The normalisation of quad bike safety

Segway has made a push into the Australian quad bike market, helping to fill the gap left by some vehicle manufacturers who would not accept safety improvements to their quad bikes. Prominent Australian agricultural newspaper, The Weekly Times, reviewed the latest Segway quad bike models. Rider safety was not mentioned specifically in the review, but it was visibly present in the accompanying image and reinforced by Segway’s video media relelase.

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Get rid of dinosaur thinking on workplace mental health

Victoria’s coronial services has been found guilty of breaching its occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations after one of its employees died by suicide, identifying work issues as a major factor in her death. WorkSafe Victoria has released the best source of information on this case. Most of the mainstream media is relying on a newswire report,which is based on WorkSafe’s information.

Significantly none of the prevention strategies identified by WorkSafe are included in the media reports even though this is perhaps the most vital information for preventing recurrences.

This article looks at the advice offered by WorkSafe Victoria in its media release on what actions it believes could prevent the occupational factors that resulted in this suicide from emerging, or not being addressed, in your workplaces.

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Reflect on failures before jumping into change

Gabrielle Carlton, Director & Principal Consultant at Resylience, recently published an interesting article about her experience with a former Australian soldier who was struggling with work-related mental ill-health. The mental health of defence personnel is a hugely important and complex situation that questions the core function of defence and our expectations of defence personnel. However, some of her comments on psychosocial health in the article’s conclusion caught most of my attention.

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What to do about workplace mental health? Talk, Listen, Examine

Seminars on workplace mental health must always offer solutions and not only (always) the solution that the host wants to promote. Occupational health and safety (OHS) needs to be more altruistic (Yes, it may be hypocrisy from a subscription blog). Recently I spoke on the issue of psychosocial hazards at work and offered this slide on “What can be done?” [Note: This article discusses suicide]

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Progressive mental health perspectives continue to emphasise workers’ need to change

This blog has been critical of many current strategies to reduce workplace mental health risks. Many strategies continue to be based on changing the worker rather than changing the system of work. The well-being advocates who have almost entirely focussed on individual-level interventions are broadening their scope to organisational or systemic resilience, but they still fail to meet the harm prevention aim of amendments to the occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation in Australia.

Dr Lucy Ryan of the University of East London recently wrote about burnout and systemic resilience.

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Chalk and Cheese – legal seminars on mental health at work

Over the last few months, various seminars from law firms and others have focussed on how to comply with new and impending occupational health and safety regulations related to psychosocial hazards at work. Over the last fortnight, I attended two such seminars; they were as different as chalk and cheese, even though both had strong voices from lawyers, illustrating the sources of some of the confusion over the issue felt by some employers.

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OHS and management courses

Research findings that a sample of business and management courses have little to no OHS content are not surprising and match what has now become fashionable to call “lived experience”. Part of the reason for the findings is that the number of undergraduate courses in OHS has declined, and those that did exist were not often recognised as “management” courses, although OHS can be little else.  They were certainly not “integrated” with other traditional management approaches.

Part of the reason, I like to think, is because OHS principles challenge the ethics underpinning business management courses and concepts.  OHS would say that workers are people and not “units of labour”.  If workers are people for whom we are supposed to apply dignity, respect and care, how can Business exploit the worker’s labour, loyalty and goodwill in order to maximise profits or shareholders’ returns, which are supposed to be the main purposes of modern business?

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