Free October 2001 safetyATWORK magazine

SafetyAtWorkBlog evolved out of an online publication, safetyATWORK.  In 2001, safetyATWORK published a special edition of the magazine focussing on the OHS issues related to the collapse of the World Trade Centre (WTC) in September 2011.  That special edition is now available as a free download through the cover image on the right.

The magazine contains:

  • an article by Lee Clarke on planning for the worst-case scenarios;
  • an interview with Peter Sandman,
  • an article by me, Kevin Jones,

and other articles concerning

France Telecome’s CSR report is telling but sets high expectations

In 2009, France Telecom’s management practices came to global attention as a result of a spate of over 20 suicides that were identified as work-related.  On 6 June 2011, France Telecom released its Corporate Responsibility Report that covers the period of the management turmoil touched upon in earlier SafetyAtWorkBlog articles.

The document is an impressive document that sets an enormously high benchmark on a range of corporate and personnel issues but one will find no mention of suicides.  The best indication that this was a company in crisis is the level of inquiries, reviews, audits and workplace safety control measures that have been implemented over the last two years.  It is also important to remember that the control measures are designed to bring about a cultural and organisational change to this corporation and that this will take a considerable time.  The struggle can be best, and most tragically, illustrated by the April 2011 self-immolation of a France Telecom employee in the company carpark in Merignac.

By acknowledging that this report has come from a company in crisis it is possible to identify some useful OHS, human resource and organisational cultural initiatives that may be applied in other large corporations around the world. Continue reading “France Telecome’s CSR report is telling but sets high expectations”

Workplace bullying survey of dubious value

A doomsaying workplace bullying survey is doing the rounds of the Australian media on 8 June 2011. The media release accompanying the survey (neither are yet available online), produced for a “web-based employment screening solution” WorkPro, says

“One quarter of employees (23%) say that they have been a victim of bullying or discrimination in the workplace in the last two years,…”

An equally valid interpretation from the same survey figures could be

Three quarters of employees (76%) say that they have not been a victim of bullying or discrimination in the workplace in the last two years.”

The survey is terrific news. Workplace bullying may not be as big a problem in the workplace as recent media reports have led us to believe. But the survey takes the negative perspective and it is the negative that is being reiterated in the media. Continue reading “Workplace bullying survey of dubious value”

Australian Governments’ flawed strategy on new OHS laws

Lawyer Andrew Douglas’ latest article for SmartCompany illustrates the conflicting approach to the enforcement of alcohol and drug policies in workplaces.  Douglas illustrates the constant struggle for business operators between employment law and safety law, workplace relations and human resources.  Case law has progressed the management of human capital more quickly than has safety management over the same workplace issue of alcohol and drug use leading to a difficulty in determining the best managerial approach to the hazard.

Douglas’ discussion of the role of case law in changing managerial approaches also has relevance in the OHS harmonisation process currently occurring in Australia.  In the early days of this process, the legal fraternity believed, and often publicly stated, that the operation of the law will be “ironed out” only after several years of prosecutions and case law.  These statements seem to forget that behind almost all OHS prosecutions are one or more injured workers and the reality is often forgotten when part of a lawyer’s motivation is also to seek a precedent or a clarification of the law. Continue reading “Australian Governments’ flawed strategy on new OHS laws”

Evidence on the need for safe job design

One reader has provided an example of recent research that supports the previous SafetyAtWorkBlog article on the importance of quality and safety in job creation.

In the March 2011 online edition of the Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal, Australian researchers have analysed data concerning “the psychosocial quality of work”.  According to an accompanying media release (not available online yet) they found that

“The impact on mental health of a badly paid, poorly supported, or short term job can be as harmful as no job at all…” Continue reading “Evidence on the need for safe job design”

Creating jobs is a waste unless those jobs are safe

Coming out of recession or, at least, a global financial crisis seems to mean that the creation of jobs is the only driver of economic growth.  Governments around the world seem obsessed with employment creation but rarely is the quality of the employment ever considered.

The drive for jobs at the cost of other employment conditions such as safety was illustrated on 11 March 2011 in an article in The Australian newspaper.  New South Wales’ election is only a short while away and, as it is widely considered to be an easy win for the conservative Liberal Party, government policies are already being discussed.

“Industrial relations spokesman Greg Pearce, a former partner at Freehills, said he was aware that concerns about the workplace safety system had emerged in the legal profession.

But the Coalition’s main goal was to minimise uncertainty to encourage job creation.”

The push for jobs is also indicative of short-term political thinking. Continue reading “Creating jobs is a waste unless those jobs are safe”

Raising awareness about stress instead of controlling it

In March 2011, in response to one of the several Stress Awareness Days, HRLeader magazine ran an edited version of a Personnel Today article called “5 steps to tackle employee stress”.  The Personnel Today had “6 steps”, so are Australian readers being ripped off?

Personnel Today included a step called “Refer the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards”.  HRLeader’s editor must have made the call that HSE information is geographically specific and therefore not relevant to Australia but the change is more indicative of the fact that Australia does not have anything to match the HSE management standards to help control stress.  According to the HSE website:

“….the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work. These are:

Concatenate Web Development
© Designed and developed by Concatenate Aust Pty Ltd