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…

Submission on Labour Hire disappoints on OHS 2

cover of Ai_Group_LabourHireandInsecureWork__November 2015_Final2The public submission phase for the Victorian Government’s inquiry into labour hire and insecure work closed last week.  Public hearings have occurred this week and will continue in February 2016. One industry association, the Australian Industry Group has released its submission.  Its discussion  of occupational health and safety (OHS) of labour hire workers and suppliers is very disappointing.

Representing Members

The AiGroup says, in its submission that

“The interests of both groups [labour hire companies and users of labour hire], as well as the interests of the broader community, are best protected by ensuring that a competitive market is maintained for the provision of labour hire services, and that impediments to competition are removed.” (page 4)

It could be argued that the competitive market has allowed unscrupulous labour hire suppliers to succeed as they have been offering the cheapest labour.  These suppliers have succeeded, mostly, because there is a ready market for opportunities to maximise profit by reducing the legal rights of workers.  A competitive market may help fix the problem but it is also a problem that it helped create. More…