People Centred Prevention should not be a new concept

The World Congress on Safety and Health is physically and mentally exhausting.  Physically, simply because of its size.  Mentally because there is so much information.  Some that confirms your occupational health and safety (OHS) approach and others that conflict with what you know. Some information that seems incredibly dated and anachronistic but you look around and this seems new and wonderful to other delegates.

A major theme of the Congress was “People Centred Prevention” (PCP). This is one of the anachronisms. Wasn’t OHS always about keeping people safe?  If this theme had originated in the United Kingdom, it could have been contextualised as redressing the red tape attack on OHS regulation by previous governments – bringing the humanity back to OHS – but it is being proposed in this Congress as a significant change of focus and perspective.

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Not all deaths are “newsworthy” but they are all important

As Australia’s Safe Work Month closes, the media is focussed on the four fatalities at Dreamworld theme park in Queensland.  That situation is complicated as, although the incident is being investigated partly under Work Health and Safety laws, the decedents were visitors to the workplace. On the other side of the continent in Perth, prior…

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Building a better future but maybe not a safer one

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Cover of ACTU Blueprint 2015The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has a strong commitment to safe and healthy workplaces in Australia and would likely assert that nothing is more important than the safety of workers. However the latest submission to government on economic and social reform, “Building a Better Future – a Strong Economy for All” (not yet available online), has missed the chance to bring occupational health and safety (OHS) into the current policy debate on economic and productivity reforms. Continue reading “Building a better future but maybe not a safer one”

Inquiry into precarious/insecure work includes OHS

2015 has been a big year for public attention on the exploitation of workers.  In May, the Four Corners program revealed the exploitation of, largely, migrant or illegal workers in the food processing and vegetable growing sectors.  In the last month, 7Eleven workers have featured, also after a Four Corners investigation in conjunction with Fairfax Media.  In both cases, workplace safety has been mentioned but not featured.

In September 2015, the Victorian (Labor) Government released the

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Forklift incidents continue

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One of the the most hazardous pieces of equipment in modern workplaces is the forklift.  Sadly it is also one of the most useful.  A recent prosecution in Western Australia provides an example of many of the serious risks in using forklifts:

  • untrained or undertrained drivers
  • unsafe decisions by employers
  • the safety role of seatbelts
  • labour hire management and staff supervision
  • driving with forks elevated
  • training certification.

Other related issues are the employment of

  • transient labour, and
  • young workers.

According to a WorkSafe WA media release, the basic facts of the incident are

Flexi Staff supplied two casual labourers to the Beds Plus warehouse in Kewdale in February, 2008. The two men were British citizens on a working holiday in Australia. [links added]

It was not part of their labouring job to operate forklifts, and neither had any experience or qualifications or High Risk Work licences. Continue reading “Forklift incidents continue”