Toughen up, Princess

Today the Medical Journal of Australia released a media statement entitled:

“FIFO workers’ psychological distress “alarming””

What is more alarming is that the levels of psychological distress have remained high even though there have been inquiries into the mental health of Fly-In Fly-Out workers in Western Australia and Queensland since 2014!!

Western Australian research undertaken by

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Unsafe systems of management

Excessive workplace stress in the medical profession is well documented but stress is often seen as a minor workplace hazard that is fairly easily dealt with by holidays, for instance, or is dismissed as an “occupational hazard” or part of the entry to the profession or just part of the culture, with the implication that nothing can change.  Only recently have work-related suicides garnered serious research attention and these incidents are now being openly discussed, as this April 2018 article in the MJA Insight shows.

The author of the opinion piece, Dr

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Notification of mental health incidents

Australia’s entertainment and performing arts sector is gradually attending to the workplace mental health risks that are inherent, or have been shown to be problematic, in their industry. However it continues to operate in isolation rather than facing the reality and magnitude of the problems and the challenges facing lots of industries who have only recently discovered their psychosocial hazards.

The latest edition of Dance Australia magazine contains an interview with Chloe Dallimore,* President of Equity, a division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which illustrates the willingness to change, but still within limits.  Occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations are hardly mentioned, nor is the role of the OHS regulators.  Perhaps it is time to include mental health as a workplace incident or condition that should be notifiable under law.

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“Just Culture – The Movie” – important case study

I was born outside Liverpool England well over 50 years ago and have lived on the other side of the world ever since.  I love hearing accents from Northern England as it reminds me of my relatives, my roots and, most of all, my Mother.  This meant that I had to watch Sidney Dekker‘s latest 30 minute documentary at least twice so that I paid attention to what was said rather than how.

“Just Culture – The Movie” (accessible through the YouTube share below) tells the story of the transformation from a divisive and unproductive blame culture to a just culture.  It is an important story because it is theory, concept and idea made real, and made real in an industry sector that has a complex organisational culture only partly explained by its funding model.

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“We cannot buy the health of people with money”

Free Access
Source: Melody Kemp

By Melody Kemp

Walking my dog along the Mekong in Vientiane, new piles of building rubble litter the river bank. The capital has long had a problem with plastic waste, but as unbridled wealth spreads and humble buildings are replaced by garish McMansions, building rubble is turning up in the general detritus. Among the bricks was what looked like the residue of shattered Asbestos Cement sheets; but without necessary skill and a microscope how could anyone tell?

A Vietnamese trader arrives. He rifles through the remains, takes a few of the bigger bits, tosses them in the trailer behind his bike and leaves with a nod.  Later, in the main street outside a hardware shop, a large box of mixed waste lies waiting for collection.  Laos do not separate their waste at source and while there may be provisions for hazardous waste, procedures are not observed. Out of date drugs, toxic chemicals, poohy nappies are tossed into or along the river; are burned or go into general land fill sites. Or are scavenged.

Those few minutes epitomised some of the social/behavioural difficulties of controlling hazardous materials in any of the Mekong nations.  Things are changing thanks to the efforts of ex-ILO Technical Adviser Phillip HazeltonContinue reading ““We cannot buy the health of people with money””