OHS and Maryam Omari

Maryam Omari is an Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University and Dean of its School of Business and Law. She has worked in the Middle East, UK and USA and SafetyAtWorkBlog had a chance to ask her some workplace safety questions. Professor Omari has published several books with her latest being “Workplace Abuse, Incivility and Bullying: Methodological…

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Bullying, evidence, ethics and solutions

Safety people love evidence, particularly evidence of hazards because evidence can validate what we thought we saw. Perhaps of more importance is evidence about what types of interventions work. A recent study  into the prevention of workplace bullying (abstract only) held the promise of solutions, even though it was a literature review and of some…

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Workplace Bullying needs a broad and integrated approach

Recently, through LinkedIn, a Human Resources (HR) professional wrote an article that busted some myths about workplace bullying.  It is a useful article but also illustrates that HR and occupational health and safety (OHS) still have some way to go before providing a coordinated approach to workplace bullying and the mental health issues that contribute to the psychosocial hazard.

Continue reading “Workplace Bullying needs a broad and integrated approach”

There is no such thing as a Cone of Silence, accept the reality

At a recent seminar on managing serious workplace incidents, there was a brief discussion about how evidence is collected and controlled.  The response from the panel was that one should always assume that conversations are always being recorded or have the capacity to be.  A non-safety example of this appeared in The Age newspaper recently. It appears that someone recorded the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s examination process and the recording included discriminatory comments.  Two examiners have been stood down and the College is investigating the examination processes. Continue reading “There is no such thing as a Cone of Silence, accept the reality”

Could safety by algorithms be next?

It seems to be increasingly important for occupational health and safety (OHS) to focus on the human and the humanity of the worker but this seems out of touch with the world of Human Resources (HR) and recruitment that is increasingly being dominated by impersonal algorithms.  Recently BBC’s Global Business program looked at Recruitment By Algorithm.

According to Global Business, recruitment assesses the “fit” of a job applicant through assessments undertaken by computer programs and algorithms.  This is occurring at the same time as OHS professionals are increasingly advocating the importance of a “safety culture” even though safety culture is difficult to define, and some deny it exists.  There seems to be an inherent conflict in the process of recruiting safe workers. Continue reading “Could safety by algorithms be next?”

New workplace bullying report raises awareness in UK

imageRecently workplace bullying gained increased attention in the United Kingdom due to media report about a discussion paper released by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

The report called “Seeking better solutions: tackling bullying and ill-treatment in Britain’s workplaces” is a very good summary of thinking on workplace bullying that acknowledges the Australian experience but seems to indicate that Britain remains in the early stages of tacking the workplace bullying situation after a series of false starts on the issue.

SafetyAtWorkBlog posed some questions about this paper to Dr 

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Stirring the OHS pot

I was honoured to speak recently at the monthly meeting of the Central Safety Group.  As the meeting occurred during Safe Work Australia Month it seemed appropriate to stir debate about the nature of occupational health and safety (OHS) and how it applied.

Here is a selection of points that I intended to make. Discussion developed in a manner that allowed for many of these to be only touched upon but that was the intention of the presentation – to encourage OHS professionals to talk about OHS rather than about specific hazards. Continue reading “Stirring the OHS pot”

10 (better) questions organisations should be asking about workplace bullying

On 14 July 2015, Russell Kennedy lawyers published an article “10 better questions organisations should be asking about workplace bullying”. The article is a great example of the type of advice about workplace bullying that lawyers provide to companies.  It is good advice but is limited by the legal process.

Here are my alternate, or complementary, 10 questions for an organisation to ask about workplace bullying, in no particular order:

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The exploitation of happiness

As the Australian Government analyses the productivity of the workplace it is vital that that analysis reflects the modern workplace and management practice. At the moment Australian workplaces are awash with training programs focusing on resilience and happiness, implying that each individual can change and improve a workplace culture but there has always been an undercurrent of manipulation to these courses and seminars.  A new book by William Davies provides a fresh perspective that, rightly, questions the motives behind this modern trend and provides an important historical context. (For those who can’t purchase the book but want to know more, look at this series of articles)

Davies’s book,  “

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