It has become fashionable to place occupational health and safety (OHS) in the organisational context of business sustainability. But this is not a new phenomenon in Australia. In 2001 the Ecos Corporation published a discussion paper called “Safety + Value: Entry Points for Operationalizing Sustainability.”* It states
“A dual focus on safety and value creation provides familiar and readily understandable “entry points” and “drivers” for corporations seeking to operationalize sustainability as a framework for doing business in the 21st Century.”
New Zealand’s Safeguard magazine is a long-standing institution. Recently it undertook its first ever Safety State of the Nation survey. The results are interesting and should provide a format for Australia and other countries or publishers to follow. Cross border comparisons could be fascinating.
Safeguard’s editor Peter Bateman says in a media statement:
“Given all the scaremongering stories which have accompanied the new Health and Safety at Work Act, it is pleasing to see 40% of respondents feel health and safety is an opportunity to improve their business rather than just to comply with the law.”
The fact that the results are made publicly available is also significant. Not only does this allow me to write an article on the results, it shows a level of transparency that other safety-related surveyors, particularly those who charge hundreds of dollars for a survey report, could easily follow.
Safety footwear is a standard item of personal protective equipment (PPE) in many workplaces but it can be contentious.
The need for safety footwear
Some years ago I was asked to assess the need for safety footwear in a large manufacturing site. The need was obvious, there was a lot of manual handling of cumbersome objects and the factory was old so the design and layout was based on the lifting and moving of objects rather than a flow of production.
The company wanted this need verified as one of the office staff, clearly of some influence, would enter the factory in high heels and refused to wear safety footwear. This was a clear breach of the company’s safety policies and was causing unrest in the factory. The safety solution was clear
Last week’s article on “A new option for avoiding OHS obligations” caused one reader to send through a copy of a 2005 article written by Paul Breslin about Industrial Manslaughter.
The article “
A major motivation for occupational health and safety (OHS) improvements in many businesses is the potential damage to a company’s reputation if someone is injured or killed from the company’s operations. Usually such an event would result in a prosecution by an OHS regulator but prosecution rates are variable and there are an increasing range of options and mechanisms, such as enforceable undertakings, available to companies in order to avoid a prosecution or financial penalty.
A new prosecution option has recently gained the attention of the Australian Government and one with which OHS professionals should become familiar as it could spread into their field of operations.