Singapore’s Prime Minister shows mature approach to OHS

Lee Hsien Loong centre)

It has been noted that the recent World Congress on Safety And Health at Work had “Vision Zero” as one of its three themes.  It was curious that the opening remarks of Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong (pictured right), did not mention Vision Zero at all.  In fact he was quite measured in his speech which placed him in a better position to argue for real safety targets and initiatives.

In contrast to many business leaders, and some of the speakers at the World Congress, the Prime Minister stated that

“workplace accidents and injuries are almost always preventable.”

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Exclusive interview with Hans-Horst Konkolewsky on Vision Zero

A major theme of the World Congress of Safety and Health 2017 is the extension and strengthening of the Vision Zero concept.  One of major advocates of this is Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, of the International Social Security Association. Konkolewsky sees Vision Zero as a “life changer”.

Any safety concept that includes the word “zero” is inflammatory to some sectors of the Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) profession as is evident by some of the tweets received by @SafetyOz over the last few hours. Late on Day One a question from the audience also expressed wariness over the use of the concept. However SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to interview Konkolewsky at the congress over a decade after our first interview, when he was head of EU-OSHA.  We outlined the Australian perspective – “Zero Harm” – and his clarification of Vision Zero is important.

Below is audio of the exclusive seven minute interview.

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Willox talks safety, fluidity, insurance and manslaughter

Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group (pictured right) is a well-established figure in Australia’s political and industrial landscape.  As such he was a good choice to be the first speaker at a small safety conference in Melbourne Australia.

The best speakers about workplace safety are often those who do not speak about safety but those who speak about a world that includes occupational health and safety (OHS).  

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Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths

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Coincidentally, as an article about quad bike safety was being uploaded to this blog, details of the release of Tasmanian coronial findings were received.  The findings were released by Coroner Simon Cooper on August 25 2017 and were not reported widely.

The Coroner investigated seven deaths related to quad bikes but only two occurred on workplaces or as part of performing work – Heather Richardson and Roger Larner. Curiously, WorkSafe Tasmania did not investigate these work-related deaths.   Continue reading “Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths”

OHS gets talked about in WA Parliament

On 17 August 2017, Matthew Swinbourn of the Australian Labor Party spoke, at length, in the Western Australian Parliament about workplace safety.  His address did not seem to be prompted by an industrial relations dispute or a recent fatality but is supportive of general occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the changes in WA law to improve compatibility with the Work Health and Safety laws and obligations in other States.

The response from the former Minister for Commerce and Liberal Party member, Michael Mischin,  was a curious mix of rebuttals and was one of several Parliamentarians who chose to speak about workplace safety in that State’s Legislative Council.

According to Hansard for that day, Swinbourn mentioned the substantial cost burden on individual workers and their families of workplace injuries.

“Of these costs—this was a surprising figure to me—the overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, is borne by individuals and society. Workers bore 77 per cent of those costs, the community 18 per cent and employers five per cent.”

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