Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WorkSafe silent after radio challenge

A couple of weeks ago (30 April), I happened to catch WorkSafe Executive Director, John Merritt, talking about workplace safety on Radio National's Australia Talks program. As WorkSafe had failed to respond to questions I raised with them about video footage of an asbestos-contaminated Roberts Street Northcote demolition site, I thought I'd challenge John on air about how disclosure by regulators - or in this case, non-disclosure - might contribute to creating a culture of safety in the workplace.

As an example, I asked John whether it should take two calls and six emails to WorkSafe to get a response on an asbestos issue. He said that it shouldn't, and claimed WorkSafe had been corresponding with me on the matter. I pointed out that I had received no response on the video footage, including to emails I had sent to him personally. He said he was 'happy to take it offline' and I left my details with the program - not, I must say, with any high hopes for any answers. Guess what? I was right. Complete silence has been the only response from WorkSafe following my on-air radio challenge.

If you go to the page for the Australia Talks workplace safety program, about two-thirds of the way through the audio you can hear for yourself my questions and John's response, including his happiness to take the issue offline. You can also read my post in the guestbook. Also online, however inconvenient for WorkSafe, are links to the Roberts Street asbestos coverage on my blog from Holding Redlich's OHS magazine, as well as the OHS magazine of Trades Hall, SafetyNet (see under 'Asbestos News').

For more background on the specific questions arising from the video footage, see this earlier post.

So, are we going to get a response, John? You'll know about this post, because I'll be sending it straight to your inbox, as well as to the WorkSafe information email address. Please feel free to leave a comment. Maybe you can explain the lack of a response by your organisation, or even answer the questions I've asked about the video footage.

Update: Early this morning (Wednesday 14 May) I received a phone call from WorkSafe Executive Director, John Merritt, and again put forward my case for a response from the safety watchdog on asbestos removal works at Roberts Street Northcote on Wednesday 2 April. It is the first response of any kind from WorkSafe following my referral of video footage taken on the day, and I hope it will lead to some answers. Watch this space.

1 comment:

  1. To the person who recently posted a comment to this post, I would prefer to discuss your matter offline. Please email me via darren@lewin-hill.net and I will be in touch. I am sorry for the delayed response, but I am currently running for Council in Darebin.

    Cheers, Darren


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