Workplace Health Management programs save one hospital around $200k

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.

The researchers,

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Front page OHS article gives half the story

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.”

and

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The future of work and OHS – yeah, but…..

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

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Is workers’ compensation less important than other insurances?

In late July 2018, the Victorian Auditor-General Office (VAGO) released a report into the insurance risks of several Victorian local councils.  It is reasonable to expect the costs of workers’ compensation insurance to be addressed in the report but this was not the case.  Although it is clearly an insurance product, the Auditor-General excluded workers’ compensation insurance.  This position continues to sideline workers’ compensation implying to Victorian Councils, if not businesses, that it is less important than other business insurances.

The best example of this implication is found on page 48 of the report in a graph

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Industrial Manslaughter laws remain muddled

The Australian trade union movement is confident that Industrial Manslaughter laws will be introduced in each Australian State and Territory over the next few years.  Recently the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Law Report program looked at these laws and their discussion in the current Senate Inquiry into “The framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia“.

Much of the radio program contains a general discussion about workplace fatalities with agreement that the long term trend in workplace fatalities is downwards.  But no one seems to know the reason for this trend.

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