Important safety, environmental, political and personal stories in book on the Morwell Mine fire

Dr Tom Doig has continued to build on his earlier work about the Morwell mine fire, expanding his “The Coal Face” from 2015 into his new book “Hazelwood” (after court-related injunctions, now available on 18 June 2020).

SPECIAL OFFER: The first four (4) new Annual subscribers in the month of June 2020 will receive a copy of Hazelwood.

The Morwell mine fire created great distress to residents in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, ongoing health problems, and a parliamentary inquiry, but can also be seen as a major case study of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, enforcement, role and the obligation on employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment that does not provide risks to workers and “protect other people from risks arising from employer’s business”.  The management of worker and public safety is present in almost every decision made in relation to the Morwell Mine fire. The overlay of an OHS perspective to Doig’s book is enlightening.

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Identifying work-related mental health

Recently the Medical Journal of Australia published new guidelines for general practitioners (GPs) on how to identify work-related mental health conditions (MHC). This is vital information as GPs are often the first opportunity where mental health conditions can be identified or confirmed. It also assists occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals by acknowledging the role of work in the positive and negative mental health of workers.

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An iron fist in a velvet glove to HR over psych claims

Dr Rebecca Michalak has just published an extraordinary article calling on the Human Resources profession and many others to take a good, hard look at how they treat workers who may have been subjected to psychological pressures at work.

Human Resources personnel could feel particularly hard done by but Michalak stresses that there are many players in the process of creating and managing psychologically healthy workplace and of not adequately managing psychologically injured workers.  She makes her proposition clear up front:

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Workplace Health Management programs save one hospital around $200k

It is always good to see researchers assessing issues related to workplace health and safety rather than relying on overseas data.  Recently researchers from the Australian Catholic University and St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne looked into “measuring the effectiveness of workplace health management programs” .  The research adds to our understanding of these programs but the relevance to occupational health and safety (OHS) is limited.

The researchers,

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A WorkCover book that works

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Many consultants publish books on the understanding that a published work provides legitimacy and authority to their advice.  Sometimes these books are vanity productions but increasingly, and particularly in the safety sector, small-run publications are appearing that are well-written, well-edited and well worth reading.  The latest of these, in Australia at least, is “Workcover That Works” by Mark Stipic.

Stipic has been planning this book for some time and developed a clear strategy for this book to address the workers compensation processes in just one Australian State – Victoria.  It is not a workplace safety book but it acknowledges the role of occupational health and safety (OHS) and devotes one of its four parts to “Foundations of Success” in which Stipic discusses safety climate and culture and those management practices that minimise the likelihood of a workers compensation claim being lodged.  Continue reading “A WorkCover book that works”