Is the future of OHS based on a flawed past?

It seems that we are constantly being urged to innovate, to be creative and to think differently.  This is equally true in the discipline of occupational health and safety (OHS), but part of thinking differently in the future should also involve reassessing the past.

It is often said that many the OHS performance indicators, predominantly Lost Time Injury (LTI) calculations, have shown a “plateau-ing” of safety performance.  From this common position, companies have moved to new OHS training strategies that involve behaviours, values, cultural norms, safety culture and other employee and organisational recalibrations.  But what if the case in support of these strategies was not as strong as first thought?  What if the “plateau-ing” did not exist or the increase in performance was not as strong as the LTI-based data seemed to indicate?

Academics,

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Leadership conference was hit and miss

The Future of Leadership roadshow was only partly about its topic.  Much of it felt like a professional development day with interesting speakers and storytellers.  By providing stories of failure, reconciliation, and unlearning the organisers could argue that they were also creating future leaders.

A previous article briefly discussed Dan Gregory’s presentation.  One additional element was the catalyst for his Directorship of White Ribbon – a poster which reframed the issue of violence against women as an issue that men can affect. Gregory was advocating being open to alternative perspectives of your reality, your lived experiences, career, communication and profession.  He challenged the audience, as Daniel Hummerdal does his safety audience, to look differently, to look creatively and to analyse our personal and organisational motivations.

Like all good conference speakers, Dan Gregory does not tell you what to think but how to think, and treats the audience like adults who are in charge of their own decisions.

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Half time at the Future of Leadership

This month the “Future of Leadership” conferences are travelling Australia.  The Melbourne stop, on 21 September, started really well with three on-topic speakers but declined strongly after morning tea with at least one speaker who had nothing to say about leadership.  At the half-time break, one hopes that the conference gets back on track because when it was, it was very good.

This leadership conference is very different from occupational health and safety (OHS) conference because it talks about a concept in such general terms that the audience can impose whatever context it chooses.  As this blog is about workplace safety, predominantly, OHS context was paramount.

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David Caple provides the latest in reality-based OHS thinking

Recently David Caple gave his annual address to the Central Safety Group in Melbourne.  Caple (pictured above) is a prominent ergonomist, an adjunct professor at the Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University, a representative on several government OHS-related committees and has an enviable information network.

Fresh from the Singapore OHS conference, Caple speculated on the future of the workplace safety profession at a time when many are indicating an increasing demand for OHS services and advice.  He used a graph of the membership of the Safety Institute of Australia to illustrate part of the challenge.

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Was it worth going to the World Congress on Safety and Health?

I travelled to the 22nd World Congress on Safety and Health in Singapore as a delegate and a media representative from my home in Australia.  Was it worth attending? Yes and no.  That may seem a weak answer but I attended in two capacities with two purposes – as an occupational health and safety (OHS) professional and an independent media representative.  Both were satisfied a little bit and both could have been better.  Here’s a personal report on my professional and media experiences at the World Congress.

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