One of the most useful books about OHS law

It is difficult to make a book about occupational health and safety (OHS) law interesting.  Some try with creative design but the most successful is when laws are interpreted into real world circumstances.  Thankfully Breen Creighton and Peter Rozen have written the latter in the 4th edition of Health and Safety Law in Victoria. Independent Australian publishers, Federation Press, recognise the significance of this edition:

“This is an entirely re-written and greatly expanded edition of this standard text on occupational health and safety law in Victoria….[and]

…Critically, the new edition locates the 2004 Victorian Act firmly in the context of the harmonised work health and safety regime…”

This discussion of context lifts this book from an analysis of one State’s OHS laws to an analysis of harmonisation, which may be offer a useful counterpoint to

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A deep look at sleep and mental health in the workplace needed

In September 2018 Australia commenced an inquiry into sleep health awareness.  At the time:

“The Committee Chair, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, stated that ‘the Committee will examine the causes, economic and social costs, and treatment of inadequate sleep and sleep disorders.” (link added)

Although there is no timetable for the tabling of this Committee’s final report, many of the issues raised in the submissions relate directly to work and work-related mental health risks. Sadly there are hardly any solutions but this is a challenge to all public inquiries and which is particularly relevant to the current spate of Australian inquiries into OHS and mental health.

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Many safety lessons from one workplace death

The Coronial Finding in to the death of Jorge Castillo-Riffo is an important occupational health and safety (OHS) document. It discusses, amongst other matters,

  • A curious attitude from SafeWorkSA
  • The role of Safe Work Method Statements and risk assessments
  • Using the right plant for the right task
  • Contractual relationships
  • Construction methodology.

More issues than these are raised in the Finding and I urge all OHS people to read the document and reflect on the OHS management in their workplaces.

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Change in mining OHS laws needs innovation

Discussions about safety in the mining sector continue with recent debate in the Queensland Parliament but change continues to be at a slow pace and in a manner that reflects “business as usual” rather than being innovative and establishing a sound base for business to grow, and grow safely.

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Don’t be tough, be effective

Coal Mine Hydraulic Excavator and Dump Truck

On 31 October 2018, the Queensland Government got tough on safety in its mining and resources sector.  But how tough is tough? A press statement says that

“Parliament today backed maximum penalties close to $4 million for mining companies that fail to keep their workers safe. As well, mines inspectors will be able to hit mine operators with tough new fines of up to $130,550 without taking them to court.”

For those of us who do not have $4 million to cover prosecutions over occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches this may indeed sound “tough” but recent inquiries and reviews into OHS enforcement question whether financial penalties are the most effective way of improving workplace health and safety.

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