Vision Zero, Zero Harm, … WTF?

The launch of a “Vision Zero” campaign about occupational health and safety (OHS) was a major element of the recent World Congress on Safety and Health at Work but it has created confusion and some alarm.

The Secretary-General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Hans-Horst Konkolewsky told SafetyAtWorkBlog that Vision Zero “is not a Zero Harm campaign”.  However confusion appeared on the first day of the Congress when an organisation was given a Vision Zero award for a safety program that the organisation has just and repeatedly described as “Zero Harm”.

The best solution to this confusion is to ignore the Vision Zero branding and look at the intentions and resources behind the razzamatazz.  If you do, there is a lot of good information.

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The OHS profession urged to have a good look at itself

Every safety conference needs a Dave Provan.  Provan (pictured right) is researching the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession and discussed this research at a recent conference organised by the Safety Institute of Australia.  One of his earliest comments was also the most confronting:

“the safety profession is entirely discretionary”.

Provan’s perspective, shared by thought leaders in Australian OHS deserves further discussion as businesses may be investing in unnecessary people.

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Big OHS data needs to digitise the past

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A safety conference in Victoria Australia today heard from Innes Willox of the AIGroup about new challenges in business and occupational health and safety (OHS).  As many have mentioned recently big data is a challenge but with important benefits.  A major flaw in any of these discussions is an overestimation of data sources and usefulness. Continue reading “Big OHS data needs to digitise the past”

SafetyConnect conference connects

This week’s SAFETYconnect conference hosted by the NSCA Foundation in Sydney had a very good strike rate of interesting speakers on its first day.  Only one speaker missed the safety mark – it was as if they had been handed a marketing presentation instead of safety and, regardless of the safety audience, give it anyway.

This conference was notable for the way that the ‘safety differently’/Safety II movement has moved into mainstream safety management.  The most obvious example of this was a presentation by QantasLink.

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Reviewing fundamentals is part of cultural change

The most recent stuff-up by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has strengthened calls for a Royal Commission into Australia’s finance and banking sector. This is of interest to workplace safety professionals because it contains the liveliest current discussion about corporate cultures – how flawed ones are supposedly behind the errors and how proactive ones are supposed to be the solution.

Occurring at the same time is a growing social movement that is recalibrating occupational health and safety (OHS) to see workers as humans of value rather than units of labour.

Paralleling all of this is increased attention on the sociology and psychology of work, perhaps linked to a decline in the neoliberalism of the past forty years.  As Australia enters the time of OHS conferences and Work Safe Month in October, it may be worth considering a couple of fundamental questions, such as absolute safety, AFAIRP, and invisible hazards.

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