Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) agenda seems largely dictated by high risk industries like construction in some States and the mining sector in others. But agriculture is common to all Australia States and is consistently included in the official and unofficial workplace fatality data. New research has been released into serious farm injuries and which voices are the most effective in improving the situation.
The level of risk in Australian farms is illustrated well by
I was born outside Liverpool England well over 50 years ago and have lived on the other side of the world ever since. I love hearing accents from Northern England as it reminds me of my relatives, my roots and, most of all, my Mother. This meant that I had to watch Sidney Dekker‘s latest 30 minute documentary at least twice so that I paid attention to what was said rather than how.
“Just Culture – The Movie” (accessible through the YouTube share below) tells the story of the transformation from a divisive and unproductive blame culture to a just culture. It is an important story because it is theory, concept and idea made real, and made real in an industry sector that has a complex organisational culture only partly explained by its funding model.
Late last century I worked in the Victorian Department of Labour as an administrative officer, at a time when award restructuring and “structural efficiency principles” were in full swing. The existing awards often included a swathe of special allowances for activities like working at heights or picking up roadkill. These allowances were commonly called “dirt money” or “danger money” and were largely eliminated or incorporated in the base rates of pay through the restructuring of awards.
The concept of “danger money” has disappeared from the formal industrial relations (IR) processes in Australia but is an important one to remember in the context of occupational health and safety (OHS), particularly as there are renewed calls for IR reforms in Australia.
Workers continue to accept high risk activities in response to higher rates of remuneration, as was recently discussed in another SafetyAtWorkBlog article. Below is one take on “danger money”and the OHS attitudes of trade unions
“…if we truly care about human beings and their lives, including how long people live…. we need to first understand and then alter those workplace conditions that sicken and kill people” (page 25 – “Dying For A Paycheck”)
Jeffrey Pfeffer has been doing the rounds of the Safety and Human Resources conferences for some time, talking about “dying for a paycheck”. This year he published a book of that title, a book that should be obligatory reading for occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals and, more importantly, company executives.
This book is one of the few that I have read from cover-to-cover and wanted to do so in as short a time as possible because I wanted to understand the big interconnected picture of business management and policy setting that Pfeffer discusses.
Pfeffer presents a lot of data packaged in a fresh and fascinating form but regularly complains about the lack of data. One of the joys in the book is being tantalised by what data he presents but then being frustrated when realising that that is the extent of the data available. Continue reading “Pfeffer cuts through on OHS”
Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist has released its first Industry Insights document for 2018. This one focusses on flexibility and growth and included this statement in the chapter written by Andrew Charlton, a Director, of AlphaBeta :
“At the macroeconomic level, much of this change has been positive. The economy has created new jobs that are, on average, better paid, more satisfying and safer than the jobs that were lost.” (page 19)
Safer jobs? The last claim sent me to the source of the data –