Keep away from Leadership and start to progress

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Leadership and how it dominates, and unchallenged, how occupational health and safety is managed in Australia. Of the three OHS/business books I bought this week, one included a page about Leadership and how we should move away from it.

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New perspectives can perpetuate the old

An article garnering some attention on LinkedIn (Yeah, I know, the Facebook for corporate self-promotion) has called for a different path to reducing occupational health and safety injuries. “A new view of safety culture measurement” is written by safe365’s cofounder Nathan Hight. As with most articles on the Internet, the primary aim is marketing or selling (this blog is a good example); in this case he is promoting an upcoming webinar. He writes:

“In order to quantify and manage the impacts of behaviour and attitudinal-based attributes in safety, we need a more consistent approach to both the primary measurement, but also the ongoing assessment of progress and performance.”

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The Human Rights of workers strengthens

Work health and safety is a fundamental human right. Last year, I asked “so what?” Australia is strengthening the relevance of this international human right at the local level, but you wouldn’t notice unless you looked hard.

The federal government’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has been receiving public submissions on the ratification of ILO Conventions 191 and 187. It’s such a hot topic that it received only two submissions!!; neither opposed the ratification, but they provide some useful context to the aims of occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia.

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The OHS context is almost missed as EAP bodies scrap

The increased interest in preventing and managing psychosocial hazards at work should draw more attention to a service that many employers rely on to handle this issue: Employee Assistance Providers (EAPs).

Recently, The Age newspaper ran an article called “Employers spruik workplace wellbeing services. But who is picking up the phone?” (paywalled). The hard copy article was “Doubts raised on workplace wellbeing services”. Both articles reported on EAP services that are not always being provided by qualified clinical psychologists, as these services used to be.

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Is the Psych Health and Safety Conference worth attending?

Recently, Sydney, Australia, experienced the inaugural Psych Health and Safety conference managed by Flourishdx, a prominent Australian consultancy that identifies and helps companies manage psychosocial hazards at work. There were around 400 delegates in person and online. The conference was a gamble for Flourishdx, and it largely paid off, but contrary to some of the overly effusive posts on LinkedIn, it was a curious beast.

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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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