New quad bike research and practical safety guidance

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A major Australian rural newspaper, The Weekly Times, has devoted its front page to an article on rollover protective devices on quad bikes.   It has taken as the base new information released by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (ACAHS) through a media release. The new policy paper and the supporting Practical Management Guide acknowledge new research from independent engineers that has finally questioned the established knowledge base on the safety of quad bikes.

ACAHS has come to a position where it states:

“Farmers and other owners of quad bikes should be encouraged to fit suitably tested protective devices to reduce death and serious injury from rollovers.” Continue reading “New quad bike research and practical safety guidance”

One person’s red tape is another’s due diligence

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Australian business is soon to be required to apply the concept of “due diligence” to occupational health and safety.  One would have expected the agency that is coordinating the changes to provide detailed guidance on what is expected from “due diligence”.  That is not the case and so, inevitably, lawyers have stepped in (some stepped in some time ago).

Part of the due diligence obligation is that it is necessary to “verify… compliance with the business’ safety obligations” and this is unavoidably achieved by audits and subsequent paperwork.  In fact, paperwork is a vital element of support for “evidence-based decision-making”.  So it is with some concern that one sees the New South Wales WorkCover Authority is number three on the NSW Business Chamber’s list of “top 5 red tape offenders”(?), released on 9 March 2011 . Continue reading “One person’s red tape is another’s due diligence”

Raising awareness about stress instead of controlling it

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In March 2011, in response to one of the several Stress Awareness Days, HRLeader magazine ran an edited version of a Personnel Today article called “5 steps to tackle employee stress”.  The Personnel Today had “6 steps”, so are Australian readers being ripped off?

Personnel Today included a step called “Refer the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards”.  HRLeader’s editor must have made the call that HSE information is geographically specific and therefore not relevant to Australia but the change is more indicative of the fact that Australia does not have anything to match the HSE management standards to help control stress.  According to the HSE website:

“….the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work. These are:

Grief guidance got right

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A reader has pointed out an excellent guidance on managing situations after the sudden loss of a work colleague or family member, following on from a recent SafetyAtWorkBlog article.

In 2004 Skylight and New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Commission published “Death Without Warning – After an Accidental Death”.  This book (only available for purchase) is an excellent guidance that provides advice on managing grief-stricken staff at the same time as providing some dignity.

Significantly the guidance is contemporary with current support practices.  There is none of this rubbish about “closure”, or “getting over it”.  It also acknowledges that men and women grieve differently and that each individual grieves in their own personal way, a way that those who provide support must accommodate and understand.

The guidance has a 2nd edition which can be purchased online and, on receipt of our copy, will be reviewed here.

The guidance has a particular poignancy following the recent fatal earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand where many were killed as their workplaces collapsed.

Research Paper

For those readers who are, perhaps, researching in this area of occupation well-being or workplace mental health, one research article that is worth digging up is a 2010 paper by several Australian researchers called “Loss and grief in the workplace – What can we learn from the literature?Continue reading “Grief guidance got right”

Daniel’s story

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Below is an article submitted to SafetyAtWorkBlog as a comment several days ago.  After much deliberation I have decided to publish this as an article for the consideration of readers and in the hope that someone may be willing to provide some practical assistance to Daniel.

Daniel has provided a phone number and email address to SafetyAtWorkBlog.  Please contact the Editor if you are able to help.

“This is my story. I have tried different other government departments last year to get some help all I have got is the runaround so I thought I would try here. I really don’t know how to word this or where to begin so I’ll start from 2003. I was working for a company here in Adelaide for about a year when I had an accident at work, a week later I was put on work cover my boss decided to get rid of me because I was no used to him anymore. I spent the next three years on work cover, setting at home and slowly going crazy I spent most of that three years fighting work cover to get them to do something to get me back to work but nothing ever happened. after losing my family and everything I had while I was on work cover,

“Finally I was offered redemption prayer out. It wasn’t much for the price I had to pay to be left with a permanent disability and plus I was suffering from depression from the time I spent on work cover I lost my identity as a person and felt completely demoralized. And feeling Continue reading “Daniel’s story”