Economic austerity should not be allowed to override safety priorities

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iStock_000009374843XSmallIn 2012 many countries have been required to pursue economic austerity measures.  A national or international economy rarely has any direct effect on safety management but the current economic status has led to an increase in harsh, or strong, political decisions and some of these decisions will affect safety management and professionals.  One obvious manifestation of political safety decisions is the UK Government’s decision to allow small businesses to step outside its occupational health and safety (OHS) laws in its pursuit of reducing supposed “red tape“.  This strategy is attractive to other government’s, including Australia’s, but the strategy could marginalise the safety profession even further if the profession remains insular and silent.

The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has been campaigning for some time on the governments decisions to change its OHS laws in its quest for greater efficiencies and reduced business costs.  In the last few months, IOSH has turned its attention to the proposed changes to the  Continue reading “Economic austerity should not be allowed to override safety priorities”

Safety and productivity links at risk from ill-informed ridicule and media beat-up

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Yesterday Australia’s Fairfax Media reported on a “policy” supposedly being applied in the Western Australia resources sector by Chevron Australia that requires workers to stand, rather than sit, for the purposes of increasing productivity.  The initiative has been roundly ridiculed by various political and social commentators, including the Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten. However few have mentioned that the actions by the “policy” may be in line with recent OHS guidance issued by an Australian government safety authority, Comcare, or that the Victorian Government has granted $A600,000 for research into the use of standing workstations.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has been informed that Chevron has had no role in the production of the “leaked memo” and that this memo is likely to be notes and verbal advice provided at a low-level on a worksite and even simply as part of a regular toolbox meeting.  Fairfax Media is unfairly linking two disparate issues, dragging in Chevron who is not involved with the information and potential damaging valid safety information through unjustified ridicule. Continue reading “Safety and productivity links at risk from ill-informed ridicule and media beat-up”