RTW seminar hints at WorkSafe Victoria’s future

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Victoria Australia has had a network of safety groups for well over 40 years with two or three enduring into this century.  On 5 July 2017, the Ballarat Regional Occupational Safety and Health Group (BROSH) held an interactive seminar on Return-To-Work (RTW). The discussion was not revolutionary but allowed the audience – a mix of businesses, OHS professionals and students – to speak about their lived experiences with managing injured workers.

I brought the WorkSafe 2030 Strategy discussion paper to the audience’s attention and a WorkSafe representative from the seminar’s panel, pictured above, said that there are several weird technical suggestions for workplace inspections and advice emerging from the discussion within the OHS regulator.  However the strategy is focussed always on the client and that it is “prevention-led”. OHS is all about the prevention of illness and injury but it appears that WorkSafe is extending this term to RTW.

The representative explained that the regulator is looking at interventions that prevent an injury or illness claim transforming into, or contributing to, another and new injury.  They hope that by focussing on the injured worker and providing the right level of advice and support, the will achieve the best RTW outcome for all involved.

One of the questions from the audience was if there is a better RTW and workers’ compensation system that Victoria could move to or learn from.  The panel agreed that the Victorian system seems to be leading Australia in terms of its financial health but, more importantly, the level of care and support options provided to injured workers.

The BROSH seminar was well attended and the audience was active, which largely resulted from the innovative and engaging seminar structure.

Kevin Jones

Important research into domestic violence strengthens OHS context

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It is useful to consider corporate wellness and mental wellbeing programs in the context of work-related suicides.  By considering what many consider a worst-case scenario, the effectiveness of these programs can be tested.  The increased attention on domestic violence and its relationship to work over the last few years in Australia can play a similar role. New research on “intimate partner violence” provides mental health scenarios for which safety professionals need to be prepared. Continue reading “Important research into domestic violence strengthens OHS context”

New report provides important data on occupational health

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A recent report from the UK Society of Occupational Medicine highlights several issues of note to the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional. But it is also worth looking at the SOM’s media release.

As well as offering financial costs and benefits of good occupational health management the full report also contextualises occupational health:

“The report cites a survey of 1,000 UK employers in which respondents gave their most common reasons to spend on health and wellbeing initiatives as: a motivated and healthy workforce is more productive (41%); to attract and retain staff (25%); to be perceived as a caring employer that takes duty of care requirements seriously (21%). Meanwhile, a survey of 1,000 employees found that they were more likely to choose an employer who took employee health and wellbeing seriously (66%) and would feel they have a duty to work harder for such an employer (43%). The survey results are reflective of the intangible as well as tangible benefits of occupational health.”

Continue reading “New report provides important data on occupational health”

Workplace mindfulness? The jury is still out

At a well-attended La Trobe University alumni seminar in May 2017, researchers discussed the reality and the hype surrounding mindfulness. They explained the varieties of mindfulness, the clinic research history over the last four decades and the personal advantages of living mindfully. However in the workplace and organisational context, they said that there was insufficient evidence to show benefits from workplace mindfulness in this “emerging area of research”.

The seminar was hosted by Latrobe University with three speakers

Many mindfulness advocates have developed programs that they claim can offer substantial benefits to workplaces by increasing productivity and reducing injury and illness, primarily, by change the behaviours and attitudes of employees.  This individual approach is often collated into a workplace and promoted as an organisational opportunity.  But the La Trobe researchers mentioned that this is a very recent perspective.

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The OHS benefits of a single lunchtime meeting

Being a member of a local safety group provides nuggets of occupational health and safety (OHS) information from speakers and members in a broad range of industries and occupations.  The May 2017 meeting of the Central Safety Group at which Wayne Richards spoke provoked several OHS thoughts about safety, leadership and culture. One was that Transdev…

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