Does OHS research have a Left and a Right?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has had an uneasy ride in political debates in Australia, often because there is a disturbing morality in laws that dictate an employer has responsibility for the safety and health of their workers, even if legal wriggle room is allowed. There is no written history of OHS in Australia except within the confines of Industrial Relations, if it gets mentioned at all.

Recently I engaged in a conversation with a professional colleague on LinkedIn (I know, didn’t your Mother always say not to engage with people on social media? Well, this is a blog so….). That colleague made some odd political statements.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Research shows the danger of overconnection

Many companies are starting to settle into hybrid working arrangements where workers are in the office for part of their time and at home for others. The occupational health and safety (OHS) impacts are still being discovered and refined. The flexibility of these hybrid arrangements is both good and bad, as identified recently by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in its analysis of the Right-To-Disconnect.

This could/should become a significant consideration when complying with Australia’s OHS regulations for psychologically safe workplaces currently under development.

Eurofound’s Executive Summary states:

“Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work at any time and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Potential advantages include greater autonomy, better work–life balance, improved productivity and environmental benefits. However, the constant connection enabled by information and communications technology (ICT)-based mobile devices can pose risks to health and well-being, as well as causing work–life balance conflict linked to longer working hours and the blurring of boundaries between work and private life.”

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

A new workplace hazard – Long Covid

The policy impacts of COVID-19 were missing from the recently concluded federal election campaign in Australia, but the coronavirus persists and continues to kill. Other than the issue of mandatory vaccinations, the occupational health and safety (OHS) context, outside of the health and emergency services sectors, has not been addressed since the initial SafeWork Australia guidance in March 2020.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work recently released a discussion paper on the “Impact of Long Covid on Workers and Workplaces and the Role of OSH”.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

How will people know you’ve won a safety award?

Modern-day events such as conferences, seminars and awards nights rely on social media strategies to maximise the value of the event and the communication opportunities they afford. This year the WorkSafe Victoria Awards night seems to have applied a thin social media strategy even though it has important stories to tell.

Usually, signs, brochures, information booklets and even tables mention the social media hashtag that the event organisers want the audience to use to promote and record the event. This year WorkSafe Victoria mentioned #WSAwards21 at the night’s start and never again. The hashtag was nowhere to be seen. This may be a major factor in the very low Twitter activity.

As of the time of writing, Twitter had 29 mentions of the #WSAwards21 hashtag, most posted by WorkSafe itself. I tweeted five of them. The audience members or finalists have tweeted only three times.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Burnout causes are organisational. Who knew?

This blog has written frequently about “burnout” in workplaces, especially since the condition was defined by the World Health Organisation in 2019. I have seen it used many times as a shortcut, or synonym, for workplace mental health but usually only at the corporate, executive level. Workers have breakdowns, but executives seem to suffer burnout.

Recently a book was published in the United States called “The Burnout Epidemic, or The Risk of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It”, by journalist Jennifer Moss. What is most outstanding about this book is that the recommended fix is organisational. Usually, burnout books from the States focus on the individual worker or executive. This fresh US perspective makes the book essential reading for if the US recognises how to fix burnout and chronic stress, any country can.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Over-emphasising the COVID pandemic

Everyone has struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have died. We have to continue to make many allowances for businesses and people due to the disruption, but some are using the pandemic as an excuse for not doing something. Occupational health and safety (OHS) inactivity is being blamed on COVID-19 in some instances, masking or skewing people’s approach to workplace health and safety more generally.

Continue reading “Over-emphasising the COVID pandemic”

“Insecure work is absolutely toxic”

The Victorian Government is trialling the provision of five days of sick, and carers’ leave for casual workers.  This was announced jointly by the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Workplace Safety, Ingrid Stitt on the Labour Day public holiday, indicating that this is a big reform and one directly related to occupational health and safety (OHS).  But the OHS arguments are not at the fore, regardless of the quote from the Premier that is the headline above.

The OHS context of precarious work has been articulated clearly and over many years by many Australian researchers. The lack of serious action by employers to address the structural causes of physical and psychological risks related to precarity offers a good indication of the values and priorities of business owners and employers. 

Into this void, the Victorian Government has stepped.  Sadly, it is a mini-step that offers more political benefits than tangible change, especially in an election year.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Concatenate Web Development
© Designed and developed by Concatenate Aust Pty Ltd