New laws help in the prevention of occupational asthma

Recently a public relations firm has been promoting a statement about workers’ compensation and occupational asthma in support of the Australasian Asthma Conference.  The statement was a timely reminder of the 2015 report – The Hidden Costs of Asthma.  These documents are aimed at the management of asthma rather than the prevention but, coincidentally, the Australian Government entered some legislative amendments in Parliament that will help with the prevention of this important condition.

The 

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Measure the old, plan for the new

“What gets measured, gets done” is a common phrase in corporate-speak but needs to be treated with caution in terms of occupational health and safety (OHS).

In The Australian newspaper of October 5 2017 (paywalled) an article about remuneration and innovation includes a brief but telling discussion of the perception of OHS.

Sylvia Falzon is a director of the companies Perpetual and Regis Healthcare.  The article states that Falzon is a

“great believer that ‘what gets measured gets done”.

However, this belief has important limitations. 

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Workplace mental health and wellbeing strategies must consider suicide

There is an increased blurring between the workplace, work and mental health.  In the past, work and life were often split implying that one had little to do with the other except for a salary in return for effort and wellness in preparation for productiveness.  This split was always shaky but was convenient for lots of reasons, one of which was the management of occupational health and safety (OHS).  However that perceptual split is over, now that mental health has come to the fore in many OHS considerations.

Recently

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Singapore’s Prime Minister shows mature approach to OHS

Lee Hsien Loong centre)

It has been noted that the recent World Congress on Safety And Health at Work had “Vision Zero” as one of its three themes.  It was curious that the opening remarks of Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong (pictured right), did not mention Vision Zero at all.  In fact he was quite measured in his speech which placed him in a better position to argue for real safety targets and initiatives.

In contrast to many business leaders, and some of the speakers at the World Congress, the Prime Minister stated that

“workplace accidents and injuries are almost always preventable.”

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Exclusive interview with Hans-Horst Konkolewsky on Vision Zero

A major theme of the World Congress of Safety and Health 2017 is the extension and strengthening of the Vision Zero concept.  One of major advocates of this is Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, of the International Social Security Association. Konkolewsky sees Vision Zero as a “life changer”.

Any safety concept that includes the word “zero” is inflammatory to some sectors of the Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) profession as is evident by some of the tweets received by @SafetyOz over the last few hours. Late on Day One a question from the audience also expressed wariness over the use of the concept. However SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to interview Konkolewsky at the congress over a decade after our first interview, when he was head of EU-OSHA.  We outlined the Australian perspective – “Zero Harm” – and his clarification of Vision Zero is important.

Below is audio of the exclusive seven minute interview.

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