SafetyAtWorkBlog’s Christmas reading list 6

wss-book-pix004The media is full of lists of Christmas reading, usually in order to sell books.  Below is a selection of the safety-related books that are in my Summer reading pile. (No, I am not going to list the Batman comics or Star Trek books.  That would be embarrassing.)

Social Sensemaking

I first met Robert Sams at a book launch of one of the Rob Long’s books.  Sams’ approach to risk has some similarity to Long’s, which is acknowledged in the Forewards, but those who develop or apply a theory are often more interesting than those who created the theory. The the format of the book is a “reflective journal” also makes this nook more intriguing.  It is part diary, part blog, part journal but above all it is a journey of learning with the occasional epiphany. More…

Firefighters’ mental health 1

More details are appearing of the findings of an independent inquiry into mental health and suicides in the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), a report whose release has been stalled by the United Firefighters’ Union (UFU).

cover-bullying-health-sectorAccording to the inquiry’s chair, in an article in the ABC news website, Dr Peter Cotton,

“…the MFB has a mono-culture with few women or members from diverse backgrounds, making it difficult to assess the level of bullying and harassment.”

“… the MFB does not screen for alcohol or drug use, and has a lack of policies and procedures to address drug and alcohol issues.”

“Management’s handling of complaints were found to be ad hoc and inconsistent with a “lack of will to follow up” and “give them a wide berth” thought pattern.”

“the mental health of firefighters was comparable with Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria,…”

The latter point is useful to remember as a similar report into the Victoria Police was released earlier this year. The most recent inquiry into Ambulance Victoria was undertaken by the Victorian Auditor-General in 2016. More…

Cabbage Salad and Drugs 2

Episode 6 of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available with the discussion centring on drugs and alcohol issues at work. For those looking for information on drug and alcohol testing, this episode is not for you.  We thought that the testing issue is dealt with in many workplaces through legislative and regulatory matters and you have to comply with what you have to comply.

For this episode we included a guest, Natasha Jager of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation because we wanted to talk about what businesses of all sizes can do to reduce the risk of alcohol and drug impacts at work. It was important also that this was not a seasonal discussion in relation to naughty and unsafe behaviour at a work’s Christmas Party. (There’ll be plenty of discussion on that issue from others, as there is every year)

We talk about impairment, risks to others, the relation to fitness-for-work and workplace mental health issues.

The podcast audio has been cut to have this as a two part episode with the next part being available in the next week or so.

If you have any comments on the podcast, please email me or include a comment below.

Kevin Jones

Gender, violence, Batty, Hulls and business preparedness 5

Recently the Victorian Women Lawyers conducted a seminar into the outcomes of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.  SafetyAtWorkBlog attended even though the topic seems, initially, to have a tenuous link to occupational health and safety (OHS).  Family violence is relevant to OHS through its influence on workplace mental ill-health, productivity and the need for cultural change.

vwl-nov-2016-seminarThe guest speakers included Rob HullsRosie Batty, and Antoinette Braybrook (pictured).

Progress needs Trust

Batty stated early in the seminar that we are a “victim-blaming society”where victims do not know who they can trust and therefore hesitate to raise issues of abuse or injustice.  The importance of trust in establishing a functional workplace culture has been discussed elsewhere.  Raising issues with managers or authorities is a crucial element of OHS law based on the assumption that the issues will be taken seriously and be controlled to some degree; an assumption that varies with each workplace.

Batty also said that

“unless we see perpetrators being held accountable, why would you want to come forward and expose yourself, be vulnerable and unsafe?”

Accountability is a crucial element of establishing and maintaining a suitable workplace safety culture as reinforces fairness and justice. More…

Labour Hire Inquiry recommends a licencing scheme 2

Following, ostensibly, the Four Corners exposé of labour hire exploitation in Australia last year, the Victorian Government established an inquiry.  That Inquiry’s final report has been released with lots of recommendations, several pertaining to occupational health and safety (OHS).  The Government’s media release response is HERE.

vic-labour-hire-reportThe main recommendations related to OHS are:

I recommend that the Model Work Health and Safety Act approach to regulating labour hire relationships be adopted in Victoria. In the absence of Victoria adopting wholesale the approach under the model laws, I recommend that Victoria adapt an approach which matches the substantive provisions under the model laws in this regard.

More…