HIP Royal Commission – Gross Negligence and Accountability

Little of the recent commentary on the findings of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP) have mentioned the opinion of the Royal Commissioner Ian Hanger that the Australian Government acted in a “grossly negligent” manner.  Such a comment deserves considerable analysis by a specialist lawyer but it remains a remarkable criticism in …

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Fear of exposure rather than pride in their work

“Due diligence” is an established business management concept that only recently came to be applied to occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia through the Work Health and Safety (WHS) harmonisation process.  It’s credibility comes from the Corporations Act, principally, but also Consumer Protection and, partly, Environmental laws. The attention given by OHS/WHS professionals and …

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Disseminating OHS information should not be optional

WorkSafe Victoria has been reviewing a series of enforcement and prosecution policies for some time.  One of these policies set for re-issue relates specifically to the publication of prosecutorial information through its website and media releases and, although the “new” policy is not yet available, it may be worth remembering the previous policy, last revised in …

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Serious questions raised about the effectiveness of OHS enforcement strategies

Richard Johnstone is always worth reading as he writes perceptively about occupational health and safety (OHS) and its enforcement.  The new book from Baywood Publishing “Safety or Profit” provides a chapter by Johnstone that argues: “…that despite the rhetoric of stronger enforcement and more robust prosecution, the dominant ideology of work health and safety enforcement …

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MP wants to close a dodgy loophole but vision is what’s needed

One of the most discussed posts on this blog concerned an insurance company that paid the fines awarded against a company director. The company director had been found guilty of OHS breaches that led to the death of a worker. Yesterday, South Australia’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Industrial Relations. John Rau, said that he … Continue reading “MP wants to close a dodgy loophole but vision is what’s needed”

How can one learn from OHS mistakes if those mistakes are hidden?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) regulatory agencies have existed for decades, originally with an enforcement role but increasingly aimed to prevention and education.  It is fair to say the “2nd generation” of OHS regulators in Australia appeared in the 1980s.  It is also fair to expect to be able to readily access the corporate memory and prosecutorial … Continue reading “How can one learn from OHS mistakes if those mistakes are hidden?”

OHS and the death of Brodie Panlock from bullying

On 8 February 2010, four workers at Café Vamp, a small restaurant in Melbourne Victoria, were fined a total of $A335,000 for repeatedly bullying, or allowing bullying to occur to, 19-year-old Brodie Panlock.  Brodie jumped from a building in September 2006.  Her family watched Brodie die from head injuries three days later.  They were unaware …

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