A Call For Workers Compensation Funds To Be Allocated To Research

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28th April 2010, 01:47pm - Views: 922






People Employment Safety Institute Of Australia Inc 2 image

SAFETY INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA INC

ABN 96 109 531 809


SIA National Administration Office

PO Box 2078, Gladstone Park, VIC 3043

Telephone: (03) 8336 1995 Facsimile:  (03) 8336 1179

Email:  natadmin@sia.org.au

MEDIA RELEASE


28 April 2010


A CALL FOR WORKERS COMPENSATION FUNDS TO BE ALLOCATED TO RESEARCH


Fifty of Australia’s leading occupational health and safety researchers called for a percentage of

workers compensation funds to be allocated to research, during last week’s Research Conference

associated with Safety in Action. 


The meeting, organised by the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) Academy of University OHS

Education and Research identified the need for the design of good jobs, the implications of the green

economy for occupational health and safety, and the role of regulators in determining which methods

of surveillance, standards and enforcement are most effective.  


Dr Geoff Dell, Dean of the SIA College of Fellows said: ‘we simply do not have enough knowledge

about the impacts of health and safety. Whilst Australia can usefully call on international research we

need a sound academic base in this country.”


Conference Chair Professor Niki Ellis, CEO of the Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery

Research, agrees that occupational health and safety will have to change.  Referencing recent views

expressed by Dame Carol Black during the World Congress of Internal Medicine last month said as a

discipline, OHS is not fit for the 21st century. It is isolated, has a limited academic base and remit,

uneven provision, lack of good quality data, a poor image and is perceived by many as the servant of

the employer.


Professor Niki Ellis said: “Obviously research is only one part of fixing this. We need to invest in

developing a relevant forward looking research agenda, working closely with regulators, employers

and workers in industry  and using the latest foresight research methodologies to understand better

the future of work and the workforce.” 


The SIA Academy of University OHS Education and Research will be petitioning the Heads of

Workplace Health and Safety Authorities (HOWSA) and the Heads of Workers Compensation

Authorities (HWCA) to take action on their declaration. 


Dr Geoff Dell said: “This meeting revealed the heat of fifty frustrated researchers from around

Australia.  It is beholden on us to make sure that their declaration is taken to the HOWSA and HWCA. 

We hope they will enable the Australian OHS research community to better assist them to deliver OHS

services.”


For further information contact:


Associate Professor Yvonne Toft, Head of the SIA Academy of University OHS Education and

Research, 0439 186 825 


Dr Geoff Dell, Dean SIA College of Fellows, 0418 367 569


Professor Niki Ellis, CEO, Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, Monash

University, 0434 072 118









People Employment Safety Institute Of Australia Inc 4 image

SAFETY INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA INC

ABN 96 109 531 809


SIA National Administration Office

PO Box 2078, Gladstone Park, VIC 3043

Telephone: (03) 8336 1995 Facsimile:  (03) 8336 1179

Email:  natadmin@sia.org.au

Additional information:



Priority areas for research for the next ten years endorsed by the research leadership group were:



Changing nature of employment and work – precarious employment, deteriorating

employment relationship, 40% people now employed outside workers compensation system,

known hazards in new industries


Changing demographics of workforce – feminisation, ageing, ethnicity


Sustainability and green chemistry – how to use interest in this area to OHS advantage


Workplace design, engineering


Work organisation – socio-organisational factors


Emerging hazardous materials and work processes, eg chemicals, biological/climate,

nanotechnology


OHS management systems and risk management still need research (routine and major

hazards, disease arising from exposure to hazardous substances, increased exposures

associated with longer hours of work) 


OHS in the public sector


Surveillance – including fatalities


Bridging prevention, workers compensation and social security


Sustainable OHS systems by regulators, e.g. surveillance, standards, enforcement 


Implementing OHS laws/standards & global standards (e.g. supply chain regulation)


Holistic approach to worker well-being – work-related health and safety; non work-related.


Declaration of action required: 


1.

National research strategy – National Institute Occupational Safety & Health’s (NIOSH, USA)

approach seen as a good example, overall strategy with industry-specific strategies sitting

underneath; developed with input from users (employers and workers)

2.

Sustainable funding ideally from hypothecated link to workers compensation

3.

In the short term improve access by OHS researchers to existing funding:

?

Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council to

include OHS as a category of research

?

OHS to campaign for raising impact rating of journals in which it publishes 

4.

Infra-structure for national co-ordination

?

Need for small unit to co-ordinate – SIA Academy a good start


People Employment Safety Institute Of Australia Inc 6 image

SAFETY INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA INC

ABN 96 109 531 809


SIA National Administration Office

PO Box 2078, Gladstone Park, VIC 3043

Telephone: (03) 8336 1995 Facsimile:  (03) 8336 1179

Email:  natadmin@sia.org.au

?

Research network to foster co-ordination and collaboration – national and

international

?

Map capacity – SIA Academy to do now

5.

Collaborative (engagement with employers and workers) and transdisciplinary (more so than

now, maybe link to health or other more mainstream areas)

6.

Research workforce development 

?

Define career pathway

?

PhD scholarships

?

Include research in professional education and training

7.

Advocacy

?

Raise awareness of need and how OHS research can assist

?

Advocacy to politicians, e.g. DPM, through media, professional bodies


The SIA is Australia’s leading body for health and safety professionals with over 3,700 members. Our

vision is “OHS professional excellence to facilitate a safe and healthy workplace for all Australians”.

For further information please contact Gary Lawson-Smith, CEO SIA on ~ Telephone: 03 8336 1995







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