Good work design https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ en Workplace sexual harassment https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/topic/workplace-sexual-harassment <div class="node node--type-topic node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field overview-group"> <div class="field__label">Overview</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Workplace sexual harassment is a known cause of psychological and physical harm. </p> <p>Under <a data-entity-substitution="canonical" data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="b64ab2fa-9137-4e8b-b6a0-63e3cf43b7da" href="/law-and-regulation/model-whs-laws" title="Model WHS Laws">model WHS laws</a>, businesses and organisations must manage the health and safety risks of workplace sexual harassment. This includes sexual harassment between workers and from other people at the workplace like customers and clients.</p> <ul> <li>The <a data-entity-substitution="canonical" data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="584cb07c-4c3c-4783-8d2f-a4eda4d6ce98" href="/doc/preventing-workplace-sexual-harassment-guide" title="Preventing workplace sexual harassment guide">Guide: Preventing workplace sexual harassment</a> provides detailed information for employers on practical ways to prevent sexual harassment at work and how to respond if it does happen.</li> <li>The Guide is supported by an <a data-entity-substitution="canonical" data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="5db5398d-d61d-4056-9ec0-ef8e8e6549bc" href="/doc/preventing-workplace-sexual-harassment-guidance-small-business" title="Preventing workplace sexual harassment – guidance for small business">information sheet for small business</a> which provides simple guidance to support small business owners meet their WHS duties. </li> <li>An <a data-entity-substitution="canonical" data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="02a65818-c889-433d-8f95-a902b1f10587" href="/doc/workplace-sexual-harassment-advice-workers" title="Workplace sexual harassment – advice for workers">information sheet for workers</a> provides information for workers about duties under WHS laws and what to do if they experience or witness sexual harassment at work.   </li> <li><a data-entity-substitution="canonical" data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="c1132dec-0ae2-46a3-ae62-9c12132a556e" href="/preventing-workplace-sexual-harassment-infographics" title="Preventing workplace sexual harassment – infographics ">Infographics</a> are available to provide information about workplace sexual harassment and practical steps on how to prevent it. </li> </ul> <h2>Work health and safety duties</h2> <p>The model WHS laws require persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to ensure workers and others are not exposed to risks to their health and safety, including from sexual harassment. PCBUs must take a systematic approach to managing risk with the aim of eliminating the risk, or if this is not possible, minimising the risk as far as is reasonably practicable. </p> <p>One way to do this is to follow the risk management process in consultation with workers, health and safety representatives and other businesses you work with or share a premises with. This involves:</p> <ul> <li>identifying hazards</li> <li>assessing risks, if necessary</li> <li>controlling risks</li> <li>reviewing hazards and control measures to ensure they are working as planned.</li> </ul> <p>Workers and others at the workplace also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and not adversely affect the health and safety of themselves or others. This includes following any reasonable instruction given to comply with a health and safety duty.</p> <h2>What can sexual harassment look like?</h2> <p>Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.</p> <p>Sexual harassment can include: </p> <ul> <li>unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing</li> <li>inappropriate staring or leering</li> <li>suggestive comments or jokes</li> <li>using suggestive or sexualised nicknames for co-workers</li> <li>sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts</li> <li>circulating sexually explicit material </li> <li>persistent unwanted invitations to go out on dates</li> <li>requests or pressure for sex</li> <li>intrusive questions or comments about a person's private life or body</li> <li>unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person</li> <li>insults or taunts based on sex</li> <li>sexual gestures or indecent exposure</li> <li>following, watching or loitering nearby another person</li> <li>sexually explicit or indecent physical contact</li> <li>sexually explicit or indecent emails, phone calls, text messages or online interactions</li> <li>repeated or inappropriate advances online</li> <li>threatening to share intimate images or film without consent</li> <li>actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.</li> </ul> <p>Some forms of sexual harassment are also criminal offences and should be reported to the police.</p> <p>Sexual harassment is not always obvious, repeated or continuous. Unlike bullying, which is characterised by repeated behaviour, sexual harassment can be a one-off incident.</p> <p>Sexual harassment can also be a behaviour that while not directed at a particular person, affects someone who is exposed to it or witnesses it (such as overhearing a conversation or seeing sexually explicit posters in the workplace). </p> <h2>Who is affected by sexual harassment?</h2> <p>Women are significantly more likely to experience sexual harassment than men. Other factors which increase the likelihood of a worker experiencing sexual harassment include:</p> <ul> <li>workers under 30 years of age</li> <li>workers who identify as LGBTIQA+</li> <li>Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workers</li> <li>workers with a disability</li> <li>workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds</li> <li>migrant workers or workers holding temporary visas, and</li> <li>people in insecure working arrangements, e.g. casual, labour hire or part-time work.</li> </ul> <p>See the<a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/respectwork-sexual-harassment-national-inquiry-report-2020"> Australian Human Rights Commission report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces</a> (<a href="mailto:Respect@Work">Respect@Work</a>) for more information on the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment in Australia.</p> <h2>Impacts of sexual harassment</h2> <p>Sexual harassment can cause physical and psychological harm to the person it is directed at and anyone witnessing the behaviour. Sexual harassment can lead to:</p> <ul> <li>feelings of isolation, social isolation or family dislocation</li> <li>loss of confidence and withdrawal</li> <li>physical injuries as a result of assault</li> <li>stress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)</li> <li>illness such as cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, immune deficiency and gastrointestinal disorders e.g. as a result of stress</li> <li>negative impacts on a person’s job, career and financial security and</li> <li>suicidal thoughts.</li> </ul> <h2>Further advice and support services</h2> <p>Safe Work Australia is not a regulator and cannot advise you about compliance with WHS laws in your jurisdiction. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.</p> <p>Other laws may also apply depending on the nature and circumstances of workplace sexual harassment, for example criminal laws, anti-discrimination laws and industrial laws. Further information and advice can be obtained from the organisations and agencies below:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/">Australian Human Rights Commission </a>- 1300 656 419 or 02 9284 9888</li> <li><a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/">Fair Work Commission</a> - 1300 799 675</li> <li><a href="https://www.ourwatch.org.au">Our Watch</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/">Beyond Blue</a> - 1300 224 636</li> <li><a href="https://1800respect.org.au/">1800Respect</a> - 1800 737 732</li> <li><a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/list-sexual-assault-services">Sexual assault support services</a> </li> <li><a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> - 13 11 14</li> <li><a href="https://au.reachout.com/ ">ReachOut</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 27 Jan 2021 03:48:32 +0000 Good work design Transforming for the future: Part one: An Australian perspective https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/transforming-future-part-one-australian-perspective <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>This is part one in a three-part series.</p> <p>Michelle Baxter, CEO of Safe Work Australia speak about the Australian approach on work health and safety at the Singapore WSH conference 2018. Michelle has highlighted some key principles that underpin the Work Health and Safety Act in Australia. </p> <p>Safe Work Australia as a national policy agency produced the <em>Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022</em>, which sets out measurable targets for multiple state jurisdictions to adopt and implement with aim of achieving national harmonisation of work health and safety standards across Australia.</p> <h2>Related videos</h2> <ul> <li><a href="/node/1948">Transforming for the future: Part two: Megatrends</a></li> <li><a href="/node/1949">Transforming for the future: Part three: The future of work </a></li> </ul> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li><em><a href="/node/201">Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022</a></em></li> <li>CSIRO’s Data61 report <em><a href="https://www.data61.csiro.au/en/Our-Work/Future-Cities/Planning-sustainable-infrastructure/workplacesafety">Workplace Safety Futures</a></em></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Transforming for the future: Part one: An Australian perspective</h2> <h3>Michelle Baxter</h3> <p>Good afternoon everyone. It's a real pleasure to be here at the Singapore WSH Conference 2018. Today I'm going to give you some insights into how we approach Work, Health and Safety in Australia and how we're tackling the changing face of Work, Health and Safety that's being caused by new and emerging workforce trends. So, I'm very proud of the system that we've got in Australia. It's the product of much hard work, consultation, collaboration, and innovation. And over the past 10 years there's been a steady decline in workplace fatalities and injuries, which simply inspires us to work harder to make that decline even steeper.</p> <p>So, in about 2011 Safe Work Australia developed a single set of model Work, Health and Safety laws for implementation by each of the governments of Australia. Most governments in Australia have done this and it's through this that we have broadly achieved national harmonisation of Work, Health and Safety in Australia. This is no mean feat in a country that's as large and as diverse as Australia and with its multiplicity of independent systems of government. There isn't one central federal government in Australia that controls everything, there are a number of jurisdictions and each of those had to implement the model Work, Health and Safety laws through its own parliament. There are two very important principles that underpin the Work, Health and Safety act. The first is the hierarchy of risk control and the second is good work design. So, I'm sure in terms of the hierarchy of risk control, you're all very familiar with that.</p> <p>So, in Australia the onus is placed on what's called the person conducting the business or undertaking, the PCBU. (It) used to be the employer but it's shifted slightly to select and implement measures as close to the top of the hierarchy as far as reasonably practicable, such as elimination of the hazard or substituting the hazard with a safer alternative. And then the second principle is good work design, and this really does underpin the Australian approach to Work, Health and Safety. Good work design sits at the very top of the hierarchy of risk control and it means designing work, work systems, processes, and plant so that they are inherently safe. So that hazards and risks to workers’ safety don't even enter the workplace. Failure to consider how work is designed can be a breach of Australian Work, Health and Safety laws.</p> <p>So in Australia, we're very proud of the laws that govern the minimum standards to achieving work health and safety compliance, but we want more than just compliance. We pursue the ideal of best practise to reach far beyond compliance, and to ask ourselves, "Okay, what's the next challenge? What are the new things that we can learn? How can we further innovate? And what more can we do to protect workers?"</p> <p>Because work is changing, so must we. So we started a process in 2012 by developing the Australian Work, Health and Safety strategy, which is a 2012 to 2022 strategy. It's a forward thinking, long-term national strategy. It's halfway through at the moment, which promotes the vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives and provides measurable targets to be achieved by 2022. It places focus on a set of priority industries and that's those that experience the highest number of fatalities and industries, injuries, I beg your pardon, and places the emphasis on designing workplaces and work so that they are inherently safe. The National Strategy drives work nationally so that all of the Work, Health, Safety regulators across Australia have a common objective and a common aim to work towards.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/part-one-an-australian-perspective-transcript.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">part-one-an-australian-perspective-transcript.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Risk and profitability: Reflections and insights from Patrick Hudson https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/risk-and-profitability-reflections-and-insights-patrick-hudson <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><h2>About this seminar</h2> <p>In this seminar, international safety expert Professor Patrick Hudson reflects on the challenges facing organisations trying to implement processes to improve their safety performance. He discusses his safety culture ladder model, and how companies can assess their safety maturity by using this model.</p> <h2>Who is this seminar for?</h2> <p>This presentation is for leaders, managers and work health and safety consultants however anyone with a passion for improving organisational performance will find this presentation insightful.</p> <h2>About the presenter</h2> <p>Professor Hudson is a psychologist and internationally recognised safety expert who has worked in a wide range of high-hazard industries and is Professor of the Human Factor in Safety at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He was one of the developers of the Tripod model for Shell which is better known as the ‘swiss cheese’ model.</p> <p>Professor Hudson was selected as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2012–13, and an expert witness on process safety and safety culture in the BP Deepwater Horizon lawsuit in New Orleans.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="/moving-culture-ladder-professor-patrick-hudson">Moving up the culture ladder</a>, video featuring Professor Patrick Hudson</li> <li><a href="/safety-culture-and-leadership-professor-patrick-hudson">Safety and culture leadership</a>, video featuring Professor Patrick Hudson</li> </ul> <h2>Useful links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="/leadership-culture">Leadership and culture</a></li> <li><a href="/doc/clarifying-culture-australian-strategy-topic-paper">Clarifying culture</a> - Australian Strategy Topic Paper</li> <li><a href="http://www.flightsafetyaustralia.com/2017/08/safety-in-mind-hudsons-culture-ladder/">Safety in mind: Hudson’s culture ladder</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Risk and profitability: Reflections and insights from Patrick Hudson</h2> <p><strong>Virtual Seminar Series - Transcript</strong></p> <p>[On screen: Professor Patrick Hudson reflections and insights]</p> <p>[On screen: Part 1 – What has driven step changes in WHS maturity?]</p> <p>Patrick Hudson: </p> <p>When I look back at my history of working in the area of safety in particular, and occupation health, and environment I realise that we've gone through a number of step changes.</p> <p>And the first big step change that seems to be being made by organisations is when they're faced with a massive disaster in one form or another and they have to really start and take this seriously to the next stage of saying, "Well, we're doing all sorts of good things, but we don't know if we're doing the right things. We're doing too much. We're doing too little."</p> <p>So we get the next stage where we start getting organised. We work out what our biggest problems are, our greatest risks, we work out what problems we can put aside because they're very infrequent. The next step change is the one that everyone these days is really wanting to make and the one that they're finding quite difficult to make and that is moving from being organised to actually having the performance that you really want to achieve. And one of the things that's driving that is a realisation that you can actually do better than you actually are right now, and that's moving to being ahead of the game rather than being driven by events.</p> <p>The final step change, which we can identify is the one way where you really want to integrate, get everything together. You need to actually understand how you're doing it, what you're doing it, who's doing it, and whether you're being successful, and then permanently getting into state where you think we must be doing better. We're not doing as well as we should do.</p> <p>The other way to make that original step change, which is when regulators basically step in and say, "Either you change or we're going to make your life a misery." But many organisations haven't needed that strong focus and regulator because they realise themselves that what they're doing is not very good. The problem is that in that reactive stage you're always waiting for the next thing goes wrong and if things are going okay, you think you're doing quite well. The only thing that drives the next step change is you don't get many of those relaxation moments when things do go well, and you get an awful lot of them when they don't go well.</p> <p>And the next step, which you really have to consider then is, "Wait a minute. We're reacting ... we're just to events as they come along. What are the most frequent events one of our biggest problems but there's also the much less frequent major process disasters, and those are the ones which we really don't quite know how to deal with it except we just hope that we've got a system that is robust enough not to have it happen very often.</p> <p>We actually do get a serious improvement when we do start thinking about how we're going to be managing our safety. And what we had hoped quite often is that if we manage the personal safety that the process safety will come along. As it turned out this isn't always the case. Big disasters like Longford, BP's Texas City, and the Deepwater Horizon have shown that simply reliance on personal safety wasn't quite good enough. But once you've got that organised, and you've got you risk assessments done, you've got your priorities set, you're very successful. It does work. It makes a big difference to performance, and what they would say, "Hey, we wish we could reach that level of performance.", they reach that level, and now they say, "This isn't good enough. We've got to get better.", and that's much much harder as moving to a proactive situation, but what you're trying to do is to get ahead of the game and then the final step change is the one where you really want to make sure that all this is sustainable. And even if everybody got up and went away, the new people coming in and carrying on the operations would be as safe and carried on doing it the same way as they are today.</p> <p>[On screen: Stages of the model]</p> <p>When I think about the critical elements of my model, I start of course with the pathological, and the pathological is the only one, which really is not a culture of safety. It's a culture of get the job done however, don't get caught, and if anything goes wrong we know who to blame, and it's not me. It's somebody else. It's the victim. The remaining elements the steps on the ladder are all cultures, but they're distinct cultures, which are the core cultures of safety.</p> <p>The first one is the reactive, which is basically where we wait until things go wrong, and then we try and fix it, and then we wait for the next one, and we try and fix that. And the problem there is that what happened last time, what happens this time, or will certainly happen next time quite quickly don't have the same immediate direct causes, except usually there's people doing things, and so those are the people you're originally try and blame because they're the only thing that they got in common.</p> <p>The next level that we move to is now called the calculative, used to be called bureaucratic, but they didn't like that because I imagine people saying, "We're being very calculated today.", but they'd hate to sound being bureaucratic. But that next stage is one where in fact you got systems and processes, you get organised, you get your priorities, you get your resources, you make sure you've got your training, you do your risk assessments. The one after that the next level up is the proactive, and the proactive is the one that everybody really wants to attain these days. And the proactive is where you're dealing with the problems before the problems come and attack you. The calculative by collecting a lot of data is still inherently reactive, is waiting. The proactive is really looking at what's the next thing coming down the line rather than trying to fight yesterday's battle is trying to win tomorrow's skirmish.</p> <p>And finally with the generative it's where everybody is doing their own job. You do your job and I'll do mine. And there's a lot of power, which is being still held in the levels of upper management and line management, and the calculative and the proactive level is now dispersed down to the level of the workforce because the workforce are really the experts that have to do it safely. And the job of management is to make sure the workforce gets what the workforce needs.</p> <p>[On screen: Is culture static or dynamic?]</p> <p>The ladder has got five levels on it, five treads on the ladder, but they're not really discrete points. They represent clusters of attributes and behaviours within the organisation. It's a much more dynamic. There's lots of different points. We distinguished 18 dimensions for personal safety. Though when we add in process safety we add in about another 10 dimensions. And you can be at different points but they form a cluster for each one of those different dimensions. What I often find very useful is thinking about where you are on the ladder not as a point but as a footprint. So what you have is that the main weight of the foot maybe carried in the middle. Typically it's going to be in the calculative areas somewhere.</p> <p>We have processes, but we also nevertheless still manage to exhibit very very clear reactive behaviours. When some sorts of things happen we just react as if we've been stung and we've been bitten. But there's also the front of the foot because the reactive is the heel and I think of it as a footprint. The middle is in the calculative. And then up there in the proactive there's a few bits and pieces, parts of the organisation, which are really scrambling to try and get ahead of the game.</p> <p>So when you want to understand how an organization's culture is operating it's not a single point. It's a whole series of points, and they're dynamically moving. People are getting better, and sometimes people are getting worse. People often think that the only way to go with the ladder is to go up the ladder. But in fact if people are left on their own and they're not supported in the appropriate sorts of ways, they can also go down the ladder.</p> <p>But if you stand back a bit, you immediately realise that those characteristics, those cultural characteristics of organisations are much much broader than just safety. They refer to how we do the finance, how we go about dealing with our customers, what makes the ladder specifically relevant for safety is the transition going up the ladder in terms of a level of understanding of the risks and hazards being faced by the organisation. This applies to safety. It also naturally applies to the environment. It applies to occupational health. It applies to security, and probably applies even in finance and the realisation is down at the bottom of the ladder. You really don't understand your risks. You haven't a clue, and the best thing you can do is shut your eyes and hope it all go away. And in a well-regulated world where other partners and other players are doing it well you can get away with it. It's rather like a bad driver in traffic. A pathological organisation can be like someone who's doing terrible things on the highway, and they don't cause an accident just because everybody else is avoiding them and making up for their bad behaviour.</p> <p>As we go up the ladder move to a basic simple understanding of what the risks are. And then you're moving to a slightly more nuanced idea of what the risks are and where the risks are coming from up to a full understanding not just by the people at the top, not just by the safety department, but an understanding of the people who are facing the hazards, and the people who are managing the hazards, exactly what those hazards are, what makes them more likely to be a problem, what makes them less likely to be a problem, what's the best way of controlling them, what are the ways that we actually don't need to do.</p> <p>And so when you get to the top, you've got a lot of new nuance. And you can actually quite often avoid having to do some of the things that we have to do lower down the ladder because failing to understand what we're doing means that we really have few choices. We can't be nuanced.</p> <p>[On screen: Risk and profitability]</p> <p>One of the ways I think about operating in a risky environment is a bit like having a bull's eye. And you can have a bit in the middle where there's basically no risk; it's inherently safe, and it doesn't matter what you do or how badly you behave. But the returns on investment at that point are pretty minimal because everybody can do it and anybody can operate in that particular part of the space.</p> <p>As you move out a bit, you move into an outer ring where the risks are pretty normal, their standard, we understand them. Not everybody wishes to take them so we can make more money, we can get better returns because we know how to do it, and we do it, and we do it well. And the better you're getting it at doing it the further out you are moving towards, what I call, the edge, where the edge is where it gets very exciting. But if you fall over the edge, that's when you have an accident or a major incident.</p> <p>And what is interesting about thinking about things like high reliability, organisations, proactive and generative cultures in general is that they enable you to operate out close to the edge for two reasons: One is you know how to operate, and the second is you've got pretty good systems for telling you where the edge is, and your operating processes keep you away from the edge.</p> <p>So for organisations that, in a harsh commercial environment have to sweat their assets, it's absolutely vital for them to do this kind of stuff well in a harsh commercial world. So when you're sweating the assets, you better be jolly good at what you're doing rather than just doing what the bookkeepers told you.</p> <p>One of the natural questions you can ask is: doesn't do all the safety stuff just cost money? And the answer is no. It makes you money, but you've got to get your head around how it does it. And I think that's very important because typically what people do is they complain they have to do this, they have to do that. Safety is just a cost, gets in the way of doing the business. But the reality is: if you've got your safety right and you can do it safely. Then you can go in and do interesting, and exciting, dangerous, and dare I say profitable things because you're good at it, you know what you're doing, and you know when to back off so you don't get hurt. Whereas if you're not very good at this, you don't know when to back off, but you may not have the nerve to do the really exciting stuff as well.</p> <p>[On screen: Costing risk]</p> <p>To make the argument I often do this especially with senior people like boards, which is I have a figure in my head, which is that roughly 10% of turnover is wasted on poor performance in areas like OHS, environment, and process safety. So if you're turning over 20 billion a year, two billion is vanishing in smoke because you're not actually managing it very well.</p> <p>Now people disagree with me, and I've had to level types of disagreement. One was a friend of mine from a very big company that makes an awful lot of profit said that he thought I was entirely wrong. And I said, "Well, what figure should it be." And he said, "15%."</p> <p>So the trick I do is to say to people, "Well, I may be wrong." But if they object say, "Well, you must have the figures. So you know what the figures are." They’ll usually retreat in some confusion and they say, "But they still can't be right." And I say, "Okay, it's fine. It's only a guesswork anyway but it's got the conversation started. And we can use a spreadsheet where you can look at the costs of different types of accidents and different levels of consequence." And we can say, "Well, you fill in your own data. You fill in the likelihood that these kind of incidents are going to happen from unlikely, to very unlikely, to almost impossible. And you fill in where they're going to be really expensive or just little expensive. And then you put it all together. Low and behold, you come up with something it looks suspiciously like 10% of turnover. But they're your figures not mine."</p> <p>By the time you've got people at that level to that level of understanding, the finance people, their only complaint is, "Why didn't you tell me this earlier?" And so all of a sudden the finance people can become the safety people's best friend rather than what they thought was their natural enemy. It's quite interesting the way we go about it is to create basically what looks like a risk assessment matrix where the cells contain for different types of incident. The costs of a level five total disaster times the cost of level one, which is just near almost a near miss, and level zero is highly counts is an incident at all for different sorts of incidents.</p> <p>So in the case of oil industry we had a quick rule of thumb that a total platform loss was going to be about 1.6 billion dollars. Whereas a level four where more than one person is killed and there's major asset damage, you're probably looking at something more like 160 million, an order of magnitude less. Now losing the total platform is very unlikely. So the expected cost that you're actually exposed to is the product of a very small probability of the very large amount, and it usually comes down to maybe a couple hundred dollars on an annual basis. What we discovered was interesting was the place where all the money is vanishing is not the big headline events. We're actually quite good at managing them most of the time, although we could still be better. The way it turned out is that level two level three stuff, which is regarded typically as not hot hardly worth reporting more than a little way up the line gets, aggregated, lost, and isn't considered as being worth bothering about. So it's what I call the death of a thousand cuts is where almost all of that 10 percent exposure actually comes from. When you see the figures looking at you say, "Ooh, now we know what we can do. We can actually do something about that, and if we're clever manage it in a way that the bigger more headline items get covered at the same time as well."</p> <p>[On screen: Litigation]</p> <p>One of the big problems that we face in today's world is litigation. It scares people to the point where they think that they shouldn't say what's going on. They shouldn't say what's happened to them because they're afraid that if they get into court they're going to be in terrible trouble. Now I think this is actually misunderstood. The really crucial discovery is that your probably your best defence in court is the realisation that things will always go wrong. Life is not fair. And what counts in court and what counts in the spirit at least of the law, although sometimes the letter of the law might be tidied up a bit, and I'm not just talking about Australian legislation areas. I'm talking about America. I'm talking about Europe as well.</p> <p>What counts is were you trying. If you were trying hard, and you're doing your darndest to avoid an accident, and nevertheless you just got caught by something, which came completely out of left field then you really should be able to get off. You might be still required to compensate the people, but the problem is that if people are terrified by a litigation, then what can often happens is that they're going to say, "Don't tell me. I don't want to know. I don't want to hear."</p> <p>One of the things that you have to do is really realise that you've got to do certain things because that's what's expected. That is the right thing to do. I'll give you a classic example, which we discovered in the Deepwater Horizon case that I've been personally involved in as an expert witness. And what it turned out was that BP had, what I would argue, was the best safety management system in the world at that time called OMS and they developed OMS as a specific response to their Texas City disaster, and we thought that they hadn't rolled out OMS in the Gulf of Mexico because that was a difficult region and they've done it elsewhere.</p> <p>It turned out BP had rolled it out in the Gulf of Mexico, but what they did was they rolled it out on their own assets first, and they left the non BP assets, like Transocean's Deepwater Horizon, to a later date. So what they did and demonstrated that they failed to exercise their true duty of care was that they took the active decision not to implement the local operating management system, LOMS, on that particular well. And what I was going to argue in court was quite clear, which was that the system was so good that if they had implemented it, it would have prevented the disaster.</p> <p>Now, if they'd failed to do it because they just forgot or they were in a hurry, and it was literally coming along the next week that would be understandable. Where they went wrong was they actually had a committee meeting of the risk committee and took the active decision not to implement it. So don't do this at home folks.</p> <p>[On screen: Assessing your organisational and cultural maturity]</p> <p>One of the things people want to do is to find out what their culture is like, and the standard way of doing this is to carry out a safety culture survey.</p> <p>[On screen: Safety culture survey]</p> <p>The problem with that is that, first of all, they're big. Everyone's first to fill them in, and also that they're really attitude surveys. And the problem I have is also the people know what answers to give. And they may well give the answers to achieve the results they want to achieve. So I've seen surveys that have been filled in by groups of people who had a very clear message they wanted to send to their management. It wasn't about safety it was about their relationships and their industrial relationships.</p> <p>But leaving that aside we also have complications because you've got 150 questions and say,</p> <p>[On screen: Safety culture survey. How to interpret?]</p> <p>"What are we going to do once we've got the data? What's a 3.8 mean on a five point scale? What's a 4.2 mean?" They are useful, but they're not that useful, I find at least. And what they do is they fit with the requirements for instance from the U.K. health and safety executive's definition of safety culture in terms of values, beliefs, and attitudes, and behaviours with respect to safety, which is a perfectly good definition. But except it doesn't really capture values too well. It doesn't capture beliefs at all. It's very good on attitudes and somewhat weak on behaviours. But I have a paradox, which I discovered as well: if I know what your values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours are from your questionnaire, from your survey, I may not necessarily be able to predict exactly what it is you're going to do when you're on your own at 3 o’clock in the morning. This as I have discovered is a typical example of the classic definition of aircraft line maintenance. It all happens at three o'clock in the morning with a single engineer who's working on their own at night trying to make sure everyone stays safe.</p> <p>[On screen: Observe behaviour]</p> <p>If on the other hand I observe you behaving at three o'clock in the morning, I can work out pretty accurately what your values, beliefs, and attitudes are because I know your behaviour.</p> <p>So one of the things that you really need to concentrate on is work out what people actually do rather than what they say they do. A lot of senior management their behaviour is saying the right things rather than necessarily doing the right things. They're very good at talking but their not always quite so good at walking. So the way we try and assess safety culture is by saying rather than giving people very carefully crafted single item questions like: my supervisor tells me when I'm not behaving correctly or something like that.</p> <p>What we do is we can have what we call rich descriptions where people can say, "That's us. That's feels like us. That's what we are like." The can be around what is the status of the safety department? What are the rewards of good safety performance? How do we do audits? How do we communicate? Who communicates? And when you have a sentence of three or four that you can actually put a description together along one of those dimensions.</p> <p>So you take each of the five steps on the ladder then you can say you can pick one of those and say, "That's us.", and we derived the original tool that we used in the Hearts and Minds Programme going right back to the early study in 2000 by doing this. What we also discovered was that we made the tools so people would say, "Well, we're a bit calculative, and we're a bit proactive, and it's in between the two somewhere." So we made a system and we scored those. And that's where we left it for a long time. But I became dissatisfied and I realised that there was something going on. And what was going on was that people were not picking the description of where they were. They were picking a description that also reflected where they would like to be just for themselves and for their colleagues. They would like to feel that their workplace wasn't as bad as they were tempted to score, and so they would say, "Well it edge it up a bit as well."</p> <p>And so what we found was that the scores on these tests were probably being heavily influenced by the effect of self-esteem, an aspiration rather than the actuality. So I decided single-handedly a few years ago to change the way we measured. Turned out to be very useful and very insightful. And what I did was I said, "I'm not interested in measuring where you are. Read the descriptions, and choose those descriptions where you think reasonably that your organisation could be 24 months from this day." And I say 24 months because 24 months is long enough to think that you might actually be able to effect the change within an organisation, and short enough that you haven't been moved away from your job. It's just a way of anchoring people to a point in time, which is not tomorrow but is not ten years down the line.</p> <p>And so I said, "Just pick those what I call aspiration scores. We’re not interested in where you are." So they do this, and all of a sudden they're not saying, "Well we want to be a bit proactive but also some generative." 99.9% picked one box out of the five, said, "That's us. That's what we reckon we could be. That described us really well."</p> <p>So we get a new score and a profile, that footprint with a heel and the toes, but usually calculative and proactive. And now what we've got is a gap. So then, we pick what are the most impactful gaps, the ones we think you've got the best chance of success. Let's work on those, and what you are now doing is picking quite concrete steps will be exhibited as an organisation rather than simply going around saying, "What we need is better values around here.”</p> <p>[On screen: Small business application]</p> <p>These tools and approaches have typically been developed with large resource-rich industries like the oil and gas industry, like aviation, and the question often arises is: what about the little guy, where they're all working their tootsies off because they got to stay in business, and they can't spend a lot of time going around filling in paperwork for people because they've got a job to do. In fact, in some ways it's easier because you've got fewer people to persuade, fewer people to work on, they know each other. When people know each other, then they know what other people are good at, what they're not so good. If we can get everyone into a shed or if it's an aviation operation, if we can get them all into a hangar.</p> <p>And what we do at the end of every day is try and say, "What are the kind of things that we should be doing now? What went well? What went badly? Why did it go wrong? What are we going to do to make sure we never get into that problem again? And sometimes you say, "Well, we thought we fixed it, and we haven't so we'll have to try again." And what you realise with small organisations is that they can do this if they are given enough time. And I think one of the problems is quite often is that clients don't give small contractors enough time to become better. And one of the things that you can do is actually make an investment in your contractors as if you're a bigger company by saying, "Take some time at our charge.". And we may be talking 10 minutes, maybe talking 20, in a week, in a day, in a day or even half an hour in a week to say "What are the things that we could do that would make us better next week than we have been this week than we were last week."</p> <p>[On screen: What are the things we can do to improve?]