“Job Quality” progresses OHS thinking

On housing affordability this week, Australia’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, suggested a solution would be to get a “good job”. This occurred a month or so after the publication of a terrific book (that Hockey obviously has yet to read) called “Job Quality in Australia“, edited by Angela Knox and Chris Warhurst for Federation Press. The editors write about the importance of job quality which “…affects attitudes, behaviour and outcomes at the individual, organisational and national level” (page 1) and job quality’s political context:

“While the current Abbott government is primarily concerned with improving Australia’s macro-economic position, such a position is unlikely to be achieved and sustained without a policy agenda focusing on job quality.” (page 2)

Significantly for this blog’s readership, the book has a chapter, written by

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Is OHS an invisible science?

On 1 June 2015 Australia’s Radio National broadcast a discussion about the future of work, in support of a Vivid Festival conference. Listening to the discussion through the prism of occupational health and safety (OHS) is an interesting experience as work/life balance is promoted as empowering the individual but, as we know in OHS, individuals often sacrifice their safety for income or deadlines or project demands, contrary to their legislative obligations. The workplace flexibility that many people seek allows the individual to manage the workload and develop or design the working environment. In other terms they establish an unregulated workplace. So what influence will OHS have in these new and emerging workplace configurations? Probably very little.

ABC’s

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New OHS advice on quad bikes

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On 22 March 2010, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland released new guidance on the use 0f quad bikes.

There is no radical solution to quad bike deaths but there are some variations to existing advice which should be noted.

The most obvious is that “quad bike” is used through instead of ATV (all-terrain vehicle).  This may annoy manufacturers but is very sensible given that the risks listed with using quad bikes specifically says that

“Quad bikes are designed for particular purposes and within particular operating conditions. Using them outside these parameters can significantly increase the risk of severe injury or death.” Continue reading “New OHS advice on quad bikes”

Home-based businesses need OHS consideration

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SafetyAtWorkBlog is largely produced from a home-based business and the issues of safety, mental health, work/life balance are real issues in this business.

In the development of OHS regulations, a “workplace” has been fairly generic.  For at least 50 years, our definition of “workplace” has reflected our individual experience of the places we have worked.  (Lately, in Australia, a “workplace” has been designed as a place where work is performed, which raises lots of difficult issues in itself.)  OHS regulations are rarely written by workers in  a home-based business and sometimes the regulations miss this important sector of the workforce and the community.

An article on women’s wages in the Australian Financial Review on 16 March 2010 (not available online without a subscription) includes one paragraph of interesting and relevant statistics: Continue reading “Home-based businesses need OHS consideration”

Small business can equal depression, stress and mental health problems

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According to an article in  the Australian Financial Review on 16 February 2010 (only available online through subscription):

“The isolation of working at home or in a small shop or factory by themselves can wear down many in the small and medium  enterprise sector.  In the most severe cases, it can lead to depression and cause major problems for their family and business.”

Andrew Griffiths provides a quote that illustrates well the work/life conflict in the small business sector: Continue reading “Small business can equal depression, stress and mental health problems”