Earlier this month SafetyAtWorkBlog published an article based on an anecdote by Todd Conklin about a glove. There was much more that Conklin shared at the SafeGuard conference in New Zealand. Below are several of his slides/aphorisms/questions that may challenge the way you think about managing occupational health and safety (OHS) in your workplace.
A recent report from the UK Society of Occupational Medicine highlights several issues of note to the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional. But it is also worth looking at the SOM’s media release.
As well as offering financial costs and benefits of good occupational health management the full report also contextualises occupational health:
“The report cites a survey of 1,000 UK employers in which respondents gave their most common reasons to spend on health and wellbeing initiatives as: a motivated and healthy workforce is more productive (41%); to attract and retain staff (25%); to be perceived as a caring employer that takes duty of care requirements seriously (21%). Meanwhile, a survey of 1,000 employees found that they were more likely to choose an employer who took employee health and wellbeing seriously (66%) and would feel they have a duty to work harder for such an employer (43%). The survey results are reflective of the intangible as well as tangible benefits of occupational health.”
The mainstream media regularly includes articles and, increasingly, advertorials, about the modern workplace, usually office buildings, that are designed to foster creativity, communication, productivity and improve physical health. In many of these workplaces, it quickly becomes apparent that there are never enough meeting rooms for confidential discussions, making the coffee shop in the foyer or a nearby building, essential venues for conversations that would, in the past, be conducted in an office.
It also does not take long for a lot of the workers to be at their desks wearing earbuds or headphones in order to negate the noise that the modern workplace allows and creates. This need for isolation and concentration is contrary to the intentions of the office designers. It is not simply a reflection of the modern ipod technology but a human desire for privacy, focus, diligence and productivity. New research seems to indicate that the situation is not helped by sit/stand desks.
On May 18 2017, Australia’s Senate Education and Employment Committee held a public hearing for its inquiry into Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act in Melbourne Australia. Executives of Carlton United Breweries (CUB) were the first to appear, ostensibly, to reiterate and answer questions about its submission. The Chair of the Committee, Senator Gavin Marshall, had different expectations and stated he would be asking about a passionate, long and contentious dispute at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery in 2016. Quotes from a CUB diary of events, mentioned by Senator Marshall, seemed to catch the CUB executives unaware.
Senator Marshall quoted from a CUB Manager’s diary asking what was meant by “Shooting the shit out of them”. The atmosphere in the hotel function room changed. Continue reading ““Shooting the shit out of them””
At a well-attended La Trobe University alumni seminar in May 2017, researchers discussed the reality and the hype surrounding mindfulness. They explained the varieties of mindfulness, the clinic research history over the last four decades and the personal advantages of living mindfully. However in the workplace and organisational context, they said that there was insufficient evidence to show benefits from workplace mindfulness in this “emerging area of research”.
The seminar was hosted by Latrobe University with three speakers
- Dr Jennifer Arnold-Levy, Director of Making Emotions Work
- Josh Marsden, Manager, Health and Wellbeing La Trobe University and
- Dr Eric Morris, Director of Psychology Clinic, La Trobe University (pictured above.
Many mindfulness advocates have developed programs that they claim can offer substantial benefits to workplaces by increasing productivity and reducing injury and illness, primarily, by change the behaviours and attitudes of employees. This individual approach is often collated into a workplace and promoted as an organisational opportunity. But the La Trobe researchers mentioned that this is a very recent perspective.
Every government releases a great deal of information, particularly around budget time and occupational health and safety (OHS) funding often gets missed in the overviews and media discussion. The Victorian Government’s budget papers (Budget Paper No. 3 – Service Delivery) for 2017 included A$3 million to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for
“Addressing occupational violence against health workers and workplace bullying” (page 78)
There is no doubt that such funding will help improve OHS but it also seems odd, given some of the recent incidents and riots, the corrections and prison services received no specific OHS funding. The introduction of “a trial of independent workplace facilitators” is also intriguing.
Discussion about gender in the workplace peaks each year around International Women’s Day on March 8. Occasionally there is renewed localised interest when an issue pops up but the issue of gender permeates our thoughts, our planning and our conduct all the time.
Recently, SafetyAtWorkBlog had the chance to ask some questions about gender and diversity and the relevance to the workplace and the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession to Alena Titterton (pictured above), a fascinating workplace relations lawyer with the Australian offices of Clyde & Co.
Gender diversity seems to be more prominent than diversity generally. Should gender diversity be given priority over, or be separated from, other categories such as ethnicity or sexuality?
As part of the research for a recent article on Gender and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to interview Lisa Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of OzChild and former General Manager Health and Safety at WorkSafe Victoria. Gender equality and diversity may no seem to be an OHS issue but it is a vital element of the legislative obligation to consult and the business imperative of making that decision-making process to be a robust and effective as possible. Too many past decisions have come from group-think and “yes men” and diversity of thought through diversity of person is desperately needed in modern safety management.
Below are some of the questions put to her, and her responses Continue reading “Gender diversity and effective decision making”
Australia Post features regularly in the mainstream press. Recently, the media and Government discussed the pay packet of its Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Fahour, but a safety management issue has been bubbling along for some time and reappeared this morning in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) “Australia post investigated over alleged manipulation of injury rate for bonuses” ($paywall).
The AFR writes that
“Comcare is investigating Australia Post over allegations that some senior managers manipulated data on injured employees’ absences from work to meet key performance indicators and secure hefty bonuses.”
This is allegedly done by
- “delaying injury claims,
- recording workers on sick leave when they are really absent on injury, and
- paying for medical expenses in lieu of workers lodging compensation claims.”
Occupational health and safety (OHS) law in the United States has little impact on that of any countries outside of North America. But the response to those OHS laws by US and multinational companies indicates corporate approaches to workplace safety and this can spread round the world. The anticipated strategy to worker safety under the Presidency of Donald Trump is expected to be harsh, if he attends to it at all.
“There is a dominant view that there will be a weaker OSHA under the Trump presidency. This is driven largely by historical analyses of past Republican administrations and President Trump’s anti-regulatory rhetoric. I anticipate that OSHA will continue to be active, but will emphasis cooperative and voluntary programs over enforcement. In addition, I anticipate fewer large safety and health standards being issued under a Trump presidency. “