Prevention of harm is lost in the debate over workplace bullying

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This week in Australia the conservative Liberal Party released its much-anticipated industrial relations policy.  Most commentary is that the policy is thin but in terms of occupational health and safety, the Liberal Party is supportive of the changes made concerning workplace bullying.  Sadly, the commentary is often lazy.

VWA+0518+28x5+Bullying+A3+PosterMedia Misunderstanding

One example of a careless  headline is in the Herald Sun newspaper for 11 May 2013, “$20 million Budget boost to stop workplace bullying“.  The Australian Government’s changes to the Fair Work Act do not prevent bullying, it only provides further options for remedy.  OHS is principally about preventing harm and the Fair Work Act changes do not help in this aim. Continue reading “Prevention of harm is lost in the debate over workplace bullying”

HondaMPE sends lawyer’s letter to Australian manufacturer of safety devices

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Just over a week after Australia’s national safety authority, Safe Work Australia, slammed the quad bike and all terrain vehicle manufacturers over shortsightedness on safety, Honda MPE has sent legal correspondence to an Australian manufacturer of crush protection devices (CPD), Quadbar Industries, over the wording of a sticker.

Norton Rose Letter to QuadbarIn the letter Peter Cash of Norton Rose Australia says that his client HondaMPE believes that a sticker on each Quadbar identified as a “compliance plate” may misled or deceive “members of the public and, in particular, prospective purchasers of your device”, and potential purchasers of Honda quad bikes.

The wording of the sticker is:

“COMPLIANCE PLATE

Certification/ fitment contact

Manufacturer 118 Industries

www.quadbar.com

7 Margaret St Clifton, Qld Aust. Continue reading “HondaMPE sends lawyer’s letter to Australian manufacturer of safety devices”

Melbourne Business School takes the high road on fall prevention

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Below is a guest post from long time SafetyAtWorkBlog reader, Marian Macdonald.

Workplace Access & Safety height safety consultant Aaron Carratello on a walkway built for access to HVAC equipment at Mt Eliza Business School
Workplace Access & Safety height safety consultant Aaron Carratello on a walkway built for access to HVAC equipment at Mt Eliza Business School

It was when Simon Murray put himself in the witness box and imagined what a judge would say that investing in walkways and guardrails became a ‘no brainer’.

The property and facility manager of the Melbourne Business School was faced with an important decision: whether to install extra roof anchors and static lines or shift towards more passive forms of fall prevention.

Roof anchors were cheaper initially, while the walkways and guardrails offered a far lower lifetime cost but, in the end, price was not the issue.

“A judge would ask whether we had done what was ‘reasonably practicable’,” Mr Murray says, “and if we’d only installed roof anchors and static lines to reach our HVAC equipment, the answer would have been ‘no’.” Continue reading “Melbourne Business School takes the high road on fall prevention”

Is safety leadership the panacea for unsafe workplaces?

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National Safety Cover May 2013The May 2013 National Safety magazine has an article on safety leadership by Australia lawyer, Michael Tooma.  It is a terrific article but it also highlights the lack of case studies of the practical reality of safety leadership in Australia and the great distance still required to improve safety. Tooma starts the article with

“It is widely recognised that strong safety leadership is integral to work, health and safety performance in any organisation.” [emphasis added]

Later he writes

“There is little doubt that safety leadership is a prerequisite to a positive safety culture in any organisation.”

These equivocations may indicate authorial caution on the part of Michael Tooma but  they could illustrate that the role of safety leadership still remains open to question. Continue reading “Is safety leadership the panacea for unsafe workplaces?”

Unauthorised use of SafetyAtWorkBlog articles

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Recently, I had to demand that an Australia OHS news website remove the SafetyAtWorkBlog articles that it had republished on its website without my permission.

I appreciate the thanks I receive for writing this blog but if you wish to republish anything other than excerpts, please contact me.  The copyright statement that accompanies every SafetyAtWorkBlog is not for decoration and will be enforced as much as it can.

Just please ask for permission.  I am not unreasonable.

Please remember that I am a freelance writer and you are welcome to commission me to write OHS articles for you exclusively.

Kevin Jones