</p> <p>I find thinking about progression up the ladder, which is why people really approach me and they asked can I help, is that there are five steps on the ladder and there are four arrows as the arrow from pathological to reactive from reaction to calculative and so on. And what we're trying to do and we're getting better is make a transition over one of those arrows.</p> <p>And I discovered that there's a very simple structure, which helps me a lot when I'm trying to advise organisations in how to do it, and I'm trying to design plans for improvement, and that comes from the first realisation that when I was talking to organisations they would say to me, "We're pretty good. We're definitely heading up the ladder. We're heading towards the higher reaches." And I'd say, "Yeah. I'm impressed. Pretty good stuff." I would do because they're paying me. But I'm tricky. So I'd say, "Well, why are you so good?" And they'd say, "Well, we've got this in place and that in place, and this place, and that's in place." And I'd hear in place coming in like mortar fire from the enemy trenches. And I'd say, "Yes, again I'm deeply impressed. Just one question." And they'd say, "Yes." This point they'd think they're beginning to know I'm tricky. "This one question. Are you using any of it yet? Is it in operation?" "Ah.", they'd say, "We're going to. We've got a plan. We've got an implementation plan. We've got a work group and we're starting next week." I'd say, "Good. So you're not actually using it yet, but you're going to." Or sometimes, "We're using some of it, but we're still planning on using some more."</p> <p>So the transition from reactive to calculative is taking the stuff that you put in place when you stop being purely pathological and actually getting it to work. So we have standards but we actually use them as opposed to having them sitting on a shelf looking bright and shiny, but not actually influencing anything. And then there comes another problem, which is, "Okay. So were using them." I'd say, "Are they any good?" "Well," they'd say, "We've got a few processes that really don't work well, but we don't dare stop using them because that'll show our lack of commitment to safety." I say, "Well wait a minute. Why aren't they working?". "Well they're not very good." So the realisation I became to discover was there's another transition: the transition from calculative to proactive, which is a difficult one, which is of making what you've got effective. So actually taking what you put in place and then making sure that you're actually going to achieve the performance, and the results, and the behaviours that you intended when you put stuff in place.</p> <p>[On screen: Future challenges]</p> <p>If we look into the future there's one thing we know: things are going to change. What we've got to do when we change is recognise how we're moving as we change into the way in which we're going to operate with the world. We may slip back into a reactive mode because we don't actually understand how our new technology is working. But if you understand that you don't understand, then you are already beginning to get a head start. So I think that in my ideal world people would move up because as they start to design new approaches to work they were design in how the organisation is going to handle the changes not simply in classic change management but much more also at the cultural level. And one thing I can guarantee, which is that if there's major technological changes, and these cultural aspects are not considered you're going to get a few massive disasters along the way.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/patrick_hudson_transcript_0.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">patrick_hudson_transcript.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Managing shift work and workplace fatigue https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/managing-shift-work-and-workplace-fatigue <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>Today’s society is increasingly focused on a 24/7 economy and the expectations on people to work at all hours of the day have increased.</p> <p>Research shows that shift work and irregular or long working hours, can adversely affect the health, safety and wellbeing of workers. Fatigue management is critical and everyone in the workplace has a responsibility to ensure fatigue  doesn’t create a work health and safety risk.</p> <p>Four expert panellists explore the effects of shift work and fatigue and the latest research in this area. They highlight that it’s a complex problem and there is not a one size fits all solution.</p> <p>Panellists also discuss practical ways that organisations can mitigate the risks associated with shift work and fatigue, including good work design, encouraging a culture where workers feel comfortable to speak up and technological solutions.</p> <p><strong>Dr Johannes Gärtner – case study</strong></p> <p>Dr Johannes Gärtner shares the story of a steel mill in Austria that reduced working hours to retain employees and found many benefits.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://publish.viostream.com/embed/player?key=o99eudnycm8fp&amp;width=640&amp;height=360" style="border: currentColor; border-image: none; width: 640px; height: 360px; overflow: hidden;" webkitallowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>Who is this seminar for?</h2> <p>This panel discussion will be of interest to leaders and managers in organisations that employ shift workers, those who have responsibility for rostering and shift workers themselves. Researchers, HR and safety professionals with an interest in fatigue management or shift work may also find this video relevant.</p> <h2>About the presenters</h2> <p>Hans Van Dongen is the Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center and a Professor in the College of Medicine at Washington State University Spokane. He is internationally known for his research on cumulative cognitive deficits due to chronic sleep restriction, trait inter-individual differences in vulnerability to fatigue, mathematical modelling of fatigue and cognitive performance, and fatigue risk management.</p> <p>Claudia Moreno is Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil. Her areas of study include circadian rhythms, sleep, diseases among shift workers and the work population in general. Claudia is also an affiliated researcher at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, Sweden and board member of the Brazilian Sleep Society.</p> <p>Diane Boivin is Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and Director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Human Circadian Rhythms at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Her research interests cover the problem of maladaptation to shift work, jet lag, fatigue risk management, sex differences in circadian rhythms and the role of circadian rhythms in various medical and psychiatric conditions.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson, Director of the Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University, is an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist who is recognised for his work in the areas of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, industrial relations negotiations, and the human implications of hours of work.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="/fatigue">Fatigue</a>, Safe Work Australia</li> <li><a href="/work-related-fatigue">Work-related fatigue and job design video</a>, Safe Work Australia</li> <li><a href="/doc/guide-managing-risk-fatigue-work">Guide for managing the risk of fatigue at work</a>, Safe Work Australia</li> <li><a href="/media/fresh-thinking-tired-subject">Fresh thinking on a tired subject video</a>, Safe Work Australia</li> <li><a href="http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/50065/how_to_manage_shiftwork_guide_0224.pdf">How to manage shift work</a>, SafeWork NSW</li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Managing shift work and fatigue panel discussion</strong></p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Welcome to Safe Work Australia's Virtual Seminar Series. I'm delighted that we have four, international experts to actually assist us with our questions today. And I might start with Claudia. Would you mind introducing yourself to Safe Work Australia's audience? </p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>Thank you. I'm Claudia Moreno. I am from the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil. I am a professor there and I study circadian rhythms, sleep, and some, diseases among shift workers and the work population in general.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>I'm Drew Dawson. I'm the director of the Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University. And we've spent about the last 20 years studying the effects of shift work and fatigue, and in particular we're interested in the impact on accidents and injuries.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>I'm Hans Van Dongen. I'm the director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center and a professor in the college of medicine at Washington State University in Spokane in the United States. And my research focuses on sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment, or what it is like to be a shift worker, both in the lab and in the field.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>I'm Diane Boivin. I'm the director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Circadian Rhythms at Douglas Institute, McGill University, in Montreal. And I'm studying the impact of circadian misalignment or disruption of the sleep/wake cycle, on physiological rhythm and its application to shift work, and also fatigue in the field for shift workers.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So you can see we've got a very impressive line-up, today to talk to. But, Drew, before we begin into the questions, we're sitting here today at the 23rd International Symposium on Shift work and Working Time, at the lovely Uluru centre that you've got us here to. Please, can you tell us what is this symposium that you have arranged?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Well, every two years or so around about 100 to 120 people interested in the effects of shift work and treatments for shift work get together somewhere remote and exotic in the world, and the idea is to share with a group of academics, industry partners, regulators, what's the latest research in shift work, and what we can do to minimise some of the problems that are...have been identified with shift work.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Fantastic. That's great. So, I might start with you, if I could, Diane. So, for our audience, what do you mean when you're talking about shift work and working time?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>You can answer that question on two levels. First, on the organisational level, it means group of workers who would alternate at a given position. And in France...French, we say 'travail posté' mean that you're at a position and you rotate group of workers. At the individual level it means that you will work or end up working outside of the conventional weekday daytime hours, and often it involves working during the night-time period. And there's all sorts of organisation - either it's permanent or a regular night shift or it's rotating or... You can pretty much observe a lot of organisation of work throughout various organisation or have a regular shift, being on call, and so on. So, these are atypical work schedule.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Thanks, Diane. And so, Hans, have working times and shifts changed in the last 30 years? Or are they still the same?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Well, no, they've changed in a variety of ways. I think, first of all, we've gone to an increasingly 24/7-oriented economy and society, so the burden of society on people to work at all hours of the day has increased...continues to increase ever and ever. What I think is an interesting observation to make is that the way we try to manage those hours from a regulatory point of view is starting to change as well. If we go back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and all the way through the past century, we see there's an emphasis on regulating work time - in other words, putting maxima on how long you can work and putting minima on how long you should be off of work before you can rotate back into the workforce. What we're seeing nowadays is a tendency towards regulating not the hours per se, but, the level of fatigue that is associated with those hours and trying to put a cap on that level of fatigue so that you try to minimise the number of errors and risks that are associated with fatigue that enter the workplace. And that's a whole different kind of way of looking at the problem. It's much more dynamic, and instead of just counting hours, what you're trying to minimise is the effect of those hours as they have on performance and safety.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Drew have the working hours in Australia changed, or are they...do they reflect international patterns?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Well, a bit of both. If you go back 20 to 30 years in Australia you will have found that there was probably half a dozen rosters that were being worked around the country. Now there are literally thousands of different rosters. For many Australians the changes in the industrial landscape over the last couple of decades and in particular the shift of negotiating shifts from, government, unions and the industrial court to a situation now where it's typically negotiated between the employer and the employee at the local site means that we have a lot more people coming up with a lot of different rosters. The other interesting aspect of that is often people are designing and approving rosters with no expertise or knowledge about it. And, as a consequence, sometimes short-term productivity gains for the company or income issues for employees tend to dominate the discussion rather than the health and safety aspects of it.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Claudia, you...in your introduction, you told us that one of your expertise areas was in circadian rhythms. I wonder if you can... I understand that means our internal body clocks. I wonder if you can just unpack that a little bit more for our audience, about what is our internal body clock, and why is it important?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>Well, it is important because, we are diurnal, so we are supposed to sleep during...at night and be awake during the day. And the problem is since the body was, ... since the body is with...has functions that are predetermined by...during the evolution as diurnal, this means if you inverse your work schedule you have health problems. And it's important to understand that to do a task at three in the morning is not the same as at three in the afternoon. And this has consequences on performance, on health in general, and can also lead to a number of disease. I think it's important to understand sleep, has to be according to the individual's needs, so some people really need to sleep more than others and this is not possible when you have quicker returns to work or you don't have days off enough to recover your sleep debt during the work week.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>I might actually open to all of you because I know you all are researching in this area, but are there big differences between individuals, you know, or... I've been hearing some comments over the last few days at this meeting, but perhaps I could ask you to tell me about the individual differences, and are they...do they really matter?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Well, I think tremendously. However, it's a point where,  we need more research, because we understand very little the individual determinant that will make someone more vulnerable or resistant to shift work or sleep deprivation, and...or on developing long-term medical consequences associated with shift work. And I think Hans has very nice details to share about resistance to sleep deprivation.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Yes, so, one of the things we know is that people differ in how they respond to sleep loss and to working at odd hours, in a systematic manner, in such a way that we even think it's a trait or possibly genetically determined to some extent.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Is that the sort of early morning person versus...</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>That's an aspect of it. It's also some people are much more, resilient to just not sleeping as much as they really should, and some people are very vulnerable when they even lose about 10 minutes of their normal sleep - you immediately see the consequences. The interesting, consequence of these differences is that with more flexible or more variable work schedules, there is, in principle, a better work schedule for every specific individual, and if we could just match the individual with the work schedule, shift work might not be as big a problem as it is today. But because we put people in shifts that are not in alignment with their normal rhythms or not in alignment with the amount of sleep that they need, we then put them in a situation where shift work becomes a problem. And this pertains to night shifts, but it also pertains to early morning shifts. If you're a person, going back to this morning/this evening thing, if you're a person who is not a morning type and you're forced to work early morning hours, that is as much shift work for your specific individual as working a night shift for somebody who is not an evening type or an owl.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, Drew, what are health consequences for,...for shift work, for people with...they're not suited to it, or even if they are doing it most of the time?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Yeah, that's a very controversial area, Peta, and I suspect this is not going to be a satisfying answer to a lot of people, which is we have some preliminary data that shift work can cause health problems. Do we know the exact mechanisms of action and what's happening at the cellular level? No, we don't. But I think you could probably think of the health effects into a couple of broad areas. We know that there are profound effects of shift work on food metabolism and how we process food, and, at certain times of the day, certain types of food that we shouldn't eat seem a lot more attractive than at others. I think we're also starting to see some good work showing that shift work, particularly where there's sleep loss, has impact on the immune system. So there's been quite good animal and human studies showing that you can be more susceptible to infection and you can take longer to recover when you've been a shift worker. But I think there's also a lot of social consequences that lead to potential health problems. So, shift workers often eat worse food, they exercise less. Traditionally they have smoked cigarettes more, have drunk alcohol more. So, in many cases we see some of the short-term coping mechanisms for shift work also leading to long-term health consequences for shift workers. But, again, this is a very new and emerging field and one that's going to require a few more years of careful research before we start raising the red flag.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So - to any of you - are there gender differences? Are men and women the same? Are there age differences? I'm thinking about times when I've had adolescent children and their sleep needs. So are there...</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Well, there's... The sex difference is a very, very important issue, and there is recent evidence showing that the way the circadian systems, or our body clock, controls sleep differs between men and women. And we know that there are, receptors to sexual hormones within the body, on the master clock. So, receptors to testosterone, progesterone...</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So could you just tell people what the master clock is?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Oh, the master clock is a tiny little structure in the middle of the head at the base of the hypothalamus. We call it the suprachiasmatic nucleus. You can throw that out during a party. It looks good. But it's a tiny structure and it's like the conductor, the master component of the circadian system. So, our system of body clocks, because we know there are several clocks now. But these are really sensitive to sex hormones. And the way...and they control a lot of function and rhythms throughout the body. It's so important that we have to study the sex difference. And there's some evidence that women could be physiologically more susceptible to being sleeping during the night, and so we need to pursue these question about the influence of sex, of age, individual differences and,.. But that's a great question.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>Can I add something about sex difference? Because I think it's not only sex differences, but it's also gender differences. What is the role of women at home or men at home? And this means if you have problems to be awake at night, you also have problems to sleep during the day if you have to take care of children and to do domestic tasks. So, this can also have an impact, an important impact on the adaptation of these women at work. And it's a physiological problem but it's also a social problem.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>And, Hans, is there age differences?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Yeah, age differences especially in shift work are very prominent, are very clearly,...and easy to find. The general tendency is that as people get older, they have more difficulty adapting to or tolerating shift work. There's a variety of reasons for that. It's the natural ageing process, but also the responsibilities that people have. When they get older, their life situation tends to change. So it's a constellation of factors that we haven't been able to tease apart very well. But we know that in general it becomes harder and harder as you get older to be a shift worker and actually function well or deal with the circumstances.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So you've been talking to me about the gender differences, some of the age differences, and some, family...who's doing the caring at home. Drew, you touched on the health consequences. I'm wondering about...what about the...are there safety implications in terms of increased accident risks, or not? Is that a myth?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Yeah, I think there's been a lot of work in the last few years, and I think we now understand that people who work shift work get less sleep, people who get less sleep are tired and people who are tired make more mistakes, and if that happens in a workplace, they can injure themselves or others. And I think there's a pretty solid basis for making that conclusion now. I think the interesting thing, however, has been the tendency in the past to think, well, the obvious solution to people being fatigued is to make them not fatigued, and that somehow we will change their rosters in a way that fatigue will go away as a problem. I think we've matured a little bit in the last decade or two and we've now come to the realisation that if you work 24/7, even if you get a decent sleep, you're always going to be tired at 4 o'clock in the morning. And I think we're moving from a culture and a safety mentality that says, "Fatigue's a problem, let's get rid of fatigue," to saying, "Fatigue's a problem. How can we get people to work safely whilst fatigued?" And I think a lot of the development in the last couple of years has been to say, "Let's identify people who are fatigued, and then let's rethink about their job and how they do things, and who knows they're fatigued, so that tired people can deliver health care and emergency services in those kind of occupations." Because, frankly, the inability to not provide the service politically has meant that people have pretended that fatigue's not a problem and done very little about it.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, we're leading into one of the questions that I think will be of great interest to the audience. So, it's what can employers be doing in order to help accommodate tired workers? If you're saying it's a reality that some workers will need to be working even though they're sleep-deprived. And I'm opening it to the whole panel here.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Well, from our experience in Australia - and that may not be universal around the world - the biggest and the most important step is to get the organisation to acknowledge that fatigue is a problem. We often say that fatigue is a forbidden topic of conversation - Don't mention it because it'll cost us 10% in the next EBA." And our experience has been that once organisations choose to talk about it and see what they can do to manage the risks, a lot of that can be identified and you can develop quite sensible, practical ways to reduce the risk if not always changing the roster, so I think...</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So the first step is to start talking about it?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Yeah, I think opening the dialogue up and saying, "Fatigue's a problem, let's talk about it. Let's share the silly things people do when they're fatigued and let's see if we can redesign the system so even if people are tired, those mistakes don't necessarily cost lives."</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, Diane and Claudia and Hans, what are some of the things that employers can do to be redesigning the system to deal with this reality that some workers will be fatigued?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Well like Drew mentioned, it's very important to recognise there's a problem, an issue, and to realise that there's no perfect solution. The risk zero do not exist. So first recognise it if you want to manage it properly.</p> <p>And the other message is that one size doesn't fit all. It's a complex problem that needs to be approached by several different direction in order to mitigate its risk, properly. And one recommendation may work very well in some environment. For instance, "Oh, let's try to adjust the body clock of workers to revert to a night-oriented schedule with interventions such as light." It could be OK in some situation but not at all in others… But there's some general principles such as try to sleep as much as you... can. I think these are, you know... Avoid on a daily basis sleep restriction and the build-up of sleep debt as much as you can. But there needs to be some flexibility to accommodate the various situations.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, Hans, some practical suggestions for Australian and international employers about what they can be doing to make, work...design work better?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Yes, I think if you go to the working time arrangements that are currently in place, you start to look at how did they get it to be the way they are, you oftentimes find that they are a complex mixture of interactions and decisions being made by regulators, by managers, and by employees or unions, or a labour and management and regulator triad. And, so when you talk about what can employers or what can employees or what can regulators do to help with fatigue in the workplace, you almost always enter that triad, that complex interaction and have to start negotiating that problem from a more holistic point of view. And that can, under certain circumstances, be very,  difficult or controversial to do, depending on the relationships that employers, employees and regulators have with each other to begin with. It turns out, however, that if you start talking about fatigue, you spend a little time with the various different parties that are involved, and you start digging...to dig into that topic a little deeper, that you find that at the end of the day, pretty much everybody wants the same thing. Everybody wants less fatigue in the workplace, more safety in the workplace, and, if possible, also more productivity. And these things are not orthogonal. So, what I found is that to make progress in this area, if you can bring the various parties to the table and get them to understand that what they really want is all the same thing and start the dialogue, from that perspective, then then it turns out that the working time arrangements and all the complexities that went into them can also be rearranged with a common goal in mind that makes it better for everybody. Maybe not perfect for anybody, because perfect is oftentimes the enemy of the good, but you can make progress, you can make, improvements.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, your point is that consult with everybody, including the workers, and, of course, in Australian legislation that's actually a requirement.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>I just want to add to workers' parts, the workers' side, their families. It's very important to involve the families because the worker himself or herself cannot do nothing alone. So, it's important to involve the families, as well the employers, the government, the regulators, and the workers. If we start from the regulation, you don't...you will probably not reach the workers. And so you need to start together with the workers and their families to support them.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>And what are some practical things that families can do?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>OK. Well, your comment, Claudia, also raised the concept of shared responsibility, so everybody has a responsibility to manage fatigue correctly, like the worker, they should use up their rest days to recover the sleep debt, the manager, they should offer condition that allow workers to recuperate between their shifts, and the family also, they have to realise. When I live with a shift worker, it has consequences." So when the person wants to rest, you need to protect that rest. And so, as part of this process, education is extremely important. And I think all levels of the organisation of the family, you know, if they can get educated on what are the challenge of working an atypical schedule, and what can each of them do, that would help tremendously.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So, I've been hearing over the course of this symposium, Drew, about some of the new technologies and interventions that are out there, and I wondered if you might talk about some of those, and perhaps our other panellists as well. I've heard about things like light therapy or using melatonin. Does any of that work? Is it something that people should be thinking about?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Well, I think to come back to Diane's point, is that there are a lot of things that you can do, but it isn't a "one size fits all". In fact, it's a "one size doesn't fit most" situation. And I think one of the key messages is that we have seen a shift in the last 10 years, and up until about 10 years ago, the primary control mechanism was the roster and discussions around the roster. I think we've seen the emergence of a whole set of new wearable computing, in-cab monitoring technologies. There's a whole set of very slick fatigue gadgets, as they are sometimes referred to as. And I think they have enormous potential to help with fatigue. But I'd also raise a cautionary note that often in some organisations they're seen as a silver bullet that's going to solve the whole problem. And to come back to Claudia's point, is it takes a family to support a shift worker. And sometimes the appeal of a piece of technology can override the more difficult but more important things that have to be done in terms of the employer's responsibilities, the family and community, the regulators. So I think we're going to see much more sophisticated systems as a result of technology, but I'm also cautious that sometimes they can be very appealing without necessarily having the evidence to support their effectiveness.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Diane and Claudia and Hans, have you got any comments about the new technologies or new techniques that might be useful, or a myth that they may help?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>Well, in my case, I have been studying truck drivers for the past 10 years, and I can say, we need to work more on that. We didn't find a very nice technology to help them to really identify when they are sleepy and what they should do, and I think that this is mainly because what they should do is to sleep, and what the employer want...wants is that the truck driver reach that or deliver that...goods, on time. So this is a kind of controversial situation. And so we need to do these things together - technology and the support of the employer - I mean, in order to make the technology work.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Yeah, and I share the same opinion. And if we look at,...if we look at, for instance, technology that can predict or evaluate the fitness for duty, I think they can create a false sense of security. Let's say, for instance, you have a worker arrive at the start of a night shift. The alertness can be pretty high and he can be fine at that time, but had he known about the circadian...the way the body clock controls alertness, he would know that at that time of day maybe alertness is high but it's going to dive into a low point at the end of the night. And the challenge is that these technologies should aid in controlling fatigue at work, but they cannot be the solution, because when the fatigue levels are too high, maybe it's too late also. So you need to mix education and discussion and have group of...of employees at various levels within the organisation. And especially higher-level management should embark on this fatigue management initiative.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>And Hans?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>I think one of the tricky parts is when you put technology in the hands of people that can freely obtain and use it, that you have to be careful about the tricky parts of human behaviour. There's an anecdotal example of truck drivers who have drowsy driving warning systems in their trucks and notice that they are being alerted to be drowsy and they decide that obviously they need to have sleep and therefore they start driving faster to make it home sooner, which is the exact wrong solution to the exact right identification of a problem. And so what...as with so many aspects of human behaviour, we know the basic principles, but how it actually plays out in practice is something that continues to be a...a topic of research, and it's really complicated.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So I think we're beginning to run out of time, so I'm just going to ask all of you to give one concluding practical suggestion for our viewers on what a worker or an employer can be doing to actually minimise the health and safety consequences of fatigue.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>I'm going to go for the cultural one and say it's OK to talk about it, and that if we have that dialogue we should be able to solve the problem, and it doesn't always require high-tech solutions. Just knowing that the person you're working with is tired will change the way you observe, interact and regulate their behaviour. And we see that kind of stuff happening in workplaces all the time, so I think there's some very good low-tech solutions that come when people think it's OK to talk about this topic and to share with others when they are fatigued, and particularly with their managers and people within the organisation who are responsible for managing the safety of that organisation.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So speak up and tell people when you're tired.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>Well, I think I could say a number of things, but...I go for the dialogue as well. I think it's more important to, think about education programs that can actually be done in companies, with employers and employees, and also link this to the research world. I mean, this mean...this needs to be, close, very close. We need to work together - the university, researchers, the companies and the real world. I think this is the most important thing.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Oh, OK. Yeah, I agree with, all that is said and it's important to talk about it but also to do something about it.</p> <p>And, you know, we're researchers, scientists. We know the problem. We're trying to transfer the knowledge. But probably the solution will come from the workplace environment. So what do you do with this observation about fatigue? What can be done? What do you do if a worker says, "Oh, I think I'm too tired. I'm not fit for duty"? You need to start thinking ahead of time of alternative scenarios, plan B. A B plan, sorry. And... make sure that you are proactive as an organisation and have an open dialogue and... You know, make the workers feel that they can discuss that issue and that something is going to be done about it.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>So, we tell people... people like myself will tell people that it would be really great if you could sleep eight hours and if you could do it in the night and you could have a regular schedule and all those things that in shift work settings are basically pretty much impossible. I think the one piece of advice that I would give is be aware of the simple but perhaps not correct solution. We have a tendency to ask, "Just tell me what to do. Just tell me how to solve this problem." And, both from the research perspective and from the organisational perspective we don't necessarily have all the answers yet, which means that we don't...we cannot necessarily give you a one-size-fits-all answer to those complicated questions. But I would also suggest that sometimes the answer has already been found. Sometimes the answer is already in the organisation, in the individuals. They've already come up with a solution to make things work.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So is that things like having power naps or having better lighting?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Yeah. So... sanctioned napping in the workplaces can be a really good solution. It depends on the workplace. And in some workplaces we find it works really well. Commuting where you share rides home, to increase safety is an example of that. So, people have found solutions that can, in their particular circumstances, be just perfectly fine. And I would suggest that yes, there is always room for improvement, but don't throw overboard the things you've already figured out that actually do work.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>And maybe... You make me think about something which is, Hans, very important - that people often, they keep the model of a day...of a normal day-oriented schedule as a goal to achieve. Let's say, try to sleep in one single sleep episode and go as close as we can to, you know, normal behaviour. Actually, this can be quite detrimental in some work organisation, and the model that you have to sleep in one single period can actually increase fatigue. So, it's OK to have split sleep schedule. That can actually help you go through your work roster with minimal alertness impairment. And so you have to think outside of the box, basically.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>So it's more important to get the amount of sleep even if it's not all in one go?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Exactly.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>Thank you very much. Is there anything, any concluding comments that you want? We've heard about a little bit of a power nap... I hear this really strong message about the need...there's no silver bullet. It's about getting enough sleep. I hear a really strong message about talking with workers in the workplace and trying to identify some practical solutions, because shift work is with us whether we like it or not. Are there any final concluding comments that you think that we should be taking home today?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>Again, going back to the notion of dialogue, it's very interesting when you go and talk to organisations and say, Tell us the dumb stuff you do when you're tired," and just having that conversation so people can then work out how to rework the workplace in ways that stops those errors happening. Health care, emergency services, defence, are all full of examples of where people, as Hans has pointed out, are already doing things to manage fatigue well, but they're not formal elements in the safety management system and, in many cases, they're procedural violations, despite the fact that they're making the place safe.</p> <p>That sounds like that's a topic for another conversation, Drew, perhaps offline.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR CLAUDIA ROBERTA DE CASTRO MORENO</p> <p>I'd like to say there is not a single solution. Although we are discussing this in an international meeting, there is not a solution that can fit every country or all companies, different places, different categories of workers. We need to understand that it can be different depending...according to the case. And this, I think, it's my final message.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>What's the role of the health and safety representative, and do they need more information about the health and safety consequences of shift work and long working hours?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR HANS VAN DONGEN</p> <p>Yeah, I think that's an excellent question, and just like most other, aspects of running a business, it's an expertise that is required to be a part of the organisation to function fully. Just like, bookkeeping and your engineer and your building manager and all these people that have certain expertise, this is an area of expertise that needs to be brought into an organisation that is based on shift work. So if there is a person or a department where that has a natural fit, it stands to reason to make sure that these people are educated on the topic and that they can propagate that knowledge towards the workforce. Now, I would also submit that it's...that, obtaining that knowledge is not something you can just do overnight. That requires some training. And, as we've already discussed in this panel, there is some research that is starting to evolve but isn't really sorted out yet. And so I would submit that with Drew having brought together here a hundred or so experts in the world, maybe designated people in organisations can start to reach out to people like us so that we can then propagate the research and the knowledge base to the organisational officials that can subsequently translate it to the actual workplace.