Evaluating the effectiveness of OHS interventions and programs

Last month, an extraordinary document appeared – “Evaluating OH&S Interventions: A WorkSafe Victoria Intervention Evaluation Framework 2023 (2nd Ed.).” Its extraordinariness comes from its appearance with no fanfare or promotion; it is a second edition of something published in 2004 (which I cannot recollect), it has authoritative authors, and it is a document many have been asking for.

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Toothless enforcement

Ross Gittins is a prominent Australian economics journalist. In The Age on September 20, 2023, he wrote an article about the recent spate of corporations being prosecuted and penalized for breaking the law. Many of his points can also relate to companies and executives breaking occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.

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Have Tourists and Party Goers Lost the Right to Safe and Healthy Experiences? 

Last year I watched Trainwreck, a documentary on the Woodstock ‘99 music festival. After watching, I took a moment to pause and reflect. I asked myself, have we as a society, and as health and safety professionals, really learned and improved as much as we could have? Over the past five years, Splendour in the GrassFyre Festival, Astro World and Houston Music Festival have all experienced unsafe and unhealthy practices, and even fatal occurrences. These events are not typically discussed in the occupational health and safety circle, and they are not the usual scenarios that are looked to for lessons learned. Nor are the recovery efforts presented at conferences, with improvements showcased and implemented at the next event. 

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“..what it means to act like a man and what it means to work safely..”

Ten years ago, I was enlightened by a presentation on masculinity and occupational health and safety (OHS) by Dean Laplonge at a safety conference in Canberra. He has continued researching that interconnection, and visiting WA and recently released his latest report written for WorkSafe WA after a series of “roadshows”.

After years of scandals in what has been described as the epitome of toxic masculinity, the West Australian mining industry claims to have changed its culture and created a psychologically safer work environment. Culture-As-Usual was not an option after multiple exposures of work-related suicides, sexual assaults, and harassment uncovered by independent and parliamentary inquiries. Laplonge revisited Western Australia and reported on the progress.

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EY report shows a business model that generates serious job stress

In 2022 a young employee of EY died by suicide after a work function. EY announced an independent review of EY Oceania’s workplace culture and that the report would be publicly available. That report was released on 27 July 2023. EY’s response was good crisis management, but the public release is beyond what many companies would do, so EY’s transparency in this case should be acknowledged.

The report written by Elizabeth Broderick‘s company offers good news for EY. There is a high level of satisfaction, but results in the 80 percentages or some 90 percentages still allow for a significant number of personnel who are dissatisfied, harassed, bullied, and/or mentally stressed. It is not unreasonable to accept the EY report as being indicative of the workplace cultures of hundreds or thousands of similar businesses.

This report needs to be read widely and thoroughly by any Human Resources (HR), Executive and occupational health and safety (OHS) professional. The following article scratches the surface of this significant investigation.

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What to do about workplace mental health? Talk, Listen, Examine

Seminars on workplace mental health must always offer solutions and not only (always) the solution that the host wants to promote. Occupational health and safety (OHS) needs to be more altruistic (Yes, it may be hypocrisy from a subscription blog). Recently I spoke on the issue of psychosocial hazards at work and offered this slide on “What can be done?” [Note: This article discusses suicide]

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