The Challenges of Future Workplaces – Part 1

This article is part one of an edited version of a keynote presentation I made at the a special WHS Inspectors Forum organised by WorkSafe Tasmania.  The audience comprised inspectors from around Australia and New Zealand.  I was asked to be provocative and challenging so posed some questions to the audience about how occupational health and safety (OHS) is managed, regulated and inspected.

The audio of the presentation is available at SoundCloud and Podbean and below.

 “The purpose of this session is to provide insight into the future challenges for work health and safety regulators due to changes in the nature of work, the workforce, supply chains, and the social and political environments, and encourage inspectors to consider how the way they do their work may need to change to meet these challenges.”

Be Critical

I encourage you all to analyse what you say, what you are told, what you do and how you do it.  Too often we accept information and our situations uncritically and I want you to question everything, including what you read in this article.

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OHS needs to accept the influence of neoliberalism and rebuild

Many have been claiming that the era of neoliberal economics and the associated politics is over or, at least, coughing up blood.  However, occupational health and safety (OHS) is rarely discussed in terms of the neoliberal impacts, and vice versa, yet many of the business frustrations with red tape, regulatory enforcement strategies, reporting mechanisms and requirements and others have changed how OHS has been managed and interpreted.

One of the most readable analyses of neoliberalism in Australia comes from

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The future of work and OHS – yeah, but…..

ASHPA, the Australian Safety and Health Professional Associations has been quiet for a while but sponsored La Trobe University to undertake some research into the future of work and its impacts on occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals, hygienists, ergonomists and others.  It is an interesting insight into the thoughts and perspectives of safety and health professionals but it also cries out for interpretation and analysis.

The report, not yet available online, is based on the responses of 733 safety and health professionals to an online survey.  The statistical profile of the profession in Australia is useful and the key findings

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‘Thin’ advice on the management of change

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The managerial tempo for many decades was stable, stable, stable, new management = restructuring, stable, stable….  Occupational health and safety (OHS) was relevant, if allowed, during the restructuring process when injuries, psychological illnesses and workers compensation claims increased.  The frequency of those restructures has increased, often in relation to executive churn, to a point when an organisation seems to be in a state of constant instability, resulting in an increased role for OHS and a major focus on Change Management.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has released an article Continue reading “‘Thin’ advice on the management of change”