New President and new approaches to unionism

ACTU Executive with Michele O’Neil second from left

Day One of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Congress was memorable for a couple of reasons.  The appointment of Michele O’Neil, pictured right, as the President was a notable achievement, one made more memorable as she denied any desire to move onto a political appointment. The other memorable event was a string of shopfloor representatives outlining their innovative approaches to the recruitment of members and the creation of (sub)unions for hospitality workers, hairdressers and indigenous workers in the Northern Territory.

Workplace safety was mentioned a couple of times in passing but occupational health and safety (OHS) seems to becoming more a thing that is, rather than a thing that is named.  If we look for it, we find it.

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Don’t “say anything to anyone..” – Dreamworld inquest

The first week of the two-week inquest into four fatalities at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland has concluded.  It has substantial occupational health and safety (OHS) management lessons for Australian businesses in a similar way to that of many recent workplace disasters.  Those lessons are basic and the hazards are well-known in the OHS profession. Journalists Jamie Walker and Mark Schliebs, in the Weekend Australian newspaper, provided an excellent review (paywalled) of the lessons from that first week.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has not written about the deaths on the, now discontinued, Thunder Rapids ride because there has been an

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The SIA’s National Conference is on the right path

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Let’s acknowledge the problems with this year’s Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) National Conference upfront before the good stuff is mentioned.

A speaker on the issue of Diversity failed to turn up.  Many of the rooms were setup in such a configuration that some delegates had to stand or, like I did, sit on the floor. Almost all the speakers were asked to speak for over 40 minutes which was a challenge for some and conflicts with studies about attention spans.  Some of the presentations didn’t seem to support the “in practice” theme of the conference. Lastly, what some described as challenging presentations, others found to be vanilla and too general. Some of these problems were beyond the SIA’s control but they were still negative experiences.

Over the next week SafetyAtWorkBlog will be writing about some of the very positive speakers and experiences at the SIA National Conference. Continue reading “The SIA’s National Conference is on the right path”

Safety in Work-For-The-Dole gets a hammering

Journalist Alice Workman drew social media’s attention to a dismissive answer by Australia’s Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy in Parliament last week.  Laundy was asked by the Opposition Labor Party’s Ed Husic about a workplace fatality report and the safety performance of the Work-For-The-Dole scheme.  The discussion provides a glimpse into the politics of occupational health and safety (OHS).

According to

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Workplace safety in correctional facilities

In support of the recent SafetyAtWorkBlog article “Detention Royal Commission touches on workplace safety”, WorkSafe NT was contacted with a series of questions about the role of the Northern Territory’s occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator in detention centres.  Those questions comprised:

• Has WorkSafe ever undertaken any inspection activities at detention centres in the Northern Territory?  If so, what was there a specific request, incident or other catalyst for this?
• Is there a specific group/team of inspectors under whom responsibility for inspecting detention centres would sit?
• Does NTWorkSafe coordinate any WHS inspection activities with other government agencies and authorities?
• Has the Northern Territory Correctional Services ever requested NTWorkSafe’s assistance in safety reviews of their facilities?

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