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>I've heard a question from the audience which I think is an excellent one, quite a challenging one, is what's the role of your group to actually feed in to groups like the ILO in terms of informing international conventions on working hours?</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DREW DAWSON</p> <p>That's a really difficult question, Peta, and it's the $64,000 question in a sense. One of the challenges is that regulatory agencies around the world often try to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution. And we have enough trouble getting a one-size-fits-all solution in one organisation and one group of workers, let alone something that's going to cover everybody all around the world. So, I think the goal of groups like us is to focus people on letting go of prescriptive approaches to legislation. I think promoting performance-based regulatory frameworks is very important. But I'll also make the comment that global and UN-based regulatory bodies are not embracing performance-based regulation or legislation just yet, and I think that's a very slow global process that's going to take decades from its birth in 1972 and the Robens reforms in the UK. I suspect if we come back in 2072 we might start to see that, but I suspect, like most things at a global level, it takes a long time. And I'd be interested in the others' views from different cultures. I think Australia and English-speaking countries in general have pushed very rapidly into the performance-based approaches, especially to fatigue. But I also know in other countries that's not popular, and I know many other countries where the idea of regulating shift work and fatigue is the least of their problems, and they're more worried about a host of other problems before we worry about a few tired shift workers.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> PROFESSOR DIANE BOIVIN</p> <p>Also to add to Drew's comment, what is important is not only consider the work roster, the work shift organisation, but also the workload, because if the workload is low, and the risk associated with being fatigued at work is low, then the work hours can change, and these need to be taken into consideration. And so arriving with, international guidelines that should be followed would, I think, put an organisation at disadvantage in terms of flexibility and really recognising and mitigating their own risk. So they have to be adapted to the nature of the task, the nature of the organisation, and... there needs to be some flexibility.</p> <p><strong>SPEAKER:</strong> DR PETA MILLER</p> <p>I'd just like to thank you all for joining us today in this panel discussion. And I look forward to meeting with you all professionally on another occasion.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/managing_shift_work_and_workplace_fatigue_transcript_1.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">managing_shift_work_and_workplace_fatigue_transcript.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Building a bully-free workplace https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/building-bully-free-workplace <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>Workplace bullying remains a serious problem in many Australian workplaces, costing individuals and organisations in poor productivity, absenteeism and mental stress.</p> <p>Panellists Commissioner Peter Hampton, Bernadette Nicol-Butler and Dr Michelle Tuckey explore how to design a bully-free workplace, focusing on prevention and early intervention.</p> <p>They identify the risk factors contributing to bullying, offer tools to assist organisations and outline the changes required to develop an organisational culture where workers feel safe to voice their concerns.</p> <p><strong>Brodie’s story</strong></p> <p>In September 2006, 19-year-old Brodie Panlock ended her life after enduring ongoing humiliating and intimidating bullying by her co-workers at a café in Hawthorn. Her death is a tragic reminder of the serious consequences that bullying can have on victims, their families and the community.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://publish.viostream.com/embed/player?key=o99eudb6xmztz&amp;width=640&amp;height=360" style="border: currentColor; border-image: none; width: 640px; height: 360px; overflow: hidden;" webkitallowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>Who is this seminar for?</h2> <p>This panel discussion will be of interest to senior decision-makers and business leaders wanting to influence organisational culture and reduce bullying in the workplace; researchers, HR and safety professionals interested in workplace bullying, and those interested in workplace mental health more generally.</p> <h2>About the presenters</h2> <p><strong>Commissioner Peter Hampton</strong> from the Fair Work Commission was appointed in January 2010 to Fair Work Australia and has also been on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (2012–16), Australian Industrial Relations Commission (1996–2006) and the Industrial Relations Commission of South Australia (1994–2006). Before these appointments he was Director, Policy and Strategy at SafeWork SA.</p> <p><strong>Bernadette Nicol-Butler</strong> from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Bernie has five years’ experience working within work health and safety – in her current role as a Principal Policy Officer in Queensland and previously as Chief Policy Officer with SafeWork SA.</p> <p>Bernie’s experience includes contributing to the development of the national Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying, <em>Dealing with workplace bullying – a workers' guide</em>, the South Australian Government response to the national Inquiry into workplace bullying and processes for the Fair Work Commission Anti-Bullying webpages.</p> <p>Dr Michelle Tuckey is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Australia. Her program of research on wellbeing at work focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in workplace bullying and occupational stress in order to prevent these psychosocial hazards. Her other research interests relate to leadership and mental health, and workplace mindfulness. Michelle serves on the editorial goard and as guest editor for <em>Journal of Occupational Health Psychology</em> and <em>International Journal of Stress Management</em>, as a Director for Brodie’s Law Foundation, and on the management committee of Crisis Intervention and Management Australasia.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="/doc/guide-preventing-and-responding-workplace-bullying">Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying</a>, <span style="line-height: 20.8px;">Safe Work Australia</span></li> <li><a href="/doc/preventing-psychological-injury-under-work-health-and-safety-laws-fact-sheet" style="line-height: 1.6em;">Preventing psychological injury under work health and safety laws</a><span style="line-height: 20.8px;">, </span><span style="line-height: 20.8px;">Safe Work Australia</span></li> <li><a href="/doc/infographic-workplace-bullying-and-violence">Workplace bullying and violence – Infographic</a><span style="line-height: 20.8px;">, </span><span style="line-height: 20.8px;">Safe Work Australia</span></li> <li><a href="https://www.comcare.gov.au/preventing/hazards/psychosocial_hazards/bullying_in_the_workplace/bullying_resources">Workplace bullying support pack</a>, Comcare</li> <li><a href="http://www.brodieslaw.org/">Brodie’s Law website</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Safe Work Australia</p> <p>Building a bully-free workplace</p> <p><br /> <strong>Presented by:</strong></p> <p>Peta Miller, Director, Strategic Policy, Safe Work Australia</p> <p><strong>Panellists:</strong><br />  </p> <p>Michelle Tuckey<br /> Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Australia</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler<br /> Manager, Leadership and Culture, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Office of Industrial Relations</p> <p>Peter Hampton<br /> Commissioner, Fair Work Commission</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" size="2" width="1" /></div> <p><span style="line-height: 1.6em;">[</span><em style="line-height: 1.6em;">Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Safe Work Australia’, ‘Virtual Seminar Series’, ‘Building a bully-free workplace’, ‘Commissioner Peter Hampton’, ‘Bernie Nicol-Butler’, ‘Assoc Prof Michelle Tuckey’, ‘seminars.swa.gov.au’, ‘#virtualWHS’</em><span style="line-height: 1.6em;">]</span></p> <p>[The visuals during this webinar are of the presenter and panellists seated at the front of a room in front of an audience]</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Peta Miller:</strong></p> <p>Good morning, and welcome to Safe Work Australia’s Virtual Seminar Series. I’d like to welcome those of us who are present today and those who will be listening online. I’m Peta Miller, and today I’m going to be facilitating today’s discussion.</p> <p>Firstly I’d like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people, and I pay my respects to them, their Elders past, present and future.</p> <p>Today we’re going to explore some really interesting areas around workplace bullying, and how to design a bully-free workplace. We all know, because we work in this field, and are familiar with the definition of workplace bullying, which is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed to a worker or a group of workers and that creates a risk to health and safety.</p> <p>On the slides that we’ve been having during our introduction some of the data that some of us are familiar with that remind us that workplace bullying remains a serious problem in Australia’s workplaces, and is something we must do something about. It has huge financial and human consequences.</p> <p>Our panel today are experts and well respected in their fields. And I’m not going to do justice by talking their full biography with you today, so I’m going to do a brief introduction and suggest that if you’d like to know more about them go on to our website.</p> <p>Firstly it’s my great pleasure to introduce Commissioner Peter Hampton from Fair Work Australia. Commissioner Hampton was appointed to Fair Work Australia in 2010 where he also is the head of the anti-bullying panel. He has a bachelor in business and majored in personnel and industrial relations, and prior to that worked as Director of Policy and Strategy for Safe Work SA.</p> <p>And I’m very pleased to introduce our next guest, Bernadette Nicol-Butler, who is a health and safety expert who’s come down from Queensland to help us out today. Bernadette is currently manager of Leadership and Culture at Workplace Health and Safety in Queensland, and previously was the Chief Policy Officer for Safe Work SA.</p> <p>And finally but not least, Michelle. Michelle is the Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Australia, and Michelle is a leading thinker in this field. And I’m sure that all three of our speakers today are going to give us some really useful insights into workplace bullying.</p> <p>So Bernadette and Peter, could I just ask you first Peter and then Bernadette to start, what are we talking about when we’re talking about workplace bullying? Perhaps you could give some common examples from your experience as a Fair Work Commissioner, and Bernadette from your experience with the regulator.</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>In terms of anti-bullying applications that the Commission deals with, we were exposed to a whole range of workplaces and scenarios. But what we certainly see is that where there are bullying allegations in place, or particularly where there’s bullying conduct that’s present, what you do see is an organisation that’s distracted from its main focus. In other words, we probably all understand the impact that bullying conduct has on the individual, but what’s often not understood is the impact that bullying conduct has on other people in the workplace and the workplace itself.</p> <p>So for instance what we do see is organisations distracted from what they need to be doing. We see the poor productivity, we see absenteeism, we see a lot of dysfunctional workplaces. And I suspect the reason for that is that the bullying conduct doesn’t occur in isolation. It generally occurs in the context of a whole culture. And so when later on we talk about some of the solutions to that, we need to of course look at the organisational context and culture and some of those infrastructure things, because that’s ultimately how these matters are dealt with and prevented appropriately.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So even though it’s played out through dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, there’s bigger things happening in the organisation behind the scene.</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Not always, but almost always.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Right. Very interesting. And Bernadette?</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yeah. I’d agree. If we look at the workplace culture outside of just individual behaviours – because individual behaviours, even when you look at them, you may just be working on what you see as an impact between two people, when in actual fact it is often supported by an organisational culture as Peter said that hasn’t got their eye on the ball for that. But also it doesn’t account for the harm that’s caused to people that work around them, their families and many other people, and the organisation as a whole. So productivity, loss of business, impact on their reputation. So there are impacts that are really broad.</p> <p>And I think in terms of how people would see bullying and may make a complaint against bullying really ranges from anything where a person may feel that they’ve been isolated from particular meetings or work, that they have been treated unfairly and consistently. Because as you see, the definition will come up at some stage where it’s repeated and unreasonable behaviour, it’s not reasonable management action, right through to what is really common assault. So in some circumstances those bullying experiences really are matters for the police versus either the Fair Work Commission or work health and safety regulators.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So the examples in terms of bullying can go from assault through to disrespectful behaviour that’s repeated and undermining people.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yeah.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So Michelle you’re an international researcher in this space. As one of the opening slides we had some of the data about the prevalence in Australia. Is Australia worse, better, the same as similar OECD countries?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>So the prevalence rate for workplace bullying in Australia, based on the most recent data, is 9.4 percent. And if we look at the comparative data, particularly with Europe, that would actually place us sixth out of the 34 EU countries. So I’d regard that as solid evidence that the bullying prevalence rate in Australia is pretty high.</p> <p>But, you know, one thing that might surprise people in this field is that we see bullying across a whole range of industries. So bullying amongst staff members, which is what we’re talking about here, we can find that between prison officers, we can find that in hospitals between nurses, between doctors, we can find that in schools between school teachers. We find it in the government, we find it in the private sector. So it really is a broad phenomenon cutting across all Australian industries.</p> <p>There are some industries that are a little bit more at risk than others. Women tend to report a higher exposure to bullying than do men. Women also feature more highly in bullying complaints that might come to regulators. I’m not sure if that’s also true of the Fair Work Commission. And there are some pockets of industries that are consistently high risk whenever we look at the data in Australia or internationally. There are things like healthcare, community services, government and administration, sometimes education. Right now though kind of a high risk industry is the energy sector where we’ve seen a lot of change in Australia, and they’ve really increased in the bullying prevalence over the last five or so years.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So I guess that was to all of you, that it leads to the point is this particular – you’re saying it’s across all sectors but there are some sectors that are vulnerable. Are there particular individuals who are more vulnerable? So what are the characteristics of the people who are experiencing being bullied, or perhaps the characteristics of those who might be potentially sources of that undesirable behaviour? And I ask this to all of you.</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Well from my perspective I think it’s a very difficult question. My experience both in a work health and safety setting and also as part of the Fair Work Commission is that there are very few common characteristics. The reality is that bullying conduct is partly – it’s a question of the perception of the person who has an expectation about the way they be treated. In terms of the individuals named or the persons that are on the receiving end of in our case an application, there are no particular single characteristics.</p> <p>I mean natural human behaviour is that people will have different expectations about the way they conduct themselves, the way they’re treated with people, and that’s what we’re dealing with. What’s important I think is not to spend too much time concentrating on the individuals but concentrating on the context in which conduct occurs. It always has a conduct, and like every work health and safety hazard – and bullying is another one of those – it’s a question of a systematic approach that accepts that individuals are different. They have different tolerances, they have different expectations, but the system needs to be designed to cope with that.</p> <p>So if you look at a system whereby – so let’s look at a manual hazard. In a sense everyone would accept that you design a system, accept that individuals are different, they’re built differently, they do things differently. Sometimes they do stupid things. Sometimes they don’t act appropriately or rationally. But we design those manual systems that accepts that people are different. We need to take the same approach to the design of anti-bullying approaches, accepting that people are different, different tolerances, different approaches, different expectations. We need systems that accept that we’re dealing with humans and human beings…</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>They have a degree of tolerance for difference.</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Yeah. And so it would seem to me that I think any sort of study into the characteristics of the people that make complaints, or in our case put in applications or those that are on the receiving end of those applications, whilst that might be interesting from my point of view, I think that would be a distraction from the main game.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So the point that you’re making is that it’s seated within an organisation. So Bernadette and Michelle, so there’s some organisational factors that kind of give us some signs that organisations may be more or less likely to have bullying complaints arise?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Yeah. Perhaps I can respond to that and respond to what the Commissioner has said. So there has been some research into the individual factors that might be associated with people experiencing bullying or not, but overwhelmingly what we see when we look across all of the scientific studies all around the world, we see it is the work related factors. We see that bullying arises as a product of the functioning of the organisational system. So if the organisation is functioning really well, we don’t see much bullying. But if it’s not functioning so well, and particularly in certain key areas, then we see bullying arise, we see absenteeism arise, we see low productivity and we see a whole range of effects.</p> <p>So the focus really should be on understanding how the system is functioning, where it’s not functioning so well, and building that resilient system to support resilient workers.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>And to add to that, you know, when we look at the legislation, and particularly around work health and safety, we are expected to implement safe systems of work. So it really goes to what does that look like in an organisation, and every organisation will be slightly different. Every team will be slightly different and every industry has differences that need to be accounted for. So no one size fits all. So if we look at those organisational factors, it could be that – and even people.</p> <p>For example when you assess psychological risk, you might look at job control, you might look at overload. What’s the work look like and what kind of work is it? Different people work differently with different workloads. For example I love challenging, complex work. That’s my sort of sweet spot. If I have one thing to do I may struggle over time, because I will feel like that’s not enough. It’s not challenging. I need more to do, whereas other people have different needs in their workplace.</p> <p>And really I think when you’re looking at a WHS system, as Peter said you’re looking at physical hazards. The requirement is under the legislation to consult with the workers. If you ask the workers what are the hazards, it does a couple of things. It helps them identify the hazards, what are the peculiarities for your particular workspace. But it also helps them have some ownership about what that might look like, and the same can be done around implementing safe systems of work around psychological risk to reduce bullying.</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>So you mentioned a couple of factors there I’d just like to touch base on with respect to the research. So what the research shows is that if the work is really fast paced, so there’s too much work to do and too little time, if workers don’t have a lot of control over when and how they do their work, that’s a risk factor for bullying. Red tape, too many layers of approval, too many work constraints with getting things done in a timely way, again that’s a risk factor for bullying. Perhaps the biggest risk factor in terms of the evidence is actually what’s called role ambiguity. So that’s when the boundaries of the role aren’t clear and people can be allocated all sorts of work tasks and asked to do all sorts of different things that may not really be legitimate or appropriate for their role. And we see this consistently coming out in the bullying research.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Is that something, the lack of role clarity, that you’ve seen Peter in your experience?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Absolutely. Look, a reasonable proportion of the matters that the Fair Work Commission deals with in the anti-bullying area arise in the context of either workplace change or disciplinary or performance management. Now anyone working in this field would understand why that occurs. But what’s interesting is that a subset associated with that is not just the different perceptions as to what reasonable management action is as against unreasonable action, but this idea about role ambiguity, and in particular workers or managers not actually understanding their role properly, understanding the parameters, and they don’t understand therefore what they’re being measured against or the managers are not quite clear exactly what they’re measuring. So practical experience absolutely coincides with that research.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yes. I’d agree. In Queensland and across jurisdictions there’s a people at work tool, which is a psychosocial risk assessment tool, and it does measure role ambiguity, role conflict, autonomy and the supports that when balanced out really lead to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. When there’s an imbalance it leads to an unsafe workplace, and therefore those factors can result in bullying. And sometimes when you have managers who are put in positions to manage teams who don’t have the right skillset and then don’t really understand not just their own roles but how to then work with the people they are managing or supervising, that really has the potential to escalate minor problems into bullying.</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Managers play an absolutely key role. So we analysed 342 bullying complaints that were lodged with the local health and safety regulator here, Safe Work SA, and we found that across all of those bullying complaints it’s really coming down to the way that managers are performing their role in three key areas. So how the working hours are administrated and coordinated, so rosters and schedules and leave and things like that.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Whether they’re perceived as fair?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Absolutely. Is it fair? Is there input into the process? And particularly fairness across the whole work group, not just singling one person out. Performance management, as the Commissioner mentioned, is the second domain, and that’s taking up around 80 percent of those complaints, everything from role clarity to how tasks and workloads are allocated and managed right through to the issues of underperformance, which were around 40 percent of those complaints. And the third area is how managers go about building the relationships with individual workers, with the team, and also generally in terms of work health and safety, are they leading the way in terms of a healthy and a safe work environment.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So there’s a fairly consistent message I’m hearing here about organisational factors, but also management style and communication between workers. I’m hearing quite a lot about managers and the people they supervise, problems in their relationship, but what about worker to worker complaints of bullying? Is that something that you see a lot of, or is it more manager to worker relationships?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Because of the definition of bullying that we’ve discussed already, there is no need for sort of a power relationship to be present, but it is fair to say that the majority of applications the Fair Work Commission deals with do involve workers, or employees in the traditional sense, and secondly in terms of the individuals named, overwhelmingly they are people in supervisory or management positions. So whilst it isn’t part of the definition, they are the nature of applications that have been brought to the Commission. That doesn’t of course mean that that is the only context in which either we deal with matters or the bullying occurs in workplaces, but that’s nevertheless the sort of sample that end up coming to the Commission.</p> <p>What’s important about that I think is that we do see examples where all of the infrastructure is in place, and this is particularly an issue for larger workplaces – all the policies, the strategies and the training, the reporting systems that are in place – but particularly for larger organisations where they have branch offices or regional locations, you often find that there are sort of practices and approaches taken in the context of performance management or workplace change where in a sense the policy is certainly not applied in a practical sense and sort of local management don’t follow the script and don’t follow the approach.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So it’s back to Michelle’s point about sort of inconsistent and unfair application of procedures.</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Yes. And it’s probably because – and look, management is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is a really hard job, and anyone that sits in a position like mine, I’ve been in that role, I understand how difficult that is. So I’m not sort of critical of management per se. I understand it is an incredibly difficult job. But one of the responsibilities is to manage people and to take care of people and to set up an appropriate culture in the workplace. So the example I’m giving is a result of the organisations that have the right infrastructure but they don’t live and breathe it. In other words they don’t drive it down through the organisation so that it sort of becomes part of the culture.</p> <p>Look, for those of us that have been involved with work health and safety for some years, if we recall 30 years ago or so when we really got serious in this country about work health and safety, you’d go into an organisation and exactly the same dynamics would appear in terms of those sort of manual based hazards. So they sort of put in place policies but they didn’t really apply them, and you could go into a workplace and you’d know that this was not an organisation that actually sort of lived and breathed it. Whereas if you go into a lot of workplaces, manufacturing workplaces now, you know that they actually do take this really seriously. And every step of the process they take these risks seriously and they don’t just go through the motions.</p> <p>Well I think in Australia and in other countries we’re only in a sense learning to do that with hazards associated with the management of people. But we’re on that journey. We’ve started, and research and practical experience are starting to contribute to that, so that I think hopefully in years to come we’ll see yes, you can go into an organisation and say this is an organisation that actually takes these things seriously. The policies, procedures, approaches and attitudes are actually hardwired into the organisation.</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Yeah. Managers have a lot of discretion in how they implement the policies, and so in a large organisation with multiple sites we have situations like this emerge. But I might just flip this for a minute and talk about what’s the positive side of that. And in our research what we’ve found is if workers feel really safe to voice out to their manager and their manager takes personal responsibility for addressing the bullying situation, then we can have a really good result. It can escalate and it can de-escalate really quickly. So workers need to feel safe, that they’ve got someone to talk to, and that that person can have a meaningful impact on the situation.</p> <p>And in the case of managers who do take that really seriously, we can resolve things early on in the piece, which I think is really the only solution for bullying. Absolutely we should focus on prevention and then on early intervention, because after that it becomes really difficult to get a good outcome.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yes, and I’d agree. With bullying, by the time a bullying complaint or notification comes through or an application, a lot of damage has already been done. People are on both sides and around psychologically damaged more often than not. And I think if we can pull it upstream to leaders, if leaders of organisations are leading and demonstrating that they’re really clear and serious about a particular system – I use an example many, many times where you would not tolerate, none of us in this room would tolerate an unguarded saw going, like a tree saw, in the doorway. We just would not go near it. And yet too often we walk past appalling systems, appalling behaviours and we don’t do anything.</p> <p>And I think if every person in an organisation – now you don’t have to be a manager to be a leader in an organisation. If every person in a leadership role can take a stand to what good systems and good practices look like – because some of us have a responsibility to speak up because others might not be able to. You may have young workers who don’t have the experience or confidence to speak up about systems, and that’s psychological risk in the workplace. If they don’t speak up, then those of us who can should. And I think if we can work as much upstream as possible then we prevent any of those. And some of that is managing the psychosocial risks. So they’re very clear. We’ve got so much research behind the systems and the assessment tools that say if you do these things then you will reduce the psychological risk in your workplace. That’s very clear.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So our thing today is around designing out bullying. So I’m hearing a series of messages coming through. Peter you were focusing a lot on management behaviour. I’m also hearing some messages about having the policies and procedures, and Michelle you started to introduce the idea about some of the antecedents, the precursors like workload stress. I’m wondering if we can delve down a little bit more about are there particular aspects of the work design that we should be focusing on to design it out, and how do we do that?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>So what we’ve continued after I spoke about analysing 342 bullying complaints and that it really revealed the risk pockets in organisations, we’ve actually translated those risk pockets into a risk assessment tool. And so this risk assessment tool was focused at understanding those areas of the organisation that aren’t functioning well. It’s got a really good evidence base behind it. We can discriminate between high, medium and low risk teams for a whole range of work health and safety outcomes. But it comes down to 11 core job activities, as I mentioned, right from rostering and scheduling through to the way that the work unit is led and the relationships with individuals, managing the tasks and workload and managing under-performance and so on.</p> <p>So they would align really well with those broader psychosocial assessment tools that you talked about Bernie that assess demands and controls. So we can have a multilayered approach. So the tools are there. We can do evidence based risk assessment for psychosocial hazards in the workplace that can feed into risk control strategies.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>How’s that information gathered? Is it surveys? How do you find out what people are actually thinking is going on in the workplace?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Our particular tool is what’s called a behaviourally anchored rating scale. So it’s like a survey but it’s a graphical tool in a traffic light style. So we have red, yellow and green zones. So it’s really easy to use, but surveys are another approach.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So Bernie you mentioned that people at work tool.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yes. So the people at work psychosocial risk assessment tool. It’s available on the Work Health and Safety Queensland website. It was developed a number of years ago and it’s freely available. At the moment you can download forms and teams can do the particular assessment. It’s more suitable to businesses that have got at least 20 employees, but you could do it in a different way as a focus group for teams with less than, just to have the conversations. It’s freely available. We’re at the moment developing it as a digital tool to make it a little bit easier for people to use.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So Peter, you don’t use surveys do you, and how do you investigate the concerns that are brought to you?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Well look, the Fair Work Commission is a tribunal. So we’re not a regulator. We don’t do investigations. We don’t sort of do research. Although our approach to managing anti-bullying applications and our approach to dealing with them, the recommendations we might make or orders we might issue, are informed by exactly the sort of research that we’ve just heard about.</p> <p>So what we do is we deal with applications as a tribunal. In other words we are required to provide natural justice and to hear an application, not investigate a complaint. So all of that comes with that. We generally try and have early interventions, and in particular through more informal processes. And the reason for that is that our experience is that the earlier and more informally matters like this can be resolved, the higher the probability that there will be a working relationship left at the end of the process.</p> <p>And the whole objective of the Fair Work Commission’s role here is to make orders or bring about preventative approaches. So it’s all about prevention. We do look backwards. In other words we do have to make findings about whether or not there has been repeated and unreasonable conduct that creates a risk to health and safety, but we only do that to find our jurisdiction – if you don’t mind the legal term. So we have to find our jurisdiction, but the reason we do that is only so we can look forward. Because what we need to do is actually look forward and say well, is there a future risk of repeated and unreasonable conduct, then what are the sort of preventative strategies and approaches that will be put in place.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>And what are the preventative strategies that you recommend?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Right. Well either by recommendation or orders. Look, the Fair Work Commission’s approach has been firstly to recognise that there are in a sense some immediate issues. There are likely to be some immediate behaviours that have brought about an application. So let’s assume that the Commission considers or it’s agreed that there has been unreasonable conduct. Then the first thing to do is to in a sense deal with the conduct. But secondly and much more importantly is recognise, as I said earlier, this all occurs in a particular context. So it’s all about infrastructure, it’s all about making sure the policy settings are right, the training is right, the relationships are right, the role definitions are right – depending on of course what it is in the particular context that arises.</p> <p>One of the challenges of course is to have appropriate grievance procedures, and in a sense every organisation who wants to deal in this area needs to have a proper formal grievance process. But my experience and experience of other members has been that ironically what’s important as part of this process is that there almost needs to be permission given from the top for individuals that feel that they’re being bullied to raise matters informally and raise them earlier. Because the moment a formal complaint is made, it has particular consequences for the individual, for the organisation and for the person that’s named. And in a lot of cases that’s appropriate, because the behaviour is considered to be so serious it needs to be dealt with formally so it can be properly investigated etcetera. But there’s a whole class of behaviour that if it was actually dealt with earlier and more informally, the results are going to be much better, much better for workers, much better for the individuals who would otherwise be seen as the people conducting the conduct, and better for organisations.</p> <p>So it’s really hard to sort of hardwire that into a policy. You can have it there. I’m actually talking about the culture of the workplace that accepts that it’s not the end of the world if a worker has concerns about the way they’re being treated. And they need to be able to raise that in a way that doesn’t sort of polarise parties. I accept it’s hard to write that down, but when you see it and when you see it in practice, you will recognise it.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>And Michelle and Bernie, so we’re hearing Peter’s message that early interventions are key but also de-escalating things early and opening up conversations in workplaces.</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more with what the Commissioner’s said. Once it becomes too far escalated it’s really difficult to de-escalate it, and there’s good kind of qualitative case study research that will support that. We’ve talked already about the need to feel safe to voice out. So having a culture that allows people to speak up is really important, otherwise it just goes underground and then we don’t see it until it becomes too far gone to kind of resolve.</p> <p>But it really does go back to the culture. It goes back to people speaking up or other people speaking up on their behalf. It goes to people being able to have really tough conversations early on to send the right signals. But what we haven’t really wandered towards is this prevention idea. So this is already talking about little things that are bubbling up and getting bigger, but we need to go right back to that prevention stage. Organisations need to actually assess the risk for bullying in their organisation. They need to assess the way work’s designed, how demanding it is, how much control there is. They need to use the tools available so that they can actually change the work situation. And then if we’ve got this resilient work situation we can have little conflicts and things bubble up, and they can be resolved without escalating into ongoing bullying.</p> <p>So prevention is actually the number one message, and that prevention has to be assessed and targeted at those organisational factors.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yes. I’d agree. If we can prevent bullying – and for me it always comes back to the legislation requires safe systems of work, not that it’s about compliance with the legislation. But we know, as Commissioner said before, that with physical hazards we’ve really grown over the last couple of decades about how we identify, how we mitigate the risk, how we then review and we improve. So the legislation is structured like that, most occupational work health and safety legislation. So if we consider the psychological risks in a workplace in the same way, we can have those conversations, because the legislation also requires communication and consultation. So if we think about it from a prevention perspective, we want to identify and then mitigate risk. We talk to our teams, we talk to workplaces, talk to each other, and then set up the system that works. Because it’s not enough to just have a system, it has to be one that works.