A WorkCover book that works

Many consultants publish books on the understanding that a published work provides legitimacy and authority to their advice.  Sometimes these books are vanity productions but increasingly, and particularly in the safety sector, small-run publications are appearing that are well-written, well-edited and well worth reading.  The latest of these, in Australia at least, is “Workcover That Works” by Mark Stipic.

Stipic has been planning this book for some time and developed a clear strategy for this book to address the workers compensation processes in just one Australian State – Victoria.  It is not a workplace safety book but it acknowledges the role of occupational health and safety (OHS) and devotes one of its four parts to “Foundations of Success” in which Stipic discusses safety climate and culture and those management practices that minimise the likelihood of a workers compensation claim being lodged.  Continue reading “A WorkCover book that works”

Near Kill – Jim Ward speaks

Jim Ward is hardly known outside the Australian trade union movement but many people over the age of thirty, or in the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession, may remember the person Esso blamed for the Esso Longford explosion in 1998.  Just after the nineteenth anniversary of the incident that killed two workers and injured eight other, SafetyAtWorkBlog interviewed Ward about the incident but, more significantly, also about how that incident changed his world view.

For some time now Jim Ward has been the National OHS Director for the Australian Workers’ Union.  Here is a long interview with Ward that provides a useful perspective on OHS while Australia conducts its National Safe Work Month.

[Note: any links in the text have been applied by SafetyAtWorkBlog]

SAWB: Jim, what happened at Longford, and what did it mean for you.

JW:   So, on 25 September 1998, I got up out of bed and went to work, just as I’d done for the previous 18 years of my working life, at the Esso gas plant facility at Longford in Victoria.

There was nothing unforeseen or untoward about that particular day.  But due to, as one judge elegantly described it, “a confluence of events”, it turned out to be the most significant day of my life.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Suicide Prevention Forum and Mental Health First Aid for workers

In March 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its latest figures into the causes of death. A lot of media attention was given to the figures showing an increase in the suicide rate.  It found that

“Among those aged 15 to 44, the leading causes of death were Intentional self-harm (suicide)…”

Dr Claire Kelly, Manager, Youth Programs, Mental Health First Aid Australia, talking at the Suicide Prevention Forum 2016
Dr Claire Kelly, Manager, Youth Programs, Mental Health First Aid Australia, talking at the Suicide Prevention Forum 2016

On the day those figures were released, the

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Victoria increases OHS penalty three-fold

Victoria’s occupational health and safety (OHS) strategy has been in a bit of a mess since the previous (conservative) government opted out of the harmonised work health and safety law process and brands were changed and changed again. It lost its claim to be leading Australian in OHS, or needed to explain its position, where before most people accepted their leadership position.

The current Victorian (Labor) government seems to be trying to make up some of that ground by increasing financial penalties, as reported by OHSAlert last week. Continue reading “Victoria increases OHS penalty three-fold”

Victoria announces a new OHS review

Cover of -Improving-Workplace-Safety-For-VictoriansOn 11 February 2016, the Victorian Government announced a review into occupational health and safety (OHS) but you would hardly have noticed. The media release gained little attention in any of the mainstream press and yet its terms of reference are quite broad.  It will be interesting to see how the review panel sets its agenda.

But, hang on, wasn’t there already some sort of review into WorkSafe Victoria?

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

The 39 (per cent) Steps

ISCRR IICOT 251115 editAt lunchtime today, the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) conducted a short seminar of five 7-minute presentations, predominantly, from academic researchers.

The most significant statistic provided was by Dr Genevieve Grant who said that only 39% of injured workers submit claims for workers compensation.  The significance is that the Australian government, OHS regulators and policy makers rely on the number of claims being a measure of the level of workplace safety.

This figure illustrates the absurdity of many of the statements made about which is the safest State in Australia.   Continue reading “The 39 (per cent) Steps”

Drug and alcohol testing does not improve workplace safety, so why have it?

cover of EN455_NCETA_2011-2 Testing for drug and alcohol effects in workplaces sounds sensible but what do you do when there is no evidence that it improves worker safety or reduces risk? Apparently ignore the evidence, create industrial tension and impose unnecessary costs on industry.

The Australian national government and the Victorian (State) government have both pledged to introduce drug and alcohol testing for the construction sector.  The Victorian Government also promised to introduce drug and alcohol testing for parliamentarians but everyone expects a backdown on that election pledge.

Recently two researchers in Adelaide, Ken Pidd and Anne Roche published a research paper in Accident Analysis & Prevention asking “how effective is drug testing as a workplace safety strategy?“.  The abstract states:

“…the evidence base for the effectiveness of testing in improving workplace safety is at best tenuous.”

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.