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…

WorkSafe and politicians continue to confuse 1

On March 4, 2016 WorkSafe Victoria released a media statement with the headline:

“WorkSafe announces new safety record in half-year results”

The headline was reinforced (or the other way round) in the body of the statement with

“The rate of injuries in Victorian workplaces has reached a new record low, according to the half-yearly results released yesterday by WorkSafe Victoria.”

But then states that

“As of 31 December 2015 there were 7 claims per million hours worked (MHW) in Victorian workplaces, compared to 7.34 claims recorded at the end of 2014/15 – a fall of 4.6 per cent.”

So what is it – a record low number of injuries or a record low number of workers’ compensation claims? More…

OHS cost research needs to stretch itself 1

Cover of 2016 WSI (1)The annual workplace safety report Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety always gets a good deal of mainstream media attention.  It deserves some of this attention as it has provided sound information on work-related injuries and injury costs for many years but it is now looking dated as it is not keeping up with current research in to the business case for safety, the move to leading indicators and the incorporation of psychosocial injuries (which are also covered by workers compensation). More…

Important research into workplace cyber-bullying 2

Last week several Australian news sites reported on a new thesis about public servants and cyber-bullying which is discussed in detail below. The reports are based mostly on a media release about the research issued by Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  What caught my eye was the statement in the one media report that the researcher, Dr Felicity Lawrence,

“…said traditional workplace bullying already cost the nation about $36 billion a year, “so the cost of cyber bullying on productivity could be profound”.

Not true.  In the QUT statement, Lawrence stated

“Traditional workplace bullying costs the national economy up to $36 billion each year, so the cost of cyberbullying on productivity could be profound,…”

“up to” vs “about? This differentiation is important because the lack of clarity creates OHS myths and these myths can misinform policy priorities and public understanding of workplace hazards. More…

Annual Reports can encourage SafeWash! Reply

Annual ReportsCover of 1-s2.0-S0925753515002945-main are crucial corporate documents that should reflect the financial and organisational health and achievements of a company.  Only recently, in Australia, have Annual Reports been assessed for indications of occupational health and safety (OHS) other than fatalities.  Some of that analysis of injury data has appeared in an article in the Safety Science journal entitled “Safewash! Risk attenuation and the (Mis)reporting of corporate safety performance to investors” – an article that deserves careful consideration. More…