Safety posters about the reality of safety

Recently a colleague was asking why there was no reality in many of the workplace safety posters.  Many countries are continuing with confronting campaigns or workplace injuries and fatalities but it is easy to suffer from graphic “fatigue” and a new approach is required.  Part of this cycle has resulted in WorkSafe Victoria’s successful Homecomings campaign but even that campaign has a diminished impact, over time.

So I had a go at a couple of posters that I thought reflect the reality of workplace injuries and fatalities but also pack a punch.  These posters were produced separately to any safety campaign and solely in response to my colleague’s comment.

I would welcome constructive criticism on these posters and their relevance to workplace safety.

I have also Mummy equivalents available and should add that these images have come from a photo library.

Kevin Jones

Workplace bullying hits the national agenda in Australia

On Saturday morning, May 26 2012, the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and her Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, announced an inquiry into workplace bullying to be undertaken by the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment and to report to Parliament in November 2012.

This announcement seems to be another that is buried or overtaken by current political events.   The Australian Broadcasting Corporation mentioned workplace bullying as a “silent epidemic”.  There is a strong risk that the politicians are overstating the workplace bullying case.  WorkSafe Victoria receives thousands of enquiries about workplace bullying but only a portion of them fit the workplace bullying definition and only a handful proceed to a prosecution.  The government needs to be careful that it is not operating to a perception of workplace bullying instead of the reality, even though the community outrage is genuinely felt.

The Age newspaper and AAP, basically printed an edited media release but the most significant statements have not been printed.  These are the comments by the Prime Minister, Minister Shorten and the parents of Brodie Panlock, Damian and Rae.  Below is a selection or statements from the doorstop transcript:

PM : “I’ve have had the opportunity to have a conversation with Damian and with Rae about their family experience and they will talk about that family experience themselves, but it led to the loss of their daughter Brodie. And they fought hard here in Victoria for Brodie’s law, to have a law that deals with serious bullying at work. Continue reading “Workplace bullying hits the national agenda in Australia”

Australian senator sees OHS consultation as “collusion”

In response to correspondence from an Australian safety professional, Senator Eric Abetz, Federal Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, has displayed his ignorance of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.  In the  email response, reproduced in full below and dated 26 April 2012, Senator Abetz, accuses “big Government” “big unions and big business” of colluding on the development of Codes of Practice.

Abetz shows his misunderstanding of the status of codes of practice in the regulation of OHS.  He also uses a DRAFT  code of practice to illustrate the absurdity of new OHS laws, a draft that is having a contentious route but is expected to be considerably changed in the final version.

The draft code he chooses is workplace bullying and the senator tries to illustrate how silly this code’s suggestions are by hypothesizing a small business.  He chooses a two person plumbing firm.  How different his perspective could have been should he have chosen a real small business workplace bullying case that resulted in a worker killing herself.  How convenient to avoid the Cafe Vamp example. Continue reading “Australian senator sees OHS consultation as “collusion””

Upcoming cancer in the workplace seminar

In November 2010 Geoff Fary left his role with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to chair the Asbestos Management Review. On May 3 2012 Geoff Fary will join other keynote speakers in a full day seminar in Melbourne called “Cancer in the workplace – a forum on practical solutions for prevention“.  This event has been jointly organised by the ACTU and the Cancer Council of Australia.

Australia’s trade union movement has a good record in asbestos- and cancer-related seminars but rarely do they gain much traction outside of their sector.  The cooperation with the Cancer Council will broaden the appeal of the seminar into more general workplace health consideration, particularly with a speaker from the United States, Lucille Servidio of Capaccio Environmental Engineering.  Local speakers are not overlooked with, probably, Associate Professor Tim Driscoll being the most recognisable participant to OHS professionals.

With the increasing attention to workplace health, concern over cancer clusters and breast cancer risks in nightshift workers, these very affordable seminars often give terrific value – not something that one always gets from the seminars that cost of $A2000 a day.

Kevin Jones

The fact that quad bike use is dangerous needs a fresh communication strategy

Dr Tony Lower of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health & Safety has released new information about deaths and injuries associated with quad bike use in Australia for 2011. His report lists media reports that

“There were at least 23 quad bike related fatalities and 56 major injuries, many of which are likely to be life‐changing…”

He also continues to keep pressure on the quad bike manufacturers:

“It is an absolute insult to quad bike users and particularly to those families that have lost loved ones in rollovers that the manufacturers and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) simply continue to defend the indefensible. There is an urgent need to address this issue through better design of the quad bikes themselves and also ensuring crush protection devices are fitted”

But the severity of the risk and potential consequences of using quad bikes is well established.  This article is going to look at a couple of other issues raised by Dr Lower’s media release (not yet available online) and the Media Monitors report. Continue reading “The fact that quad bike use is dangerous needs a fresh communication strategy”

New Workers’ Memorial announced for Australia

In May 2011, the Australian Government announced the development of a National Worker’s Memorial.  The winning design, selected by an independent jury from a competitive pool of 26 entries, was announced in Canberra this evening.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten announced that Architects Johnson Pilton Walker have been awarded the task.  In a media statement Shorten said that

 “The memorial will honour and pay tribute to all working Australians who have died as a result of work-related accidents, incidents and disease… It will also provide an important focal point for the national commemoration of Workers’ Memorial Day, recognised internationally on 28 April each year.” Continue reading “New Workers’ Memorial announced for Australia”

The Australian newspaper dismisses workplace deaths as “sickies”

Safe Work Australia has released two important statistical reports. One concerns the number of Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities for 2009-10 and the other is called The Cost of Work-Related injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2008-09 .

These reports have gained minimal mainstream media coverage. In a very short article The Australian newspaper preferred to focus on productivity clauses in workplace agreements following a departmental report, as is its choice, but, more significantly, the newspaper’s headline dismisses the report’s cost estimates on “work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths” as “sickies”.  The report on costs, from where The Australian drew its $A60 billion reference, includes an evaluation of the cost of workplace fatalities, defined in the report on page 18 as

“a work-related injury or disease, which results in death.”

It is enormously insulting that the newspaper includes workplace deaths in its disparaging headline “Workers’ sickies costing us $60bn”. Minister Bill Shorten states in his media release accompanying the reports that:

“Work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities have a huge impact on Australian society. They can physically and mentally affect workers, colleagues, employers, families and the community. This latest research is evidence of the significant cost to Australia’s economy. Workplace safety is not just about avoiding human tragedy it is also about reducing economic cost for the nation.”

At a time when the Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, is trying to bring some rigour and dignity to the issue of workplace safety, The Australian newspaper should be ashamed.

Kevin Jones