Workplace mental health and wellbeing strategies must consider suicide

There is an increased blurring between the workplace, work and mental health.  In the past, work and life were often split implying that one had little to do with the other except for a salary in return for effort and wellness in preparation for productiveness.  This split was always shaky but was convenient for lots of reasons, one of which was the management of occupational health and safety (OHS).  However that perceptual split is over, now that mental health has come to the fore in many OHS considerations.

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Passing the OHS baton

Leo Ruschena has been a fixture in the occupational health and safety (OHS) scene in Victoria Australia for many years.  In a short while he retires from his work as an OHS Lecturer with RMIT University.  Retirement often means that knowledge and wisdom becomes less accessible to the public so SafetyAtWorkBlog spent some time with him recently and asked him to reflect.

Ruschena began his career as a chemical engineer with an economics degree working for nine years at Mount Isa Mines. In the mid -1970s he received a scholarship to study occupational hygiene in London UK, achieving his Masters.  At that time OHS was an emerging area of study, legislation and political discourse.  As Ruschena sees it:

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The clash between money and lives

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A media release from Australia’s Minister for Employment, Michaela Cash, starts the theme of management of workers compensation on the cusp of National Safe Work Month.  The purpose of the media release is ostensibly to celebrate that Comcare has become a fully funded scheme for the first time since 2010 but this is undermined by party politics:

“These results are another clear example of the Turnbull Government cleaning up after Labor’s slack financial management, while still delivering the most efficient and effective service for injured and ill employees.

Under Labor, Comcare had become a budget black hole into which taxpayer’s money simply disappeared.”

Continue reading “The clash between money and lives”

Is the future of OHS based on a flawed past?

It seems that we are constantly being urged to innovate, to be creative and to think differently.  This is equally true in the discipline of occupational health and safety (OHS), but part of thinking differently in the future should also involve reassessing the past.

It is often said that many the OHS performance indicators, predominantly Lost Time Injury (LTI) calculations, have shown a “plateau-ing” of safety performance.  From this common position, companies have moved to new OHS training strategies that involve behaviours, values, cultural norms, safety culture and other employee and organisational recalibrations.  But what if the case in support of these strategies was not as strong as first thought?  What if the “plateau-ing” did not exist or the increase in performance was not as strong as the LTI-based data seemed to indicate?

Academics,

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Leadership conference was hit and miss

The Future of Leadership roadshow was only partly about its topic.  Much of it felt like a professional development day with interesting speakers and storytellers.  By providing stories of failure, reconciliation, and unlearning the organisers could argue that they were also creating future leaders.

A previous article briefly discussed Dan Gregory’s presentation.  One additional element was the catalyst for his Directorship of White Ribbon – a poster which reframed the issue of violence against women as an issue that men can affect. Gregory was advocating being open to alternative perspectives of your reality, your lived experiences, career, communication and profession.  He challenged the audience, as Daniel Hummerdal does his safety audience, to look differently, to look creatively and to analyse our personal and organisational motivations.

Like all good conference speakers, Dan Gregory does not tell you what to think but how to think, and treats the audience like adults who are in charge of their own decisions.

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