Cabbage Salad and Drugs 2

Episode 6 of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available with the discussion centring on drugs and alcohol issues at work. For those looking for information on drug and alcohol testing, this episode is not for you.  We thought that the testing issue is dealt with in many workplaces through legislative and regulatory matters and you have to comply with what you have to comply.

For this episode we included a guest, Natasha Jager of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation because we wanted to talk about what businesses of all sizes can do to reduce the risk of alcohol and drug impacts at work. It was important also that this was not a seasonal discussion in relation to naughty and unsafe behaviour at a work’s Christmas Party. (There’ll be plenty of discussion on that issue from others, as there is every year)

We talk about impairment, risks to others, the relation to fitness-for-work and workplace mental health issues.

The podcast audio has been cut to have this as a two part episode with the next part being available in the next week or so.

If you have any comments on the podcast, please email me or include a comment below.

Kevin Jones

Gender, violence, Batty, Hulls and business preparedness 5

Recently the Victorian Women Lawyers conducted a seminar into the outcomes of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.  SafetyAtWorkBlog attended even though the topic seems, initially, to have a tenuous link to occupational health and safety (OHS).  Family violence is relevant to OHS through its influence on workplace mental ill-health, productivity and the need for cultural change.

vwl-nov-2016-seminarThe guest speakers included Rob HullsRosie Batty, and Antoinette Braybrook (pictured).

Progress needs Trust

Batty stated early in the seminar that we are a “victim-blaming society”where victims do not know who they can trust and therefore hesitate to raise issues of abuse or injustice.  The importance of trust in establishing a functional workplace culture has been discussed elsewhere.  Raising issues with managers or authorities is a crucial element of OHS law based on the assumption that the issues will be taken seriously and be controlled to some degree; an assumption that varies with each workplace.

Batty also said that

“unless we see perpetrators being held accountable, why would you want to come forward and expose yourself, be vulnerable and unsafe?”

Accountability is a crucial element of establishing and maintaining a suitable workplace safety culture as reinforces fairness and justice. More…

Safety leadership through action rather than PowerPoint 1

The Spring 2016 edition of National Safety magazine includes a cover story on leadership written by me.  In it John Lacey insists that safety leadership begins at the top.  This position is supported by many business and occupational health and safety (OHS) advocates but this seems to me to be based on a misunderstanding of leadership.

nsca-mag-coverIn response to a question about leadership in small- to medium-sized businesses, Lacey said that leadership “applies to all”: More…

Not all deaths are “newsworthy” but they are all important 3

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 to the Dreamworld incident, was another workplace fatality, this time of a worker.  Her death was no less tragic and deserves not to be forgotten, particularly as it links to other occupational health and safety (OHS) and labour issues.

According to the West Australian newspaper for October 12 2016:

“Marianka Heumann, who was on a working holiday in Australia and had been employed at the site for three months, fell 13 storeys down a ventilation shaft at the Finbar and Hanssen development on Adelaide Terrace on Monday afternoon.  She was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.”

More…

Labour Hire Inquiry recommends a licencing scheme 2

Following, ostensibly, the Four Corners exposé of labour hire exploitation in Australia last year, the Victorian Government established an inquiry.  That Inquiry’s final report has been released with lots of recommendations, several pertaining to occupational health and safety (OHS).  The Government’s media release response is HERE.

vic-labour-hire-reportThe main recommendations related to OHS are:

I recommend that the Model Work Health and Safety Act approach to regulating labour hire relationships be adopted in Victoria. In the absence of Victoria adopting wholesale the approach under the model laws, I recommend that Victoria adapt an approach which matches the substantive provisions under the model laws in this regard.

More…