</p> <p>And then if we can do that and then there is an issue and then something crops up that we may not have identified, it comes into okay, well what’s the review, what’s the process that we’ve put in place that allows people to say actually this doesn’t quite work so therefore what’s our process for reviewing that, having those conversations again, and implementing more effective controls.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>To just ground this back into the law – so you get let off the hook for a moment and I’ll turn to my other two experts. So Peter and then Bernadette, would you mind just clearly articulating what does the law say in both those two jurisdictions?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Well I’ll start. The Fair Work Commission and its predecessors has been dealing with alleged bullying circumstances probably its entire existence.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>And when was it set up?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Well over 100 years ago. So it’s a very longstanding tribunal, had different names and different remits, but effectively it’s the same tribunal from the Conciliation and Arbitration Court of the early 1900s. But what we now describe as bullying behaviour has been a factor of unfair dismissals and grievances and other issues for many years. In 2014 the Federal Act was amended to give the Commission what I would describe as a preventative anti-bullying jurisdiction, and so what that involves is the definition of bullying, which we’ve talked about a number of times. It allows an applicant worker to bring a claim if they genuinely believe that they have been subject to bullying conduct in a workplace, either directed to themselves or a group of workers to which they belong.</p> <p>So that’s sort of the fundamental basis of the jurisdiction, but that involves claims about behaviour by individuals, either one or more individuals in a workplace. Those individuals need not be workers. That is the applicant has to be a worker, as an employee or a contractor or otherwise in the workforce, but the individuals that are claimed to have committed the unreasonable conduct, they are individuals. In other words they just need to be people, individual people. So generally in our experience they are workers or other people in the workplace, but they may not be. They may in fact be visitors to the workplace. They may be contractors. They may be clients. They may be in a residential care facility. They might be the partner or other relative of a client. And if they conduct themselves in a repeatedly unreasonable context, then that could be the basis for an application.</p> <p>So it’s a very wide remit indeed, although the majority of matters we’ve dealt with are employees in more traditional workplaces. Our job is to try and get those matters resolved in a preventative context. That is trying to preserve the employment and contractual relationship, and potentially to make orders to do so. So it’s an entirely preventative jurisdiction. We don’t award compensation. We don’t make findings of guilt or otherwise. We don’t lock people up. What we do is we try and preserve and maintain or make safer ongoing workplace relationships. So that’s the remit of the Fair Work Commission.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So very precise but also reasonably restrained, whereas health and safety laws across Australia, how do they deal with this issue?</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>The health and safety laws – the definition of bullying is the same as what’s used in the Fair Work Act. So repeated and unreasonable behaviour that’s going to present a risk to health and safety. So in most work health and safety legislation across Australia, even though it’s not all WHS, it’s consistent, particularly the WHS legislation. There is an obligation for a person conducting a business or undertaking to protect the health and safety of workers. Now health is defined in the WHS legislation as physical and psychological.</p> <p>So that’s where bullying sits. It sits as a psychological risk. And business owners, persons conducting a business or undertaking it, have that responsibility to make sure. But also workers have a responsibility that they by their acts or omissions don’t impact others, and other people who come into a workplace, for example other contractors or visitors, also have a responsibility. It’s just not something that we’ve done as well as we should, and we’re not as a community as comfortable working through psychological risks which include bullying behaviours as we are with managing physical risks.</p> <p>My observation is, and I’m sure across the panel would see, that more and more we’re asked by businesses ‘What can we do? We know that this is a really important issue. We know that we don’t want to psychologically injure our workers and we don’t want them injuring each other. So what do we do and what can we do as the first steps?’</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>I might respond to that question actually. So bullying plays out amongst people in organisations, but it really arises from the organisational system. That’s pretty clear from this morning’s discussion. So we might work on how managers behave towards their workers. We might work on how workers interpret their role and their behaviour in relation to that. But that’s still leaving the solutions at the behavioural level.</p> <p>So in addition to how workers interpret things and behave and how managers act in relation to their role, we need to look at the system factors. So that might be what is the actual supervision structure? Is it whoever’s most senior on the day or are there nominated teams that have good high quality supervision? We could look at the performance management system itself. So that could be really important in shaping performance expectations and giving people really timely feedback.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Role clarity.</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Role clarity. Absolutely. And if there is a performance problem, in managing that in a fair and consistent way so that the worker knows what they’re doing wrong and how to improve and is given a reasonable chance and support to do that. So there’s a whole range of things we can do with these organisational systems and structures.</p> <p>I’d really like to see what happens if we have an organisation that rewards both performance against budget and other operational objectives, but behaviour as well. What would happen if we rewarded behaviour and conduct equally with those other productivity objectives? That would really send a strong signal that the way people behave around here is really important. So we need to map up the supervisor behaviour, employee behaviour with these structural aspects of the system if we’re going to have effective sustainable bullying prevention.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Through today’s discussion, all of you at some level have touched on the issue of performance management, and Peter I think you mentioned that it’s a common precursor to complaints that come to you. Is being bullied because you’re a poor performer or does it lead to a poor performer? What’s the evidence say and what are you finding in practice?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Look, that’s a really difficult question. Can I say a bit of column A and a bit of column B? In reality it’s both. It’s both. There would be little doubt based on research and I think our collective experience that if a worker considers, generally considers that they’re being treated differently or being subject to unreasonable conduct, then they’re not likely to be concentrating on the main game. They’re likely to be distracted. They’re likely to be absent from work more often than they would otherwise be. So that will lead to performance issues, and then there will be a performance management process. And if you already consider that you’re the subject of unreasonable treatment, that will at least in part shape your particular lens. You’ll look at everything through that lens and then in a sense it’s a self-fulfilling proposition.</p> <p>So that’s true, but look, it is also true that allegations of bullying are made in the context where there is reasonable performance management being conducted. That is some workers’ perception is that they don’t like negative feedback, they don’t like being told how to do something or when to do something, and so it’s in that context that allegations are made. So look, it is a bit of both.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>I’m hearing something there. We all have performance agreements. We all have to deliver at work. So it’s something about how performance management process is done. Is that right? How the messages are provided to the worker?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>Absolutely. That’s a key risk area for workplace bullying, is the formal performance management process. So we might have a performance development framework which is setting expectations and having a review and allowing people to grow and develop, but when we turn to this formal performance management for under performance, the way that that process is stepped out, sometimes people perceive that as being used to bully against them. And sometimes there is reasonable performance management being conducted, which nevertheless coincides with the bullying complaint. But the way that plays out is a high risk area for the perception of bullying.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>And I think I read in your research Michelle that a surprising number of places don’t even have performance agreements in the first place. So how would workers know what the performance standard is if they don’t have a performance agreement?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>That’s creates a big risk, and as we’ve talked about role ambiguity can emerge from that risk and lack of feedback and so on. It’s just creating this big risk area for bullying. So it’s definitely something to have in place. It has to be really clear for workers. It has to be discharged really fairly by managers. And giving feedback to people is not actually a really easy skill, so that’s a good area for training to support supervisors. So in a way managers are getting a little bit of heat here in this conversation, but organisations really need to be able to support their managers to do their job well, providing the right resources, such as the frameworks, and providing the right kind of training, like how to have difficult conversations, how to give really good feedback. And I think those sometimes are the ingredients that are missing in organisations.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>I just want to briefly turn to the role of the person who’s witnessing this going on and if they have some duties. If I’m in a workplace and I’m seeing bullying going on, do I have some duties to report it, to do something about it?</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>Yes. I believe they do, because under the work health and safety legislation and consistent legislation across Australia, workers have obligations for the health and safety of themselves and by their acts and omissions for other workers and others. So I think that as observers we have a responsibility, and as I said before, particularly when we know that the other person may be a more vulnerable person in a workplace. They might be a younger worker. They may be a new worker. They might be someone who’s inexperienced either in the industry or where their language skills are slightly different to the norm. And therefore that might add a layer of vulnerability that might not be the case for some of the rest of us.</p> <p>And also some people are just not confident. So therefore I believe that as bystanders we do have an obligation to step in and identify, as we would for any physical hazard. If we saw a physical hazard that presented a risk to health and safety, we have an obligation as workers to actually identify that and report that, so as we should for psychological risks.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>What’s the health consequences? Michelle, you’ve looked at the international literature. Are people…</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>There’s really good evidence across many, many studies, in the order of more than 70,000 different participants across all of these studies. Bullying is related to a whole range of mental health problems for workers, from depression to anxiety, psychosomatic complaints like tummy problems and headaches, post-traumatic stress symptoms. There’s a whole range of effects on the mental health of targets. The most serious of course is contemplating suicide or suicide attempts, and that’s a really, really tragic circumstance but a real one that can arise after exposure to workplace bullying.</p> <p>So we’re talking about a really, really serious issue here, and good quality international evidence on the severe health impacts that people face after being exposed to bullying and also from witnessing bullying. So witnesses to bullying as well, and being in that unhealthy work environment, maybe not feeling like you’ve got a voice to be able to speak out or that something that will be done, that also creates health consequences for individuals.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>WorkCover data shows that bullying complaints predominantly, but any psychological health claims really cost at least four times more than a physical injury claim will cost, and the recovery is four to ten times longer for a person if they ever recover, and if as Michelle said the outcome isn’t suicide, which unfortunately it sometimes is. Because for a person who suffers that psychological injury in a workplace, they can’t see a way past that and the outcome is suicide. So we need to make sure that we take this seriously. It costs businesses, it costs industry so much more, but it costs individuals in the workplace who are injured and then their families and their communities so much more than a physical injury.</p> <p><strong>Q&amp;A Session</strong></p> <p>Q:          Vicki Smith. I’m a WHS consultant with the LGA workers comp scheme. It’s more of a comment rather than a question, that we’ve used the analogy of physical hazards, so manual handling and that sort of stuff, but bullying is really, really difficult to report. I’ve been bullied myself and I’ve stood up for people who have been bullied and I’ve witnessed it. So we have to acknowledge it is something that’s very, very difficult, because it’s about relationships. So it’s very easy to report a physical hazard, but it is very difficult to actually report somebody that’s been bullying or that there’s bullying actually going on and to actually deal with it. We work with councils. We put together registers for hazards. Often psychological injury won’t be on there. I did work for Families SA for 20 years, and when we did some research on what our injuries were that were psychological, you would expect that it would have been from the occupational violence that we were working with, and one of the things we sort of discovered is that a lot of it was to do with bullying. So the psychological injuries were coming from bullying rather than from the clients. So it’s more about a comment. It’s actually really difficult to deal with and report, and you don’t want to upset your team and so there’s a whole…</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>Taking that comment on board, how do we encourage people to speak out?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>So prevention is absolutely essential. Because that’s a really good point that you make. It’s such a difficult – there’s a lot of stigma and fear associated with reporting, about becoming the next target or things getting worse, and people can put their head down and just try and keep going. So absolutely prevention by addressing those risks in the way that we’ve talked about.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>And I’d also like to add if we can move it upstream, if we can move those conversations upstream to prevent bullying or any other psychological injury in the first place, and have it as open discussions in workplaces, just make it a normal part of what we do, to talk to each other about how we will need to work, what do we need to do in a day together to work successfully. Because none of us go to work to be injured. Most of us go to work to do a great job. And if we can have those supports in place and have the risks managed as they should be, then we’ve got a much better chance of achieving that.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>So Peter just before we go to our next question, you in one of your conversations with me were sort of saying so much of it’s about kind of not saying he said/she said but just saying can we see what’s needed to get this job done here in identifying that. Have you got some practical advice?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Well, yes. First of all I want to acknowledge the comment is absolutely right. This is a difficult area. Anything that deals with human beings and human behaviour and expectations is inherently difficult, because there’s no one size fits all. There are no off the shelf solutions. I absolutely understand that. Also just to in a sense compound the issue, there’s a lot of focus on the sort of businesses that have sort of formal policies and structures and training.</p> <p>The Australian business community is essentially made up of a whole series of small businesses, and of course those challenges are different and in some respects even more challenging because you don’t have the infrastructure, you don’t have sort of the management expertise. But it’s also much more difficult in a small workplace to raise issues, so you need slightly different solutions. But the nuance solutions there are about those informal processes. And indeed some of the strengths of the small businesses, because they don’t formalise these things, complaints or concerns can actually be raised in a way that’s far less threatening than it might be through a formal structure. So it’s not a no go area. It’s not something we shouldn’t be dealing with. But yes, we need to realistically accept there are challenges here.</p> <p style="margin-left:36.0pt;"><em>Q:        Hi. My name is Jessica. I’m from the Tourism Commission. But this is from a kind of almost personal level. I guess as an HR practitioner one of the things that I face quite a lot is people asking my advice about what they should do in their own businesses or in their own workplaces, and touching particularly on that small businesses aspect. So I know of an incident for example where a worker has been injured and has gone to the manager in that workplace and asked for an incident report, and there’s nothing like an incident report and nobody has acknowledged that there’s been an incident or even so much as asked that person if they were okay. And my response to that of course is quite strong, because it’s my professional sort of standard that that kind of thing is addressed. So I guess what I would like to know is what advice can I give then to who they go to and how that kind of thing is addressed, because it’s then a more systemic problem throughout that organisation. And also going back to that manager, not having any management support or training and development, but it’s not my job to kind of step in and do that for another business.</em></p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>I think your response in relation to – often times it is the manager’s capacity to understand people. Often times, as I said before, people are put in positions where they don’t really know how to manage people. It’s not one of their strengths. And unfortunately by virtue of just their work they get put into positions to do that. I think there are a number of resources across probably all of our websites that would potentially assist people to put some of those systems in place or at least have the conversations. And ultimately it really is if we can figure out how to communicate with each other in a workplace – what do you need to successfully do your job without an injury and what do I need not just from you but also what do I need from myself.</p> <p>And I heard an example the other day where an employer said she’s got a team and she didn’t realise that when she’s challenged she behaves in a particular way, where she starts to sort of scurry around and she’s hurrying and she’s muttering. And she said she didn’t realise that she was actually stressing out her team until they had a conversation, and then they talked about okay, what’s – because she may not realise she’s starting to do this, because she’s going flat out, she’s challenged, she’s got deadlines herself. And they came up with an agreement that when she’s like that somebody will just say ‘Just breathe’. And it’s simple. They don’t have to come and say ‘You’re stressing me out. You’re making me feel bad’. It’s just ‘Just breathe,’ which says to her ‘Your behaviours right at this moment in time are causing me stress’. Now I appreciate that’s sort of a simplistic view, but for a lot of organisations it just might work.</p> <p>For some – and I think these are the less frequent where people go out of their way to make people feel bad and they go out of their way – a lot of times it’s just that they don’t understand their own behaviours. So I think it has to come back to workplaces having those conversations, and they are I acknowledge really difficult conversations. I’ve had some of those myself with different outcomes. But I think that’s where we have to start, particularly small businesses.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>If there’s one message you’d like to give our audience listening online, what is it about how we design and build a bully-free workplace? Michelle?</p> <p>Michelle Tuckey:</p> <p>I think there needs to be a fundamental shift in how workplace bullying is viewed. Let’s move away from the idea that it’s a personality conflict, that it’s an interpersonal problem, and let’s move to the reality that it arises from the organisational system and it needs to be managed proactively in that way.</p> <p>Bernadette Nicol-Butler:</p> <p>I completely agree. If we move it out of a space where it’s a personality conflict and look at it as a system that we can manage, we can control, if something doesn’t quite work we review it and we shift the controls, or if we introduce something new – like it could be a new team member – again we look at that, we have the conversations. But I think ultimately it’s about every workplace having a conversation about what systems would we need. So practically what do we each need to work successfully in this organisation and ultimately for the organisation’s benefit, that I will not be injured and the organisation will be productive and efficient.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>And Peter?</p> <p>Peter Hampton:</p> <p>Difficult area. No off the shelf solutions, but really, really big payoff for workplaces, for individuals and for our society if we can get better at this.</p> <p>Peta Miller:</p> <p>I’d like to thank all three of you and our lovely audience from Adelaide for joining us today for what I think needs to be an ongoing conversation. I know that in our conversations the four of us have acknowledged Australia has come a long way in the last couple of decades, but certainly I think we’d all agree we’ve got a lot further to go.</p> <p>So thank you very much, and I’d like to close now. Thanks.</p> <p>(Applause)</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>[<em>Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Brought to you by Safe Work Australia’, ‘Virtual Seminar Series’, ‘seminars.swa.gov.au’, ‘#virtualWHS’</em>]</p> <p>[End of Transcript]</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2017-009_building_a_bully-free_workplace_panel_transcript.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">2017-009_building_a_bully-free_workplace_panel_transcript.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Workplace violence is not ok – keeping first responders safe https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/workplace-violence-not-ok-keeping-first-responders-safe <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>In this video Kevin, Carolina, Steve and Rachel describe their experiences as first responders. They share the impact of their experiences and discuss practical ways that first responders can be supported to stay safe and healthy on the job.</p> <p>The very nature of emergency services work means providing a safe working environment for first responders can often be difficult. First responders encounter life and death situations, highly demanding work and are often first on the scene in a crisis situation. Comprehensive risk management and debriefing procedures following an event are crucial.</p> <p>If you find any of the video content distressing, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.</p> <h2><strong>Who is this seminar for?</strong></h2> <p>This video is for first responders including state and emergency service workers, police, fire and rescue workers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, emergency health professionals, defence force workers, immediate family members of first responders, managers of first responders and workers in challenging environments. Workplace health and safety and mental health professionals may also be interested in this seminar.</p> <h2><strong>About the presenters </strong></h2> <p>The video features four first responders – Kevin (police officer), Carolina (nurse), Steve (paramedic) and Rachel (fire fighter).</p> <h2><strong>Additional resources </strong></h2> <ul> <li><a href="/sites/swa/contact/pages/contact">First responders can talk to their local WHS regulator to discuss work safety</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia: <a href="/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/922/good-work-design-handbook.PDF">Good design handbook</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia: <a href="/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/preventing-psychological-injury-fact-sheet">Preventing psychological injury under the WHS laws factsheet</a></li> <li>Model Code of Practice: <a href="/node/451">How to manage work health and safety risks</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia: <a href="/node/1289">Emergency Service Volunteer Organisations</a></li> <li>Heads Up: <a href="https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/323923_0416_bl1675_acc_lr146142db5e846dcbbbd0ff0000c17e5d.pdf?sfvrsn=2">Good practice framework for mental health and wellbeing in first responder organisations</a></li> <li><em>beyondblue</em>: <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/about-our-work/workplace-mental-health/pes-program">Police and emergency services program</a></li> <li>YouTube video: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cuznh2RiR4">The Black Dog Institute and Fire and Rescue NSW: Depression and the fire fighter who fought it</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Workplace violence is not ok - keeping first responders safe</strong><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-AU; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;"><strong><font color="#000000"> </font></strong></span></p> <p><strong>Kevin, NSW Police:</strong></p> <p>I have been a police officer for 26 years and in that time I have been assaulted on a number of occasions.</p> <p>I think for me the most significant was a few years ago. My partner and I were near Terry Hills and we were confronted by someone who we think at the time was drug affected and also had some mental health issues. We tried to calm him down by talking to him but eventually he just started swinging punches. It was pretty intense there for a few minutes and as a result of the scuffalo, I lost my front tooth. My partner also got two broken fingers.</p> <p>Eventually I got a dental implant and the whole thing cost around $8,000. But worse is I still sometimes feel a little embarrassed about the way that I look.</p> <p>I have been very fortunate I haven’t had any PTSD or anything from that incident. But for many others it can be so bad they need to stop work and I can see how badly it affects them and their family.</p> <p>For me it certainly heightened my awareness of situations of a similar nature. We’re all really aware that things can rapidly escalate and if they do, people can really badly get hurt.</p> <p>I have a simple message not only for myself as a police officer but for my fellow first responders. Our sole purpose out there is to help the public. Respect that and understand it. When we interact with you we are trying to solve a situation that for one reason or another you were unable to deal with and that’s why we’re there.</p> <p>I know as a police officer we are often first on a scene when people are really distressed or in trouble. So the very nature of what we do means it might be impossible to eradicate workplace violence all together. But one thing we can do is to send a clear message that punching anyone, your wife, your mate or a police officer is never okay.</p> <p>If you do assault someone then you will be held account by the courts and the consequences for you and your family can be really serious.</p> <p>(blank screen) [1:55]</p> <p><strong>Carolina, NSW Nurse:</strong></p> <p>Sometimes in Emergency, patients can come in quite confused. From a head injury, or experiencing severe psychotic events and increasingly we are seeing patients really badly affected by drugs such as ice. Aggressive behaviour and being yelled at happens almost every day. I have had patients throw things at me. I have even been kicked in the chest and nurses and doctors often get bitten, slapped and pushed and shoved around.</p> <p>Often this means none of us can do our jobs the way we really want or need to. Patients and families who feel they have been kept waiting can also get angry and things can quickly escalate.</p> <p>It does wear everyone down. I think sometimes we all begin to think it’s normal to have people behave like that and it’s just part of our job. But really it shouldn’t be.</p> <p>While I am personally okay, I do have colleagues who aren’t and are really suffering because of the things that they have experienced at work.</p> <p>I haven’t ever formally complained or reported incidents of aggression to my manager. I think most of us when we have an aggressive patient we just manage them and kind of accept it as part of our job. We just work together to deal with abusive patients or have a nurse delegated to them or a security guard to sit outside their room.</p> <p>I think we tend to just report assaults if we think it was really serious like when someone gets badly hurt or if there was damage to the equipment in the Emergency Department. But I guess that is too late and if we don’t tell management they won’t know how big the problem is.</p> <p>I think everyone tries but if people are getting hurt at work obviously more needs to be done. The hospital has security guards in the Emergency Department but they also look after the rest of the hospital. So if they have to run from elsewhere the nursing staff may have to try to manage patients without them.</p> <p>The whole issue is getting lots more attention and I do hope by talking about it more we can do things to make it safer for us when we are at work.</p> <p>We need to recognise that violence seems to be getting worse often due to illicit drugs, pressure on our mental health system and with the increase with dementia patients this isn’t going to change anytime soon. I think we need more trained security staff to help manage these situations.</p> <p>Nurses and staff in Emergency Departments and wards are just trying to do their jobs. No one deserves to be treated rudely or even worse assaulted at work.</p> <p>People who are aggressive take up a lot of time, time we don’t always have and should be used helping patients.</p> <p>So please treat your nurses and doctors well. So help us help you by treating us with respect.</p> <p>(blank screen) [4:25]</p> <p><strong>Steve, NSW Paramedic:</strong></p> <p>As a paramedic unfortunately, I experience workplace violence almost every day.</p> <p>People are often affected by drugs, under the influence of alcohol and in high stress situations. When there’s an accident people are grieving and often irrational, and we see it all.</p> <p>Last month we were called out to a party which was in full swing. A young girl had collapsed. Her friends and the adult bystanders were all badly affected by alcohol and probably on drugs. They were quite threatening, yelling crowding around us. I thought one of them might hit me. I guess they were just scared kids and worried about her but it was pretty scary for us too. We were trying to focus on what we needed to do to save this kids life and all the time we were wondering if one of them was going to take a swing at us. It was, it was frightening.</p> <p>I’m glad we could help her and I’m glad the girl recovered, but each time this happened it does have an impact. And as a paramedic it worries me that it seems to be getting worse. We need to do something about it.</p> <p>After something like that happens it can take ages for you to wind down. I guess the adrenalines still pumping. But not in a good way. It makes you feel a bit sick. And mad that people behave like that when we are just trying to help.</p> <p>And I think I cope because I can talk about it to my wife and if I need to I use relaxation techniques and I meditate to try and get through it.</p> <p>What the system needs to do is help people develop those coping mechanisms that are best for them.</p> <p>Fortunately these days, workplace violence for first responders and the risk of psychological trauma is being taken seriously. It’s not like the bad old days.</p> <p>At my workplace referral of staff to counselling is mandatory and common after a significant event and usually the staff take up the offer. But we should do more to stop it. We need to make sure we support people who experience an assault or feel threatened or traumatised at these scenes.</p> <p>I believe de-escalation training for paramedics and first responders is vital to help defuse the situations early. We need to be allowed to walk away if we feel threatened and unsafe rather than soldier on being the hero and looking after people.</p> <p>As a paramedic, we’re there to help. That’s all we want to do. Please, help us do just that.</p> <p>(blank screen) [6:59]</p> <p><strong>Rachel, Victorian Fire Fighter:</strong></p> <p>In August 2015 three fire trucks from different stations responded to a car fire. This call was not unusual for the area and we responded like we would any other day.</p> <p>When we got there, a car was on fire on the basketball court. We put the fire out.</p> <p>It looked suspicious so we notified the police, then we all started to get ready to return to our stations. Around 2 minutes later our call centre operator told the crews on scene that there was a house and two other cars on fire in the area. There was also reports of a man wielding an axe, threatening people in the street. So we returned to the area.</p> <p>When we got back there we saw a man with an axe chasing fire fighters up the street. Our crew managed to get to safety just before he set fire to one of our trucks.</p> <p>We all went straight into work mode. But I was also a bit shocked. To think that something like this can happen when we were just there to help, we were no threat to him and we were not armed.</p> <p>For days and even weeks after the incident I kept thinking about it. Things kept triggering my memory. I started to worry if my family was in danger and if our crew might be attacked again if we responded to a call in the same area.</p> <p>It’s hard to say if you have ever completely recovered from a traumatic situation. I think self-awareness and using resources like counselling can really help. I think when things like this happen a check-up a couple of months after the event is a good idea to remind us that we have the resources to help if we are having ongoing issues.</p> <p>At work we all try to support each other but this incident was the first of our kind for our brigade. So I think management were a bit unsure about how to deal with it. We were offered a lot of counselling and we did a full debrief after the incident which really did help.</p> <p>I think we need information and education sessions for emergency services workers on how to deal with drug affected or really aggressive people.</p> <p>When a situation arises we need really good risk management plans that involve all emergency services workers. We need to have a good understanding of all of our roles and what we need to do in a hostile environment so we can deal with the next situation better.</p> <p>Emergency services workers are just ordinary people trying to do their jobs. We really care about our work and we just want to help. We are passionate about what we do and we do it with pride. But we don’t go to work to be threatened or attacked. Just like you we want to go home safe to our families every night.</p> <p>[9:13]</p> <p>(music playing)</p> <p>[9:18]</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2016-022_-_first_responders_transcript_for_captioning_-_full_0.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">2016-022_-_first_responders_transcript_for_captioning_-_full.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Facts and fallacies behind mentally healthy workplaces https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/facts-and-fallacies-behind-mentally-healthy-workplaces <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>In this panel discussion, Lucinda Brogden, Carolyn Davis and Dr Peter Cotton put the spotlight on workplace mental health. Our expert panellists explore why a mentally healthy workplace is important, what it looks like, and what employers can do in the context of their business.</p> <p>They also share compelling research and case studies supporting the notion that mentally healthy workplaces by design are happy and productive workplaces in practice.</p> <p><a href="#LiveChat">Read the online Q&amp;A session, during which our panellists answered questions from the live studio audience and online viewers.</a></p> <h2>Who is this seminar for?</h2> <p>This seminar is for all employers, especially those in small to medium business, as well as business leaders responsible for workplace culture. Mental health, human resource and workplace safety professionals will also find this seminar useful.</p> <h2>About the presenters</h2> <p>Ms Lucinda Brogden is a National Mental Health Commissioner, and brings insights from research and best practice approaches to mental health. Her primary areas of focus at the National Mental Health Commission are issues facing mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the workplace and the community.</p> <p>Ms Carolyn Davis has more than twenty years’ experience in work health and safety and workers’ compensation management, policy, advocacy and implementation. She has held senior roles in major Australian companies and in academia as well as running her own consultancy for many years. Until recently, Carolyn was Director Work Health, Safety and Workers Compensation Policy in the Australian Chamber.</p> <p>Dr Peter Cotton is a clinical and organisational psychologist specialising in how work environments influence employee mental health, wellbeing and behaviours. He works as an advisor to government and the corporate sector. Peter was the lead author of the Australian Public Service Commission and Comcare guidelines – <em>Working as One:</em> <em>Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work.</em></p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li>Safe Work Australia: <a href="/node/1200">Principles of good work design handbook</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia Fact sheet: <a href="/node/1135">Preventing psychological injury under the WHS laws</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia Fact sheet: <a href="/node/1132">Workers' compensation legislation and psychological injury</a></li> <li><a href="/node/1813">Good work design and applying it to psychosocial risks</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/">National Mental Health Commission</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/">Beyondblue</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.sane.org/">SANE Australia</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p align="right">Transcript</p> <p align="left"><strong>Safe Work Australia</strong></p> <p>Mental Health Issues</p> <p>Presented on 10 October 2016</p> <p> </p> <p><br /> <strong>Presented by:</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Adjunct Professor David Caple</strong>, <strong>MC</strong></p> <p> </p> <p align="left"><strong>Julie Hill</strong><br /> Director, Strategic and Compensation Policy</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Panellists:</strong><br />  </p> <p align="left"><strong>Lucy Brodgen</strong><br /> CEO, Mental Health Commission</p> <p><strong>Dr Peter Cotton</strong><br /> Clinical and Organisational Psychologist</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Carolyn Davis</strong><br /> Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" size="2" width="1" /></div> <p>[<em>Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Safe Work Australia’, ‘Virtual Seminar Series’, ‘Facts and fallacies behind mentally healthy workplaces’, ‘Presented by Lucy Brogden, Carolyn Davis and Dr Peter Cotton’, ‘seminars.swa.gov.au’, ‘#virtualWHS’</em>]</p> <p>[<em>The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker presenting from lectern on stage whilst other speakers are seated, with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played on a large background screen</em>]</p> <p><strong>JULIE HILL</strong>:</p> <p>Hello. I'm Julie Hill, the Director of Strategic and Compensation Policy at Safe Work Australia. I'd like to welcome our studio audience and those of you watching online to today's virtual seminar, Facts and Fallacies Behind Mentally Healthy Workplaces. It is an appropriate topic given that today is  Mental Health Day. Before we start, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal people. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and to the region.</p> <p>Our focus today is on what it really means to have a mentally healthy workplace, and hopefully to dispel some of the myths about what businesses need to do to comply with work health and safety laws. But first I would like to put the issue of mental health into a little bit of context. Mental illness is one of the leading causes of sickness absence and long-term incapacity in Australia.