Embrace the irrational

In 2008 the brothers Brafman wrote “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior“.  They tell the story of Ori Brafman being told, on his first day in his MBA course in Tel Aviv in the 1980s, that

“People aren”t rational.”

In my 1990s tertiary course into OHS Risk Management, we were still being referred to the 1965 book, “The Rational Manager“.  Occupational health and safety (OHS) seems to still be based on an assumption of rationality in OHS management systems, decision-making and working yet it does not take too much exposure to the reality of work to understand that we must anticipate irrationality.

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Farm newspaper supplement gets a good wrap

The Weekly Times newspaper has included an 8-page wraparound to its 7 February 2018 edition about workplace safety. The supplement is timely, the contents are indicative of cultural and political changes and the supplement is a nice summary of the multiple hazards and management approaches needed in agriculture (the same as in most industries, really).

Data quoted liberally from

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New farming incident statistics

The latest statistics of farm injuries from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provide a useful insight in to the workplace risks of Australian farms. Given the workplace focus of the SafetyAtWorkBlog, and the articles written about the risk of working with quad bikes, the following statistics are of great interest:

For quad bikes, almost 90% of injuries were sustained by the driver in people aged 15 and over.” (page 9)

For injuries involving quad bikes, males accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all hospitalisations for children aged 0–14 and almost 80% of all hospitalisations for people aged 15 and over.” (page 9)

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Who reads the Robens Report and who will write the next one?

“Every year something like 1,000 people are killed at their work in this country. Every year about half a million suffer injuries in varying degrees of severity. 23 million working days are lost annually on account of industrial injury and disease.”

The existence of this statement is of no surprise to occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals. Similar statements are made all the time.  The sad surprise of this quote is that it appeared in 1972 on page 1 of the Safety and Health at Work – Report of the Committee 1970-72, otherwise know as the Robens Report.

Perhaps it is time to begin contemplating what OHS fundamentals we should apply in the next generation of workplace safety health and wellbeing laws ?

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Out of Range – Work Risks of Wildlife Protection Officers

by Melody Kemp

 It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles …. We stood no chance. Two friends were killed…”

Source: Melody Kemp

David Paklett, a Wildlife Ranger working in Tanzania pulled up his trouser leg and showed me an ugly red scar that looked a bit like an alien pasted to his skin. It was 2013. We were in Spain’s ancient university town of Salamanca, at WILD 10, a sporadic gathering of wilderness and conservation specialists.  He told me how the year before, he and his colleagues had been in a John Woo style shoot out with Vietnamese poachers. The Vietnamese were overhead in a helicopter, firing at them with automatic rifles. ‘It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles.’

His words have stayed with me.

‘We stood no chance. Two friends were killed, and I got this.’ When I looked up, his eyes had the look of someone who was looking back with horror. ‘Did you ever talk about that night with anyone?’ I asked sipping a Rioja red. ‘Who is there to tell?’ David grimaced. ‘It’s part of the job. The game has changed. The Chinese are arming these guys and making sure they get away with the kill. The forces behind them are so powerful and we have no resources.’

Lao Rangers in the Annamite mountain range report the same fear according to

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