Workplace safety apps reviewed

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Workplace safety apps are a fairly new addition to smart technologies and they are of variable quality and application.  Below is a quick review of some.

Glossary

One of the earliest OHS-related apps and most basic was Derek Viner‘s  Safety101.  This is essentially nothing more than a glossary of risk and safety terminology.  It has not been updated since April 2010.  The potential of this app beyond student use would be as a base for further construction of a safety-wiki or some other contemporary safety product.  The app has several spelling mistakes, needs refreshing as it is showing its age and needs to do so much more so as it is not just an off-Wikipedia curiousity.  The content needs to be given to an app-developer to create a more commercial and useful product.

Luxmeter & Luxmeter Pro

Luxmeter is curious app that uses the iPad camera to determine lighting levels.  It does not claim to be an official, technical, calibrated light meter but does provide a guide to the lux levels in a range of domestic situations. Should these readings be relied on?  Absolutely not.

Luxmeter Pro2 provides a more useful tool as it allows for calibration and more measurement options but as there is no help screen or manual, it is next to useless for the average user.

News

There are a couple of news aggregators that focus on workplace safety topics such as OH&S (developed by Smart Media Innovations) and Safety News (developed by Safety Culture).   Give them a miss and learn how to customise more effective readers and ones that show more respect for copyright.   Continue reading “Workplace safety apps reviewed”

Momentum increases for tangible action on workplace bullying

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According to the Canberra Times, a company board has been served with an improvement notice over inadequate attention to workplace bullying claims in a retirement home.  The ABC television program, 7.30, has followed up workplace bullying claims aired earlier this month with a further case on 25 September 2012 with savage criticism of WorkSafe Victoria’s actions in the case.

The Australian Government has completed the public hearings of its Parliamentary Inquiry into workplace bullying.  Bullying is everywhere but little seems to be happening to address the various elements and deficiencies of the regulatory system.

On 21 September 2012 the WorkSafe ACT Commissioner warned about inaction on workplace bullying:

“If bullying has not occurred, then a properly conducted investigation should find that… If, on the other hand, an independent investigation substantiates the allegations, then the employer will be in a position to act to protect their workers from any ongoing threat to their health and safety.” Continue reading “Momentum increases for tangible action on workplace bullying”

Strengthening safety decision-making

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Any professional sees elements of their profession in other walks of life.  Police notice infringements when they are off duty.  Teachers often continue to instruct or educate when outside of school.  Journalist’s conversations with friends often contain pointed questions.

Safety professionals, commonly, extend safety principles to their own behaviours and lives.  This can sometimes lead to a heightened intolerance of unsafe behaviour in others but also desires that life operated on safety principles.  Today I wondered about the application of the concept of “Reasonably Practicable” in prioritising corporate and personal safety objectives.

I simplified (bastardised, some may say) the Safe Work Australia guideline on reasonably practicable into questions that we should ask in our non-OHS lives but, most importantly, the priority of the reasonable practicable process is retained.  The questions, in order of priority are:

  • How important is it?
  • How harmful could it be?
  • What do we know about it?
  • How can we control it?
  • How much will it cost?

Self-help aficionados may see these as life lessons or criteria that can be applied to many decisions.  I agree to some extent but the priority of the questions is of most importance in the decision-making process because it places the issue of cost last. Continue reading “Strengthening safety decision-making”

Law reform does not prevent harm, only compensates for it

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Josh Bornstein is a media-savvy lawyer with Maurice Blackburn who has gained some prominence on the matter of workplace bullying.  A week ago Bornstein spoke at a Legalwise seminar in Melbourne Australia and he has yet to stop running on his topic of discussion – “Disproving the seven myths about workplace bullying”.  Today he released a video of his presentation on the Maurice Blackburn YouTube channel.  The speech from the seminar is HERE.

Lawyers advise that words and statements are very important.  Documents and presentations are deconstructed for nuance and alternate interpretations.  Context is also vitally important to determine why something was said when it was said and why it was said.  These tools are equally useful for Bornstein’s presentation.

Continue reading “Law reform does not prevent harm, only compensates for it”

Managing on luck is not managing safety

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In December 2011, SafetyAtWorkBlog reported on a serious misreading of workplace safety by the President of the Australian Hotels Association in South Australia (AHA/SA), Peter Hurley.  The debate on new work health and safety laws in South Australia continues and on 7 September on radio station FIVEAA, according to an interview transcript (not available on-line), Peter Hurley continued to display his misunderstanding of OHS laws and principles even though SafeWorkSA responded at the time.   The broader significance of his comments is that they could provide an example of the way that OHS myths are created through anecdote and misunderstanding.

Hurley reportedly said:

“..last year one of our hotels was subjected to some very aggressive inspectorate activity and among a myriad of other nit-picking things that we were instructed that we had to comply with was an instruction that we had to deck out our bottle shop staff in high vis apparel so if someone wandered in and wanted to have a discussion about the nuances of one vintage of Grange against another, they were going to have stand there and talk to a bloke who looked like he was working on a building site … Continue reading “Managing on luck is not managing safety”