Farm suicides and prevention

In a submission to the Australian Government’s inquiry into the future of work, the McKell Institute dips into Safe Work Australia’s latest statistical data and reveals a few occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers compensation surprises in the area of agriculture. These surprises are substantiated by other occupational health and safety (OHS) data sources.

Recently, SafetyAtWorkBlog chastised Australian government agencies, and politicians, from relying on workers compensation claims data as measurements of OHS rather than having established supplementary and robust sources of data on work-related injuries and illnesses. Such reliable sources would have helped anticipate some of the hazards from new employment structures and re-emerging occupational hazards. The McKell Institute wrote:

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Arts Wellbeing Collective shows how it’s done

From an occupational health and safety (OHS) perspective, part of the reason that the Arts Wellbeing Collective (AWC) is being so successful and admired is that it originated outside of the traditional OHS and Health funding models. Existing in the performing arts meant the Collective drew firstly on their modern version of patronage by approaching their sponsors.

Recently the CEO of the AWC, Claire Spencer, spoke at the launch of Victoria’s Health and Safety Month and reminded the audience of the dire straits the performance arts were in with relation to mental health. She referenced the research commissioned by Entertainment Assist and conducted by Victoria University

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Shared Values, Social Values and Safety Values

Last week, the Shared Value Project launched its whitepaper called “Creating Shared Value, the Business Imperative to Improve Mental Health in Australia.” It is an interesting document that is part of the trend of reconfiguring capitalism, the decline of neoliberalism, talk of a “social licence”, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more. Depending on one’s position on capitalism, this makes it part of the wave of change or another failed humanitarian action in the wake of that capitalism.

Several people spoke at the launch, including Professor Allan Fels and the Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley.

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Tough but fair – Allan Fels

Allan Fels has served the Australian public for decades as the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a Mental Health Commissioners and recently a Royal Commissioner for the Victorian Government in its inquiry into mental health. His level of activity and the breadth of that influence is extraordinary and should be no surprise that his service has overlapped and influenced workplace health and safety.

That experience has generated a book – Tough Customer – in which Fels reflects on his public service roles but also about how his life and that of his family have influenced his view of the world and his policy priorities. SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to speak with him for a short while earlier this week on the topics of

  • mental health
  • workplace health and safety
  • executive and political perspectives
  • the gig economy
  • ethics and social justice
  • the ACCC.
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