Boland releases Public Consultancy Summary of WHS inquiry

The Independent Review of Model WHS Laws being conducted by Marie Boland released a Public Consultation Summary on August 17 2018.  Boland lists the concerns raised with her as including:

“the blurring of lines between WHS [work health and safety], public safety and public health”

“The length and complexity of the Regulations and Codes”

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Workplace Health Management programs save one hospital around $200k

It is always good to see researchers assessing issues related to workplace health and safety rather than relying on overseas data.  Recently researchers from the Australian Catholic University and St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne looked into “measuring the effectiveness of workplace health management programs” .  The research adds to our understanding of these programs but the relevance to occupational health and safety (OHS) is limited.

The researchers,

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Firefighting, WorkCover and OHS

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – 2011 July 10: Fire fighters supporting colleague on roof gaining access to a garage on fire in an residential area.

Some years ago there was a rumour that no workers’ compensation claims by firefighters employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) were investigated and/or rejected by the MFB. The reason was that the United Firefighters’ Union would question any investigation on behalf of its members which would likely result in increased industrial relations tension.

Workers compensation data obtained by SafetyAtWorkBlog from the MFB under Freedom of Information seems to have scotched that rumour but does provide some interesting information which may also justify radical workplace health and safety thinking for this sector.

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Is workers’ compensation less important than other insurances?

In late July 2018, the Victorian Auditor-General Office (VAGO) released a report into the insurance risks of several Victorian local councils.  It is reasonable to expect the costs of workers’ compensation insurance to be addressed in the report but this was not the case.  Although it is clearly an insurance product, the Auditor-General excluded workers’ compensation insurance.  This position continues to sideline workers’ compensation implying to Victorian Councils, if not businesses, that it is less important than other business insurances.

The best example of this implication is found on page 48 of the report in a graph

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Families of the Dead speak to government

Last time we looked at the Australian Senate Inquiry into “The framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia“, various submissions were considered.  The Inquiry is continuing to hold public hearings, the most recent of these provided an opportunity for relatives of deceased workers to present their arguments.  It is an enlightening insight into a pain that few of us will face but also into the struggles of many to effectively enforce workplace health and safety with, and without, Industrial Manslaughter laws.

The first couple at the 17 July 2018 hearing was Michael and Lee Garrels, the parents of 20-year-old 

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