Over the last few months, SafetyAtWorkBlog has received several new OHS-related books for review. There’s not enough time to undertake a deep review of each book so here is the first of a series of quick reviews.
On November 9 2017, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released statistical data on work-related injury. This data included statistics from workers compensation but also statistics about hospitalised injuries that were identified as work-related but funded by sources other than workers’ compensation. The report also provides a different perspective on mental health.
Workplace injury statistics are always less than reality as they are based on the number of workers’ compensation claims lodged with occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators or insurance agents. The nature of occupational illnesses is that there may be many years before their presence is physically identified making them more contestable by insurers and less likely to appear in compensation data. The frustration with this lack of data was voiced on November 13 2017 in an article in the Medical Journal of Australia (not publicly available).
A summary of the research article includes this alarming statistic:
“Occupational exposures are an important determinant of respiratory health. International estimates note that about 15% of adult-onset asthma, 15% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 10–30% of lung cancer may be attributable to hazardous occupational exposures.”
On 1 June 2015 Australia’s Radio National broadcast a discussion about the
“Then I went, ‘Oh hang on, I’ve normalised so much of this as part of my industry…. This last three months has really made us all take a long hard look at what we have even let ourselves think is acceptable.” – Sacha Horler
Such a statement is familiar to those working in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS). This normalisation, or habituation, has underpinned much of the discussion of what builds a safety culture – “the way things are done round here”. As a result of revelations and accusations pertaining to