</p> <p>With mental disorders often linked to other physical injuries, like musculoskeletal disorders, work-related mental illness has serious and far-reaching effects on the worker, their family, their colleagues, and of course the businesses in which they work. In the year to June 2015, there were 8,000 accepted workers’ compensation claims for mental disorders, and each year mental disorder claims result in $500 million in compensation paid.</p> <p>Safe Work Australia appreciates the importance of explaining to businesses what they have to do to comply with their duties under the work health and safety laws, but also where those duties end. So for example, it might be great for workers' general well-being to make yoga available during lunch breaks, or to provide healthy diet information, but generally speaking, businesses do not <em>need</em> to do these things to comply with the work health and safety laws.</p> <p>Instead, the focus should be on how to design good work and workplaces so that workers are not at risk of psychological harm, for example from constant overwork or being bullied by supervisors or co-workers. The starting point for creating a workplace which protects workers' mental and physical health is the work health and safety laws. Safe Work Australia as the national WHS policy body is currently developing national material on what the WHS and workers' compensation laws require in relation to mental health, to help businesses understand what compliance looks like.</p> <p>Businesses will also need practical solutions and toolkits on how to avoid causing or exacerbating psychological illness, and then at the next level, moving the organisation to becoming a fully mentally healthy workplace. Given how common mental illness is, at one time or another we are all likely to work with people, or indeed ourselves experience periods of poor mental health. It is in everyone's interest to discuss this important topic, find out what we need to know and do and where to go for information and help.</p> <p>Today we will hear from three panellists. Their full biographies are on our website, but let me introduce firstly the Mental Health Commissioner, Lucy Brogden. Lucy brings to the Commission extensive experience in psychology and has a strong commitment to helping others and building stronger communities. Lucy's primary area of focus are issues facing mental health and well-being, particularly in the workplace and the community. She takes an evidence-based approach to problem solving and social investment.</p> <p>Our second panellist is Carolyn Davis, who until recently was Director Work Health Safety and Workers' Compensation Policy at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Chamber's Safe Work Australia member. Carolyn has more than 20 years’ experience in work health and safety and workers' compensation management, policy, advocacy and implementation. She has held senior roles in major Australian companies and in academia, as well as running her own consultancy for many years. Carolyn is a strong advocate for managing risks as part of day-to-day business, and is passionate about sustainable businesses that value their people and have good systems in place to face the challenges of today.</p> <p>Our third panellist is Dr Peter Cotton, a clinical and organisational psychologist who specialises in occupational mental health and how organisational environments influence staff well-being and performance outcomes. Peter is a respected advisor to both government and the corporate sector, including with the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, Work Safe Victoria and ComCare, Medibank, and in private practice.</p> <p>Last but not least, let me introduce today's facilitator, Professor David Caple, who is an adjunct professor at the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and senior research fellow from the Federation University in Ballarat, as well as past president of the International Ergonomics Association. David has over 30 years’ experience as an ergonomist consulting to businesses across a range of work health and safety areas and with clients all over the world. Please join me in welcoming our speakers.</p> <p>[APPLAUSE]</p> <p>Before we begin today's discussion, we're going to see a short video about the impact of mental health issues in the workplace. We would like to thank the University of Tasmania and their project partners, the Australian Research Council, beyondblue, WorkCover Tasmania, and the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for sharing this video with us. I'm informed the full DVD will soon be available from <a href="http://www.businessinmind.edu.au">www.businessinmind.edu.au</a>. So with no further ado, we'll see the video. Thank you.</p> <p>[START OF VIDEO PLAYBACK]</p> <p>[MUSIC PLAYING]</p> <p>-You don't even know that you are utterly stressed until you go to the doctor and she takes your blood pressure and she says, ‘My gosh, you know, give up work tomorrow’. And you can't. I mean if you own a business, you can't just step out of it.</p> <p>-Mental health is an issue that does need to be managed in any organisation, just as it needs to be managed in a family.</p> <p>-I think the statistics are something like 20% of the population has some sort of mental stress at any one time. Then it has to impact on small business. And it's a significant part of, you know, trying to manage your staff.</p> <p>-I’ve had depression for three years before I was diagnosed. I didn't understand what was going on with me, and it was having a terrible impact. I was barely getting by, and it scared me. It really did.</p> <p>-Depression isn't something that just switches off at nine in the morning when you arrive at work and then comes back on at fivewell in the afternoon.</p> <p>-People that aren't managing their mental health well might be absent more often, and in a small business where there's only a couple staff members, if you've got someone off for long periods of time, you know, that has a big impact.</p> <p>-The loss of productivity, particularly in a small to medium sized business, where it may well affect the business significantly, then there are real costs to that.</p> <p>-There are other unquantifiable costs as well. The impact on relationships for example is something very important to business functioning.</p> <p>-They may think it's just that the person is being contrary or difficult. It's often an issue which the business owner doesn't wish to broach.</p> <p>-It's quite a challenge really. Obviously managers aren't psychologists.</p> <p>-If I open that can of worms, it's like,  wellwhat do I do with it? So I'd rather let's just pretend it's not there. It's got nothing to do with me, and maybe they'll sort it out somewhere else.</p> <p>-It was a learning curve for me, because I really didn't know where the boundary was. I wasn't sure what I could do and what I shouldn't do. But realising how important it is, is because each of the staff that we have, they're a critical part of the business.</p> <p>[END PLAYBACK]</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>So thank you for attending to share this story together today, and to explore some of those stories we've just seen on the video, with our three panel members. Welcome to the studio audience from me, and also to those that are watching online. Those of you who are online who would like to join asking some questions to our panel members, there are three ways that you can do that this morning.</p> <p>One of them is using the #virtualWHS. The second is the #mentalhealth. And finally, you can just join the live chat facility. And the speakers will be available after the seminar too if you'd like to continue once we're done.</p> <p>So with that as a contextual introduction, Lucy, with your background, particularly with the mentally healthy workplace alliance–</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Maybe you could share with us what some of the research has found and some of the future directions that you'd like to share with the audience today.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Sure David. I think one of the interesting things– the Alliance– Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance commissioned a literature review and a study of what's going on out there, and the thing that– the key message and take away for me from that message was that everything old is new again. And what is fascinating, and understanding the history of this topic, is that our own Elton Mayo, the polymath who came from Adelaide and went to work in Harvard in the 1920s, undertaking the Hawthorne studies–  when they interviewed people back then working in the factories, the key things they said they wanted were their health, physical health to be good, and to be able to spend time with family. And today, when we go round and ask people what they want in the workplace, it's their health and work-life balance– to be able to pursue a life outside of work.</p> <p>So in that respect, nothing has really changed. I think we've jumped from fad to fad, maybe innovation, some innovation, some good interventions, but we don't seem to be hitting the mark unfortunately. And I think we keep asking the question, and the question is not so much what, but how.</p> <p>And the literature showed us that how– the key how– and it came in Julie's introduction– was good job and work design is the starting point. And if we start there, and with a value for good leadership and a value for good outcomes for people, that good work is good for you, then I think we hit the mark. We need to create cultures that are positive, transparent and open, and create a supportive environment for all our employees.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. So Peter, you've done a lot of work in this area. What about your research? What are some of the key factors that you've found?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON</strong>:</p> <p>Well, I probably echo what Lucy said. Everyone starts with mental health literacy, and there’s still a role obviously, the sort of programmes that beyondblue and Mental Health First Aid have championed in Australia over the last sort of 15 years. But beyond that, there's often an interest in doing something else, but there's a lot of uncertainty about what to do. And some organisations also are reluctant to go beyond a training solution, so they'll move on to the next fad, as Lucy said. You know, now we'll do mindfulness seminars and then we'll move on to individual resilience seminars. And it's all still piecemeal rather than sort of coordinated at a big picture level and integrated into the DNA of how the organisation actually operates. So that's the challenge, to really embed this stuff. That's an ongoing challenge.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. We might explore that a bit further later on. Carolyn, just in terms of the legal context of where this sits, do you want to just tell us a bit about that?</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>I think some of the people in that video highlighted how complex it can be, and how wary some employers are. I think businesses are faced with a range of legal requirements as much as, you know, they want to get the best out of their people and have a positive workplace, so they can all have a successful business and working life. But there's– so there's work health and safety. There's about five pieces of legislation. There's probably more, but there's the five that jump out at me.</p> <p>So there's the work health and safety requirements. And that, as Julie said in her introduction, includes not just the physical requirements of the job, but also the psychological requirements of the job. And then there's the law around discrimination. Obviously you can't use any of that information to discriminate against people. You have to be very careful about how you go about this particular– you know– working with mental health in the workplace. There's also confidentiality and privacy.</p> <p>And then there's some things under the Fair Work Act. You know, there's requirements about how you go about dealing with people, but there's also things about reasonable adjustments that you have to make. So it's a very complex environment that people work in, but I think the good thing about that is that you can take some simple steps. It doesn't have to be a very complicated response, so that even those small businesses in that video, there's some really simple things that they can do.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>So, maybe Lucy with your research on what some of those simple things might be– Julie mentioned at the front end that the fruit box and the lunchtime yoga may not be exactly hitting the mark– so what are some of those simple steps that organisations should be thinking about?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Absolutely, and I have been pushing the hashtag that it's more than yoga and fruit bowls, because I think if you're going down that path, you're really missing the point as to what this is all about. They <em>are</em> good for us. There's no argument around that. But this is much more than that. This is creating an environment that's positive for people, that is protective of people.</p> <p>And so in terms of looking at those issues, it's really embracing a range of things that start with leadership at the top, and a vision for wanting to create a good, positive organisation that can contribute positively, and then working down through that, looking at the opportunities for all employees and the teams.</p> <p>And it's interesting to see that that becomes a two-way conversation. And I think that's an important part of the dialogue, is that it needs to be an iterative process, where people are talking and evolving all the time. I think organisations that come from the industrial manufacturing sector, where they've had the focus on physical safety for a long time, are moving faster and probably better than perhaps those in professional services to do this. [up to here 15:29]</p> <p>But it's about being creative, and it's about looking to the evidence in the literature that is there, and not trying to re-invent the wheel all the time, but get the basics right. If we're complying around the legislation– which should be the minimum standard, not the maximum standard– then we can evolve on to the more creative elements of gyms and treadmills. But it's really for naught to have all those benefits if there's a culture of bullying or incivility operating at the same time.</p> <p>I worked for a great boss who always reminded his direct reports that you're hiring competent people, and most people are able to make good and smart decisions on their own. If you treat people like children, they'll behave like children. So giving people some autonomy to set that direction, to have those conversations, is very powerful and empowering along that path. And starting to have that dialogue.</p> <p>When you look at position descriptions and job descriptions, that comes to good job and work design. And we need to make sure that they are living documents that keep moving with the organisation, with the change, and focusing on teams as well as individuals in that context.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>Sorry.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Go ahead.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>Lucy and I talked about fruit boxes many, many times, because it is a fundamental distraction, and I'm very concerned that some businesses are plagued with people telling them that this is about compliance, that putting a fruit box in or doing a yoga class or having a running– I don't know whether you've seen those running desks where you can now work at your desk on a treadmill– that's just not what we're about. So it is wider than just the compliance. So those legal things I mentioned before, it's much wider than that. It's about working better, and it's about looking at a whole range of factors. And there are about eight work-related factors. Some people say there are six, but usually we use eight. And I think there's some information about those eight that Safe Work Australia have put out. So those eight factors are the things that I think are more helpful than the fruit boxes and the yoga. And what we're talking about is having a sustainable business. Some of those fads come and go.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN:</strong></p> <p>That's right.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS:</strong></p> <p>And doing that for a short period of time is not the answer.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>We'll explore those eight factors in a sec. Peter, you've introduced programmes in very big organisations. And what Lucy is talking about are some of the elements that need to be there, but what are the sort of steps and processes that– where do you start, and how do you ensure you've got the right infrastructure and you're not on wobbly foundations as you call it?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>Yes. Yeah. That was a section in our police review, building a house on wobbly foundations. If the underpinning sort of people leadership culture isn't in the right space, and teams aren't– various terms, psychosocial quality, or just climate, whatever– if they're not sort of fundamentally moving in the right direction, then a lot of those initiatives, training initiatives, etcetera, just don't get the traction that's indicated. So, ultimately then I think– and we did this with Vic Pol– because from a mental health perspective, it's about validating, encouraging, early help seeking. So barriers include various forms of stigma.</p> <p>Historically in police services, people have been sidelined if they have genuine PTSD. It's poorly understood. So people– it can affect their career prospects. So we concluded that– and VEOHRC, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, they did a review two months before us on sexual harassment and discrimination– came to the same conclusion that there needs to be, put in simple terms, a sort of leadership uplift or increase in people-focused leadership capability as a protective factor for when people deal with operational situations, etcetera.</p> <p>So, all of those recommendations have been endorsed, and also by the Police Association, so they're currently sort of working through implementation.</p> <p>I suppose certainly leadership from the top– Commissioner Graham Ashton's been very passionate about the space of occupational health and safety– that's what we still call it in Victoria– and absolutely transparent about the whole process, the whole VEOHRC process. It’s been very, very confronting. Those two reports are in the public domain so they are readily accessible on the Vic Pol website.</p> <p>But that commitment, and EXCOM, the Executive Leadership Group, working with them in terms of expectations around role modelling, etcetera– one of the recommendations was also around when you do this stuff, there are some leaders who may not sort of make it up to the required level. So you have to have equitable processes in place for some of those leaders perhaps to move sideways to not having direct reports, because some leaders are just a bit too entrenched in their command and control style, whatever, and they can't make that shift.</p> <p>But still, because historically we haven't dealt with them in terms of building their people skills, we have to have a supportive and reasonable way for them to transition. But some people will fall by the wayside, but that's ultimately how it has to be. And reducing the tolerance margins for poor behaviours.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN:</strong></p> <p>And I think David it's important that we remember that we've got the legislative frameworks out there around a lot of these issues. But a number of the regulators have said quite publicly that having all those beautiful policies is one thing, but if they come into your organisation, they're going to be assessing the culture and the way things are actually done versus what the lovely policy manuals say.</p> <p>And that can be quite a challenge for a number of organisations, to really entrench this issue. And I think what we find is whether people are coming in to look at issues around discrimination, whether it's diversity agendas, whether it's mental health in the workplace, the solutions and the strategies are the same, one and the same.</p> <p>And so organisations that try and compartmentalise their approach to these things I think make a lot of unnecessary work for themselves. If you take that holistic approach of good work is good for you, that good organisations are good for people, and start there, you'll find that you're actually addressing a number of issues tackling this.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS:</strong></p> <p>And it's good for business.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>We'll talk about how it's good for business and how do you measure that as we go. But Caroline, you mentioned the eight factors. So let's have a look at what those factors are. Maybe you could just highlight what are the key findings from the research of what makes a mentally healthy workplace.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS:</strong></p> <p>Well, I think these eight– and I said that some people use six of them– but these eight are sort of generally bandied around as things that we know are work related factors in this whole picture. So this is where the whole organisation needs to be able to look at these things. And some of these things give you a picture that you can measure, which we'll come to I know a little bit later.</p> <p>So it's the demands of people's jobs. So it might be the workload or the work pattern, or it might be how you are going about that work. It's how much control that you have over your work.</p> <p>And I think Peter was just saying if you don't feel that you can put your hand up or make any comments or make any changes, then you don't have a high level of control. So a low control level and a high demand contributes to quite a lot of difficulties in the workplace. Whether you've got the supports, whether you feel you can put your hand up.</p> <p>And Peter referred to early interventions. And we know that from the research that this is a really key thing. So if your organisation has the opportunity to get in early and has the supports available, that can make a big difference.</p> <p>And that doesn't just mean blocking on an employee assistance programme at the end. It also means integrating that with how you think about things in the workplace, and using that employee assistance programme as much as possible. So there are goods and bads. But lots of support.</p> <p>It's also about relationships. Bullying is something that I think Peter and Lucy both mentioned. So the style of interactions, feeling that you are part of the workplace, that you are contributing to the workplace, that you are valued.</p> <p>And one of the key things I keep coming back to is making a person feel valued and treating them with dignity and respect is very important to a sustainable business if nothing else.</p> <p>Also about your role. Often you'll find people– particularly these days, we have a lot of position descriptions that outline what your work is about. And Lucy and I have talked about this before. Hands up anybody who works strictly to all of the things in their position description. I think, certainly in my role, five years ago when they wrote the position description, it has certainly changed from there. So I think it's important that there's a match between what you're expected to do, what your skills are, and how you can then go about it.</p> <p>So there's a lot of sort of push about what to do in the workplace, whereas really it's about how. And I think Lucy and Peter and I were talking about this before.</p> <p>It's also about how you manage change. So in this environment, work of the future, we're facing change all the time. So organisations have to be a bit cleverer about how they manage that change. And if you manage that poorly, you often get the results in the workplace.</p> <p>Organisational justice– that you would be treated fairly in your organisation– is also terribly important. That if you do put your hand up to talk about mental illness, you don't want to be sidelined for that fact. That's part of that justice system.</p> <p>And that there is recognition and reward, that you're not working ten times harder as someone else and they're getting all the accolades for it. You can only take that so far. So recognition and reward is also important.</p> <p>There are probably others that people can think of, but they're the sort of eight that we know are key ones.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Lucy or Peter, do you want to comment or highlight any of those that you find dominate your research of where we're lacking?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>Perhaps just the relationships element. What we found through the police review and several other organisations I'm working with is that the organisation's values and behaviours, policy and practice piece is also absolutely critical.</p> <p>If it's not in a right space– many of the police and emergency services organisations, for historical reasons, have a very wide tolerance margin for poor behaviours, and that directly creates a risk for psychological health and safety.</p> <p>So reducing those tolerance margins– we hear constant comments about inconsistent management of behaviours or making exceptions. So getting into that space of consistent management, holding people accountable, frontline staff also feeling empowered so that they– because they're aware of the values and behaviours, they don't have to put up with stuff they may have historically. And so moving into that space.</p> <p>Just very briefly, with Vic Pol, the VEOHRC– Human Rights Commission report was two months before us. We had about eight people come to us who said they were thinking of going to VEOHRC to tell their story, but they just dismissed it as another cynical sort of superficial exercise.</p> <p>But in that intervening two months, they actually saw things starting to happen and they perceived that the ground was shifting, and some of the initiatives put in place, so they came to tell us their story. So that was very gratifying in terms of the shift that's actually occurring very rapidly.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN:</strong></p> <p>And I think, if I could contribute on the recognition and reward– and going back to everything old is new again– if we look at, say, Herzberg's motivational factors, 50 years old, but as valid then as they are today.</p> <p>And you meet a number of organisations and they'll say, ‘Oh, we just keep paying them more but they're not any happier’. Well, if you go to the literature, you'll know that that's not going to work. It might work for three months, but it's not lasting.</p> <p>If we look at the other side of that, the recognition element, the continual feedback. And how many times do you say to managers, you know, ‘Are you giving them feedback?’ ‘Oh, they'll know they're doing a good job. We just tell them when they're doing a bad job.’</p> <p>Well, the thing we know about people is we know when we're doing the bad job, but we would just kind of like to hear about when we're doing the good job. That kind of intervention is– kindness is a free thing. But it's actually a human interaction that goes to relationships as well. That a little bit of recognition goes a long way.</p> <p>It troubles me a bit when you hear these organisations splashing headlines, ‘We've got rid of performance reviews,’ without actually putting any context around that. And what they're doing is maybe getting rid of the annual performance review, but hopefully replacing that with a more ongoing feedback process. And it's those skills that we need to train up in our young leaders and managers, to be able to give that ongoing feedback process.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Well, it's certainly stimulated some discussion online. So we've got a tweet coming through from Tony Vane.</p> <p>‘There are usually three drivers for work, health, and safety improvements– laws, values, and financial. Of these, I think the legal compliance angle is very difficult to use when it comes to psychological risks, and there has been very little action from regulators in this area. So what does the panel think is the strongest driver?’</p> <p>So Tony's highlighted the law, the values and the financial drivers. So who would like to have a go at Tony's question?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN:</strong></p> <p>I'll jump in, sitting on the Alliance, and taking a cross-industry view. And what we've actually found is it's horses for courses. And some organisations, some industries, are motivated by a very compliance view of the world, and they like to be up to date.</p> <p>And I think that comes from particularly the manufacturing, industrial sectors that have come from that strong safety, physical safety background, and they like to be up to date and they understand the importance of that.</p> <p>There are organisations that are very values driven. And you speak to CEOs who want to do the right thing, they're desperate, but they're losing sleep over the how side.</p> <p>And equally, I come from an investment banking background where a risk argument resonates with them. That's their language of business.</p> <p>So I think it's really understanding the industry and the organisation, and what message will get through and work best with them.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS:</strong></p> <p>And I think it's important— sorry David– I think it's really important, there's no silver bullet, there's no one answer. It has to be what works for your organisation, what works for your relationships, what works for your values. So there is no one answer. There is no strongest driver, really. It's how it works for you and for your organisation.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay, thanks. Thanks, Tony.</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>I was just gonna say–</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Pardon?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>Oh? No?</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Go on, Peter.</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>The other thing I've noticed too is that a lot of boards are becoming very sensitive to reputation damage. So there's a downward driver from boards. We've had very prominent sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying cases in the media. So I think that's another driver that I see happening in a lot of sectors.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>The directors themselves.</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON:</strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay, we have another question coming up now from Kathy.</p> <p>‘I have a staff member who I think has a mental health issue, but I don't want to intrude or invade in her privacy. How best to approach that?’</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS:</strong></p> <p>Can I kick that one off? Look, I think this is a major issue. Certainly I work for an employer association, the Australian Chamber. We have 300,000 organisations that are members of ours. So they get quite a lot of questions. They get a lot of input from particular businesses.</p> <p>And the question that comes up continually is ‘How do I go about this?’– this is where we were going before— ‘What is the best way to raise this conversation?’ And I think this is the really important part. There is a whole lot of information, particularly on the Heads Up website.</p> <p>If I can just backtrack a little bit, I'm also part of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance with Lucy. And one of the things that we supported in the last couple of years was an initiative called the Heads Up programme that's been run by beyondblue. They did a lot of work with some of our businesses as well.</p> <p>So we've done a lot of work with them on how to have that difficult, or not so difficult conversation. And there's a lot of stuff on the Heads Up website about looking at the pros and cons of divulging or disclosing to your employer how you feel or what you think might impact on your work, and then some of what the employer can do, right down to some of the sort of terminology to keep in mind. Because that initial response is obviously going to set the scene. So we think there's a lot of tools on the Heads Up website to be able to help you look at what would work for you, obviously, and be flexible in how you approach that. But there's quite a lot of information and tools on that website.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Thanks. And it's interesting as we're going along, these resources and tools are starting to emerge. So you mentioned the Heads Up website. You've got your own Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance website.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>It's the same.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>That's why I started with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. We're not trying to just promote a particular tool. That Alliance website is meant to be a sort of go to point for a whole lot of tools and things. We felt that the work that was being done on the Heads Up website was a good place to start. So there's other tools on there as well.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>And the eight factors that we've just been talking about are available on the Safe Work Australia website if you want to explore those a bit further.</p> <p>So Peter, let's just talk a bit about some case studies. So you've been involved in the emergency services as you've mentioned. Do you want to highlight what are some of the key things that have led to the positive response, and any data that you might have about measures of what's been going on?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON</strong>:</p> <p>Okay. Just very quickly to go back to the last question, I was going to add, and we talked about this earlier, that it's not about managers becoming diagnosticians or quasi-counsellors. It's about what you do as a people leader. And when you sort of make that differentiation, it is pretty clear cut.</p> <p>And the other thing that gets a lot of take up that I talk about with leaders is about the role of the leader in fostering a team climate that's supportive of well-being.</p> <p>So I don't want all my team meetings to be an endless list of admin matters that we tick off. Every few team meetings I'm going to quarantine a bit of time for the team to have a bit of reflection and free flowing discussion on how we're travelling as a team. And I'm going to message that well-being's on my radar, and encourage people to come and talk to me if they have any hassles.</p> <p>We know when leaders do that, people are more likely to go to the EAP and more likely to put their hand up earlier. And you get less push-back if as a leader you initiate a conversation, because you've set up the climate where people feel that well-being is part of the way we do business.</p> <p>Sorry, back to Vic Pol. I think partly Vic Pol is in a really ripe space. They've got a Chief Commissioner who's been very passionate about workplace health and safety, occupational health and safety. The VEOHRC review was extremely confronting if you go and read it. Talked about rampant everyday sexism, had some dreadful case studies that have put lots of people's mental health at risk.</p> <p>We came in on the tail end, so two months later we started. So strong commitment from EXCOM, the Executive Command Leadership Group, and the occupational health and safety senior leadership.</p> <p>So the other starting point which is happening across a lot of police and emergency services organisations is around the issue of suicide. Very confronting, very harrowing for people. We've had a few high profile suicides in Vic Pol.</p> <p>Our police minister, Wade Noonan, took leave for a genuine episode of vicarious trauma after he said he could no longer cope with some of the material coming across his desk from Vic Pol.</p> <p>So all those sort of fed in to getting the process going. The Police Association under Ron Iddles has been fabulous. So in lock step with senior executive and the Police Association, we made 39 recommendations. They've endorsed them all, and they’re currently working on implementation.</p> <p>So we figure between VEOHRC and us there's little sort of room for wiggle. They kind of have to implement substantial stuff. They've got dedicated funding, it's beyond business as usual, and the whole culture change process. Defence has been going through this. They're now in their second iteration. And if you go to their website, they've got a very good summary document called Pathways to Change. And it's about their sort of summary of the culture change that has to happen in order to support a range of standard mental health type initiatives.</p> <p>So they're a bit further along in the journey. But to their credit, Vic Pol took on board that it's not about implementing just another training solution, it's about implementing, underpinning very substantial leadership culture change.</p> <p>And so that includes changes to things like promotional criteria and processes, so that the message gets out about what the organisation values. And as we said earlier, it's about factoring more in how we achieve our objectives, not just what we actually achieve. So getting that balance better.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. Thank you. Lucy, what about some of the case studies you've been involved with?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>I’ve been really privileged to see a range of things. I've seen a lot of things that don't work, but I'm always struck by the things that work well.</p> <p>And picking up on one of the points that Peter's made, these kind of programme changes need to be right across the lifespan of the employee or the organisation. And we often see organisations may be changing a bit around a recruitment practice or a job design element, but it doesn't go the full spectrum of the role.</p> <p>And one of the great examples that I've heard and I've seen in operation now is that Optus has now flipped the EAP service in a way, and actually made using the EAP manager assist line for managers a KPI, that managers need to report and demonstrate that they're using that manager assist line.</p> <p>Because what Optus recognised is that all managers will encounter difficult situations at work and situations that they don't know how to handle. So that it's actually a sign of strength and good management to recognise that, pick up the phone to the EAP and outline the issue, and try and work out a strategy for handling that.</p> <p>And I think that's a really quite game-changing approach to using the EAP and the manager assist tool. We see organisations like Lendlease, who are coming from a diversity perspective and a safety perspective, but wanting to get more women on to construction sites, and really grappling with job and work design and cultural change pieces to achieve that.</p> <p>And these aren't necessarily easy approaches, but that's a message that's come from the CEO. And so they're working on that and challenging all aspects of the organisation in terms of how do we make this happen. So I think it's those good opportunities that we see.</p> <p>And a lot of it comes from a cultural change perspective if you look at the essence of what's going on, and particularly, ’We don't like where we're at. We need to get to a new place.’</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>So Carolyn, Lucy mentioned about construction. Do you want to talk about–</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>No, that's a good segue. Can I just go back two steps?</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Sure.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>I just want to re-emphasise that we're not expecting people in the workplace to diagnose. Because I think that's one of the key things you can overstep. So absolutely do not diagnose.</p> <p>But you can, especially if you've got a good relationship– so you should be aware of your team of people, as Peter was saying. Be involved with them, know them. You can ask questions about performance and about the workplace. So, you know, you can ask about what assistance. You can sort of go down the paths about adjustments. And there's a whole lot of areas that you can get into, but you're not expected to be diagnosing.</p> <p>And the second one was, I have– like fruit boxes, I have this thing about well-being as well, because I think well-being means different things to different people. And there are a lot of providers out there who are in the well-being market. And I think that that's distracting as well. It's not necessarily a business's role to worry about your happiness. And there's a happiness group of– team of people or systems out there.</p> <p>So that is distracting from all of the things that I think you can do in the workplace. And although Lucy mentioned some of those big businesses, there's also small businesses that can take small steps.</p> <p>So I guess one of the things that come to mind– and this isn't exactly– this is a conglomerate based on some of the feedback that I've got from our businesses. But Sarah is a construction site supervisor, she's got some issues at home. And what she's grappling with is there’s this big demand coming up for her workplace where it's quite critical, time critical– pouring concrete, something like that– as part of the whole process. And so she's worrying about the commitment to that and what she can do to balance the things that she needs to do at home as well.</p> <p>She's got quite a good relationship with her boss, her supervisor if you like. And they've worked on sharing some responsibilities before. So she actually decides because that's a good relationship that she will have a discussion with her boss.</p> <p>And it turns out that the boss was not just happy to talk about ideas that she might have had, but also to add some in there.</p> <p>So you know, changing the times. I think they talked about could she come in perhaps a lot earlier, sit down quietly, get through what needed to be done, and set things in train for the day. That would help her miss some of the terrible things that were happening at home. There were other days where she thought she could perhaps stay later and come in later, and that that might work with the work schedule.</p> <p>So between them they sort of worked out a way of balancing the times. And that's some of those eight factors that you can do.</p> <p>There was also do things by email more than they were already doing. They found a quiet place, a sort of office in the corner where they could both go to talk about things, or she could go to talk on the phone or just to take a deep breath.