As the dominance of neoliberalism weakens around the world, people are fearful of what comes next. In some sectors, that fear includes occupational health and safety (OHS). OHS is a business cost, in the same way as every other cost of running a business, but it is often seen as an interloper, a fun-sucker, a nuisance and/or an impediment to profitability. This misinterpretation needs to be contested.
Applying the most effective way to have companies comply with their occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations has been debated in Australia and elsewhere for years. The issue will arise again in 2019 and in relation Industrial Manslaughter laws as Australian States have elections, or the political climate suits.
There are several elements to the argument put by those in favour of Industrial Manslaughter laws. Workers are still being killed so the deterrence of existing OHS laws has seen to have failed. Deterrence has been based on financial penalties and workers are still being killed so financial penalties have failed. Jail time is the only option left.
This is a simplistic depiction of the argument, but it is not dissimilar to some of the public arguments. The reality is that deterrence is achieved in two ways – telling the person of the consequences of an action and enforcing those consequences.
The 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Florence Italy recently concluded. Australia’s Professor David Caple attended and brought the latest research into the benefits of sit/stand desks to the September meeting of the Central Safety Group in Melbourne. Caple said that evidence remains confusing on this increasingly popular piece of office furniture and echoed the modern approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) matters – look at what the work involves and how and where people do it.
Caple explained how large companies are moving away from open-plan offices to those designed around “activity-based work or
I really enjoyed presenting at the Central Safety Group’s monthly meeting yesterday*. (Taught me not to use slide presentations if you can avoid it.). Here is a brief summary of my take on the new international Standard for OHS Management Systems – ISO45001 – that I shared with the group members. Continue reading “Quick and dirty summary of new OHS management Standard”
The annual Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) breakfast was held in conjunction with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) law firm on 21 February 2018. This year the audience heard from two representatives of WorkSafe Victoria – Marnie Williams, the Executive Director and Paul Fowler, the Director of the Enforcement Group.
The WorkSafe presentations were interesting but included what was largely expected – an introduction to the recent Independent Review report and a reiteration of the WorkSafe Strategy 2030. (More on WorkSafe’s presentation in the next article)
Some of the more thought-provoking content came from HSF’s Steve Bell. He presented several issues and perspectives for consideration.