On May 4, 2006, John Della Bosca advised the New South Wales Parliament
“The Government will clarify that the general duties and obligations under the Act apply so far as is reasonably practicable. Ensuring the health and safety of employees will mean eliminating risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable. Where it is not reasonable to eliminate a risk, employers will be required to reduce the risks to the lowest level reasonably practicable. Practical risk management does not require employers to go to extraordinary, unrealistic lengths, and never has. Rather, it requires the management of risks that are likely to affect health and safety over which the duty holder has a level of control. This is what the Government has always said, and it has always been Government policy. This is what it intends to enshrine in legislation to give greater certainty to both employers and employees.”
Della Bosca paints “so far as is reasonably practicable” (ASFAIRP) as an integral part of eliminating risks to health and safety and it is an integral part of OHS laws, but it is also a limitation, a condition and a concession in achieving safe and healthy workplaces and one that is drastically in need of a thorough independent review.
Discussion on the report into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces went missing last weekend which included International Women’s Day. March 8 generalised much of the discussion on the need for new approaches to feminism, wages and gender equity. This is not to say that organisations had forgotten about the National Inquiry’s Final Report or the occupational health and safety (OHS) context, but few were as blunt about the issue as broadcaster Virginia Trioli and workplace lawyer Liberty Sanger on ABC radio this week.
“The Sex Discrimination Commissioner has come out with something that is clear, which is that sexual harassment is a workplace right, is a health and safety right, is a human right.” [??!!]
What would be more accurate and reflective of Michele O’Neil’s position is that workers have a human, health and safety, and workplace right to a workplace that is without the risk of sexual harassment. The ACTU President gets the message right in the official media release.
O’Neill urges the Morrison Government to take the final report into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces and its recommendations seriously and it should, but the signs are not good. The mainstream media coverage of the Workplace Sexual Harassment Inquiry’s report has been thin.
Continue reading “Final Sexual Harassment Inquiry report”
On January 30 2020, the Victorian Trades Hall released a new “approved safety standard” on air quality risks for outdoor workers. It is the latest of a series of alerts and guidelines generated by the persistence of bushfire smoke in urban areas of, especially, New South Wales and Victoria. Bushfire smoke is only going to become more frequent in Australia, and its persistence over weeks, requires a coordinated discussion on how Australian workplaces and practices need to change to adapt to the new climate.
Ballarat Trades Hall is looking for an artist to design and produce a memorial to Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins who died as a result of a trench collapse in Delacombe, Victoria in 2018. Any memorial requires careful consideration and broad consultation with all the relevant stakeholders.