The Governance Institute of Australia hosted a discussion about “Corporate culture and people risk — lessons from the Royal Commission”. The seminar was worthwhile attending but there was also moments of discomfort.
The reality was that The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was not discussed in any great detail as it was treated as a ghost hovering behind the discussion but not a scary ghost, almost a ghost of embarrassment.
And it seems that “People Risk” is what the Human Resource (HR) profession calls occupational health and safety (OHS) when it can’t bring itself to say occupational health and safety.
Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced a State-supported program to install solar panels on an estimation of 65,00 homes if his Labor Party is re-elected this November. This election campaign announcement immediately reminds voters of the last government-sponsored “green” program, the Home Insulation Scheme which, amongst other results, lead to the deaths five workers.
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.
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.”
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) regularly updates the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations administered by its Corporate Governance Council. The Council has recently closed submissions on its consultation on the Fourth Edition. The submissions are worth looking at to see how occupational health and safety (OHS) fairs, and it is also worth looking for mentions of the “social licence to operate”.
The 3rd edition of the principles provides examples of what it means to be a “good corporate citizen” (page 19),