Safety Leadership is a thing and not a person

For many years now workplace health and safety conferences have discussed Leadership and how it is vital to the establishment of appropriate safety performance and, often, the establishment of a safety culture.  NSCA Foundation’s SafetyCONNECT conference was no different in some ways but there was a major concession in the last couple of the minutes of the conference.

Many presenters implied, or stated, that Leadership is a critical element of successful safety management.  They also said that safety starts from the top.  It is not unreasonable to interpret these statements as meaning that Leadership is embodied in the Chief Executive Officer, Senior Executive or Director and that safety trickles down through the management structures like neoliberal nonsense.

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Power in simplicity – SafetyCONNECT

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Twelve months after the NSCA Foundation resurrected its occupational health and safety (OHS) conference program, SafetyCONNECT has settled into to a comfortable niche.  This year’s conference, in an established Brisbane location has attracted around 140 delegates and almost 20 exhibitors.  Perhaps most importantly is they have been able to attract entertaining and challenging local and international speakers. Continue reading “Power in simplicity – SafetyCONNECT”

The banks are having their culture changed for them and OHS needs to watch and learn

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is easy.  Change is hard.  OHS can identify  workplace hazards and risks but it is the employer or business owner or Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who needs to make the decision to change. All of this activity occurs within, and due to, the culture of each workplace and work location.  OHS lives within, and affects, each company’s organisational culture but a safety subculture is almost invisible, so it is worth looking at the broader organisational culture and there is no better show, at the moment in Australia, than The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (the Banking Royal Commission).

Public submissions are littered with references to culture but it is worth looking more closely at what one of the corporate financial regulators said in a submission in April 2018.  The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) wrote:

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People Risk = OHS for Human Resource professionals

The Governance Institute of Australia hosted a discussion about “Corporate culture and people risk — lessons from the Royal Commission”.  The seminar was worthwhile attending but there was also moments of discomfort.

The reality was that The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was not discussed in any great detail as it was treated as a ghost hovering behind the discussion but not a scary ghost, almost a ghost of embarrassment.

And it seems that “People Risk” is what the Human Resource (HR) profession calls occupational health and safety (OHS) when it can’t bring itself to say occupational health and safety.

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Stop whingeing and manage OHS properly

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) regularly updates the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations administered by its Corporate Governance Council.  The Council has recently closed submissions on its consultation on the Fourth Edition.  The submissions are worth looking at to see how occupational health and safety (OHS) fairs, and it is also worth looking for mentions of the “social licence to operate”.

The 3rd edition of the principles provides examples of what it means to be a “good corporate citizen” (page 19),

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