Infographics have become a popular format for distributing information about occupational health and safety (OHS) and other topics but they are often seen as a shortcut in consultation. They can be visually engaging but are often too shallow as the writers and designers try to depict safety data in the simplest manner. Terminology also needs to be consistent so that readability is most effective.
Recently Safe Work Australia produced
Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has been prominent in recent seminars about sexual harassment, particularly in the entertainment industry. In February 2018, Jenkins spoke at a seminar in Melbourne hosted by Screen Producers Australia and provided strong advice on how businesses can control sexual harassment.
Jenkins began her presentation with an uncomfortable reminder that business has been lax in addressing unlawful workplace behaviour.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) policy makers are keen on making decisions based on evidence. But evidence seems hard to get, for many reasons.
Some people, including those in workplace relations and OHS, often fill the evidence gap with “anecdotal evidence”. Frequently people being interviewed are asked for evidence to substantiate their claims and respond that “anecdotally” there is a problem yet there is no sample size for this evidence, there is no clarity or definition of the incident or issue – it is simply “what I heard” or “what I’ve been told”. Using anecdotal evidence is okay as long as its inherent uncertainty is acknowledged and it is not used as a basis for substantial change.
Every couple of months, after the release of official workplace fatality figures and serious injury, the Australian media reports the three most dangerous industries as Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry. The latest article appeared in Australia’s Fairfax Media on 17 January 2018. It is good that occupational health and safety (OHS) is gaining attention. When so little media attention is given, any publicity is useful.
However this type of article also presents some negatives, including that it may be only representing 60% of all workplace fatalities and serious injuries.
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.