The dichotomy of OHS

There are two potentially conflicting approaches to changing the occupational health and safety performance of managers and workers – cultural change or individual inducements. In some ways this reflects a societal dichotomy between the group and the individual, the big picture and the small, employers and workers, white-collar and blue collar, blame the system or … Continue reading “The dichotomy of OHS”

CSB pushes for a more effective discussion on fatigue management

Occupational health and safety has many examples of addressing small or short-term issues rather than  facing the difficult and hard, but more sustainable, control measures. I was reminded of this by a recent media statement from the United States Chemical Safety Board (CSB) in relation to fatigue management. In 2007 the CSB recommended that, following the Texas City refinery fire, “the … Continue reading “CSB pushes for a more effective discussion on fatigue management”

Devil’s Dust – Australian movie on asbestos and corporate morality

On November 11 and 12 2012, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will broadcast “Devil’s Dust”, a two-part movie about asbestos in Australia.  This is not a documentary on asbestos-related diseases.  It follows the story of investigative journalist Matt Peacock from the 1970s to the present day in parallel with the corporate machinations of James Hardie Industries … Continue reading “Devil’s Dust – Australian movie on asbestos and corporate morality”

Business commentator is concerned over OHS and IR overlap

Respected business commentator, Robert Gottliebsen, has commented on the political and ideological challenge that Julia Gillard, Australia’s Minister for Workplace Relations, faces over the introduction of OHS model legislation. Gottliebsen says there is a risk that the combative OHS structures in New South Wales could spread to the national context and that resisting this movement, funded and promoted by the … Continue reading “Business commentator is concerned over OHS and IR overlap”

OHS in the 1970’s

Matthew Knott’s article in the Australian newspaper (21 July 2008 ) included telling comments from  Barry Willis, a 64-year-old former maintenance worker at Amberley air force base.  The article says “workplace health and safety was non-existent: open cans of chemical sealant were stored in the refrigerators where the men kept their lunch.” I have been … Continue reading “OHS in the 1970’s”

2000 Interview with Paul Kells

Recently Paul Kells passed away. Paul had a major influence on workplace health and safety awareness and promotion around the world. He was the founder of the Safe Communities Foundation in Canada. I was able to interview Paul prior to his attendance at a Symposium on the “Global Perspectives on Effective Workplace Safety Strategies” in … Continue reading “2000 Interview with Paul Kells”

Ask not what WorkSafe can do for you, but what you can do to improve safety

One of the most difficult industries in which to achieve occupational health and safety (OHS) improvements is farming, especially in areas where farming continues to be done by small family units. The safety culture of farming is unique as the workplace is embedded in community and rural culture. Some people believe that OHS regulators have …

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