Below is a video of a worker setting up their work area and dusting a retail sign. When one sees such videos or images, we naturally think, “What is he doing?” and “What was he thinking?” This article speculates on those questions and what could have been done.
The Australian Financial Review (AFR) is a newspaper written for and about business, so worker safety and health is usually depicted as a nuisance to be addressed only when one absolutely must. However, its coverage of engineered stone products is notably skewed.
On December 29 2023, The Guardian newspaper’s cover story was about doctors in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service experiencing high rates of “moral distress”. It is common for hospitals and health care services to consider themselves as workplaces with unique hazards rather than suffering similar occupational health and safety (OHS) challenges to all other workplaces. What makes the OHS challenge so significant in the NHS is the size of the challenge rather than its nature or cause.
The heads of Australian work health and safety authorities have decided to ban engineered stone from the middle of 2024. Some will seed this as a win for the trade union movement ( the unions certainly will), but many occupational health and safety and industrial hygiene professionals have been leading the way in obtaining the research evidence that made this decision such an easy one to make.
[This article discusses suicide]
WorkSafe Victoria has charged a government agency with breaching occupational health and safety (OHS) laws over the suicide of an employee. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a different perspective. Several OHS researchers, academics and trade union lobbyists are battling the HSE to become more involved with investigating suicides that have the potential to be related to work. The Australian circumstance is a little different.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) has released an important survey of their members about health and wellbeing at work. Amongst many of the findings is that “Stress continues to be one of the main causes of absence” and that “Heavy workloads remain by far the most common cause of stress-related absence…” So how are CIPD members reducing the heavy workloads? They’re not. 78% of respondents are using Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to “identify and reduce stress”. Options like hiring additional staff or reducing the workload do not even chart. OMG!
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.