The Grattan Institute has released a report about the political influence of lobbyists. Understandably the media is giving the report a lot of attention, particularly as it identifies lobby groups that have more access to politicians than other groups and how public interest policies have failed after intense lobbying. But the report also addresses the matter of “policy capture”. Although the report analyses the activities of lobbyists, perhaps research could be undertaken into the high level of policy influence on workplace health and safety matters from a tripartite consultative structure that no longer reflects the Australian workforce.
In its Overview the Grattan Institute writes:
Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has released the findings of the Commission’s latest survey on sexual harassment in workplaces. It is an important analysis of an improving dataset that should make actions to prevent sexual harassment more effective.
The statistical report is separate from the Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces and does not emphasise the role of harm prevention but it does contain references to prevention that are worth considering.
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.
Years ago I was advised how to read a newspaper article – the first two paragraphs and the last. The exclusive front page article in The Australian ($ paywalled) on August 15 2018 about occupational health and safety (OHS) management at Sydney’s light rail construction project is a good example of what journalists choose to write and what they are obliged to write.
“A pedestrian had ribs broken, workers have been run over and fallen in holes, and there have been near-misses that could have caused deaths or serious injuries in hundreds of safety breaches on the Sydney CBD light rail project over the past 18 months.
The extraordinary catalogue is detailed in CBD and South East Light Rail Advisory Board minutes obtained by The Australian.”
ASHPA, the Australian Safety and Health Professional Associations has been quiet for a while but sponsored La Trobe University to undertake some research into the future of work and its impacts on occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals, hygienists, ergonomists and others. It is an interesting insight into the thoughts and perspectives of safety and health professionals but it also cries out for interpretation and analysis.
The report, not yet available online, is based on the responses of 733 safety and health professionals to an online survey. The statistical profile of the profession in Australia is useful and the key findings