The safety features of the new Polaris set a new benchmark

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2014.5-SprtsmnAce4x4-White_f3qThe Weekly Times scored an exclusive this week about a new model of Polaris quad bike which incorporates a roll cage or rollover protection structure (ROPS) in its design.  The significance of the Sportsman Ace is, according to the newspaper and the manufacturer, a “game changer” because it seems to counter the arguments of the quad bike manufacturers against such design changes in submissions to government and in public campaigns.  They have stressed that more effective control of a quad bike comes from driver training and behaviour and that ROPs may itself contribute to driver injuries and deaths.  The Polaris Sportsman Ace, to be released in the United States this week and Australia next month, seems to prove that quad bikes can be redesigned to include safety features, an action that manufacturers have been extremely reluctant to do.

A major critic of ROPs on quad bikes in Australia has been the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). SafetyAtWorkBlog spoke to a spokesman for the FCAI who explained that the Polaris Sportsman Ace is not an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) but a UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle). Continue reading “The safety features of the new Polaris set a new benchmark”

A bright new book on safety communications

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Australian marketer and communicator, Marie-Claire Ross, has moved from video to print with a new book called “Transform Your Safety Communication“.  The book  approaches safety communications from the marketing perspective and provides a terrific primer in how to write about workplace safety effectively.

Marie-Claire Ross writes that

“Too often, safety professionals are taught about compliance, but not the right skills to influence and engage others.” (page 12)

This is not a deficiency of just the OHS academia.  Such a statement would equally apply to most professions.  Commercial communication skills, those required other than for essays, assignments and theses, are rarely included in any curriculum other than journalism and marketing.  As such, this book is likely to have benefits way beyond the safety profession. Continue reading “A bright new book on safety communications”

Safety Culture can distract from safety management

Mohammad Rabbi has recently written that

“…safety culture is something that must permeate an entire organization. Its application largely depends on the investment, training, employee attitude, environment, location, laws, customs and practices in the industry.  So how can organizations go about developing a safety culture?”

He is right that any safety culture has a wide range of business and social contexts but the quote, and the article, Workplace Safety Culture 101, seems to miss a couple of contextual realities.  Many of these issues quoted appear to be basic elements of business and safety management and not dependent on safety culture programs.

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Incident investigation findings should be shared

Accident reportMany people, and OHS professionals, complain about the lack of research in Australia into occupational health and safety issues.  Research is occurring but often this is inaccessible to companies, professionals and decision-makers due to unjustifiable costs for the articles and journals.  Yet there is OHS research, of a type, that can be done by any company should they choose to do so – incident investigation.

Individual investigation reports may only address one set of circumstances, those that led to an incident or, rarely but importantly, a near miss or a systems breach, but together these reports may identify a systemic problem or illustrate broader safer deficiencies in an industry sector.

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New book provides fresh context to OHS

SafetyAtWorkBlog regularly receives excellent review books from the New York publishing company, BaywoodPublishing.  The latest is entitled Safety or Profit? – International Studies in Governance, Change and the Work Environment.   I have yet to get beyond the introduction to the chapters by Australian academics on precarious workers (Quinlan) and the decriminalisation of OHS (Johnstone) but the introduction is fascinating.

The most fascinating is its discussion of Lord Robens’ Report of the Inquiry into Health and Safety at Work from 1973. The editors, Theo Nichols and David Walters, question the “major advance” many claimed for the Robens report by comparing it reviews 40 years earlier.  Nichols and Walters quote the conservatism that led to Robens seeing criminal law as being “largely irrelevant”, and legal sanctions being “counter to our philosophy”.  However, they do admit that Robens was prophetic on the growth of self-regulation and the duties of care.

Nichols and Walters also remind us that the Robens-inspired Health and Safety At Work Act of 1974 did not recommend the creation of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) representatives.

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