We need a safe system of business

Throwing chocolates to delegates, audience participation, push-ups, book giveaways, hand-eye coordination exercises – not the usual elements of the opening keynote speaker of a safety conference.  Day 2 of the Safety Institute of Australia’s recent conference had a more traditional opening with presentations from a State workplace safety regulator and Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) agency.  If entertainment is your thing, jump for the chocolates, but if information is why you attend conferences, Day 2 was the better one.

The first speaker was

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The OHS context of the Robert Doyle case

Source: Lucas Dawson Photography

The number of prominent men who have come a cropper as a result of their sexual harassment includes the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle.  A workplace safety trade show in Melbourne recently conducted a public panel seminar on the issue of sexual harassment with particular emphasis on the Doyle case.  One of the Melbourne councillors at the time, Stephen Mayne, spoke via video.  The panel also included a representative of local government, a safety advocate and a lawyer.

One of the most curious elements of this event was that it was conducted in a trade show

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Michalak’s evidence should change the wellbeing and OHS industries

Dr Rebecca Michalak has only recently come to my attention, mainly through challenging some of my statements on social media.  I was able to meet her and watch her presentation at the Safety Institute of Australia’s National Health and Safety Conference in May 2018.  It is likely her voice will become heard more broadly in coming years as she challenges elements of the Establishment.

Many elements of Michalak’s conference presentation can also be heard in the Fit For Work Podcast of Sally McMahon but there were a couple of statements that were notable.

Coping Strategies

“I had a theory that it’s not either/or – it’s an “it depends” thing and what I found across all well-being outcomes, six coping strategies and two samples – that’s 48 mediations – it makes no difference and in fact, most coping strategies make well-being worse.” (emphasis added)

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Industrial Manslaughter laws likely for Victoria

With little surprise, at the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Conference in Victoria on 26 May 2018, Premier Daniel Andrews has included the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a formal part of the campaign for re-election in November 2018.

According to his media release, if re-elected,

“.., employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and face up to 20 years in jail.

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians are safe in our workplaces, with the offence to also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent member of the public..”

There are a lot of steps between an incident and Industrial Manslaughter charges. 

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The SIA’s National Conference is on the right path

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Let’s acknowledge the problems with this year’s Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) National Conference upfront before the good stuff is mentioned.

A speaker on the issue of Diversity failed to turn up.  Many of the rooms were setup in such a configuration that some delegates had to stand or, like I did, sit on the floor. Almost all the speakers were asked to speak for over 40 minutes which was a challenge for some and conflicts with studies about attention spans.  Some of the presentations didn’t seem to support the “in practice” theme of the conference. Lastly, what some described as challenging presentations, others found to be vanilla and too general. Some of these problems were beyond the SIA’s control but they were still negative experiences.

Over the next week SafetyAtWorkBlog will be writing about some of the very positive speakers and experiences at the SIA National Conference. Continue reading “The SIA’s National Conference is on the right path”