Is a new OHS consultative model required?

A crucial element in achieving the aims of the independent review into WorkSafe Victoria, as discussed in an earlier SafetyAtWorkBlog article, seems to be the operation of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (OHSAC).  It was difficult to obtain a list of the current members of OHSAC. Due to the appointments being considered “ministerial”, WorkSafe would not reveal memberships.

But it is worth considering whether this type of tripartite-dominated committee is the most suitable or effective way of consulting on occupational health and safety issues.  Can it represent the gig economy and new work arrangements?  Given the broadening of OHS into mental health and wellness, does the current membership still represent OHS? Where’s the Human Resources representative? Does OHSAC membership fit with the diversity we now expect from our company Boards? But, above all else, does the growth in social media make these often plodding, and sometimes secretive, processes ineffective or redundant?

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government has provided the following names of current OHSAC members as at December 2017.  SafetyAtWorkBlog has added titles and links to online member profiles:

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A “Fortean” Approach to Safety Management

The open mind approach to the investigation of anything is a core element in accident investigation, brainstorming, “what-if” analysis, and ultimately occupational health and safety. OHS has been saddled for decades by expert investigation from isolated silos. And I am not sure that being an expert in one discipline requires one to be ignorant of other disciplines, or even disparaging of other disciplines. Experts in engineering must acknowledge that there are things that happen that are unexpected, that a machine was not designed for.

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The open mind approach to the investigation of anything is a core element in accident investigation, brainstorming, “what-if” analysis, and ultimately occupational health and safety. OHS has been saddled for decades by expert investigation from isolated silos. And I am not sure that being an expert in one discipline requires one to be ignorant of other disciplines, or even disparaging of other disciplines. Experts in engineering must acknowledge that there are things that happen that are unexpected, that a machine was not designed for.

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