3 May 2010

Buzzword bingo to make you safer at work

| johnboy
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Simon Corbell has announced that a new mob called “WorkSafe ACT” is to be responsible for your safety in the workplace with a whole extra $2.4 million to… well… pay graphic designers for a logo? (OK, Simon says it will pay for a few new inspectors).

Mr Corbell said the Government will now develop a detailed draft implementation plan in consultation with a range of key industry stakeholders.

“The Government will also undertake reviews of the new arrangements at both six and 12 months of implementation,” Mr Corbell added.

Do you feel safer?

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Sigh! Workplace safety actually is a huge issue but the idea that you have to step in and develop complicated controls for the slightest risk is misguided, misleading and leads to the kind of insanity outlined above.

But this is not a reflection of what the community demands, the regulator advises or enforces – or the science of safety recommends – it is just incompetence in asessing risks and managing them.

What I hate about this crap is that it trivialises the very real issues that exist in workplaces. In most ACT workplaces you are more likely to suffer lasting detrimental effects to your health from long term workplace bullying and harassment than a injury from manual handling of a few reams of photocopy paper. Actually the toner and gases and particles coming off the photocopier are probably destroying your respiratory health right now! (is you photocopier ventilated?)

But before you start railing against OHS and complaining that it’s all “red tape” “over-regulation”, the “nanny state” PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE REAL WORKPLACE SAFETY RISKS that people are subjected to every day. I recently went to a light manufacturing business where they fabricate items from galvinised steel, weld them and paint them. They’ve been in business for 24 years. They hasd no Material Safety Data Sheets. Had no information on the actual risks to health or ways to deal with these risks They didn’t understand the risks of the substances employees were inhaling – were using P2 mask (for fumes) when spray painting – though the box of masks was marked “NOT FOR USE IN SPRAY PAINTING” Did not understand the difference between a fume and a vapour – should have been using a mask with organic vapour respirator cartridges. The 18 yo doing the spray painting is fine – at the moment! If he reaches age 40+ he’ll suffer declining health, emphysema, possibly cancer. In the meantime he’ll probably be a bit more suceptible to repiratory diseases – you know the sort of thing – extended bouts of bronchitis every winter…

I could go on – but the point I’m trying to make is that Health and safety risks are real! People die from work related causes with sickening regularity, many many more are seriously injured or left with debilitating diseases. People if you are not happy with your organisations handling of health and safety – say so and do something about it.

End rant

Have a happy safe day at work


It’s all Rodney Adler’s fault.

He almost singlehandedly brought down HIH, Australia’s biggest insurer at the time. HIH insured just about anything, and their premiums were low, dictating the standard for other insurers.

With the demise of HIH, the remaining insurers jacked up premiums immediately, and as a further key to their profitability, charged even more for any perceived risk. As a result, Govco and big business now use any means to decrease liability to themselves and their insurers.

OH&S has gone too far. Reduction in risk is one thing, wrapping the population in cotton wool is another. Makes one wonder how we all get through the weekend, with all those lawn mowers, whippersnippers, chain saws and leaf blowers running rampant.

Clown Killer10:53 am 04 May 10

The vast majority of OH&S bullsh!t that gets trotted out is all about making a water-tight legal defence for the organisation in case something goes wrong rather than being about protecting workers.

Um, WorkSafe ACT has, like the WorkSafe bodies in every other State and Territory, been in existance for a number of years. But like every other WorkSafe body they face the “OH&S is pile of big useless words” (to quote the CFMEU’s supposed National Manager for OH&S at a rather large conference of people trying to do the right thing) of everyone out there. Those same people who scream “where were they?” when someone does get injured or killed. There’s only so much you can do again aspiring Darwin Award nominees though isn’t there?

pfft I carry the boxes of paper around. How else am I meant to fill the photocopier? *blinks*

Pommy bastard4:36 pm 03 May 10

We have regular H&S lectures at work. Of course in the increasing bureaucratised health service, these are now mandatory. The last one I went to, the guy taking it looked like a long streak of piss in a suit, I could have snapped him in half with one hand behind my back.

He told us, and I kid you not, that we were not allowed to lift more than two reams of A4 paper at one time, and seeing as they come in boxes of 4 reams, we had to use a trolley to move a box. I informed him that at the gym that morning, I had been deadlifting 200 kilos, and he was telling me I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 2 kilos? He told me it was now a reportable offense!

After he left I spent a good time walking about the office carrying three boxes of A4, no one reported me.

They all seemed to be pissing themselves with laughter for some reason…

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