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Award winning news, commentary and opinion on workplace health and safety

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  • 01/17/17--15:17: Dummies can equal clarity
  • It took a long time but Wiley has published a Dummies guide on Health and Safety At Work. The lack of an occupational health and safety (OHS) book in this series has always been a mystery particularly when the Dummies” market seems to be, primarily, small- to medium-sized businesses.  This edition is written for the UK market but the vast majority of the book is applicable to any jurisdiction that is based on the original UK OHS laws. But is it any good? SafetyAtWorkBlog dipped into several chapters of the book to see if it More…

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    On 18 January 2017, WorkSafeWA released an agricultural safety checklist which includes some hazards associated with quad bike operations. West Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator stresses the checklist only lists common hazards and refers to a handbook.  The only agricultural handbook available on its website is from 2014 and the quad bike safety information seems outdated or, at least, inconsistent with the advice from South Australia and elsewhere. The checklist includes these quad bike and motorbike related hazards which it is reasonable to take as what WorkSafeWA sees as those hazards which should More…

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    SafetyAtWorkBlog has been critical of the use and sale of generic Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) for work tasks that can be managed through simpler and freely available job safety analyses (JSAs) and face-to-face communication. On 27 January 2017, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) launched generic inductions. The CCI asks and answers, in its media release: “So why is it that so many workplaces don’t provide an induction? Our Members are telling us that they don’t really know what information they should be giving to a new starter.” An internet More…

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    On 12 July 2017 a kitchen fire broke out in a densely packed restaurant and cafe sector of Melbourne, Australia.  This article illustrates some of the localised response and firefighting attempts.  Earlier that day I was in a cafe in Melbourne’s northern suburbs when the building’s evacuation alarm sounded (pictured right).  There was no fire … Continue reading "More work needed on public evacuation protocols"

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    A recent occupational health and safety (OHS) prosecution in New Zealand illustrates many issues and attitudes to safety held by small business operators around the world. Stumpmaster was prosecuted after a bystander was injured and then hospitalised when the tree it was felling hit her. (WorkSafeNZ has issued a media release in the wake of … Continue reading "Prosecution over fallen tree threatens small business viability"

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    The latest statistics of farm injuries from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provide a useful insight in to the workplace risks of Australian farms. Given the workplace focus of the SafetyAtWorkBlog, and the articles written about the risk of working with quad bikes, the following statistics are of great interest: “For quad bikes, … Continue reading "New farming incident statistics"

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    The publication date for the first truly international Standard on occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems, ISO45001, the rhetoric is heating up in Australia. ISO45001 is due for publication on March 12 2018. Three days before the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) released a media statement which expressed these concerns: “As we … Continue reading "Concerns over ISO45001 voiced but no details provided"

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    This is an edited version of my presentation to delegates at the inaugural NSW Regional Safety Conference & Expo in Newcastle, Australia on March 17, 2018. The current approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) is that we shouldn’t separate it from business operations. One of the motivations for achieving success in business is to … Continue reading "Business Bullshit – and how this relates to workplace health and safety"

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  • 07/24/18--16:45: A WorkCover book that works
  • Many consultants publish books on the understanding that a published work provides legitimacy and authority to their advice.  Sometimes these books are vanity productions but increasingly, and particularly in the safety sector, small-run publications are appearing that are well-written, well-edited and well worth reading.  The latest of these, in Australia at least, is “Workcover That … Continue reading "A WorkCover book that works"

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    Jennifer Low, Associate Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry addressed the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths in Perth on August 30 2018.  Much of her presentation would be familiar to occupational health and safety professionals as it reflects the ideological position that the ACCI has put to countless inquiries over almost 20 … Continue reading "A bad day for ACCI at the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths"

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    The Grattan Institute has released a report about the political influence of lobbyists.  Understandably the media is giving the report a lot of attention, particularly as it identifies lobby groups that have more access to politicians than other groups and how public interest policies have failed after intense lobbying. But the report also addresses the … Continue reading "Is OHS suffering from policy AND structural capture?"

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