</p> <p>So all of those things really helped. And it meant that the employee, Sarah, was much more comfortable in dealing with her stuff that she needed to deal with at home. She didn't have to divulge anything about what was actually happening at home, and the supervisor didn't need to get involved in what was going on.</p> <p>But he was able to retain good staff. And from his point of view, he'd actually had a very stressful time a couple of years ago, and that hadn't been managed terribly well for him. He wanted to go on leave, and he was keen to see Sarah take on more responsibilities and be around. And he was able to take his leave.</p> <p>So I think there are lots of quiet success stories that are not necessarily labelled mental health stories or psychological health stories, but they are just about dealing with people in the workplace.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>It's the respect–</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>With dignity and respect.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Exactly. Well, let's– we've got a couple more questions coming through from the Tweet line. So this one's from Amy.</p> <p>‘How can a company demonstrate they care about employee mental health and are just not trying to comply or just to look good?’</p> <p>Lucy?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Well, I think it goes to so many of the things that we have been talking about in the conversation thus far. If it's actually about posters in kitchens and things like that, then you're probably missing the point.</p> <p>It's actually the action that's saying ‘If we're going to do an engagement survey, we're going to follow it through with some real action’. It's having those conversations about people's roles, regular feedback, looking at the eight functions, factors that we've already discussed, and being able to demonstrate true action around a lot of those issues.</p> <p>I think if you're blowing the trumpet, then you're often probably not doing a lot of other action.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Sure. Thanks, Amy. We'll just move on, and just back to the panel for a couple more questions if we may.</p> <p>So we've talked about what it is, what the research tells us, the elements of a good programme. But let's talk about success measures, and how do we measure success in this topic.</p> <p>So Lucy, psychometric testing has often been discussed as a measure of success, but there's quite a lot of debate about the validity of that. Do you want to just share with us some of the thinking in that space?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Absolutely. Having a real passion for organisational psychology, I believe that there is a terrific contribution that psychometric testing can bring to a workplace. I think around recruitment, leadership development needs, etcetera, it has a strong place.</p> <p>What troubles me is when I see organisations trying to take those tools that have been developed for one purpose and extrapolate them over to do other things that they're just not designed for.</p> <p>And I teach organisational psychology to third-year students, many of whom are going on to HR and other areas, and I say to them, ‘Please remember one thing. Even if you can't remember what the definitions are, but ask on any intervention that's being brought to you, what's the reliability of it and the validity of it.’</p> <p>And chances are a lot of those consultants will leave the room when you ask that question, because they haven't done that necessary psychometric analysis around the testing. But the testing can be great for job and organisational fit purposes. It can be helpful in how to manage that person. But going beyond that, I think we have to be very careful how testing is used.</p> <p>I think engagement surveys have been the flavour of the month for a long time. But again, I would talk about using them with a lot of caution. It's interesting to see that in times of high unemployment, we often see engagement very high and think that we're doing something great. Well, if actually you've got nowhere to go, then you will express an intention to stay where you are.</p> <p>Conversely, when unemployment is at a low rate, generally we see engagement scores decreasing and organisations scratching their heads. But that's because our employees have a choice about where they'll be. So I think we need to understand how we use these tools, and really think about what we're asking of our employees.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>So Peter, what sort of data have you seen with outcomes of the programmes you've been involved with?</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON</strong>:</p> <p>Well, look, the Vic Pol one's early days, because we finished the review and they’re now putting together an implementation strategy. One of the metrics of monitoring success looks like it may be a sort of sample of staff surveyed every six months with questions about what do they observe about changes in behaviour or do they feel safer, also around to what extent would they feel confident that they'd be well-supported in the workplace if they or a colleague had a mental health issue. So sort of tapping into that sort of perception, which goes a little bit towards sort of Maureen Dollard's type psychosocial safety climate type approach. You know, your perception of how supportive the organisation is in looking after people's psychological health and safety.</p> <p>Surveys have a role too, but the thing with surveys, exactly as Lucy said, is that it's not so much doing a survey, it's how you implement it. And you have to have a bottom up engagement strategy. People need to have a say. They need to own the data.</p> <p>So if it's top down driven, it all falls flat and then it goes on the bookshelf and we do another survey in a year or two years. And you know, nothing's really changed.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. See if we can squash in a few more questions. We've got some more online, but I’d just open to the audience to see if anybody in the audience would like to ask a question. So if you could just stand up and introduce yourself and your question, thanks.</p> <p><strong>AUDIENCE MEMBER:</strong></p> <p>Thanks David. Lizzy Smith. I'm an ergonomist, and previously had experience with integrated worker health. And I heard the word integration mentioned a few times.</p> <p>It strikes me that we're missing a member on the panel which is representing the HR networks, which drive a lot of the tone and the culture, and certainly the experience of processes. Would you have any comments on how practitioners can help influence HR networks.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Absolutely. And I spent time in HR myself, and teaching organisational psychology to students going into HR roles, what I'm struck by, I guess, generally is the poor quality of training we give to HR practitioners around a lot of these issues.</p> <p>So it's not mandatory to do the org psych component in the HR degree at the university I teach at. Yet at the same time, those people are managing the use of, say, psychometric testing. So they don't understand the role that it plays or how it necessarily fits. Job and work design is not trained in those areas.</p> <p>So I think we actually need to look at how we can help the HR teams in organisations with a lot of this work, and where does it fit within an organisation. It pops up in various places, in corporate strategy functions from time to time, business process re-engineering jumps in.</p> <p>And it's important that we get the right people at those tables when those conversations are going on in terms of human capital management strategies, and who is actually part of that strategy.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>And just remember it's a holistic approach to these things, and not all small businesses have a HR department or anything like that.</p> <p>So really, it's about having an understanding of those skills. So one of the things that's important for a business these days is to be aware, and have some information, some evidence if you like, behind what they want to do. Give them some confidence about dealing with these sort of tricky, complex issues. So it may not need a whole HR department to do all those things.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>And one of the great things that we're seeing is that the industry groups supporting small business are recognising this and buying in some of those services and supports that their members can then access, which is what ACCI does and the housing industry associations are doing and things like that.</p> <p>So you may be a small organisation and thinking ‘Where do I go?’ and the industry body is a great starting point.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>That was my line Lucy!</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Thanks Lizzy, for the question. We've got another one come through online. This is from a cattle producer.</p> <p>‘Can the take away messages from this discussion be applied to far remote operators in the agri foods industry? For example, are mental health services able to be provided? Would online employee assistance programmes be effective? Internet speed was not such an issue.’</p> <p>So thank you. This looks like a remote worker industry.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Absolutely. And I cannot remember the organisation based in Victoria, but they're doing a lot of agri business work.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>There's a lot of work actually on how digital technology needs to go into this space, particularly for young people. So is it Reach Out that's done a lot of work on how we communicate with young people, and that the digital sphere is absolutely where we need to be with this. And I think those things still apply in remote areas as well.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>So in Victoria, the Farming Agriculture Unit is doing a lot of work on this issue. Equally, the Mental Health Commission is doing a lot of work with the Department of Health on the technology gateway around health based interventions and working with remote communities.</p> <p>Certainly internet speed is an issue. But there are some creative solutions coming up around that. Generally schools and some community centres have a bigger pipe than the average person, so it might be that you visit a hub to access some of these services.</p> <p>There's a lot of app-based tools that are very effective for people to use. And it's certainly being recognised that remote workers, whether it's mining, agriculture, whatever it might be, need support, and a special kind of support.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>And it's sharing. So again, whether that's a network like the employer associations– so your industry association would be a good place to start. But also just to know that there are other people with the same sort of issues in your industry, and you can share resources or share ideas or share across the network. That makes a big difference to remote areas too.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. Thank you. One last online question and then back to the audience here.</p> <p>‘What does the panel suggest we do to improve the culture of an organisation that continues to be faced with significant changes in regards to workers' mental health?’</p> <p>Maybe Peter, you could solve that for Ashley.</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON</strong>:</p> <p>Certainly the Workers' Comp authorities see blips on the radar when there's major organisational change processes occurring, so there are always impacts on people. I'm not sure exactly what the question is getting at, but I would have to say that not every case has a happy ending. With my clinical hat on, I do lots of what I call fitness for duty assessments. We see people where the referral question is ‘We have this person. We know they're getting treatment, they've got some sort of condition. But it's going on and on and on and on. We're more than 12 months down track. Is it going to improve? Is it going to change, is this the way things are?’ So sometimes things end up in a tough space, where– and this is a very small proportion of people,. but you're talking about options like medical ill health retirement, permanent change of job, etc.</p> <p>So it's not always a happy ending. We'd like it to be always a happy ending, but it can't always be a happy ending.</p> <p>Cultures– when there's a better culture, it helps to manage change more effectively. So there is a link with the organisational culture and change. But sorry, Lucy was going to say something.</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>And I think what we touched on earlier– and Peter made the point around the significance of culture and boards starting to look at this– the reputational risk issues are quite significant. And most organisations function on a front page of the <em>Financial Review</em> test, and that test is getting broader and broader as to what will get you on the front page of the <em>Financial Review</em>. And you don't want to be there. And you want to be there for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.</p> <p>And we talked about the regulators have recognised the power of culture. And it's interesting that this has promoted a lot of debate through directors and senior management as to whose responsibility culture is. And I think it's kind of telling that in 2016 we're debating who owns culture when that's been so integral to good business for such a long time, and no one's actually ever wanted to own it. And now they're scrambling around it.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>Small business, sorry. Can I just do the small business–</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Can you make this– weave this into your summary comment, that would be great.</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>So for a small business– I mean that works for a big business, but for a small business it can be as simple as writing things down. So if you are having that discussion with somebody in the workplace, then drawing up a sort of written plan about how you're going to make those adjustments. This is all part of a normal returning to work plan. So the same sort of principles apply. You can put that in writing. And sometimes that gradually helps build up a change in the culture.</p> <p>That wasn't my three points though David. I'm sorry, I’m going to have to come back.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay, Peter. We need to wrap up. We've only got a couple of minutes to go. So things that we haven't talked about? Or facts or fallacies–</p> <p><strong>PETER COTTON</strong>:</p> <p>Probably the one thing I was going to add was just the increasing recognition of the role of workplace support, quite distinctly from any clinical management treatment in helping people return to work and recovery from exposure to traumatic events.</p> <p>In my experience, a lot of managers still operate on this sort of tacit division. They have focus on the work group outputs, KPIs. When it's clinical medical issues, they handball it to the EAP providers, etc. But there's now oodles of evidence that that role of workplace support is a critical determinant of outcomes, quite distinctly from all the medical and clinical treatment people get.</p> <p>There's a volume of essays that came out in just the last month in September from Australia21 on PTSD, and there's an essay in there that elaborates on that issue of the role of workplace support.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Okay. Last point, Lucy?</p> <p><strong>LUCY BRODGEN</strong>:</p> <p>Well, I think it's fantastic that we're actually having sessions like this. Ten, 15 years ago, mental health in the workplace was just– you didn't go there. You pretended that it wasn't an issue and you moved on. So the fact that we can have these conversations is fantastic.</p> <p>I think we do need to get the language right around a lot of these topics. I think we need to break down the fear that goes with that, that this is not hard necessarily. It takes effort, but it's not expensive generally.</p> <p>There's no cost to kindness. And I think that can be the starting point for a lot of this, is to build up some kindness, some empathy, dignity, respect. There's no cost to those things. And so people shouldn't be scared with embracing this and starting on the challenge.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Carolyn?</p> <p><strong>CAROLYN DAVIS</strong>:</p> <p>Don't be scared. I think that's it. Use as much information and the tools that are available to give yourself confidence to deal with this in a very simple way. It doesn't have to be a big deal.</p> <p>There's no right answer either. So a lot of what you want to– or a lot of what you see, you need to take it on board and be flexible with how you adapt that into your workplace. So every workplace is different, every individual is different. So don't think there is a single blanket answer. It's something that you tailor for your own workplace.</p> <p>And I guess don't be frightened of it. I think it's something that needs to be addressed.</p> <p><strong>DAVID CAPLE:</strong></p> <p>Thank you. So I'd like to draw this seminar to a close. And for those that are online, you can continue in the chat room for as long as you wish, and engage directly with the panel members.</p> <p>And apologies to the people in the audience. We didn't have enough time to ask for more questions. But you too can stay around and chat as well. So on behalf on Safe Work Australia, I'd like you to join me and thank Lucy and Carolyn and Peter for a fantastic seminar today.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>[APPLAUSE]</p> <p>[<em>Closing visual of slide text saying ‘Brought to you by Safe Work Australia,’, ‘Virtual Seminar Series’, ‘seminars.swa.gov.au’, ‘#virtualWHS’</em>]</p> <p>[End of Transcript]</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/updated_transcript_swa_mental_health_issues.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">updated_transcript_swa_mental_health_issues.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Work-related fatigue and job design https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/work-related-fatigue-and-job-design <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p>In this seminar, Dr Carmel Harrington and Professor Drew Dawson examine why fatigue management is important from both a worker and a business perspective and what businesses and workers can do to manage the risks caused by fatigue in the workplace.</p> <p>They consider the challenges in managing fatigue in shift work design and examine the effectiveness of commonly used controls and how to lead a risk-based approach to fatigue management. Dr Harrington and Professor Dawson will also discuss napping, roster development, and examine the role of employee responsibilities towards mitigating health and safety risks caused by fatigue in the workplace.</p> <p>You will learn that there is no clearly defined line between safe and unsafe fatigue levels, and how to assess whether your workers are exposed to risks related to fatigue.</p> <h2><strong>Who is this seminar for?</strong></h2> <p>This seminar is for all supervisors and managers, including staff who manage rosters and flexible work arrangements, industries and workplaces that use shift work and overnight work and workers undertaking shift work.</p> <h2><strong>About the presenters </strong></h2> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington is Managing Director of Sleep for Health and an Australian sleep scientist whose insights into sleep have helped improve the health and wellbeing of many Australians. She is an honorary research fellow at Westmead Children’s Hospital and a founding member of the Australian Sleep Foundation.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson, Director of the Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University, is an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist who is recognised for his work in the areas of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, industrial relations negotiations, and the human implications of hours of work.</p> <h2><strong>Additional resources </strong></h2> <ul> <li><a href="/node/1118">Guide for managing the risk of fatigue at work</a></li> <li><a href="/node/1119">Fatigue management – a worker’s guide</a></li> <li><a href="/node/364">Australian Strategy case study – Use of good work design</a></li> <li><a href="/node/1251">A comparison of work-related injuries among shiftworkers and non-shiftworkers</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p align="left">Transcript</p> <p>Safe Work Australia</p> <p align="left">Work-Related Fatigue and Job Design</p> <p>Presented on 5 September 2016</p> <p><br /> <strong>Presented by:</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Mark Goodsell</strong></p> <p>Introduction, MC</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>David Caple</strong></p> <p>Facilitator, MC</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Panellists:</strong><br />  </p> <p align="left">Dr Carmel Harrington<br /> Panellist</p> <p align="left">Professor Drew Dawson<br /> Panellist</p> <div> <hr align="left" size="2" width="1" /></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Mark Goodsell:</strong></p> <p>Welcome. I’m Mark Goodsell, New South Wales Head for the Australian Industry Group and a Member of Safe Work Australia.</p> <p>Welcome to today’s panel session on work related fatigue as part of Safe Work Australia’s Virtual Seminar Series and National Safe Work Week for 2016.</p> <p>First I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal people, and recognise and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to this city and to this region.</p> <p>Today’s panel discussion is about work related fatigue, fatigue in the workplace. I know many of you will deal with that issue of fatigue in your personal lives, and you’ll have strategies to manage it in your personal lives. But it’s also a very important issue in workplace risk. It doesn’t only impact on the workers’ mental and physical health, it can also impact on the health and safety of those around them in the workplace.</p> <p>At work fatigue can be a function of many factors. It can be a result of mental and physical activity, organisational change, travel, exceptionally hot or cold working environments or work scheduling. It can be further compounded by personal and lifestyle factors such as sleep, health and family commitments.</p> <p>Causes of fatigue can be short term or they can accumulate over time.</p> <p>Every business and every industry is affected to some degree by fatigue, but there are some types of work and some sectors that have an inherently higher risk, particularly when you have shift work.</p> <p>Work schedules such as shift work schedules can impact the time workers have to physically and mentally recover from work. As sleep and rest are the usual way that we recover from physically and mentally demanding tasks, it’s important that we get a good amount and good quality of sleep.</p> <p>It’s important to understand that the length and quality of sleep time, and also the length of time since we last rested, can impact on a worker’s ability to perform efficiently, effectively and safely.</p> <p>Under Australian work health and safety laws, everyone in a workplace has a responsibility to ensure that fatigue does not pose a risk to the health and safety of themselves or to others in their workplace.</p> <p>In today’s discussion we’re going to explore some of the ways that fatigue in a workplace can impact on health and safety and how more effectively it can be managed.</p> <p>We’ll explore the impact that sleep has on our physical and mental health, and how employers can design working hours and rosters that encourage good sleep and recovery opportunities for workers.</p> <p>Our panellists will also take a look at the responsibility that employees have for making sure that their fatigue does not impact on the health and safety of others in their workplace.</p> <p>I’m looking forward to hearing today from the evidence and the data that the panel can share with us to help us all understand the impact of fatigue better.</p> <p>So without further ado, I’m pleased to introduce our panellists for today’s discussion. Dr Carmel Harrington is an Australian sleep scientist whose insights into sleep have helped improve the health and wellbeing of many Australians.</p> <p>She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Westmead Children’s Hospital, and a founding member of the Australian Sleep Foundation. Carmel has also authored two books on sleep, bestselling books, <em>The Sleep Diet</em> and <em>A Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep</em>.</p> <p>We’re also pleased to have Professor Drew Dawson with us today. Drew is a Director of the Appleton Institute and an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist recognised for his work in the area of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, and the human implications of hours of work.</p> <p>Having worked extensively in a number of industries, Drew has instigated fatigue management programmes, particularly in the context of shift work.</p> <p>Finally, today’s facilitator is internationally renowned Professor David Caple. David has over 30 years’ experience as an independent work health and safety consultant, and ten years in corporate and research employment. David is Adjunct Professor at the Centre of Ergonomics and Human Factors at Latrobe University, and a Senior Research Fellow from the Federation University in Ballarat. He’s also a certified ergonomist in Australia and in the US.</p> <p>Would you please join me in welcoming our panellists today as I hand over to David.</p> <p>(applause)</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Thank you Mark. Firstly welcome to our large audience here today. Thank you for making the time to join us. Also welcome to those who are viewing online. This is part of the Virtual Seminar Series, and it’s a pleasure to facilitate this discussion about fatigue at work.</p> <p>I’d like to maybe address my first question to Carmel, because of your extensive research on this area of sleep. Just for the audience, do you want to just highlight what have we learnt from the research in relation to sleep in the context of just what do we need in our general health and wellbeing? I’ve got a colleague who seems to get by on four to six hours a night. I need eight. Others need it at certain times of the day. I’m sure there’s a lot of individual variability, but tell us a bit about what the research has told us about sleep.</p> <p><strong>Dr Carmel Harrington:</strong></p> <p>We know from population studies that the recommended amount of sleep is between seven to nine hours, but it is an individual measure. So as you know, you need eight. I know I need eight and a half. So you sort of need to know what you need and try to get that.</p> <p>But of course there are variations, genetic variations, and there’s a short sleep gene. So about three to four per cent of the community actually only need about five hours sleep to do everything that they need to do in sleep that we mere mortals need seven to nine hours sleep. So you need to be aware of what you need and try to get that. If not, you will be sleep deprived.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Mark also talked about the quality of sleep. Do you want to just highlight a bit about what do we mean by quality sleep?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Well lots of us may spend a lot of time in bed and actually don’t feel refreshed when we wake up. It could be that there’s an underlying sleep disorder there, or indeed we spend three hours in the middle of the night awake. So time in bed is not necessarily a good indicator of the quality of sleep.</p> <p>The big measure is that sleep is meant to make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated when you wake up, able to meet the challenges and the joys of the day. If you feel like that’s not happening, then maybe one of the things you need to be looking at is your sleep.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So the segue is into what did we learn from this in relation to shift work. Have you got any particular areas of research in looking at the prevention of fatigue in how we approach shift work?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Well we know that all of us will suffer mental and physical health consequences if we don’t get enough sleep, or we increase our likelihood of suffering those. This is a little bit more exacerbated in the shift worker, because not only do they generally get less sleep than they need, they also have circadian disruption because they have to work during the night hours. These two things combined seem to increase the likelihood of developing physical ill health or mental ill health.</p> <p>Now the other thing with shift workers, anywhere between five to 20 per cent will develop something called shift work disorder. The hallmark signature of that is inability to get to sleep and/or to maintain sleep, and excessive sleepiness during the day which may not be connected to shift at all.</p> <p>One of the reasons this is really quite a negative thing for the shift worker to develop is because it absolutely affects their quality of life and increases their chance of developing severe depression.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Drew, feel free to comment on your research on this relationship with shift work, but in doing so, do you want to talk us through about how we’ve tried to administratively manage it through originally this prescriptive approach towards shift work and movement towards a risk based approach? Maybe just tell us about your research in that area.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I think there’s been a trend perhaps for the last 20 years. Twenty years ago the assumption was that we will negotiate our rules of rostering, and that if we agree on a set of rules for rostering as part of our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, then those rules will constitute a safe system of work.</p> <p>I think what we saw historically happen was that third party representation rights disappeared from the Industrial Relations Commission back in the mid ‘90s, and there has been a lot of economic changes in Australia over the last 20 or 30 years.</p> <p>The net result of that is lots of people agree to rules of rostering that are probably demonstrably unsafe. That is because either they wanted to make more money or the organisation wanted the productivity gains. From around about the Parliamentary inquiry in 2000 called the Midnight Oil Inquiry, there was a recommendation to the Government that we should approach shift work from a risk based approach. The idea behind a risk based approach is to say that effectively fatigue is with us always. It’s impossible to develop a shift work system that will have people not being fatigued.</p> <p>The net consequence of that is there’s a fundamental shift. That is instead of thinking about I’m compliant with my rules of rostering therefore it’s safe, it’s about saying what’s the likelihood that my staff will be fatigued and what level of control do I need to implement within the workforce in order to manage that risk.</p> <p>We’ve seen this shift to what’s called performance based approaches to safety since the Robens review in 1972, and it’s been a very long process. H.L. Mencken famously said ‘for every complex problem there’s a simple solution, and it’s usually wrong,’ and nowhere is that probably more relevant than the area of shift work and rules of rostering.</p> <p>It’s been challenging for organisations to work out how to risk assess a roster and how to work out what controls I should or shouldn’t have in place. The reason for this is that the risk profile for different jobs can be quite different, and people don’t like sometimes the complexity associated with this.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So maybe Carmel if the comfort is to say ‘Well at least we’ve complied with the regulations,’ how do we address this individual difference that you’re talking about so that the individuals feel engaged in this process?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>See this is the real risk isn’t it? We can comply with regulation without engaging in the spirit of the regulation, which is actually to make us safer and the workplace safer. So how do we engage the individual? I think education is one of the keys.</p> <p>People make decisions about the hours they work and the amount they sleep based on perceived economic and performance benefits. But they often make those decisions without being fully informed of the true cost. So I think it’s really important that we start to talk about the true cost and allow these people to make informed decisions.</p> <p>Now I liken it to when – these days we might have a bar of chocolate or a piece of cake, but we know it’s wrong, it’s not good for us, but we’ll do it anyway. But lots of people are making decisions about sleep and their lack of without actually knowing the true consequences. So the very first step we need to do is engage them in that bit of information. Of course they can continue to make ill-informed and bad decisions from our perspective, but they may have very good reasons to ignore the information we’re telling them.</p> <p>The other thing I think we need to do is engage people in education in modern technology. Not so many companies anyway actually provide education materials, and there’s little research to support that it works. But a lot of the education materials actually don’t get to the night shift worker, so how do we do it better? I think we can use mobile technology.</p> <p>Apps have been developed. There was a study published last year with pilots, and it was an app education. So what they did is not only did they get information on sleep and fatigue management, but they were given a very practical application so they could key in when was your flight going, what time zones you’re going to move to, etcetera, etcetera. So they could organise their sleep, their fatigue management and their nutrition so that a better outcome.</p> <p>What they found at the six month mark, the pilots had actually engaged – it was only 50 per cent they’d engaged, but the pilots that did engage actually had better fatigue management, better sleep quality and better nutrition. So we can do education better and we can engage the personal by making it personal.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Drew, do you want to comment on that?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I think there’s a couple of interesting points there. One I’d like to make is that the research tells us that half the time that somebody is fatigued in the workplace, it’s due to non-work related causes. They’ve been up with a sick child or they’re driving back from somewhere after a holiday.</p> <p>Half the risk in Australian workplaces comes from factors that are under the control of the employees outside of the workplace. So I think one of the big areas, the low fruit here, is to start to think about how we manage that aspect of it. I think going back to Carmel’s point about education, if we look at what happened with alcohol and drug regulation from the ‘70s – I remember going to work in the ‘70s where drink driving was funny. We’ve gone through a process over the last 30 or 40 years where that’s fundamentally changed.</p> <p>I think from an education perspective we need to say to people ‘This is how much sleep you need in order to work safely,’ in the same way as we say ‘You can’t have more alcohol or a certain type of drug in your system than this amount in order to work safely’. People will say ‘But we’ve had individual differences and there’s a short sleep gene,’ and all of that kind of stuff.</p> <p>But I’m also going to make the point there are huge inter-individual differences in the effects of alcohol on people or drugs on their cognitive capacity or error rates. It doesn’t stop us as a community making that decision, and I suspect the research tells us that somewhere between six hours on a regular basis most people most of the time, if they fall below that threshold, will be at about double the risk of accident or injury. In a single night they go below five hours sleep, we can show measurable impairment that’s inconsistent with a safe system of work.</p> <p>What’s really interesting is from a cultural perspective the argument that was put forward in the ‘70s is we can’t make blood alcohol 0.08 or 0.05 or 0.01, because everybody is different. We see exactly the same argument now with sleep, and my point would be we need to give people clear guidelines to say ‘If you’ve had less than this amount of sleep, tell someone’.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>The ‘tell someone’ is the duty under the Act to look after yourself, look after your colleagues, inform your supervisor in the context of what may be happening out of work.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Yes. This has been a very controversial area, because under a lot of workplaces the culture is not such that that may necessarily be well interpreted. Our general recommendations to workplaces are you may report it to your supervisor and your manager on the day, but if it happens more often than one would expect, then that needs to be managed by an employee assistance programme or an occupational hygienist or somebody outside of the employee/supervisor relationship, mainly because the supervisors often aren’t sufficiently skilled and there are authority gradients and power differentials that make that a very complicated conversation.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So just in the context of those who do have to work 24/7 like medical specialists in the hospitals in acute care, you’ve talked about self-management of fatigue. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how that assists them with their cognitive performance in looking after us as a community member?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>It’s a difficult area, but also one of the most exciting new areas in fatigue research, which is in many industries we don’t have an unlimited number of staff. So for example with some work we did for Queensland Health, we went to the community and said ‘How many hours do you think a doctor should work?’ and they said ’12 to 16 should be the maximum’.</p> <p>Then we said ‘Well if we did that, we’re about 800 doctors short. Would you rather a tired doctor or no doctor at all?’ Of course overwhelmingly the community said ‘No, a tired doctor will be fine thank you’. So again it’s a really complex risk equation here that you need to think about. I think one of the things that we need to think about is for many organisations how to work safely whilst fatigued has become a very important area of redesigning workplaces in ways that people can work safely whilst fatigued.</p> <p>Our research for example in the aviation industry shows that if the pilot tells the co-pilot or vice versa that the other person is fatigued, they’re much more likely to detect an error by that individual and therefore to reduce the risks associated with that.</p> <p>Similarly in hospitals, if a team is doing a handover and lets other people know what the fatigue levels are, people unsurprisingly are more conscious of that. So we’ve been doing a lot of work in the last couple of years about how do you identify that you’re fatigued and how do you redesign the work task in ways that you can operate in what we call fatigue mode.</p> <p>So building on the threat and error management literature, we have worked with a number of aviation partners, and they will say ‘at a certain level of fatigue we will operate in fatigue mode’. I won’t go into how we define that, but to say in very simple terms if you reach a certain level of fatigue on the flight deck or in the operating theatre, tell people and do things differently.</p> <p>So surgeons will consciously slow down, and they will empower people to challenge them in the event that they make a mistake. So this redesign or re-proceduralisation of the workplace is a very significant way that we can reduce risk even when people are tired.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So Carmel, just in terms of say a simple analogy in the manufacturing industry where somebody does a particular sequence of tasks and they’re fatigued, what do you see in the research as the consequence to their behaviour when something goes wrong with that particular model?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>We know when we’re tired our ability to react to a new piece of information is quite impaired. So while we can do automatic tasks, A, B, C, quite comfortably, if we go A, B, C, F, we’re not quite sure how to incorporate F. So to put that in everyday language, many of us have driven home tired, and some of us may not remember how we got home because we’ve done the drive automatically. We do it. We can do it night after night. But if someone runs across the road or something happens, we can’t react to it because cognitively we’re impaired.</p> <p>That’s what happens, and that’s why we have these people who do a job for 20 years really, really well and on one night an absolute catastrophe happens, because a new piece of information has come across.</p> <p>So it really is important. I couldn’t agree more about alerting people about fatigue. We have conversations now about – in fact we applaud people who exercise and who are fit. We applaud people who have a good diet and eat good food, and we talk about it in the workplace. ‘I’m having a salad today,’ or ‘I’m doing this, that and the other’. We need to have a conversation around ‘I slept really well last night,’ and rather than it being a demerit because you haven’t slept well and ‘I’m going to have to be performance managed because I’m not sleeping well,’ the declaration that ‘I am taking my sleep seriously because I want to be the best version of me and be really productive and safe at work,’ should be an open conversation and one that we encourage.</p> <p>The start of that is actually this fatigue mode, a declaration of ‘Okay, I’m too long on task, or I haven’t had the best lead up period to this. I’m fatigued. How are we going to best manage it?’ It’s an open conversation. We shouldn’t try to put it under the carpet, because that’s where big mistakes begin to happen.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So just in the context where you do have people who work night shifts regularly, there’s a lot of debate about should we allow them to nap or power nap or whatever the term is. What’s the research telling us about that?