Last week at the Safety In Action Trade Show I participated in a live web interview on safety. The video of my interview is available below. Many thanks to Digicast for making this and other OHS videos available.
Other video interviews are available with:
- Dr Angelica Vecchio-Sadus- HSE Leader at CSIRO Process Science and Engineering.
- Marilyn Hubner – Workplace Learning and Development Specialist at the National Safety Council of Australia
- John Lacey, Video President IOSH & CEO Lincsafe
Last week Professor Rod McClure of the Monash Injury Research Institute urged Australian safety professionals to look at the ecology of safety and injury prevention. By using the term “ecology” outside of the colloquial, he was advocating that we search for a universal theory of injury prevention. In short, he urged us to broaden our understanding of safety to embrace new perspectives. It could also be argued that he wanted to break the safety profession out of its malaise and generate some social activism on injury prevention – a philosophical kick in the pants.
Before discussing the latest research Australia’s Barbara Pocock has undertaken, with her colleagues Natalie Skinner and Philippa Williams, the challenge of achieving some degree of balance between the two social activities of work and non-work can be indicated by a graph provided by Dick Bryan and Mike Rafferty in a recent DISSENT magazine article about financial risk.
In 2008 people in Australian households were working over 50 hours per week. The reasons for this are of less relevance than the fact that Australian workers are well beyond the 40-hour work week, not including any travel time. Work has a social cost as well as a social benefit and any discussion (debate?) over productivity, as is currently occurring in Australia, must also consider the social cost of this productivity. The graph above is a symptom of the challenge of achieving a decent quality of life and a functional level of productivity – the challenge that Pocock, Skinner and Williams have undertaken. More…
Several years ago the board of WorkSafe Victoria decided to fund a $A600 million health assessment program for workers from the workers’ compensation fund. The WorkHealth program has not been without its critics but WorkSafe announced this week that 1 in 4 Victorian workers have participated in the WorkHealth program. Given this significance I undertook a work health assessment at the Safety In Action trade show.
The WorkHealth stand at the trade show had no waiting so I signed up for an assessment. The form asked basic questions about age, health, family illnesses, amount of exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking and dietary intake. I wrote that I was a fat, fifty, sedentary, moderate drinker who does not eat enough fruit. More…
Yossi Berger writes:
We’re all familiar with the notions of focus and attention, and selective attention. We’ve all experienced how difficult it can be to attend to target information when background noise is distracting. The issue can be referred to as the signal-to-noise ratio.
I often find its effects in discussions with managers and workers during workplace inspections. That is, I hear animated discussions of hazards, of risks, of risk assessments and risk management and various systems and theories. The conversations over flow with these concepts whilst most of workers’ daily problems aren’t even raised, they don’t reach the level of a signal.
Thankfully in most workplaces, most managers and most workers have not experienced any fatalities. By far most of them will not have experienced or witnessed a serious injury or serious disease. Nor have most experienced their local hazards actually seriously hurting anyone.
But most workers will have experienced some dangerous working conditions, mostly not mortally dangerous, but dangerous. More…
Overall the Safety In Action Conference, currently occurring in Melbourne, has been consistent but without any standout moments. However there have been nuggets of interest from the speakers and insight from some of the participants.
Andrew Douglas of M+K Lawyers was blunt in describing some of the actions between State Governments and the Federal Government over the harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws as “extortion” that is impeding much-needed growth. Also, he was clear that the most effective people to undertake investigations of workplace incidents were OHS professionals as safety is their expertise. He was adamant that lawyers are experts in law and safety professionals in safety but that they must work cooperatively.
Gerard Forlin was an enormously entertaining presenter who should have been a keynote speaker as, he himself said, he was only warming up after his half hour. His comparisons between Australian and UK OHS law were insightful. Industrial manslaughter laws are out of vogue in Australia but Forlin stated that corporate manslaughter laws have contributed to an increased focus on safety by senior executives, even though prosecutions under those laws have been curiously targeted. More…