Earlier this week former chair of the Australian Government’s National Mental Health Commission, Allan Fels (pictured right) addressed a lunch hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. The topicality of his presentation stemmed from two major inquiries into mental health – one by the Federal Government and undertaken by the Productivity Commission (PC), the other is a Royal Commission from the Victorian Government. The breadth of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the PC inquiry has generated a very broad level of interest across the social spectrum. The Royal Commission ToR are yet to be released.
Fels acknowledged the role that workplaces have in addressing mental health
Australia’s entertainment and performing arts sector is gradually attending to the workplace mental health risks that are inherent, or have been shown to be problematic, in their industry. However it continues to operate in isolation rather than facing the reality and magnitude of the problems and the challenges facing lots of industries who have only recently discovered their psychosocial hazards.
The latest edition of Dance Australia magazine contains an interview with Chloe Dallimore,* President of Equity, a division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which illustrates the willingness to change, but still within limits. Occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations are hardly mentioned, nor is the role of the OHS regulators. Perhaps it is time to include mental health as a workplace incident or condition that should be notifiable under law.
Recently the Victorian Women Lawyers conducted a seminar into the outcomes of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence. SafetyAtWorkBlog attended even though the topic seems, initially, to have a tenuous link to occupational health and safety (OHS). Family violence is relevant to OHS through its influence on workplace mental ill-health, productivity and the need for cultural…
Recently, Ernst Young released a discussion paper about the risks of mental health in the workplace.
Mental health is a very popular topic at the moment and there are thousands of service providers in this sector. During the recent National Mental Health Week,
In some of his research into the operations of WorkSafe Victoria, OHSIntros provided this graph of workers compensation claims for psychosocial issues. Not only does it show the extent of the issue in recent years, it provides a clear historic starting point for the hazard – a hazard that has created an industry of its own and that has complicated the management of workplace safety.
OHSIntros comments on this increase by saying “the conventional rationale in OHS is that when you identify and focus on a risk, the claims flood in…” but significantly states that this logic remains untested. Occupational health and safety (OHS) seems to run on untested logic.
Clearly psychosocial issues in the workplace present a problem. OHSIntros writes that in 2013-14 psychosocial claims overtook manual handling on average cost amounts of A$88,000 to A$67,000, respectively (page 11)