The latest episode of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available and includes a discussion on the perennial occupational health and safety (OHS) debate over Safety Culture.
Siobhan Flores-Walsh and I discuss the role of safety culture and its influence on contemporary safety management. The definition is fluffy and this is part of the challenge in improving a company’s safety culture. I think the podcast episode is a useful primer on the issue to those who are just making contact with the concept and of interest to those of us who are already dealing with safety culture and people’s expectations for it.
Cabbage Salad and Safety podcasts are changing all the time and we read all the feedback and comments that listeners have emailed in. Please have a listen and email me your thoughts for future episodes or please comment below if you prefer.
I get a lot of connection requests to my LinkedIn profile from people I don’t know. Almost all of the requests are rejected and the reason I give is because I don’t know them. The requests are impersonal and provide no context so why would I accept them? Then I found myself reconnecting through this lazy way with Peter Sandman. We know each other but have not had contact for several years. Peter responded with a long email that reconnected properly by explaining how he values our connection and our changed circumstances
I am very happy to connect with anyone involved with workplace safety or the myriad of issues that relate to it but here are my suggestions about how to do this. More…
Allison Milner and Andrew Page note that the Australian Bureau of Statistics suicide data only covered the last 10 years which misses out on a comparison from last century which would show the change from 2013 to 2014 to be “less noteworthy”.
On the issue workplace suicides, Milner and Page advocate the integration of prevention strategies into the workplace but also write that
“Workplace suicide prevention activities show promise, but more rigorous evaluation is needed”.
The authors emphasise that
“Perhaps the more important message from the most recent statistics is that suicide among older age males (⩾60 years) and middle-aged males (45–59 years) continue to increase….”
This is an important consideration should your workforce match these demographics.
Milner and Page urge readers to focus on evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention. Such evidence will assist OHS professionals and business owners in considering a worst-case mental health scenario and adjusting these measures to match the mental health profiles of their workplaces and that of their clients.
The research also serves as a caution against immediate commentary on statistics by showing a measured assessment of data. Much of the statistical and academic research reports are murky and complex because the audience is, primarily, academic peers but time and reflection allows for alternate perspectives and, sometimes, plain English translations.
Office workers need to exercise more. This is one of the simplest occupational health and safety (OHS) statements that can be made. Whether one stands while answering a telephone, walks to a photocopier, have a walking meeting or take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, you will be healthier by moving. Too often this simple OHS message is confused by sellers of apps, products, furniture and training courses that promise success from a single intervention. The way to avoid this is to look at the research and some recent Australian research into sedentary work is a useful reference in determining workplace safety interventions.
On 22 July 2016, the Governance Institute of Australia conducted a seminar at which John Price (pictured right), a Commissioner with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) discussed Board and Organisational Culture. The issue of culture has been an important discussion point with ASIC and Australian businesses recently and this discussion included consideration of the role of occupational health and safety (OHS).
Although the seminar was not a speech, the discussion paralleled many of the points that Price made in this May 2016 speech. The speech is a useful insight into how an Australian corporate regulator sees culture and it is not very different from how the OHS profession sees it. Price references the Criminal Code that
“…defines corporate culture as including an organisation’s attitudes, policies, rules, course of conduct and practices.”
He also said that
“Culture matters to ASIC because poor culture can be a driver of poor conduct.”