Workplace Safety Inspector Ad

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WorkSafe Victoria has launched a new advertising campaign emphasising its role as an OHS inspectorate (click image below to view).  The emphasis fits that of WorkSafe’s CEO, John Merritt, who has pledged mre inspectorate resources and enforcement in the future.

The ad is clever in its structure by relieving the boss’ tension over an expected WorkSafe inspector visit and then reinforcing the surprise nature of many WorkSafe visits.  The ad is also very well acted but I wonder about the effectiveness of the message as a TV ad.  Not being privy to WorkSafe ad strategies, I would have thought that billboards in and around industrial sectors with the boss’ worried face may be more effective.

One small point though, the female worker being asked about office cabling is too stereotypical.  However I acknowledge that having a female machine operator may have distracted the focus from the main message.

Still from new WorkSafe inspector ad
Still from new WorkSafe inspector ad

OHS Law Review and the International Labour Organisation

Several submissions, from those currently publicly available, to Australia’s National OHS Law Review have referenced OHS conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is early days in the process of assessing submissions and one would expect more details on ILO Conventions to come from submissions of the ACTU and ACCI, both members of the…

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Could sexual abuse by priests be a breach of OHS law?

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In early July 2008, serious accusations about the management of sexual abuse claims by the Australian Catholic Church came to the public attention.  Considerable debate on this current round is available in the Australian media but the ABC show Lateline started the running on the matter.  A useful starting point is an ABC news report on the initial claims.

This week I was conducting some OHS update sessions for a client in which I outlined that one of the objectives of Victoria’s OHS legislation is to

“protect the public from the health and safety risks of business activities”.

And there is a legislative obligation on employers to

“not recklessly endanger a person at a workplace”.

There is a further obligation on employees, in relation to workplace safety and the safety of the public to

“take reasonable care for self and others”.

I put the question to readers – could the sexual misconduct of priests be a potential breach of OHS law?

Coroner to investigate safety management of Beaconsfield mine

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A front page report in the The Australian on 9 July 2008 is reassuring safety professionals who had hoped for OHS management details from the Tasmanian Coroner’s inquest into the death of Larry Knight at the Beaconsfield mine.

According to the report

Coroner Rod Chandler yesterday ruled against the mine’s submission that he should simply adopt the findings of the official Melick report into the Anzac Day rock-fall in 2006 that killed Knight and trapped colleagues Brant Webb and Todd Russell underground for 14 days.

Mr Chandler also ruled against the mine’s fall-back position that any inquest should be limited to geo-technical issues.

Instead, he ruled he would also examine risk management at the mine, which was criticised by an expert’s report, the mine’s “financial situation” and the role of Tasmania’s work safety watchdog.

This puts the inquiry iinto the realms of the Sago mine investigation and many other mine fatality inquries.

The full inquest resumes on 22 July 2008.

Domestic violence and workplace stress

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Today, prominent New Zealand sports broadcaster Tony Veitch has admitted striking a previous girlfriend whose back broke in the incident.  The issue of domestic violence is outside the approach of SafetyAtWorkBlog but Tony Veitch has identified some contributory factors to his actions – workload, stress and medications.

Media coverage of Tony Veitch’s admissions will be dominated by the issues of domestic violence and the money that he paid his girlfriend to keep the matter out of the media.  In this blog’s context, questions should be asked about his employer’s, TVNZ’s, appoach to stress management and excessive working hours, and Tony Veitch’s own decision to accept working conditions that he says contributed to his violent acts.

As with the many politicians who resign due to workload and stress and who develop a sudden desire to “spend more time with the family”, and those CEO’s who take a year off to reestablish a work-life balance after amassing a personal fortune, and the television broadcasters who strike out at girlfriends, the contributions to domestc violence by work environments should be assessed so that other workers do not have to suffer and partners are not assaulted.

A balanced ABC news report on the Tony Veitch’s apology is available HERE.  A New Zealand talkback radio session on the issue is available HERE

Additional information on the issue can be found HERE