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Napping is good for all of us. So we can all benefit from a brief nap of about 20 minutes. The reason we say 20 minutes is because we want to stay in the light sleep. We don’t want to get into the deep sleep which will increase the likelihood of waking up with sleep inertia, which is that feeling of disorientation and lethargy, and it takes some time to dissipate.</p> <p>On balance the literature shows that a nap of 20 minutes in the early hours of the morning, probably between 1:00 and 3:00, are quite beneficial, and it will increase your alertness for a period of time. Naps taken after that time not as beneficial, and increase the likelihood of sleep inertia. Certainly napping can be used to good benefit for night shift workers, but also sleeping prior to your evening or night shift, because of course fatigue is not just a matter of sleep duration, but it’s length of time awake beforehand as well. So we can actually have either a short nap before our shift, or even a complete sleep of about 90 to 110 minutes.</p> <p>Of course the caveat is always be aware of sleep inertia, and it might take up to 60 minutes for that to dissipate if you wake up from deep sleep.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>You’ve done some research on this Drew.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Yes. I mean broadly speaking I would agree with what Carmel says, but one of the things that I think she hit on earlier which is quite important is the culture within the organisation. I think one of the things that’s important to understand is that many organisations, fatigue is what we call a forbidden topic or a taboo narrative. If you’re an anthropologist, these are the things that you can’t talk about. The reasons for this are simple. I’ve sat in many EBA negotiations and it’s ‘Don’t mention fatigue, because it’s going to cost 10 per cent in the next EBA or it’s secret code for overtime reduction strategy or many of the other implications of it’.</p> <p>I think organisations need to think really carefully about this. One of the things that we’ve noticed is, in terms of understanding the risk profile of people in a workplace, just going to people and saying ‘Tell us the dumb stuff you do when you’re fatigued’. If you sit around with a group of ten of 15 people, they will tell you all of the dumb things that get done when people are fatigued, and that provides you a very good starting point to start to think about how could we redesign or re‑proceduralise so these are less likely to cause an accident or the consequences are reduced.</p> <p>So I think it’s really important for organisations to think ‘How do we have this discussion? How do we embark upon this forbidden narrative?’ I guess my advice would be do it out of the context of the EBA. Our experience is once you’re in an EBA that’s a really bad time, because there are so many financial and cultural tensions around the topic.</p> <p>The other point being is that if you do have that conversation outside of the context of the EBA, people are actually quite happy to talk about it. They’ll tell you all the dumb stuff they did and they’ll tell you how to fix it. But we just don’t allow that conversation to happen within our workplaces.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>I suppose let’s talk a little bit about the white collar workers who don’t necessarily do shift work but experience fatigue. Have you got any evidence about fatigue in their industry sector?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Yes. Well not comprehensive evidence, but we’ve done a number of consulting and research jobs with big oil, and I remember very clearly the work with BP and Shell which showed that when we looked at fatigue related accidents, they were much more likely to happen for middle level managers, sales managers, people on the road, than they were to happen on the mine so to speak. That is unregulated working hours are much more likely to happen in junior and middle managers than they are in heavily industrialised workforces.</p> <p>Again, because there aren’t Unions, there aren’t EBAs and there are staff contracts as they say, the coercive pressure of the organisation to work long hours can actually lead to quite unsafe work practices, particularly around extended commuting. So people will work their day and then drive to the next place they have to be the following day, and sometimes they can be clocking 16 to 20 hour days with extended commuting.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So Carmel with 16 to 20 hour days, I mean what’s the research telling us about our cognitive capacities?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Well after about 16 or 17 hours your cognitive capacity is at the same level as 0.05 alcohol consumption. So clearly we’re not thinking very well when we have – our body clock is set up so that when we awake in the morning and expose ourselves to sunlight, about 16 hours later our body is ready to sleep. We seem to forget that sleep forms a vital function, and everyone wants to put sleep off. Everyone thinks ‘I haven’t got time to sleep’.</p> <p>But we have such enormous cognitive deficits when we don’t sleep. Any performance gains that we think we’re making due to not sleeping and staying awake, are actually just in the air, they’re not actually happening. We don’t make performance gains.</p> <p>To the point of what’s happening with the non-shift worker, with the rise of the mobile office, everyone’s available. We’ve all got our iPhone, we’ve all got our iPad. A study of Australian workers last year found that one in four day workers actually got less than the recommended seven to nine. One in four of the workers only sometimes got seven hours sleep, and one in four workers felt extremely tired or completely exhausted and thought it was really affecting their physical and mental health and their social interaction.</p> <p>So it’s not just shift workers, and again the commuting that these people do at that level, they’re causing a lot of issues outside of their own particular selves.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So your research has looked at the influence of the 24 hour cycle in building these rosters. Have you got any advice in relation to roster structuring and the relationship to your research on sleep?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>There’s no silver bullet. Everyone knows that. There’s no silver bullet here. When we think about shift roster, the shift itself is not going to solve the problem because there’s so many other variables. So how long is the person’s commute to work? What’s their domestic situation? Do they have an underlying sleep disorder that’s not giving them good quality sleep? What sort of chronotype are they? Do they like mornings or do they like the evenings because we know that allows them to tolerate shift better?</p> <p>So we need to keep that into account when we think about shift rosters, and put it in the design in a way if we can. We also need to realise that optimal shift time and work life balance for the shift worker may not play out against what’s best for the broader community, because the longer time on shift, if we have extended 12 hour shifts, we’re increasing the risk to the broader community when that person either is driving a big truck or a train or whatever.</p> <p>So there is a tendency to the 12 hour shift length, and whether or not that’s a good thing or not is really to be debateable. Even though employees like it because it compresses their work week and gives them more time with their family, employers like it because it makes their shift rostering easier, but it actually increases their risk of injury at the end of the shift. So it’s all this sort of balancing.</p> <p>But there are some things that we know about shift rostering and design that we’ve learnt over the last 40 years. This is a pretty new area of research – sleep, shift work, fatigue management. It’s only really been around for 40 or 50 years, and we’re learning a lot. We have to start implementing what we’ve learnt. So we know that fast forward rotating shifts probably work well, because they minimise or reduce circadian disruption, increase access increased sleep duration.</p> <p>Morning shifts, early start morning shifts are to be avoided, because shifts that start before 7:00 o’clock in the morning actually decrease sleep duration because people have the imperative for staying up at night anyway and watching TV and socialising, and it actually increases sleepiness. So we shouldn’t start shifts too early in the morning.</p> <p>A number of consecutive shifts in a row actually decrease alertness and increase sleepiness, and extending the 12 hour shift, so you do overtime at the end of the 12 hour shift, actually just increases your injury risk and should be avoided I think.</p> <p>So it’s a complex balance of how we design shift rosters, but it’s also looking at the individual. So I’m going back to this individual story as well. So what are the particular vulnerabilities of the worker? So do they have an underlying sleep disorder? If they do, it needs to be addressed. So they will feel better about themselves, but they’ll be more productive.</p> <p>The other thing we know over the years is that whether you’re an owl or a lark really affects your ability to tolerate shift work. Now giving the worker information about themselves, as simple as ‘Do you prefer the morning or do you prefer the night,’ actually engages the personal and may improve their uptake of fatigue management strategies, which we know is probably not as good as it should be. So engaging that personal is really important.</p> <p>With shift design and rostering, we should put in things that we know work. So napping is something I think should be recognised in the workplace, especially at night shift. Good lighting as well, we know that can be alerting, and there’s some great emerging research coming out showing that the red wavelength, the warmer wavelength is alerting but doesn’t suppress melatonin as much.</p> <p>So there’s lots of things we can do and there’s opportunities that we now have to start implementing things, but at the same time making sure the individual is engaged in this and we can move forward together. It’s not just the roster and it’s not just the duration of the shift, it’s not just anything.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>I just wonder Drew, if you think back to the research over the 40 odd years, have we come a long way in this space?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Well I’m going to take a slightly different point of view, and say people have been sitting around trying to work out the perfect roster for about 80 years, and a lot of really smart people have sat down and they haven’t solved the problem yet. So maybe we need to think about this a bit differently.</p> <p>Going back to what Carmel said earlier, I would make the suggestion that people need a working time arrangement, including shift work for operational needs. The secret is to then go back and say ‘How much sleep are you getting,’ and to get the answer to that question, and that can be done through both formal risk assessment techniques, but also by talking to people. I think if you’re finding that there are significant periods of time where people are averaging less than six hours a night, you’ve probably got a problem and you need to control those risks. If you don’t, then maybe it’s less of a concern.</p> <p>But I have come to the point after 20 years of looking at this, the idea of thinking I can come up with a perfect set of rules that compliance will ensure safety, the research tells us that there is too much variability between individuals, between workplaces, between tasks for that to actually be an effective strategy. I suspect like many things in life we should stop banging our head against the wall, because it will feel really good when we do.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Let’s take a little rest from that and just see whether we’ve got any questions from the audience who’d like to contribute to our discussion this morning.</p> <p>Would you like to just stand up and introduce yourself first?</p> <p><strong>Q&amp;A Session</strong></p> <p>Q:          Thank you. My name is Mark Smith, and I’m from Safe Work Australia. My question is from the perspective of businesses who are looking for quick wins. Now what are some of the easily fixed mistakes that you see around managing fatigue, from the perspective of these businesses?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I think the low fruit is around non-work related causes of fatigue. That is for many organisations wrestling with the roster and the EBA is a lot of pain for very, very little gain. On the other hand, thinking about the culture and saying to people ‘Tell us the dumb stuff you do when you’re fatigued and how can we stop that happening,’ asking them about how much sleep people are getting, enables organisations to do a pretty quick and dirty risk assessment and then to work out ‘Do I need a little bit of control or do I need a lot of control?’</p> <p>I think there are enough tools around now in the marketplace that enable people to do pretty reasonable risk assessment, and to assess the likely effectiveness of controls. But I would qualify that to say that we haven’t done the research in enough detail to say ‘This control will work like this in your organisation’. For most organisations now, we’re recommending what we call post‑implementation surveillance. Put it in place and look at it. Don’t assume compliance equals safety, and don’t assume that a control will work just because you put it in place.</p> <p>So that normal process of put it in place, evaluate it, corrective action and that do loop make a lot of sense, and enable you to deal with the complexity of workplace individual tasks etcetera.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Carmel, do you want to make any quick win comments?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p> I think with quick win sometimes, especially in the white collar worker, it comes from the head. So if your employer is deeming productivity equals time behind the desk, then you’re going to spend a lot of time behind the desk and you’re going to be sleep deprived. So really it means taking on board that probably somebody can’t work efficiently much more than 45 hours a week, so don’t expect your worker to do that, because you’re going to have burnout and all the consequences, lost productivity.</p> <p>So I’d be looking at don’t wear lack of sleep on your heart as a badge of honour, because it isn’t.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>You made the point before about the greyness between work and life balance. Do you see that as an emerging issue we need to think more about, particularly with the accessibility of technology?</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Absolutely. I do a lot of work with children and they observe their parents always on the iPhone or the iPad or whatever, and they deem success as this, and that’s what kids are doing, and we’re seeing right down to little ones not getting anywhere near enough sleep.</p> <p>There’s a quote from one of the grandfathers of sleep that says that if sleep doesn’t serve some vital function, then it’s the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made. That’s true. We know that little kids need more sleep than big kids, and big kids need more sleep than adults. We’re seeing this complete greyness around sleep, because life is so exciting. We have a thing now called FOMO, fear of missing out. So even when you think ‘I’m not going to look at my emails until tomorrow morning,’ you might just sneak a look just in case you’ve missed out on something. Chances are the world is not going to stop or blow up because you haven’t looked at your email overnight.</p> <p>So we’re losing our respect for sleep, and we’re losing the discipline around sleep. We had it 50 years ago, because 50 years ago if anyone rang your house up at 8:00 o’clock at night someone had died. They didn’t do it. At 12:00 o’clock at night the TV went off. They’d say ‘Goodnight from us and goodnight to you,’ and we had nothing to keep us awake. We would sleep. We don’t do it now, and we’re seeing the consequences.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Do you see these social pressures changing sleep?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Yes, but I think part of the thing is to respect those choices and to understand that in many cases the decision for a student to study all night and end up in a fabulous course and to have a fabulous career may be a good short term arrangement. I think part of the difficulty I see – and this is probably a little controversial – is that there is kind of a catastrophising that goes over sleep. I’d point out that anything that we do that’s important with sleep will be a very plastic behaviour, otherwise we wouldn’t have evolved to the point where we are.</p> <p>So I think when we look at education programmes, I think telling people the world will end if they don’t sleep is a bit like telling kids ‘Drugs will kill you,’ and I think a harm minimisation model rather than a model of catastrophising it to people is probably likely to be more successful, because it allows people to say ‘Every once in a while I am going to stay up all night and party, and the effects on my social life will be fabulous’.</p> <p>I’d also make the comment, and a couple of very famous sleep researchers have worked in this area, which is to say people slept a long time in the olden days because there wasn’t anything else to do. We used to exercise a lot, because we had to. That is the world is changing, and I suspect if you approach kids in particular, catastrophising sleep, they’re just going to look at you the same way that they do when you try to talk to them about drugs and alcohol and all of those kind of things. So I think it’s a complex cultural thing that we need to look at. I’d say the same thing with employees, is that sometimes going on a holiday and getting back the last thing before you start work does have advantages.</p> <p>I think if we think about it from a harm minimisation perspective, we’re probably going to get a better reception than catastrophising, ‘The world is going to end’.</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>Couldn’t agree more, but I think again along those same lines, information is key. Choose not to make the decision for all sorts of reasons. ‘I want to have the best party tonight, and I know alcohol interferes with my sleep but I’m going to have a drink anyway’. Make the decision, but make it on an informed basis rather than just thinking it’s okay, and ‘I’ve got no idea why I didn’t sleep very well last night,’ which is what happens with people.</p> <p>So that level of information is really key, and again, you make everything dire and everything’s going to end, everyone switches off anyway. They don’t engage. So it’s not black and it’s not white, but information I think is key.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I think one of the other things that’s quite interesting is pay it back. Have a big night, pay it back. So catch up. Got to bed early the next night when that sleep was not displacing fun activities. I think that’s part of the challenge about how do we get people to think about it in a culturally sophisticated way that will actually result in behaviour change?</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Another question. Yes?</p> <p style="margin-left: 36pt;"><em>Q:        Helen Righton. I’m also from Safe Work Australia. Just following on on that last point actually in terms of paying it back. How much? Is the research quantifying how much you need to pay back per hour missed, or any other way of knowing when you’ve actually caught up? How do you do it? How do you get that time?</em></p> <p> </p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>This is the good news. Everybody says you can’t pay sleep back. We ran a series of studies over the last five years where we sleep deprived people up to 48 hours of continuous sleep loss, and some went as far as 64 hours. All of those people returned to normal cognitive function with two nine and a half hour sleeps.</p> <p>So you don’t actually have to – the body is very good at sleeping efficiently or sleeping faster as we like to say. So the good news is you don’t have to necessarily pay it back hour for hour. If you can that’s great, but we would suggest if you shorten your sleep by a certain amount, you probably only have to pay back half of that to regain the function, because there is some plasticity. If you’re tired, the brain sleeps faster.</p> <p>That’s a controversial view, because some people want to catastrophise things. But I suspect if you pay it back at 50 cents in the dollar, you’re probably going to be fine.</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>The point at which you know you’ve paid it back is when you feel well, you feel good. So you wake up thinking ‘I’m okay’. That’s really important. Sometimes we miss the most obvious. We talk about fatigue measures and risk, and that’s really important, but are you yawning? Are your eyelids drooping? Well chances are you’ve got a fatigue issue on your hands. Let’s make some things quite practical.</p> <p>Say for example when we have young children or we’ve got a big exam or gone on a great party holiday, we come back or whatever and we feel really exhausted. Then we have a few sleeps and we feel good. We know we’ve rested sufficiently. But my thing though is too to realise on a regular basis what you ideally would require. Try to get it. Your body is really adaptable and it does adapt to situations, but if you get what you need on a pretty regular basis you’re going to be optimal health.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>We have a very simple strategy which we’ll talk to people from a clinical perspective, is ‘Do you need an alarm clock to wake up?’ If you need an alarm clock to wake up, you’re not getting enough sleep. That’s a very simple way of making that decision.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>So what about those of us that do need an alarm clock because we’ve got a long way to drive or we’ve got to catch an aeroplane?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>Go to bed earlier. That’s not without its challenges, because there’s lots of fun things to do in the evening.</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>But the other thing is too, I mean some people, they have a 4:00 o’clock flight to catch – you can’t catch a flight at 4:00 o’clock can you – but a really early morning flight, so they need to get up at 4:00 o’clock in the morning and they think they’re going to go to sleep really early. They go to bed say at 8:00 o’clock, 8:30 hoping to go to sleep, but at that point in time your circadian alertness is on the rise, so you are not going to fall asleep very easily. The longer you stay in bed not falling asleep due to your physiology of alertness, the more anxious you become. So you start producing these anxiety hormones, so you get the worst night’s sleep possible rather than the best night’s sleep possible.</p> <p>So sometimes I think more practically is okay, you’ve got to make sure you go to sleep or go to bed after the peak of your alertness that night, and if you get a slightly shortened sleep that night, make sure you sleep more the next night. So it’s this idea of balance isn’t it, always.</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I’ve been amazed when you go to China how many people sleep on the train that they got up early for. In fact if you catch many of the red eyes or the early morning flights on Qantas, you’ll see a lot of people sleeping. That’s not such a bad thing.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>We’re running out of time, so I’m just wondering for each of you if you want to leave the audience here and watching online some key messages of where we are in 2016 at the moment on the research on fatigue management, shift work, work, sleep?</p> <p>Professor Drew Dawson:</p> <p>I think probably the single most important thing for an organisation to do is to say managing fatigue is not an industrial enterprise bargaining agreement issue, it’s actually a safety issue, and it’s okay to talk about it. Our experience is once an organisation makes the decision to talk about fatigue as a safety issue, they’re pretty good at solving it. It’s only when it gets tied up in money and productivity and all of those factors and becomes a forbidden narrative, that then everybody ignores it and it creates problems.</p> <p>Dr Carmel Harrington:</p> <p>I think maybe the take home message is not just about the employer providing a safe workplace, because most are engaged in doing that. It’s about the individual engaging as well in their own personal safety and fatigue management, because it’s a collaboration between the two. We can’t have someone saying ‘This is what you’re going to do,’ because we’ll find ways around it. So let’s engage the individual in the whole story and we may well move forward with fatigue management.</p> <p>David Caple:</p> <p>Great. So thank you for the studio audience for your interest and participation, and thank you to all those that are watching us online. Thank you to Drew and thank you to Carmel. I’ll ask you to join me to thank you together. So thank you very much.</p> <p>(applause)</p> <p>[End of Transcript]</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2016-027_transcript_fatigue_0.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">2016-027_transcript_fatigue.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Good work through effective leadership https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/good-work-through-effective-leadership <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p style="line-height: 20.79px;">For many workplace leaders, the safety vision they are still working towards is focussed on achieving an absence of injury. But there is so much more to be gained through creating a strong safety culture, including enhanced worker health and wellbeing and increased business success and productivity.</p> <p style="line-height: 20.79px;">This film features three different perspectives on how workplace leaders can design good work and influence their safety culture, not only in their own business, but across their supply chain and the broader community.</p> <h2>Who is this presentation for?</h2> <p>Regulators, industry representatives, worker representatives and leaders at all levels – from officers and CEOs to middle management and those with work health and safety or human resource functions.</p> <h2>About the presenter</h2> <p>Dr Simon Blackwood, Deputy Director General at the Department of Justice and Attorney General with the Queensland Government.<br /> Jennie Hunter, Manager of Leadership and Culture with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.</p> <p>This seminar also features three business leaders from Australian Country Choice, Lend Lease and Toll NQX.</p> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Safety Leadership at Work</strong></p> <p>Good work through effective leadership – the Safety Leadership at Work Program</p> <p>Queensland Government</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Simon Blackwood</strong></p> <p>Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is pleased to be part of the second Safe Work Australia Virtual Seminar Series. Last year, we shared our focus of working directly with industry to progress the work health and safety agenda in Queensland.</p> <p>We introduced some of our industry safety leaders and shared their views on how important effective leadership is to deliver safe and productive business outcomes. But our safety leadership journey really began some years before that. In 2009 we introduced the Zero Harm at Work Leadership Program which focused on encouraging senior management to demonstrate their commitment to safety. More than 300 business leaders signed up to the program and signalled their support for creating safer and healthier workplaces.</p> <p>Six years on and following extensive consultation with industry, we've explored opportunities to build on the success of the program and further develop a strong safety culture in Queensland workplaces. We are going beyond our traditional networks and involving safety leaders from all levels of industry, not just senior management. We have changed the program name to reflect these changes and called it <em>the Safety Leadership at Work Program</em>. Our overarching goals for the program are to build safety leadership capacity, improve safety culture and as a result reduce injuries and fatalities in Queensland workplaces.</p> <p>Our expanded focus is not about developing safety leadership capacity but about sharing and promoting the latest research and industry practices about workplace systems, processes and activities to sustain effective safety leadership practices and improve safety culture.</p> <p>We've established an expert reference group to guide the direction of the program. Members have been drawn from academia, industry and employee stakeholder groups with each member bringing a unique contribution to the program.</p> <p>For many workplace leaders the safety vision they are still working towards is focused on achieving an absence of injury, but there is so much more to be gained through creating a strong safety culture including enhanced worker health and wellbeing and increased business success and productivity. To truly support a positive safety culture, leaders need to develop open communication, build trust and actively engage their workforce and supply chain partners.</p> <p>Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is actively involved in the response to the National Work Health and Safety Strategy through good work design, leadership and culture. Good work design is the elimination or minimisation of hazards and risks and optimisation of human performance, job satisfaction and productivity by considering all aspects of the work, the physical environment and people who do the work. Designing good work is closely linked with the actions required to demonstrate safety leadership - learning from experts, evidence and experience, actively involving those who do the work including supply chains and networks, engaging decision makers and leaders.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>The same principles and practices underpin our approach to the Safety Leadership at Work Program. The program activities directly promote learning from research and industry leaders, actively involving those who do the work and focuses on building the safety leadership capacity of decision makers and leaders. Join me now as we hear more about the approaches the program is taking to building safety leadership and culture practices, contributing to good work design outcomes and ultimately reducing injuries and fatalities in Queensland workplaces.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Jennie Hunter</strong></p> <p>I'm Jennie Hunter, Manager of the Leadership and Culture Strategy Unit at Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. </p> <p>Over 900 people from a range of industry sectors are members of our Safety Leadership at Work Program. I want to ask you to take a few moments to imagine the unique experiences of each and every one of those members. What sectors do they work in – construction, health care, transport or manufacturing? What is their role in the workplace – supervisor, general manager, small business owner or a certified professional? What safety experiences have they had in their current workplace or over the course of their career? What does safety leadership mean to them? What are the unique safety challenges they are dealing with? When you think about the range of possibilities presented you get a sense of the size of the safety challenges workplace leaders are dealing with.</p> <p>The Safety Leadership at Work Program aims to help members address their safety challenges through tools and resources, events and learning from other safety leaders. One of the priorities of the program is to find ways to bring about a shared understanding of what safety leadership really means and to provide an evidence-based approach to support the take-up of safety leadership and culture practices across industry.</p> <p>To meet these goals we have developed a Safety Leadership and Culture Model that introduces the key influences and practices of safety culture. The model has four components which contribute to an organisation's safety culture. One – demonstrating safety leadership from the top down, two – building a safety culture through six key engagement principles, three – the importance of safety leadership at all levels, and four – understanding the drivers of safety climate.</p> <p>Let's start with the importance of senior management valuing safety and setting a positive example. Through research and industry consultation we have found that there are a range of ways to demonstrate safety leadership including management commitment, having the right resources and capability to lead safety, valuing the input of workers and the importance of leadership style, matching the situation and intended outcomes.</p> <p>Depending on an organisation's safety culture maturity, leadership capability and safety challenges a number of different leadership practises may be affected. For example senior managers may be more actively engaged in setting the safety agenda, providing the resources required to address safety problems and communicating the priority of safety across the workforce and through the supply chain. Supervisors are more likely to be involved with day-to-day safety leadership through the provision of feedback to staff, problem solving and ensuring quality communication keeps workers informed of important safety matters.</p> <p>Although good safety leadership starts with senior management building a positive safety culture needs the involvement of workers, supervisors and supply chain partners. Workplace leaders need to recognise the factors influencing safety behaviour including values, beliefs and motivators. Good work design requires workers to be equipped with the safety knowledge the need to do their job. The levels of safety knowledge across the workforce will influence workers' abilities to comply with or participate in health and safety activities in the workplace. </p> <p>Safety leadership is important at every level of the business and across the supply chain if you want to create and sustain a positive safety culture. The Safety Leadership at Work Program promotes stories from a broad range of safety leaders across a range of industries. The films and case studies showcase different leadership practices and behaviours that are effective across a range of leadership roles from supervisors through to senior managers, CEOs and board members. The model recognises how the key drivers of safety climate can shape a safety culture over time. </p> <p>Safety climate is a measure of the perceptions and beliefs an individual has about the organisation's safety efforts. Key drivers of safety climate include the priority placed on safety within the overall business context, visibility of safety leadership, alignment of workplace practices to top management policy and a shared perception that safe work is valued by the business. The model is a key foundation of the Safety Leadership at Work Program and provides a roadmap for the development and delivery of program resources and activities, and it informs our approach to industry engagement.</p> <p>One of the first projects we have delivered to bring the model to life is a series of leadership films. The films feature senior business leaders speaking about their experience and insights of leading safety. I would like to share with you today three films and three different perspectives on how workplace leaders can design good work and influence their safety culture, not only in their own business but across their supply chain and the broader community.</p> <p>In the first film David Foote, CEO of Australian Country Choice talks about leading the journey towards the goal of best practice with an honest account of some of the setbacks and challenges he has faced along the way. David understands the value of effective consultation and communication with workers and taking them with you on the safety leadership journey.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>David Foote</strong></p> <p>My name's David Foote. I'm the CEO of a family owned company Australian Country Choice based in Brisbane but operating across most of south western Queensland and here in Brisbane we have a meat processing facility that does primary processing, value adding, retail packing and we employ 1,220 Queenslanders.</p> <p>I came to this industry after a lifetime in agriculture being a farmer but having had a short break as an underground miner in the nickel operations of the deserts of Western Australia which was both life changing in both monetary rewards and life changing in my attitude toward two important parts of life now – safety and work practices.</p> <p>Whilst I only spent 11 and a half months as an underground miner I actually lost five co-workers. We were actually attending a funeral there for every two months and chipping in out of our weekly wage to widows who were probably my age as well – 23 or 24 and probably a kid in a pram or a kid on the way. So it's taken probably 30 years though for that to sink in and work out that it doesn't have to be the norm.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>ACC took over the Cannon Hill site back in 2000 and it would be fair to say that probably the safety culture in the site and the workforce at that time may have been at a near all-time low. We entered here what I think was one of the worst insurance premium rates for work cover and over the time we worked out that every impact we could have on reducing that actually was a financial benefit. So within three years of taking over the site we actually managed to reduce our initial premiums by 50%. That financial benefit not only gave us more productivity and less lost time, it also created some dollars to start to develop some safety processes and importantly install some safety equipment across the site and maybe bring the site up which has been here in existence for 90 years, to a more modern level of a workplace.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>Whilst ACC strives and we talk about best practice, we talk about leadership, we want to be at the front, we want to be a good role model, we're not perfect. We are not incident free. We've had two major incidents in the last 10 years that involved either a forklift incident here at the factory and a serious injury to a young lady and we've had a more recent amputation at one of our feed mill operations out in rural. The amputation incident out of the feedlot which is in quite a small workforce community where they all live together and work together was dramatic. The district was flooded. We actually couldn't get any ambulances in or out. We couldn't get traffic in or out. The only helicopter in the district was six hours away. So we actually had to provide medical assistance on site for a major amputation and the emotional impact that had on staff is still telling today. In fact, some of our staff have still been receiving counselling over that incident more than a year later.</p> <p>The incidents give you a constant reminder of are you doing everything that you can? Have you got every yellow line painted on the ground? Have you got every sign up that you can? Is your production management team really responding to your safety management team? Or are your safety people – are they just going around doing the tick and flick or actually being able to drive change, change cultures. But what you've got to do, you've actually got to give your safety team the confidence that they are of equal importance and standing in your work structure as the production people.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>Taking workers for the journey and making it – yeah – front of their mind is actually one of the greater challenges in business. We actually have a Stop for Safety Work Day now as part of our practice. So over the last five years we shut the factory down for two periods a day because we're on two shifts and we actually try instead of the boss ear-bashing them because that's what bosses do, we actually bring in outsiders to try and deliver a message and a different message each year. So we stop the factory, they get lunch. That's 500 people. That's not an easy process feeding 500 people and we bring on a speaker. We've had Mal Meninga when he was Safety Ambassador. We try to use people other than the boss banging the table to get the message across that we actually care about you and if we care about you maybe you'd like to care about you a little bit more as well.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>The CEO in any organisation has to lead the safety challenge in their business otherwise it's just lip service or people are doing what they feel they have to do. If it doesn't come from the top it'll take twice as long to get to the bottom. The first thing is don't give up. It's not easy. Don't do it because you have to. Do it because you want to. But you aren't on your own. There's a whole group of businesses out there that are prepared to help and pitch in so you're not on your own and it's worth doing.</p> <p><strong>Jennie Hunter</strong></p> <p>I'm pleased to introduce our next film featuring Mark Plummer, Senior Construction Manager for the Lend Lease Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital. Mark has a simple formula for leading safety – be clear about direction and expectations, use simple messages and value the input of your subcontractors. </p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Mark Plummer</strong></p> <p>I'm Mark Plummer. I'm the Senior Construction Manager on for Lend Lease on the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital. This project is a $1.8 billion project for the Queensland Government. Sustaining the culture of safety on a project is very important and it's a challenge and so from our side of things the first thing we do is you must believe in what you're doing. You have to believe that what you're doing is the right thing.</p> <p>In achieving the first million hours without a lost time injury management's component is only one part in the whole process. Our part is very much about setting the direction and the expectations that the team have to achieve. It's about making sure the message is very concise and simple in its delivery so people understand and can follow that direction. </p> <p>Maintaining the energy in safety is always a challenge on a project. You need to be at all stages holding each other accountable. So at one stage when one person drops the ball there's another person in the background backing you up. We know where our expectations are and we know where our goals are so as a team we can keep that momentum going on safety.