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An estimated 3800 people who took their own lives in Australia in the decade to 2011 may have done so due to work, says a new Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement.

The statement released by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) says suicide and suicidal behaviour is estimated to cost the Australian economy $17.5 billion per year. “Monetary values aside, suicide cuts lives short and leaves scars,” SPA adds.

“The World Health Organization suggests worker suicide is a result of complex interaction between individual vulnerabilities and work-related environmental factors that trigger stress reactions and contribute to poor mental wellbeing,” SPA says.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace, including managing psychosocial stressors.”

Workplaces can do a number of things to help prevent suicide. These include understanding and valuing people as human beings rather than resources, prioritising psychosocial workplace safety, encouraging help-seeking behaviour as well as creating an inclusive workplace culture.

Contact the following if you are in need of immediate assistance:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

For more details on the story, visit SPA’s Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

06 Feb 2014

Do you want a smile with that?

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In August 2010, on one of thousands of commercial flights across the USA, a plane had just come to rest at its destination.

News reports at the time stated that a passenger had stood up to retrieve her luggage before the seatbelt sign had been turned off. The flight attendant claimed that he asked the passenger to resume her seat, but she became verbally abusive and he was struck on the head when luggage fell from the overhead locker.

What Steven Slater, the 39-year-old flight attendant, did then broke so dramatically from the emotional response expected by his employer that it made worldwide news.

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Published in National Safety magazine, August-September 2013.

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06 Feb 2014

Decisions decisions

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What are you doing? Why are you doing it?

Professor Andrew Neal of the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland has made a career out of exploring how people make decisions and trade-offs between safety and efficiency in safety-critical environments.

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Published in National Safety magazine, June-July 2013.

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Australia must undertake a new body-sizing survey if designers are to meet their obligations under the model work health and safety laws, says a recent report.

According to the report ‘Sizing up Australia – the next step’, “… whilst there is a regulatory thrust to embed work health and safety into the design process, designers do not have available to them key data about the population for which they are designing.”

The report says the gap in the data “can only be filled by a well-constructed and well-executed anthropometric measurement survey of a representative sample of Australian people”.

Australia must develop the scientific parameters to conduct this survey, which could then be used as a national resource, the report adds.

As the cost of such a survey would be significant, the report suggests two user-pay models to fund it. “They combine the allocation of a set number of measurements that would be determined by general consensus between all stakeholders, regardless of their level of funding contribution, with a second and larger allocation of measurements that survey sponsors can determine,” the report says.

“The number of measures that a funding stakeholder could determine would be directly proportional to their level of contribution.”

A third funding model would involve the Australian Government funding the “basic survey and a consortium of partners concurrently [contributing] funding to the user applications”, the report adds.

For more details visit the report.

Published on 16 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

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.


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