One of the most useful books about OHS law

It is difficult to make a book about occupational health and safety (OHS) law interesting.  Some try with creative design but the most successful is when laws are interpreted into real world circumstances.  Thankfully Breen Creighton and Peter Rozen have written the latter in the 4th edition of Health and Safety Law in Victoria. Independent Australian publishers, Federation Press, recognise the significance of this edition:

“This is an entirely re-written and greatly expanded edition of this standard text on occupational health and safety law in Victoria….[and]

…Critically, the new edition locates the 2004 Victorian Act firmly in the context of the harmonised work health and safety regime…”

This discussion of context lifts this book from an analysis of one State’s OHS laws to an analysis of harmonisation, which may be offer a useful counterpoint to

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A deep look at sleep and mental health in the workplace needed

In September 2018 Australia commenced an inquiry into sleep health awareness.  At the time:

“The Committee Chair, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, stated that ‘the Committee will examine the causes, economic and social costs, and treatment of inadequate sleep and sleep disorders.” (link added)

Although there is no timetable for the tabling of this Committee’s final report, many of the issues raised in the submissions relate directly to work and work-related mental health risks. Sadly there are hardly any solutions but this is a challenge to all public inquiries and which is particularly relevant to the current spate of Australian inquiries into OHS and mental health.

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Advertorial over-simplifies workplace health and safety

On Sunday November 4 2018, The Herald-Sun newspaper’s regular Body & Soul supplement devoted several pages to an exclusive article about workplace wellbeing ($). It is clearly an advertorial as the supplement has several full page advertisement from Medibank Private and the article includes a text box labelling it as the

“b+s 2018 Worklife Survey in partnership with Medibank”.

The article and survey is less than helpful from an occupational health and safety (OHS) perspective as there is no mention of organisational control measures or even the recent campaign in National Safe Work Month by WorkSafe Victoria on wellness!

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A new statistical perspective on work-related injuries and illnesses

In late October 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a summary of the latest work-related injury and illness data, although it was easy to miss as few, if anyone, reported on it. On first view, that mental health is barely mentioned in the Summary is surprising and the workers compensation data raises interesting policy questions.

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Misunderstanding sleep – Part 2

Most non-transport industries do not look for the lack of sleep or fatigue as a factor in their investigations.  Unless a formal investigation is undertaken, fatigue is rarely mentioned and, if it is, it is categorised as a “contributory factor”, which often means it is given such a low priority that nothing will be done about it.  This is partly a legacy of silo thinking that sleep is a non-work personal activity, which it is, but is still one that can affect work and all the relationships and decisions made at work.  But it is also partly due to the enormous disruption that could result if the lack of sleep and fatigue were taken seriously and effective control measures were introduced.

The most effective control for fatigue may be human-friendly shifts and “reasonable” working hours but that might not fit the shift rosters which are required to satisfy clients.  We know that night shift has higher health and physical risks than day shift so logically, get rid of night shift ….

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