New OHS statistics expand our understanding of work injuries and mental health

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.

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The evidence on occupational lung diseases remains inadequate

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.”

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Latest safety culture report on construction has lessons for all

In 2012, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government undertook a review of safety in its construction industry and produced a report called “Getting Home Safely“. In early 2017, the Government contracted RMIT University to review the construction sector’s work health and safety culture in the aftermath of the 2012 report and government actions since them.   The September 2017 report was only recently made public.

The RMIT University report includes a very good and super-current discussion about safety culture and safety climate but its findings are of limited help in improving OHS performance in the construction sector.

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SafetyAtWorkBlog statistical profile

In February 2018 the SafetyAtWorkBlog will celebrate ten years of independent writing about workplace health and safety matters.  It will also be the first anniversary of having SafetyAtWorkBlog as a subscription service.

Some readers have asked for more information about the social media statistics of the blog as it would provide a unique perspective on something that is purely related to workplace health and safety.  So here are some of the statistics related to the blog and related social media.

Twitter

The twitter feed for

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Measure the old, plan for the new

“What gets measured, gets done” is a common phrase in corporate-speak but needs to be treated with caution in terms of occupational health and safety (OHS).

In The Australian newspaper of October 5 2017 (paywalled) an article about remuneration and innovation includes a brief but telling discussion of the perception of OHS.

Sylvia Falzon is a director of the companies Perpetual and Regis Healthcare.  The article states that Falzon is a

“great believer that ‘what gets measured gets done”.

However, this belief has important limitations. 

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