April 2022 Presentation: New psychological hazard regulations

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CSG Event: April 2022
Speaker: 
Tracey Browne, Manager - National Safety & Workers' Compensation Policy and Membership Services, Ai Group
 
Check out the latest presentation from our April 2022 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

New psychological hazard regulations

There is clearly a great deal of interest in this topic judging by the turnout. It was also invaluable to have Tracey speaking to us, because she was a representative for Ai Group on a working group that reviewed WorkSafe Victoria’s proposed OHS Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations.

She expressed frustration that jurisdictions are forming their own codes rather than adopting the National Code. However, we have seen this occur with other hazards, so I suppose it is not that surprising.

Ai Group have a few concerns about the draft Victorian regulations. The first is about the heirarchy of controls, where information, instruction and training are the lowest order control. While this is appropriate for physical hazards, such as manual handling, it is not really applicable for psychological hazards in their view.

Another issue is the section on Prevention Plans: Ai Group has asked for much more detail to be given about those, because the draft code gives scant guidance on this topic.

They are also concerned about reporting requirements, including the need to report twice a year as well as the notion of notifiable incidents. While it is self-evident that Tracey is speaking on behalf of employers, I would love to hear the employees' and union perspective on this, as I suspect they would have very different views.

Public comment on the proposed regulations closed on 31 March, but you can read the initial proposed draft along with 79 submissions here: https://engage.vic.gov.au/proposed-psychological-health-regulations

During discussion after the presentation Tracey gave us a timeline for the legislation: penalties will not come into effect until 2024; the Regulations are due to be released in July 2022, while the Compliance Code is due in October 2022. For the latter there will be just 2 weeks allowed for public comment, so keep an eye out for that.

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March 2022 Presentation: The changing role of the OHS professional

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CSG Event: March 2022
Speaker: 
Pam Pryor AO, Manager OHS BoK Development, Australian Institute of Health and Safety
 
Check out the latest presentation from our March 2022 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

The changing role of the OHS professional

It was another big turnout for our March event and it was great to see so many people staying on after the recording had finished to continue the discussion. As OHS professionals, attendees had much to think about during and following Pam's presentation.

Pam made it an interactive session by conducting a number of short polls throughout. The polls prompted us to contemplate our roles as well as the emergence of the concept of "wellness" and how that fits into OHS. The polls do not show up on the recording, but Pam does discuss the results and we have included a summary of the results in the presentation package.

While Pam began by analysing some of the challenges for OHS professionals, she also looked at the positives of how we can take control of our roles and "craft" them to improve both our own work and our organisations themselves. Pam also alerted us to a range of resources, including research, publications and the OHS Body of Knoweldge (BoK), which is a wonderful free resource under the auspices of the AIHS. See www.ohsbok.org.au

Pam also touched on some other topics that are currently being developed by AIHS in position papers and for future BoK chapters. The talk of a Code of Ethics certanly piqued attendees' interest and CSG will be looking to address this topic at an event later this year. As always, Central Safety Group is here to serve its members, so we always welcome your suggestions for future speakers and events.

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February 2022 Presentation: New perspectives on OHS

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CSG Event: February 2022
Speaker: 
Kevin Jones, Editor, SafetyAtWorkBlog
 
Check out the latest presentation from our February 2022 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

New perspectives on OHS

The February event was a great start to our 60th anniversary year with Life Member Kevin Jones presenting to the group. Kevin always has interesting perspectives on current OHS issues to stimulate our thinking. Some provocative ideas to start the year inspire and revive us after the last two years of dealing with the pandemic.

I was particulalry taken with Kevin's assertion that OHS practitioners can become very insular and narrow-focussed whilst fulfilling the needs of a particular employer; that there is little OHS activism as well as a failure to see OHS within a broader social context. It was also challenging to ponder the limitations of the catch cry of taking "reasonable care".

Kevin demonstrated the way in which lateral thinking can enhance one's perspective on OHS by discussing some recent publications, some of which are not straight OHS books. He shared with us his methodology for finding books that are relevant to OHS practice even when there is no mention of safety in the title. His curious mind is a real boon for us, as he is able to discover interesting publications that we might otherwise be unaware of.

Kevin also discussed publications that are on OHS topics, including an article providing a new definition of a "safe system of work" that sounds fascinating. Details of the books he discussed can be found in his presentation notes as well as in the Further Reading section of the website (log in first). Kevin also pointed out that a very valuable resource is the WorkSafe library in Geelong.

There are plenty of other past presentations by Kevin on our website, including his discussion of some other publications in a short video as part of our free CSG Talks series in 2020, A look at some new thinking.

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November 2021 Presentation: Return to work in COVID times: managing psychosocial risk

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CSG Event: November 2021
Speaker: 
Dr Natasha Lazareski, Managing Director, PsyFlex
 
Check out the latest presentation from our November 2021 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

Return to work in COVID times: managing psychosocial risk

We had an amazing turnout for our last presentation of the year, which was not surprising considering the topic and the calibre of speaker. Natasha Lazareski's presentation covered some interesting ground that included the inherent contradictions one must face as we all venture back to work post the latest phase of the pandemic.

One such contradiction is within our reactions to situations, where our instinct can be in conflict with a more rational response. Natasha advised organsiations to normalise the fact that we all have different responses to COVID, but still to establish clear guidelines for the workplace that all must follow. Another aspect of this balancing act is to ensure that you don't give out mixed messages, because this can erode trust. We only have to think of how that played out in the community when authorities communicated ever-changing rules and information.

With communication being such a key to successful return to work, Natasha said she believes that workplace Health & Safety Representatves will become the new frontline heroes. That was a great way to emphasise the importance of those roles!

Natasha's presentation went at a cracking pace with a lot of information in her slides, some of which were skipped over due to time constraints. Therefore, do check out the powerpoint slides as well as the video itself.

If you'd like to hear more from Natasha, you can also take a look at her short video as part of our free CSG Talks series last year, Workplace safety in pandemic times.

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October 2021 Presentation: The current OHS job scene

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CSG Event: October 2021
Speaker: 
Helen O'Keefe, Founder & Principal Consultant, HOK Talent Solutions
 
Check out the latest presentation from our October 2021 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

The current OHS job scene

There was a lot of interest in this very timely and fascinating presentation. As Helen said, the current job scene in OHS is HOT and, as it is likely to stabilise next year, now is the time to pursue new opportunities if that has been on your mind. It's a candidate's market!

It was heartening to hear that the pandemic has had one positive effect in that the reputation of OHS has been boosted, making it a great career choice.

Helen shared some interesting national statistics on recruiting that showed the most sought-after job categories. She also offered valuable advice to both potential candidates and organisations looking to fill roles.

Helen conducts a regular podcast series where she talks to CEOs about OHS, which you can learn more about at https://www.hoktalentsolutions.com.au/podcast-webinars/

If you are interested in OHS job opportunities a bit further afield, check out Nan Austin's presentation from July 2020 about her experiences in New Zealand: Safety shake-up across the Tasman, which you can access here (log in first)

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