Shorten’s Centre for Workplace Leadership is likely to ignore OHS

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For some months Australia’s Workplace Relations Minister  Bill Shorten, has been talking about establishing a Centre for Workplace Leadership. This presents an opportunity for practical progress on OHS but it relies on someone joining the dots of occupational safety, workplace health and productivity – a highly unlikely occurrence.

In December 2012, Shorten started looking for a provider of the Centre, a facility that he described as

“…a flagship initiative of the Gillard Government and will play an important role in supporting our aim to increase workplace level productivity and the quality of jobs by improving leadership capability in Australian workplaces…

He also said that

“This will not be another training company. The Centre will drive a broader Continue reading “Shorten’s Centre for Workplace Leadership is likely to ignore OHS”

Red Tape Commissioner starts work on reform including OHS

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Cover of RedTapeSOEGuidelines-Jan2013In Australia and the United Kingdom, workplace health and safety compliance has been considered a prominent element of allegations of business “Red Tape“.  On 21 January 2013, Victoria’s Treasurer, Kim Wells, announced new guidelines into red tape in that State’s government authorities and regulators.  Wells’ media release states:

“Stage one of the reform will focus on the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA), VicRoads, Environment Protection Authority, Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.” [emphasis added]

Wells also says that the Red Tape Commissioner, John Lloyd, will administer the system which runs like this:

“Ministers will issue statements of expectations to key regulators which will require them to outline by 1 July 2013 how they intend to reduce red tape. Our aim is to see regulators reduce the cost of high-impact or high- Continue reading “Red Tape Commissioner starts work on reform including OHS”

Three competency elements of the safety professional

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The October 2012 edition of The Synergist, the magazine of the  American Industrial Hygiene Association, included a frank interview with Niru Davé of Avon. Dave says that many safety and health professionals have a low level of competence.

He explains his statement through his belief that there are three competency elements in a safety professional:

  • Knowledge – staying up-to-date with the information in your field
  • People Skills – respect and approachability, and
  • Contribution – communication and involvement, participating in and generating a strategic approach.

These elements could apply to any profession and to any professional association, or industry group. Indeed these elements can be both personal and organisational. Continue reading “Three competency elements of the safety professional”

Victorian Government refuses to release full costings of OHS laws

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FOI PwCThe Victorian Government has repeatedly claimed that new Work Health and Safety laws would cost billions of dollars to introduce. It has justified this political decision with a summary of a report produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in April 2012.  SafetyAtWorkBlog applied for the full report under Freedom of Information (FOI)  and was rejected.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s FOI Officer indicated that the full report existed but that it was not being released as the FOI Act

“…exempts from disclosure a document that has been prepared by a Minister or on his or her behalf or by an agency for the purpose of submission for consideration by the Cabinet.”

The rejection is difficult to understand as the government had already released a 34 page summary.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has been very critical of the summary report due to the amount of disclaimers, equivocations and selected data sources in the PwC report.  The estimated costs have appeared in discussions about the Work Health and Safety laws in other States so the full analysis of the laws by PwC would be enlightening. It was hoped that the full report would provide additional background and context to discussing the “costs of safety” but that is not to be.

Kevin Jones

Australia’s psychosocial barometer provides strong evidence for policy and corporate change

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OnlineMBA.com recently uploaded a video about “The True Cost of a Bad Boss“.  It is a good summary of the spread of negative organisational and employee effects that can result from poor management  poor understanding and poor communication.  It is well worth remembering this spread when determining the best way to manage workplace safety and increase productivity.

Cover of The-Australian-Workplace-Barometer-reportAlthough the video is from the US, there is research evidence to support many of the points raised. In December 2012, Safe Work Australia released  The Australian Workplace Barometer Report On Psychosocial Safety Climate and Worker Health in Australia, a report that has been largely missed by the Australian media. The report says that:

“A standout finding here is that depression costs Australian employers approximately AUD$8 billion per annum as a result of sickness absence and presenteeism and AUD$693 million per annum of this is due to job strain and bullying.” (page 6)

This is a significant impact on Australian business costs and, if one takes the OnlineMBA information concerning bad bosses, Australian bosses may need to undertake a considerable amount of self-analysis when lobbying for red-tape reductions and calling for productivity increases. Continue reading “Australia’s psychosocial barometer provides strong evidence for policy and corporate change”