Do you belong to a "Safety First", "Business as Usual" or "Vulnerable" company? If the answer is one of the latter categories, there's likely to be a "vast disconnect" between your managers' commitment to WHS and what happens on the ground, and you're less likely to utilise leading indicators of safety performance, according to a new report.
Duty holders will switch from "tick the box" compliance to risk-based safety management systems and have easy access to imported technologies that improve safety, under draft Productivity Commission recommendations for the transport sector.
The majority of Australia's WHS ministers have agreed to maintain the mandatory status of the workplace exposure standards and change the name of the system to make it clear that exposure limits for hazardous chemicals can't be exceeded.
There has been little political will to harmonise Australia's workers' comp schemes over the last two decades, but the emergence of the gig economy and a major report on the future of work could force governments to revisit the issue, or at least expand access to workers' compensation.
> Falling work fatality rate encouraging, but "not cause for celebration"; > Regulators issue fatality alerts, PCBU receives 13 prohibition notices; and > Many employers falling short of sun-related WHS duties.
Employers would be wise to assess the safety features of their vehicle fleet, with an automobile safety expert telling a major scientific meeting that cars driven for work are 30 per cent more likely to be in a car crash than those used privately.
Employers are facing increasing pressure to provide psychologically healthy workplaces, with the Productivity Commission calling for explicit WHS laws for mental health and "no-liability treatment" for workers, and unions saying work "must be at the centre" of efforts to reduce mental illness.
Workers' comp schemes must address injured workers' "normal reactions to injuries" to prevent them from transitioning into permanent disability, the medical director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in the US has told an Adelaide conference.