Last week, SafeWork New South Wales progressed the management of psychosocial hazards at work with the release of its Designing Work to Manage Psychosocial Risks guidance. This document has been a long time coming and offers significant advice on how work and people management needs to change in order to prevent psychosocial hazards. However, its implementation is likely to generate considerable opposition and confusion, or even organisational shock, if it is not able to convince employers of increased profitability and productivity from making the change.
Denise Zumpe is an Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) professional who focuses on workplace health and safety matters in the transport sector. Below is a letter that she intended to send to The Age and writer Esther Linder outlining some inaccuracies in an Australian Associated Press article (paywalled) concerning the jailing of Cris Large, a court case discussed in an earlier SafetyAtWorkBlog article.
“A former transport executive has been jailed for up to three years for his reckless workplace behaviour in the lead-up to a crash that killed four police officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.”
The AAP article appeared in a number of Australian media. An amended version appeared on ABC News.
A recent article in The Observer illustrates just how far behind Australia the United Kingdom is on requiring the installation of crush protection devices on quad bikes. It is also surprising that the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is not just relying on independent Australian research into quad bike rollovers. The vehicles are the same makes and models, the terrain is similar, and the risk is the same …??
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.
This week’s Weekly Times, a major Australian agriculture newspaper, is reporting the good news that work-related deaths on farms have declined (not available online). The numbers from Safe Work Australia are positive, but the analysis of the reasons for the decline is thin.
In early December 2023, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) published this (unblurred) photo of a woman, a man, and a child riding a single motorbike in the Australian countryside. Riding in such a way is unsafe, some may say reckless, and contrary to the operational guidelines of motorcycle manufacturers. Should the AFR have used this photo? Should there be a ban on such photos?
The heads of Australian work health and safety authorities have decided to ban engineered stone from the middle of 2024. Some will seed this as a win for the trade union movement ( the unions certainly will), but many occupational health and safety and industrial hygiene professionals have been leading the way in obtaining the research evidence that made this decision such an easy one to make.