The immediate future of OHS in the UK

Later this week, the United Kingdom hosts an election which the Labour Party, the “party of working people,” is expected to win. Its party manifesto has been out for some time, but its workplace strategy has received less attention. Given the synergies between the UK and Australian industrial relations and occupational health and safety (OHS), Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay, deserves an outsider’s analysis.

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We must understand the social pressures on employer safety decisions

There is a cost-of-living crisis in large parts of the world, there is a climate emergency, there are wars and political instability and insecurity everywhere. Why is occupational health and safety (OHS) still considered important? Well, it isn’t really when compared to these global and existential crises, but that is the microcosm in which we operate. However, this does not mean we should withdraw into our safety shells and ignore the world. We can’t; the world intrudes on our microcosm and affects us directly and indirectly.

So, it is useful to understand how pressures external to our work and workplaces affect our choices and the choices of employers.

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I David Daniels’ US perspective on psychosocial risks at work

Many conference delegates spoke highly of international speaker I David Daniels at the recent Psych Health and Safety conference. Daniels has a long occupational health and safety (OHS) career and hosts the United States version of the Psych Health and Safety podcast. His OHS perspectives, including his discussions about race, were significant.

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Gun control, primary prevention and OHS

Our experience with a global pandemic has blurred the lines between what is public health and what is occupational health. In that context, it’s worth considering the public health strategies and interventions. There are three levels of interventions: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Recently, on NPR’s All Things Considered, a public health specialist in the United States, Dr. Cedric Dark, discussed public health proposed strategies in relation to gun control in light of a recent report by the US Surgeon General.

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The Occupational Moral Injury Scale

Many people are promoting various tools, usually apps, for identifying and managing psychosocial hazards at work. Some experts in the field of organisational psychology are cool on these tools, others are dismissive of poorly designed tools promoted by rent-seekers, others promote free tools, and some say that all the information required is already available if you ask for it and if the keepers of the data will share.

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A broad perspective on Work, OHS and Mental Health

A whole generation of workers has grown up believing that if they are having a hard time at work, if they are not coping with the workload or the sexual advances of their boss, or their difficult workplace, or the discrimination they feel about their gender or their sexuality, that it’s their fault, and it’s their problem, and therefore, it’s their role to solve and fix it. But there were generations before the current one, and I’m from one of those earlier generations. When I started work, there was good work and safe jobs, and there were social movements for women’s rights, and then gay rights and dignity at work, and respect at work. It was far from a paradise, but there was exciting progress and lively, challenging debates and social protests. A little of that passion has returned this decade, but more is needed.

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Let’s talk about Zagi

Zagi cried. I cried, and the conference delegates cried. Zagi Kozarov‘s presentation at the Psych Health and Safety Conference was confronting, disturbing, and a highlight. Occupational health and safety (OHS) conferences often hear from survivors of physical work injuries and, usually, wives of deceased workers, but Kozarov spoke of the injustice she faced from her managers in an industry sector that few would want to work – the (then) Specialist Sex Offences Unit of the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP). What she saw at work was horrific, but the job was less the source of her mental anguish than the negligent treatment she received from her managers.

Caution: this article mentions sexual abuse and assault.

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