Good data but never enough

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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released two statistical reports on May 16 2018, one concerns eye injuries and the other, hospitalised injuries.  Some occupational injury data is readily accessible, particularly on eye injuries.

“Eye injuries in Australia 2010–11 to 2014–15” states this about occupational injuries Continue reading “Good data but never enough”

Australian Workplace Safety Bureau

There seems to be a growing community frustration with regulators who hesitate to prosecute about breaches of laws, including occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, and about options that sound reasonable, like Enforceable Undertakings, but still let businesses “off the hook”.  The calls for Industrial Manslaughter laws are the most obvious manifestations of the anger and frustration from perceived injustices.

But perhaps there was another way to achieve change in workplace safety, a way that could be based on a model that Australia and other countries already have.

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Why hazards are not reported

Each year thousands of people express support for International Workers Memorial Day and the World Day for Safety and Health at Work publicly and through social media.  This is a statement of their commitment to occupational health and safety (OHS) as well as a call to continue action in improving workplace health and safety.  However, this usually does not add to the state of knowledge on OHS.

This year there was a couple of contributions of information that may be useful.  Shine Lawyers released the findings of a recent survey (not yet available online) into why workers do not report workplace incidents. The survey was largely overlooked by the media, perhaps because the full survey results have not been released publicly.

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Notification of mental health incidents

Australia’s entertainment and performing arts sector is gradually attending to the workplace mental health risks that are inherent, or have been shown to be problematic, in their industry. However it continues to operate in isolation rather than facing the reality and magnitude of the problems and the challenges facing lots of industries who have only recently discovered their psychosocial hazards.

The latest edition of Dance Australia magazine contains an interview with Chloe Dallimore,* President of Equity, a division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which illustrates the willingness to change, but still within limits.  Occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations are hardly mentioned, nor is the role of the OHS regulators.  Perhaps it is time to include mental health as a workplace incident or condition that should be notifiable under law.

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Melbourne’s Worker Memorial ceremony

The Melbourne ceremony for International Workers Memorial Day was held on 27 April 2018 and had a good turnout.  The standout “speaker” was Lana Cormie (pictured right), whose husband, Charlie Howkins in a trench collapse in March 2018, a work colleague died later in hospital from injuries from the incident. Victorian Trades Hall’s Luke Hilakari was fired up in his talk about the importance of occupational health and safety (OHS) and the need for Industrial Manslaughter laws.

Cormie’s speech was read out by

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