Safety Differently – The Movie reviewed

One of the best elements of Sidney Dekker’s new Safety Differently documentary is that he is only in it for a few of its thirty minutes.  It is not that he has nothing to say but the expected audience for this documentary would already be familiar with Dekker’s take on Safety Differently.

This documentary provides what has been needed for the Safety Differently movement for some time  – case studies, trials and experiments.  It was always possible to understand the theory but it was difficult to see how the theory would be implemented.  Partly this was because the implication was that Safety II concepts replaced Safety I.  Rather Safety Differently is a transition from I to II and over a considerable time.

This documentary, which is free to view and released on October 10, 2017. includes three stories – one each from oil & gas, health care and retail supermarkets.  

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Queensland’s Industrial Manslaughter push moves to Parliament this week

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Queensland’s Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Grace Grace is continuing to apply political pressure on the opposition (conservative) party over the issue of industrial manslaughter laws, prior to their debate in State Parliament this week.

In a media statement released on October 6 2017, Grace states that

“We owe it to the victims and their loved ones to ensure Queensland has strong industrial manslaughter laws to protect people on the job.”

This is an appealing statement during Australia’s National Safe Work Month but the relationship between industrial manslaughter laws and safer workers is not as clear and direct as the political statements suggest. Continue reading “Queensland’s Industrial Manslaughter push moves to Parliament this week”

Near Kill – Jim Ward speaks

Jim Ward is hardly known outside the Australian trade union movement but many people over the age of thirty, or in the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession, may remember the person Esso blamed for the Esso Longford explosion in 1998.  Just after the nineteenth anniversary of the incident that killed two workers and injured eight other, SafetyAtWorkBlog interviewed Ward about the incident but, more significantly, also about how that incident changed his world view.

For some time now Jim Ward has been the National OHS Director for the Australian Workers’ Union.  Here is a long interview with Ward that provides a useful perspective on OHS while Australia conducts its National Safe Work Month.

[Note: any links in the text have been applied by SafetyAtWorkBlog]

SAWB: Jim, what happened at Longford, and what did it mean for you.

JW:   So, on 25 September 1998, I got up out of bed and went to work, just as I’d done for the previous 18 years of my working life, at the Esso gas plant facility at Longford in Victoria.

There was nothing unforeseen or untoward about that particular day.  But due to, as one judge elegantly described it, “a confluence of events”, it turned out to be the most significant day of my life.

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National Safe Work Month offer for SafetyAtWorkBlog

Measure the old, plan for the new

“What gets measured, gets done” is a common phrase in corporate-speak but needs to be treated with caution in terms of occupational health and safety (OHS).

In The Australian newspaper of October 5 2017 (paywalled) an article about remuneration and innovation includes a brief but telling discussion of the perception of OHS.

Sylvia Falzon is a director of the companies Perpetual and Regis Healthcare.  The article states that Falzon is a

“great believer that ‘what gets measured gets done”.

However, this belief has important limitations. 

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Hollnagel, Safety II and Captain Hindsight

The ideal outcome of attending a safety conference or seminar is to hear something new, some innovation that inspires, or gain a hint for a potential opportunity.  In occupational health and safety (OHS) this rarely happens.  So the most common outcome is clarification or reinforcement.  This was my experience at a Professor Erik Hollnagel seminar in Melbourne on October 3, 2017.

Hollnagel’s Safety II concept has been round for several years now and has had considerable influence on the thinking of OHS professionals, if no one else.  Safety II has generated several commercial and academic offshoots that provide hope for a more realistic and practical application of safety principles.

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