more of the elements.
This article is about SafeWorkNSW’s recently released Draft Code of Practice for Managing the Risks to Psychological Health, but it is not going to focus on the Code. Instead the focus will be on the supplementary Explanatory Paper because this presents the rationale for the Code’s contents and, in many ways, is a more useful tool for occupational health and safety (OHS) discussions. However, just as the Code has structural and legislative limitations as part of its Purpose, the Explanatory Paper is a support document for submissions on the Draft Code and therefore has its own limitations.
A lot of recent attention has been given to incidents of sexual harassment in Australian legal and finance corporations, in particular, and how these are being (mis)managed. COVID19 has thrown a big focus on the working conditions of health care workers. Last month, Australian research on sexual misconduct was released that is, essentially, a Venn diagram of the issues of sexual harassment and misconduct with health practitioners.
The lead author of the study, Associate Professor Marie Bismark, professor of Public Law at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, spoke exclusively with SafetyAtWorkBlog about the research findings.