Australia has a political structure of States and Territories existing within a Federation or Commonwealth. Legislative change has a smooth journey when political stars are aligned, where the same political party is in power at State and Federal levels. Federal change is even smoother when the same political party has control of both houses of Parliament. Not surprisingly, this ultimate combination is rare and could be as damaging to occupational health and safety (OHS) as it can be beneficial. The recent OHS harmonisation process is a good example of a political mess.
This may be the reality of Australian politics but it doesn’t need to be.
Several Australian States have
The use and abuse of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) has been researched in Australia for several years. SafetyAtWorkBlog has seen a copy of an unreleased report prepared for Safe Work Australia that identifies major problems with the use of SWMS but that makes recommendations which seem unlikely to achieve the level of change required.
The February 2017 report “The Efficacy of Safe Work Method Statement and WHS Management Plans in Construction” (written by
There is much general discussion about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Future of Work and other speculative work-related concepts. Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum wrote:
“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.”
For the purposes of this blog “work” is the focus and health and safety the discussion points. Occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals have a unique opportunity to participate in the early stages of this societal disruption. But there is also a risk that OHS could miss out. Continue reading “Me! Me! Me! – OHS needs to grow up for the new world structure”
Professor Michael Quinlan has been writing about occupational health and safety (OHS) and industrial relations for several decades. His writing has matured over that time as indicated by his most recent book, Ten Pathways to Death and Disaster. In 1980, one of his articles looked at OHS through the prisms of Capitalism and Marxism. It is remarkable how much an article that was written early in Quinlan’s career and at a time when OHS was considered another country remains relevant today. This perspective contrasts strongly with the current dominant thinking on OHS and as a result sounds fresh and may offer some solutions.
In Quinlan’s 1980 article, “The Profits of Death: Workers’ Health and Capitalism”*, he writes that
“contrary to popular belief there is no objective irrefutable definition of illness”.
This could equally be applied to safety. But searching for THE definition of things can lead to everlasting colloquia of academic experts without helping those who need to work within and apply safety concepts.
It’s soon to be the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. Tech writers are preparing their articles based on comparisons of how the iPhone has changed and how it has changed the world. But there has always been a dark side to the production of the iPhone and modern technologies, as a whole.