OHS – THE LATEST POLITICAL PLAYTHING

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Published on: October 19, 2011

I have already made my views felt on the topic in a recent article HARMONISATION LAWS HIT A BRICK WALL at the News Desk. It’s hard to believe that with such a strong consultation process with employer and business lobby groups that we even have an issue with the WHS Bill. You have to wonder why has all this noise started now – years later and after considerable effort (let’s not forget the financial investment) to get the legislation this far?

It is interesting to note that Victoria has already opted to delay harmonisation without much insight as to where it is headed now, as is evident from this article from the SafetyAtWorkBlog today.

Having just come off a solid week of doing safety presentations myself, there is no question the new harmonisation laws have been well and truly thrown under the spotlight here in South Australia. Wouldn’t it be super if we could just stick to the facts and call a spade a spade! The spade has turned into a front end loader and its running full steam ahead at the union movement.

I spoke to approximately 400 workers this week as a part of Boral’s safety campaign. The feedback at ground level has been really helpful. When talking to people about the impact of their decisions and highlighting the heartache that comes from a workplace death, the last thing we want to do is muddy the waters with legislation and written law.

Isn’t it ironic that the basic principle of workplace safety and an attempt at harmonisation Australia wide will ultimately become polluted at state level by political agendas.

I feel for the companies out there who strive to improve their safety records but are confronted with confusion at the most basic level. How the hell do we expect a small business or a contractor to decipher this massive document when it’s clear that our professionals are having issue with it and actually contradicting each other on the same policy?

You know if we can just get this clear.

  • We need national laws in Occupational Health and Safety
  • We need a stronger presence in inspections to help monitor OHS
  • We need a system of investigation that does not embrace obscuring poor safety with a right to hide what one chooses to hide.

So on the topic of WHS Bill, who will pay the price for the games being played today by our politicians and powerful ‘desk jockeys’?

Well, the worker of course. Ironically the one whose safety it is we’re supposed to be concerned about. Go figure ….

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