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A new report suggests that lost time injuries (LTI) should no longer be the focus of measuring work health and safety performance.

Issues in the Measurement and Reporting of Work Health and Safety Performance: A Review isn’t suggesting that injury indicators be discarded altogether. Rather, it advocates using a range of measures including injury and illness outcomes and positive performance indicators.

“Disregarding one or the other would [be] akin to asking investors to choose between receiving a Balance Sheet and an Income Statement: both are important because they provide different perspectives on an organisation’s success – one reflects position and the other reflects performance,” the report says.

The report recommends a shift away from LTIs to Class 1 work-related illness and injury (WRII) outcomes, total recordable injury frequency rates (TRIFR), valid positive performance indicators and the innovation of new approaches to measuring performance.

For more details, visit the report.

Published on 19 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

09 Dec 2013

Qantas is on board with NSCA

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The NSCA welcomes Qantas to the 2013 Platinum Program and looks forward to an exciting and inspiring partnership working together to ensure Australian workplaces are the safest in the world.

The NSCA Platinum Program is Australia’s premier partnership program, allowing industry-leading organisations such as Qantas to partner with NSCA and other like-minded organisations in championing Work Health and Safety across Australia.

Platinum Partners are key people and organisations within industry that have both the capability to influence positive change and the elite leadership qualities required to motivate and facilitate those changes to benefit industry across Australia.

The Program entitles Platinum Partners to essential WHS knowledge resources, access to expert WHS consultant advice, financial savings, prestigious recognition and nationwide promotion and branding, including quarterly acknowledgement and an editorial profile in the National Safety magazine and exclusive promotion on the NSCA website.

If your organisation is interested in the Platinum Program please contact the NSCA Membership Manager on 1800 655 510.

Photo: NSCA CEO Adam Baldock presents the Platinum Partner plaque to Alan Joyce, CEO and Managing Director Qantas and Tim Jenkins, Executive Manager – Safety and Health at Qantas Group.

WorkSafe ACT has released a superhero video and comic strip as part of a campaign to teach young people about safety, but its use of gendered stereotypes is questionable.

The Hazardman campaign includes a video, four comic strips, fact sheets, posters and a competition.

The story is largely based on the superhero Hazardman and includes other characters: Manuelle Mayhem, Safety Women, Betty Brown, The Toppler and Dr Complacency.

WorkSafe says the campaign’s initial target is school students, and construction, retail and hospitality workers.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe described Hazardman as a lighthearted and engaging way to get young people talking about workplace safety.

However, the video and comic strips make use of gendered stereotypes to tell the story. So what else are they teaching/reinforcing apart from safety?

In the video, for example, the female villain Manuelle Mayhem is depicted using the temptress stereotype. She taunts a male worker who is about to lift a heavy object, saying, “Are you man enough to lift it?”.

Also, in the list of characters Mayhem’s weakness is described “as anyone who can think or reason for themselves”, raising questions about her intelligence.

The female superhero, Safety Woman, doesn’t appear in the video, but she is in the comic strip. However, she is depicted as a sidekick. Although she is described in the list of characters as a smart, bold expert, who is never far when danger is near, she only saves the day in one of the four online comics when Hazardman knows he can’t get there on time.

Her presumed alter ego, Betty Brown, while described in the list of characters as a talented head chef at a classy restaurant, is cast as appearing clumsy and accident prone to hide her true identity, and a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by Hazardman. He saves the day by swooping in and scooping her up in his arms, and she responds by saying, “Thanks Hazardman. You’re my hero”.

McCabe dismissed assertions that the stereotyping in the comics and video depicted women in subordinate and negative lights, saying the female characters had been misinterpreted.

Manuelle Mayhem was not depicted as unintelligent, he said.

Safety Woman was not Hazardman’s sidekick, but his “equally competent ally and a superhero in her own right, with her own history, adventures etc.,” he said. Her story would be told in the near future.

He said Betty Brown is made to appear clumsy and accident prone to cover up her true identify just like Clark Kent in Superman. “Being a head chef is very tough job in an industry generally dominated by men,” he added.

McCabe said the goal was to create engaging characters. “The overall goal is not to create a character or characters [that] are so bland that the target audience does not engage with them.”

He conceded there was “a bit of gender stereotyping in the comics”; however, he didn’t believe it was a “prominent characteristic”.

“Many hero-type characters do display a bit of gender stereotyping in some way—even if only in that they are usually presented as males with impossible physiques.”

He said the audience would understand “that the world of super heroes is not portrayed as the real world—it is a fantasy creation.”

If that’s the case, will the audience distinguish safety from the fantasy?

He also rejected assertions that WorkSafe ACT had responsibility to help promote gender equality. “Our job is not to promote gender equality; our job is to promote safety at work.”

A Safe Work Australia spokesperson said it supported the Hazardman project as part of Safe Work Australia Month as well as other activities to raise awareness about work health and safety within a variety of demographics and industries.

But at this stage Safe Work Australia does not intend to roll out the Hazardman project nationally.

For more details, visit the Hazardman website.

Published on 21 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Government has announced it will establish a Royal Commission into the former government’s Home Insulation Scheme.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the commission is one of the Coalition Government’s election promises.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson died while installing home insulation.

The terms of reference are yet to be released. However, the government says the commission will assess the former government’s handling of the scheme’s risk management and its responses to advice and warnings; and determine if the current government should change laws, practices, processes, procedures and systems in response to the commission’s findings.

The commission would also take into account the findings of coronial inquests and other inquiries into scheme.

The government said it had consulted the families of the deceased workers in developing the proposed terms of reference.

In late October, Greens Leader Christine Milne told the ABC’s Insiders program that the commission was purely political and if the Coalition was serious about fixing the safety issues it would have already taken up the recommendations of the coronial inquests.

Milne said the Greens would look at the commission’s terms of reference when they are available and consider the points of view of the deceased workers’ families.

The Royal Commission is due to report on or before 30 June 2014.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has introduced the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABC Commissioner).

The former government abolished the ABC Commission and replaced it with the Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate will continue under the new name of the ABC Commission.

The CFMEU rejects the need to reinstate the ABC Commission and says more must be done to improve workers safety.

“[Workers] need the government to care and act on safety which is a constant concern. People are often working on jobs where safety laws are not observed,” CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said.

The government must also address sham contracting, tax evasion and lost wages and entitlements, he added.

The Bill and the accompanying Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 have been referred to a Senate Committee hearing, which is due to report by 2 December 2013.

For more details, visit the Attorney General, building legislation and CFMEU.

Published on 21 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

07 Nov 2013

Crashes claim more lives

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A greater proportion of workers are killed in vehicle collisions than in other work-related incidents, says the latest workplace fatality figures.

Of the 223 workers killed in 2012, 39 per cent died in vehicle collisions, says Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2012.

Vehicles were also involved in a majority of the incidents in which workers were killed when hit by a moving object. This accounted for 10 per cent of worker deaths.

A further 3 per cent were killed when hit by a moving object but without a vehicle being involved.

Falling from a height accounted for another 13 per cent of workers killed on the job.

Being hit by a falling object caused the death of 12 per cent of workers.

The remaining 23 per cent of fatalities were due to a number of causes, including being trapped between stationary and moving objects, contact with electricity and rollover of a non-road vehicle.

The transport, postal and warehousing industry recorded the highest proportion of deaths among all industries (29 per cent).

The road freight sector recorded a death rate 15 times the all industries rate, the study said.

For more details, see the report .

Published on 7 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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