Let’s acknowledge the problems with this year’s Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) National Conference upfront before the good stuff is mentioned.
A speaker on the issue of Diversity failed to turn up. Many of the rooms were setup in such a configuration that some delegates had to stand or, like I did, sit on the floor. Almost all the speakers were asked to speak for over 40 minutes which was a challenge for some and conflicts with studies about attention spans. Some of the presentations didn’t seem to support the “in practice” theme of the conference. Lastly, what some described as challenging presentations, others found to be vanilla and too general. Some of these problems were beyond the SIA’s control but they were still negative experiences.
Over the next week SafetyAtWorkBlog will be writing about some of the very positive speakers and experiences at the SIA National Conference. Continue reading “The SIA’s National Conference is on the right path”
One of the Select Committees of the Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry into the “Future of Work and Workers” and is currently holding public hearings. There is a lot of interesting information that will affect how workplace health and safety is managed and there are some odd statements in the public submissions. However, it was the appearance of Airtasker’s CEO at a public hearing on May 4, that is genuinely scary.
Firstly a positive statement from the
The primary occupational health and safety (OHS) duty rests with employers or, as they are known in most Australian jurisdictions, Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). Laws are based on an assumption that employers are aware of this duty and that this duty, to provide a safe and healthy work environment without risks to health, reflects the employer’s social position and social responsibility or the company’s “social licence“. But there have always been employers who do not care and who see employees only as units of labour and who believe that “if you don’t like working here, there’s the door”. It is time for a reboot.
Many Western countries are beginning to review their OHS laws in light of the changing nature of work but these reviews continue to be based on the assumption that employers care even though the emergence of the gig economy and the new
There seems to be a growing community frustration with regulators who hesitate to prosecute about breaches of laws, including occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, and about options that sound reasonable, like Enforceable Undertakings, but still let businesses “off the hook”. The calls for Industrial Manslaughter laws are the most obvious manifestations of the anger and frustration from perceived injustices.
But perhaps there was another way to achieve change in workplace safety, a way that could be based on a model that Australia and other countries already have.
Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist has released its first Industry Insights document for 2018. This one focusses on flexibility and growth and included this statement in the chapter written by Andrew Charlton, a Director, of AlphaBeta :
“At the macroeconomic level, much of this change has been positive. The economy has created new jobs that are, on average, better paid, more satisfying and safer than the jobs that were lost.” (page 19)
Safer jobs? The last claim sent me to the source of the data –