If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

The trade union movement has often been instrumental in affecting and sometimes creating government policy on occupational health and safety (OHS).  The latest generation of hazards – psychosocial – can be traced back to a survey late last century of workplace stress conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).  This week the ACTU released its survey into sexual harassment at work.

The current survey should not be seen as representative of any social group other than trade union members even though the survey was completed by 10,000 of them.  Also, this survey is far less likely to be as newsworthy as last century’s surveys as the agenda on workplace sexual harassment has already been established by reports from groups like Universities Australia and, especially, the current work by the Sexual Discrimination Commissioner and the Australian Human Rights Commission.  It is also likely to be covered, probably as a secondary issue, in the various mental health inquiries scheduled for 2019.

The ACTU survey provides additional information to our understanding of sexual harassment at work but certainly not the whole picture.

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Share Solutions could be resurrected

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Some readers have asked for more information about the “Share Solutions” program mentioned in a previous article. The initiative started in 1988 but this article is based on the second edition from 1995.

In 1995, pre-internet, the precursor to WorkSafe Victoria, the Health and Safety Organisation Victoria produced a Share Solutions manual (with an unfortunate sex doll-like graphic).  This hard copy folders included single page solutions to common workplace hazards.  These solutions were submitted usually by those workers or Health and Safety Representatives who had developed a solution to a hazard particular to their workplace.  The solutions were shared with the program participants with acknowledgement of the origin. Continue reading “Share Solutions could be resurrected”

Bunnings knows their onions

“The Aussie sausage sizzle safety scandal suggests safety is simply something that some citizens are certain starts slips in store and on cement. A safety source says that some stores are succumbing to scurrilous suggestions that makes safety sound silly.” (Copyright: Kevin Jones)

Some Australia occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals have been frothing up about the controversy (?) over the decision of Bunnings Warehouse to encourage the charities who run the sausage sizzles to place the cooked onions between the sausage and the slice of bread to reduce the risk of slips from  onions falling off the top of the sausage in bread (a form of snack that some Australians call a “dog in a blanket”).

The issue that gained

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A new statistical perspective on work-related injuries and illnesses

In late October 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a summary of the latest work-related injury and illness data, although it was easy to miss as few, if anyone, reported on it. On first view, that mental health is barely mentioned in the Summary is surprising and the workers compensation data raises interesting policy questions.

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