Tackling OHS culture change

LACK of action and a culture of blame in the New South Wales mining industry will be tackled under new health and safety standards to be developed by the mining industry and the State Government.

Blair Price

OHS issues were raised at a recent Occupational Health and Safety Culture Change Summit.

Held late last month, 42 senior representatives from industry, unions and the public sector discussed OHS culture change.

Issues raised include the current legislative and regulatory framework and the complex processes involved, a culture of blame, a lack of trust between stakeholders, a perception of “too much talk and not enough action”, as well as the lack of a mechanism to effectively consider and address other stakeholder perceptions.

While complimenting industry on performance improvements to date, NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said more work needed to be done to reach the shared objective of zero harm.

“The summit agreed that a culture change was the priority and an agenda has been set to implement strategies to encourage changes to occupational health and safety (OHS) culture,” he said.

Standout targets include the aim to foster non-technical skills through training programs to improve OHS culture, to educate communities about sound OHS principles at and beyond the workplace, and to promote non-technical skills of consultation, communication, situational awareness, teamwork, decision-making and leadership.

“It is clear that addressing non-technical issues at all levels of the industry will enable continued improvement in OHS performance,” Macdonald said.