SafeWorkSA executive receives Queen’s Birthday honour

Every year I look through the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in Australia, looking for somebody who has been awarded an honour for services to occupational health and safety.  Almost every year, there is nothing but in 2012 one person was awarded a Public Service Medal “for outstanding public service in the area of occupational health and safely.”

This year, Michele Patterson, Executive Director of SafeWork SA was awarded the Public Service Medal.  There is an outline of the justification for the award online  (at page 389).


Kevin Jones

Latest Productivity Commission data on Australia’s OHS costs

On 15 May 2012, Australia’s Productivity Commission (PC) released its findings into  ” the impacts of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reforms: Business Regulation and Vocational Education and Training (VET)”.  The report includes a chapter on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). That chapter states:

“Uncertainty exists over the implementation of the agreed [OHS harmonisation]reforms by the remaining three jurisdictions.

If implementation proceeds, and the agreed reforms become operational:

  • all employers are likely to face transition costs in the order of $850 million in aggregate (around $75 per worker);
  • multi-state businesses are likely to see compliance costs fall and safety outcomes improve, generating total possible net cost savings of $480 million per year; and
  • for single-state businesses, despite possible improvements in safety outcomes, additional compliance activities are likely to increase business costs in aggregate for this group by around $110 million per year.”

$A75 per worker seems an acceptable impact although, at first view, single-state businesses, the vast majority of Australian businesses, look to be disadvantaged.  However, the report also states that

Without full implementation [of OHS harmonisation], there is a risk that businesses will face significant transition costs without realising the possible cost savings from harmonised laws.” (emphasis added)

Here is the political and economic need to play well with each other. Continue reading “Latest Productivity Commission data on Australia’s OHS costs”