Passing the OHS baton

Leo Ruschena has been a fixture in the occupational health and safety (OHS) scene in Victoria Australia for many years.  In a short while he retires from his work as an OHS Lecturer with RMIT University.  Retirement often means that knowledge and wisdom becomes less accessible to the public so SafetyAtWorkBlog spent some time with him recently and asked him to reflect.

Ruschena began his career as a chemical engineer with an economics degree working for nine years at Mount Isa Mines. In the mid -1970s he received a scholarship to study occupational hygiene in London UK, achieving his Masters.  At that time OHS was an emerging area of study, legislation and political discourse.  As Ruschena sees it:

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Recent safety videos

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The recent World Congress on Safety and Health at Work held a quite extensive media stream under the banner of the International Media Festival for Prevention. One of the entries, “Shoelaces“, has already been mentioned on this blog but there was a much greater variety.

These videos may be several years old (the Congress is held every three years) and can be watched from several perspectives.  Several, like “Shoelaces”, offers an immediate emotional impact.  Others require or deserve several views.  Almost all of them should be appreciated for the creativity that they have applied to the topic of occupational health and safety. Continue reading “Recent safety videos”

Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths

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Coincidentally, as an article about quad bike safety was being uploaded to this blog, details of the release of Tasmanian coronial findings were received.  The findings were released by Coroner Simon Cooper on August 25 2017 and were not reported widely.

The Coroner investigated seven deaths related to quad bikes but only two occurred on workplaces or as part of performing work – Heather Richardson and Roger Larner. Curiously, WorkSafe Tasmania did not investigate these work-related deaths.   Continue reading “Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths”

SWMS deficiencies are symptoms of bigger OHS challenges

The use and abuse of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) has been researched in Australia for several years. SafetyAtWorkBlog has seen a copy of an unreleased report prepared for Safe Work Australia that identifies major problems with the use of SWMS but that makes recommendations which seem unlikely to achieve the level of change required.

The  February 2017 report “The Efficacy of Safe Work Method Statement and WHS Management Plans in Construction” (written by

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What is a safety professional and what do they do?

David Provan recently provided access to one of his research papers through LinkedIn while it is open. The paper is a literature review of the factors shaping the role of a safety professional.  It is a difficult and confusing read until one reaches the Conclusion.  This is not Provan’s fault but is an indication of the confusing and conflicting roles, actions, obligations and qualifications of the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional revealed by the research literature.

However, the Conclusion provides a good summary of all the literature with some useful strategies to improve the OHS conversation.

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