</p> <p>We have a very simple message about factory clean. We want it to look like a factory floor. So from the moment people walk on the project they see that the project is well set up and well laid out and we carry that expectation through to our subcontractors about that's how we want them to perform. So there's a fair bit of expectation management from the moment they walk on to the moment they start work on the project.</p> <p>Our final part of communicating with our subcontractors and keeping them engaged is making sure that we listen to what they're saying. They know their work very well, better than we do. So it's about listening to them and making sure their concerns and comments are incorporated and addressed. </p> <p>The challenge with safety is always to make sure that people feel comfortable of saying ‘Hey, I don't feel safe’ or ‘I see it as a concern’ and you need to encourage your workforce to be confident that they can stick their hand up and say ‘I see a risk’. You've got to treat every comment and every concern raised as valid and address it with the respect that it deserves. </p> <p>As you walk around the job you see the pride in some of the guys from what they're doing and that gives me a real buzz. I care about the guys on site. I really want to be able to go home each night and feel comfortable that we've done everything in our power to make sure that they have gone home safely.</p> <p><strong>Jennie Hunter</strong></p> <p>Our third film featuring Greg Smith, General Manager from Toll NQX introduces the idea that leading a safe business goes beyond the boundaries of the traditional operating environment. Greg shares insights into the work Toll has undertaken to improve road safety, not only for its own workforce but across the transport sector and for the broader community.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Greg Smith</strong></p> <p>My name is Greg Smith. I'm the General Manager for Toll NQX. I've been with the business about 16 years now and in my current role for about 13. I joined the industry over 30 years ago and I began as a truck driver. I've driven trucks, I've been on forklifts. So I've got a good understanding and a very, very healthy respect for the sorts of hazards that our employees face on a day-to-day basis.</p> <p>We are primarily a road transport company but we also have significant services and a coastal shipping service. Two of Toll NQX's core beliefs are firstly that everybody has the right to go home safely and secondly, that every incident is preventable. For us to live that belief it's not just about our own employees or the people that our employees engage with. The fact is that we go to all sorts of customer sites, all sorts of other transport companies. Our people are interacting with other people all the time – other businesses – and for us to enact our commitment that everyone has the right to go home safely, we have to try and make sure that everywhere that we go is at the highest possible standard from a safety perspective.</p> <p>Part of what drives my actions and my belief in the need for a safe working environment is that quite some years ago one of my workmates was killed in a workplace incident and I knew all of the people who were involved at the time. I saw the damage that was done to the customer's business and the people who were involved in there, the damage that was done to the business that I was working for where my friend was working. It had a huge impact on myself and my family. It's extreme but that very much drives my belief and my behaviour.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>We started the journey trying to develop processes and procedures and to get people to follow processes and procedures and we were successful to a point. But we didn't really get to where we believed we wanted to go. We weren't really impacting culture. What we learned is that we needed to change our approach and actually make it very, very personal. The biggest single change to our safety culture was when we made it personal and people started to understand that "If I take risks at work, I'm going to risk everything that's important to me."</p> <p>Our senior management team are heavily engaged in safety and one of the things that we've begun quite recently is that each senior manager has taken on board a couple of branches. We actually now have a weekly hook-up with that branch to review the incidents in the branch, understand what initiatives are in place and just offer them support in the safety journey. What we're trying to do there is we're trying to show leadership from that senior management team but also a level of interest and engagement that can keep the message fresh. Our senior management staff, in fact all of our management staff are empowered to intervene at any time when they see something that's unsafe or could develop into an unsafe position.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p>At Toll we believe we have a leadership role in the transport industry and we take that very seriously. Recently we've had the safety showcase here at our Brisbane site. We were involved in the first one of those at Port of Brisbane and it was a really good event and what we saw, there was a lot of things that were coming from other businesses and we were able to contribute significantly as well. So the opportunity to have that here on our site and have a lot of our people interact with it was just one that we couldn't miss out on. So it was about a sharing of learned experiences and we thought that was very much of value. </p> <p>Another area where we believe we can take a leadership role is that we have spent some years in looking at camera technology to try and understand what's happening with our vehicles on the road. We've had a lot of our competitors come to us and actually ask us can you give us some information on the cameras, how they work, what your experiences are? We are happy to share that and have done on many occasions and it's not about proprietary information. It's actually much more about trying to make sure that the roads are safer for everybody.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) § </p> <p>I'm particularly pleased with what we've achieved at Toll NQX. We have actually changed the culture. People are genuinely interested in coming to work and working safely for themselves, for their workmates, for their family. We have a more connected workforce, a more consistent workforce. Your people realise that you are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. So the commitment from the people has allowed us to continue to progress our safety culture which needs to continue to evolve. There is no end game. It must stay alive and it must continue to evolve.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Simon Blackwood</strong></p> <p>The reality is the size of the safety leadership challenge facing Australian workplaces requires more than a new leadership slogan, a speech or a film. If we are to achieve real change true cultural change will take more than the commitment of senior executives driving the safety culture of an organisation. </p> <p>To achieve lasting change, leaders at every level of industry from supervisors to managers must take an active role in creating good work for those they are responsible for and be capable and confident of their ability to lead safety and engage with their workforce and supply chain partners.</p> <p>§ (Music Playing) § </p> <p><strong>[End of Transcript]</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/good-work-through-effective-leadership-application.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">good-work-through-effective-leadership-application.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design Good work design and applying it to psychosocial risks https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/good-work-design-and-applying-it-psychosocial-risks <div class="node node--type-media node--view-mode-rss layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p style="line-height: 20.79px;">Professor Parker discusses the principles of good work design, why they are important, and how we can use them to make workplaces safer and improve workers’ wellbeing.</p> <p style="line-height: 20.79px;">She emphasises that good work design is not a one-size-fits-all strategy – it must addresses the physical, biomechanical, cognitive and psychosocial characteristics of work, together with the needs and the capabilities of the people involved.</p> <p style="line-height: 20.79px;">After the seminar, you can <a href="https://au.linkedin.com/pub/sharon-k-parker/1b/3b9/237">ask Professor Parker questions and explore good work design concepts further on her LinkedIn page</a></p> <h2>Who is this presentation for?</h2> <p>Everyone who designs work, work systems and jobs: managers and HR specialists in small and large organisations, health and safety professionals and representatives.</p> <p>For educators and tertiary students with an interest in work design this session can be viewed with the supporting publication <a href="/node/1215"><em>Does the evidence and theory support the good work design principles? An Educational resource.</em></a></p> <h2>About the presenter</h2> <p>Professor Sharon Parker is Winthrop Professor at the Business School of the University of Western Australia. Her research focuses on job and work design and team work, organisational change and development, staff well-being and active mental health.</p> <p>She has published several books and chapters on job and work design, and numerous refereed journal articles, technical and practitioner publications. She has consulted in a wide range of public and private sector organisations.</p> <h2>Useful resources</h2> <ul style="line-height: 20.8px;"> <li><a href="/node/1215"><em>Does the evidence and theory support the good work design principles? An Educational resource</em></a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia <a href="/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/preventing-psychological-injury-fact-sheet">Preventing psychological injury fact sheet</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia <a href="/node/305">Australian Strategy case study on reducing psychological injury at work</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia <a href="/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/good-work-design"><em>Principles of Good Work Design</em></a> handbook</li> <li><a href="http://www.comcare.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/145236/Professor_Sharon_Parker_Full_evidence_report.pdf"><em>Principles and Evidence for Good Work Through Effective Design</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/mac/psychosocial.htm">UK Health and Safety Executive guidance on reducing psychosocial risks</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_htm/2001/crr01393.htm">UK Health and Safety Executive guidance on effective teamworking</a></li> <li>Safe Work Australia code of practice <a href="/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/manage-whs-risks-cop"><em>How to manage work health and safety risks</em></a></li> <li>Paper on the link between work design and the return on investment: <a href="http://www.researchgate.net/publication/259147253"><em>How does human resource management influence organizational outcomes?</em></a> By Kaifeng Jiang, David P. Lepak, Jia Hu and Judith C. Bae</li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="field transcript-group"> <div class="field__label">Transcript</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-html-transcript field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Good work design and applying it to psychosocial risks</strong></p> <p><strong>by Professor Sharon Parker, University of Western Australia's Business School</strong></p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>Jennifer Taylor: </strong></p> <p>Good morning everybody. I'm Jennifer Taylor, the Chief Executive of Comcare. Thank you all for being here today for those that are with us in person and also for those that are joining us online. And I'd like to thank Michelle Baxter, the Chief Executive of Safe Work Australia for inviting me to launch this seminar. </p> <p>Firstly I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Ngunnawal people and pay my respects to elders past and present. I acknowledge and respect the continuing culture and the contribution that they make to life in this city and in this region.</p> <p>This presentation is part of a suite of virtual seminars being held throughout safety month to support the important goals of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy and congratulations to all at Safe Work Australia for putting on this seminar series. The last series has been extremely popular and they're an absolutely excellent opportunity for us to learn and share our experiences.</p> <p>It's also an opportunity to showcase the latest thinking, innovation, research, development and experiences in work health and safety. It's important to share ideas, experiences, skills and knowledge so that we can work together to achieve the Australian Strategy vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives.</p> <p>Before introducing our key speaker, Professor Sharon Parker, who's going to talk about good work design and applying it to psychosocial risks, I'd like to talk about the development of the Good Work Through Effective Design collaborative project that's been jointly led by WorkCover Queensland and Comcare. This initiative contributes to the Australian Strategy outcome of Healthy and Safe by Design because it aims to eliminate or minimise hazards through better work design. The <em>Principles and Evidence for Good Work Through Effective Design</em> report was commissioned by Comcare and written by our key speaker Professor Sharon Parker and Professor Mark Griffin of the University of Western Australia.</p> <p>It led to the development of ten guiding principles of good work design which aimed to encourage duty holders to move beyond compliance towards better practice. Broadly the principles are about identifying hazards and controlling risks, learning from experts, evidence and experience, engaging decision makers and leaders and actively involving people who do the work.</p> <p>The inclusion of "reasonably practicable" within the principles is emphasised as it recognises organisations will have varying capabilities and capacities. The principles also outline the importance of considering all hazards and risks together so that these risks collectively can be managed against what is practicable to protect employees from harm to their health, safety and welfare, improve employee health and wellbeing and improve business success through higher productivity.</p> <p>The Australian Strategy is underpinned by the principle that well designed healthy and safe workplaces give employees more productive lives. The Good Work Design Principles provide a practical framework to achieve that in the workplaces and more information is available on our website.</p> <p>Well I'd now like to introduce Professor Sharon Parker who is going to talk to us about good work design and how it can be applied to the very challenging area of psychosocial aspects of work. Across the Australian Public Service psychological injury represents 14% of all of our claims. But it represents 44% of all time lost and 42% of all cost. Good work design to minimise the risk to people in the workplace is absolutely essential and I know that I'm looking forward to hearing from Sharon. She'll take us through some of the contemporary aspects of good work design and its practical application.</p> <p>Professor Parker is the Winthrop Professor in Management and Organisation at the University of Western Australia's Business School. She is recognised as the world leader in the field of work design. She has more than 100 publications to her credit and her work has been cited over 6,000 times across the area of management, psychology, sociology and engineering. So will you please join me in welcoming Professor Sharon Parker.</p> <p>(Audience Applause)</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Thank you Jennifer. Good morning everybody. I'm very pleased to be here today. Thank you for coming along to the session.</p> <p>Okay. The average Australian adult spends about 90,000 hours in work and if you ran that back to back that would be about 11,000 days of work. So it's unsurprising that good work or bad work has a major impact on our lives and in aggregate across all of us a major impact on the economy and on civil society. So work really matters for people.</p> <p>This is the plan for this morning. First I will talk a little bit about what is work design. Second I will introduce you to the principles and describe a little bit about where they came from. Then I'm going to unpack the three sets of principles that we have - the ‘why’ principles, the ‘what’ principles and the ‘how’ principles – and finally I'll make some concluding comments.</p> <p>So let's begin with “What is work design?” Work design – this is my own definition – is about the content and organising of tasks, activities, relationships and responsibilities within a job or role or a set of jobs or roles. So if you consider for example the work design of a Police Officer job, the sorts of questions you might ask would be "Well which tasks should be in a particular job?", "What should be the variety of tasks?", "What should be the number of tasks?", "Which jobs should go to the Police Officer?", "Which should go to the civilian support staff?" and questions also about organising the work. So "Should those jobs be collectively organised as a team,or does it make sense for those to be more individual jobs?" Those are the sorts of questions that are at the heart of work design.</p> <p>When we talk about work design the language that we often use it to talk about particular job characteristics or work characteristics and the four focused on here I will develop a little further in the presentation. We can think about physical characteristics of work. We can think about biomechanical characteristics, cognitive characteristics and finally psychosocial characteristics. Let me unpack those a little further for you.</p> <p>So physical characteristics first of all focus on physical aspects of work like working at height or dealing with toxic chemicals or dealing with biological substances. So these are obviously fairly simple to understand. In 2011 there were about 120,000 serious workers' compensation claims and 75% of those pertained to injuries and accidents related to these physical aspects of work like slips or falls or body stresses. So these are very important and here's a simple example. Working with chemicals can expose you to potentially toxic chemicals.</p> <p>The second category is biomechanical characteristics of work. So here we're talking about those aspects of work that relate to your body and movement of the body. So aspects such as how much variety in posture do you have in your work for example? And obviously these biomechanical aspects of work can have major implications for musculoskeletal disorders and risk. And in fact Safe Work Australia in 2011 surveyed 4,500 workers and found that nearly all of those workers were exposed to some type of biomechanical risk. And the risk was particularly acute for some groups of workers such as young workers, male workers, workers at night. So biomechanical risks are really important and we need to give attention to how we think about body movement in the workplace.</p> <p>So here is another example. A construction worker for example might lift heavy loads repeatedly which can cause lower back strain.</p> <p>The third characteristic is cognitive characteristics. So these are harder to see because these are about the mental challenges or the cognitive demands of a job that arise from how complex or boring in fact the information is that needs to be processed. This is becoming a more important characteristic of work. So if you think about a lot of the physical tasks are now being absorbed by new technologies so we're actually seeing an overall shift in work towards more cognitive demands. That's a very important aspect to consider.</p> <p>So as an example of the sort of risk one might see I'm doing some research on cyber security agents. They spend a lot of time staring at a screen looking for cyber security risks. So that constant vigilance and focus actually can cause quite a lot of stress for them and of course can enhance their possibility of error. </p> <p>And the final set of characteristics are psychosocial work characteristics. So these are the more psychological aspects of work and we can typically think about them in terms of demands or psychological demands that are placed on people for example excess workload or conflicting expectations or unclear expectations, not really knowing what's required – these sorts of demands in the workplace. But also we can think of them in terms of resources or a lack of resources for doing the work and by resources we mean things like control. So having control over important decisions in your work turns out to be a really crucial feature from a psychosocial perspective.</p> <p>And another really crucial resource in work is having social support from people. Most people especially if you're having to deal with challenging demands need and benefit from having support in the workplace. So an example of this type of characteristic might be that you have a manager of a social worker who micro-manages everything that the social worker does which means that the social worker cannot give high quality care to their clients, which causes that person to experience strain and also probably is very demotivating.</p> <p>So that's what work design is all about – these four characteristics.</p> <p>What I'd like to do now is introduce some of the principles and how they came about.</p> <p> </p> <p>So these Work Design Principles sit within a bigger picture. So as Jennifer mentioned the bigger picture is the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy and this strategy focuses on achieving healthy, safe and productive working lives through seven action areas and you can see those around the outside of this circle. One of those action areas is called 'Healthy and Safe by Design' and this is where work design sits. Healthy and Safe by Design focuses on two aspects. One is about the structure and the plant and the substances – so designing machinery for example to be safer – and the other is about the design of work processes and systems and that's really where the work design focus fits.</p> <p>So as part of this focus on Healthy and Safe by Design, Comcare, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Safe Work Australia have identified ten core principles for thinking about work design and this is the handbook that will be published very soon.</p> <p>The ten principles are all evidence based, hopefully easy to understand, they're all interconnected so they need to be thought of as a whole and also of course we've had to limit the number of those principles because otherwise it gets too unwieldy for being practical. And it's important to note that there's been a lot of consultation. Some of you I know were even involved in that consultation process to make sure that the principles sit comfortably with the many different stakeholders that are interested in or expert in work design.</p> <p>So there's three categories of principles. The first principles are what we're calling ‘Why Principles’ and these are really "Why would you even care about work design?", "Why does it matter?", "Why should an organisation or a business pay attention to this topic?" The second set of principles are ‘What Principles’. So if we care about work design and are persuaded on that, "What is good work design?" And the third set of principles of course then is "How do we go about getting good work design?" or "What are some of the process considerations?"</p> <p>So let's unpack first of all the ‘Why Principles’.</p> <p> </p> <p>The first principle is that good work design gives the highest level of protection so far as is reasonably practicable. Hopefully some of you recognise that principle as being derived from the Work Health and Safety Act. The bottom line is that there is a legal requirement for employers to care about people's work design. So workers and others should be given the highest practical level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare. So protection from hazards and risks that might arise from work. And one thing that's important and is going to become more important is recognising that when we talk about health this includes physical health but also mental health. And the way that the Work Health and Safety Act identifies how people can be protected from harm is through the elimination or minimisation of the risks that the work might give rise to. So persons conducting a business or undertaking have a duty of care to protect workers from risk so far as is reasonably practicable. So the first principle is basically we need to care about work design because there's a legal obligation to do so.</p> <p> </p> <p>Some of you will recognise this which is the Safe Work Australia's Code of Practice and this is about how do you achieve the best minimisation of risk and basically this is the hierarchy of controls. Ideally the level one, the preferred strategy is to eliminate the risk. If that's not possible then the next strategy is to substitute or isolate or reduce exposure to that risk. And then if that's not practicable then the final strategy is for there to be rules or procedures such as wearing equipment in the workplace. So let me just demonstrate that with some examples.</p> <p>Imagine that there's dangerous machinery in a workplace. The ideal, the level one strategy would be "Let's remove that machinery." Okay. That may not be possible. It may be absolutely essential to the work. So what might one do then? The next level might be to replace it with slightly safer machinery. There might be a better way of doing it or an equally good way of doing it that's safer. You might isolate the hazard. So you might lock the machine in a room and have workers remotely operate it. You might put some engineering controls in. So put some guards on the machine. So they would all be good strategies, perhaps not quite as good as getting rid of the dangerous machinery altogether. And then if none of those controls were feasible or practicable then you might consider training the workers to get them to operate the machine safely or you might focus on that they need to wear gloves and goggles and that would be more of a level three strategy – not the ideal because it relies on compliance from the workers. It only works if people follow the rules and wear the equipment, which increases the risk.</p> <p>Let's look at that in terms of long work hours, a more psychosocial work characteristic. So you could redesign the hours. So for example in the UK, trainee doctors were working extremely long hours causing all sorts of problems with burnout and patient error. So the UK government introduced a policy that trainee doctors should only work 48 hours a week. So that's an attempt to eliminate that hazard at the source. Actually there have been lots of complications and it hasn't really worked out that way but the intention was there. So it may not be possible for whatever reason to reduce the hours. So then what might you do?</p> <p>You might change the shift structure. So people might still work long hours but you might only allow them to do that for three days in a row and then give them a decent break in between. You might say "Well people are going to have to work long hours but let's look at the other demands that exist in the job and see if we can reduce some of those?" Or you might say "Okay people have to work long hours but let's at least give them some control over when they work those hours." So change another aspect of the work design to help manage the potential risk. And then of course there are level three strategies – most popular with organisations – and these would be things more around "Let's train people to deal with the long hours. So let's send them on resilience training” for example or "Let's give them all coaching in time management." They would be strategies that are aimed at trying to change the worker to better manage the risk. Or "Let's make sure we've got a good EAP system or support or counselling available so that if people are stressed as a result of the long working hours they can get some help."</p> <p>So I guess work design is all about trying to be at the level one and two end of this hierarchy of control by trying to change and modify the work to eliminate or reduce the hazards. Let’s go back – and there's a lot of evidence that this is more effective. So for example a review of 90 job stress interventions found that primary prevention (and by "primary prevention" they really mean level one strategy), level one and two strategies were the most effective in reducing work stress. Sometimes there was value in combining the level three strategies with the primary prevention. So for example redesign the work but also give the people some time management training. There's some evidence that that is good, but I guess this evidence suggests that just the level three or what is in the stress literature referred to as a "tertiary intervention", just those interventions are not as effective for dealing with work stress.</p> <p> </p> <p>So returning back to those examples that I have how might we redesign the work to reduce some of the risks? For example with the first one, working with chemicals, well we might just eliminate those chemicals or change the chemicals so they're not toxic, for example. With the repetitive lifting of heavy loads we might rotate the jobs. It might not be possible to get rid of that job but let's rotate it so that the person who's lifting the cartons off the truck all day gets a chance to go and do some other task that uses different muscles. The excessive vigilance such as a cyber security agent - maybe what we need to do there is build in decent breaks for that person. So a five minute break every 30 minutes or something like that. And finally with the example of the psychosocial work characteristic of not enough autonomy maybe we need to be training the supervisor to delegate more autonomy and give people more control over their work.</p> <p>So that's the first principle fundamentally about upholding the Work Health and Safety Act.</p> <p>The second why principle, "Why else would we care about work design and want to embark on it?" is that good work design enhances health and wellbeing. So the World Health Organisation defines health as "a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." So we're quite comfortable with this notion when it comes to physical health. Just because somebody is not sick does not make them healthy, okay? We would normally expect them to have a reasonable level of cardiovascular fitness. We'd expect them not to be drinking three bottles of wine a night or whatever, okay? They would have healthy behaviours and we're quite comfortable with that notion of physical health. But the same also applies to mental health. </p> <p>Good mental health isn't just the absence of burnout or the absence of anxiety and depression. Good mental health is also about people at work experiencing good wellbeing, having a sense of meaning, feeling confident, believing that they're learning and so on. Now there's a great deal of evidence. If we think of health then as having these elements of ill health but also these aspects of wellbeing or what I call active health there's a great deal of evidence as I've just discussed that good work design prevents or reduces ill health. But it also promotes or enhances this wellbeing and this active mental health.</p> <p>Some examples – enriched work design promotes self confidence which in turn enhances proactivity. So if you want a workforce where people are proactive and use their initiative and make things happen, good work design is a driver of that behaviour. Also evidence that good work design enhances creativity. So if innovation is important for your organisation, good work design can be a vehicle for achieving that. Work resources such as job control, support, information, directly influence teachers' levels of engagement. Job autonomy promotes commitment to the organisation which means employees are more likely to comply with safety procedures. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of a huge amount of evidence that shows that good work design isn't just about the prevention of harm but it's also about the promotion of this more active health and wellbeing.</p> <p> </p> <p>The third why and the final why principle is that good work design enhances business success and productivity. So three paths by which it does this and the first is that as we've just said good work design prevents ill health, stress and injury. In 2008 and '09 work related injury and illness were estimated to cost $60.6 billion to the Australian economy which is almost 5% of GDP which is a huge amount of money. And some of the costs that are tied up with illness and injury at work are things like compensation costs, the costs of replacing people including recruitment, advertising, the loss of knowledge when people leave, the costs of early retirement, the costs of EAP and health care and of course the cost of reputational damage. If there are fatalities for example in an organisation, that has a big consequence for the reputation of the organisation – as it indeed should. And so good work design affects business success partly because reduces these costs associated with illness and injury.</p> <p>The second pathway is as I've just said good work design promotes active health and wellbeing and there are a lot of performance benefits that derive from that. And I mentioned innovation, proactivity, creativity as some examples. So there's a lot of evidence that good work design enhances job performance and enables you to retain your most talented staff and that of course flows on to have effects for the business.</p> <p>And a final pathway I haven't talked about yet but is also relevant is that good work design is often just more efficient. It enables the better use of the skills that people have. It promotes learning and there's a lot of evidence about that and often it enables a faster response to a problem. The classic example if you're at the checkout queue there's a problem, you know, the person has to go and get their supervisor to unlock the key with a special code. You know, that’s a lack of control of the checkout operator that slows down service and is inefficient, and there are many, many examples that we could point to. So these are three of the pathways by which good work design enhances business productivity and this idea is recognised by others. The World Health Organization says "There is no trade-off between health and productivity. A virtuous circle can be established” and there's a lot of evidence. I won't go through it all. </p> <p>One – here's an example of some anecdotal evidence. Let's say you have a very dictatorial CEO and this is a real case from the Health and Productivity Report. So that causes a loss of morale. Okay. Twenty-eight percent of middle managers leave because they've got this over-controlling CEO. Of course they take with them all the corporate knowledge that they've got. Meantime all the staff are left there and they're uncertain and there's chaos and nobody knows who's managing them and that causes a loss of morale to them. That turns out to cost about $176,000 to replace those staff who've left and about $440,000 in reduced productivity assuming that there's about a 10% decline in productivity. So the total cost is around $616,000. Now that's just anecdotal but gives you an example of how one feature can flow – have a ripple effect in terms of cost.</p> <p>But there's also more systematic evidence, for example a meta analysis which is an analysis of lots of studies. So a meta analysis of 116 studies basically shows a link between work design and the return on investment and the return on assets in companies, and you can read that paper later.</p> <p>So to summarise why should we even care about work design? Well it matters from many perspectives. Certainly it matters from the point of view of legal compliance and the prevention of harm but it matters for many other potential outcomes that are important to organisations.</p> <p> </p> <p>So those are the ‘why’ principles, why we should care about work design. Now I want to move to the ‘what’ principles. So what is good work design?</p> <p> </p> <p>So the first principle in this category – principle four – good work design addresses the physical, biomechanical, cognitive and psychosocial characteristics that I've already discussed, together with the needs and the capabilities of the people involved. So one of the first points to make is that – and I guess I've given examples of how you can consider these work characteristics – but there is a tendency for people to just look at one set of the characteristics and that's partly because the interest and expertise in these different aspects have come from different disciplines.</p> <p>So the physical characteristics may come more from engineering for example. The biomechanical characteristics might be more the province of physiotherapists and ergonomists. The cognitive characteristics again the domain of ergonomists and then psychosocial tends to be more organisational or psychological disciplines involved. So the interest in these characteristics has come out of different disciplines which can mean that when experts get involved in designing work they may tend to focus just on one particular perspective. But it's important to consider them together because they can sometimes be in tension with each other. So for example many of your jobs I'm guessing and hoping would be good psychosocial jobs. So you would have some decent autonomy, some meaning, some challenge, some support. So from a psychosocial perspective really good, healthy jobs.</p> <p>But maybe there are some biomechanical risks associated with that. For example, maybe you sit at your desk for 10 hours a day absorbed in your interesting, challenging work. So on the one hand, a good work design from a psychosocial perspective. On the other hand presenting a risk from a biomechanical perspective. So we need to look at jobs fairly holistically. And when these tensions exist between these characteristics they need to be considered and they need to be managed. So let me give you another example.</p> <p>So I'm from Perth and in Perth we have in the past few years seen the growth of automated mining centres. So basically operators operate the mine from Perth in places just near the airport and the mines are thousands of kilometres away. So you can imagine that this is a positive change in terms of physical risks. They're not out there driving hundred-tonne trucks. So it reduces those risks but actually there's quite a lot of cognitive demand and vigilance required in these jobs which is really different for these people that actually came from a different background of work. So it can be quite cognitively demanding and stressful work for people and it changes the biomechanical risks. Whereas maybe the risks before were around lifting and moving big, heavy tyres and things, now the risks are sitting, sitting all day long. And a lot of evidence now that extended periods of sitting invoke considerable risks to people's long term health.</p> <p>The other component of that principle is to think about the aspects of work design together with the needs and capabilities of the people involved. So work design can't be a one-size-fits-all strategy. It needs to accommodate the needs of the people that are in the work. Just a very quick couple of examples. We know that people who do work that's very emotionally demanding – think about a nurse in the intensive care unit – very emotionally demanding work but we also know from research that people with lower self esteem tend to be more affected by emotional demands. So this might be something that we need to take into account when thinking about emotionally demanding work.</p> <p>Here's another example: from a biomechanical perspective we also know that mature or older workers are going to be more affected by heavy lifting. And an example of that: a German car manufacturing company that I am connected to, their average age now is approaching 50 of their production workers. So they are having to experiment with "Are there ways that we can make cars with these workers that are less physically demanding?" So they're having to accommodate the abilities of the workers in the design of their work, and good work design takes that into account.</p> <p>In the same way that good work design takes account of the person, good work design also takes account of the situation. So the context, the business needs and the broader work environment. So if you imagine a person there in the magnifying glass doing their work, you know, people have peers around them. Sometimes they have to work really closely with those peers. Sometimes they don't. They have a leader. Companies vary in terms of their management style. They use technology and the technology varies and changes. They have payment systems that can be different across different organisations, and of course different organisations have different strategies. So all of these things need to be thought about when configuring work design. </p> <p>If you're designing work in a company where innovation is crucial you might come to a different conclusion if you're designing work in a company where cost reduction is the primary strategy. So these factors need to be considered when designing work and in a sense this is Systems Theory if you're familiar with that. What it means again is that you need to design the work that's fit for the purpose, for the strategy, for the context, not just adopt an off-the-shelf solution or copy what someone else is doing. </p> <p>What it also means is when you're designing work you need to often take account of the broader factors. So many times organisations will embark on a work design; for example they might decide to introduce team work and then discover that everybody is paid an individual bonus according to their individual performance. So straight away there's an incompatibility there between the work design focused on team work and the payment structure focused on individual behaviour. So when configuring work one needs to look at those broader factors.</p> <p>So let me give that example of team working and it can be very tempting for organisations to say "Well they've got team working over there. We should have it too. So let's have team working." But team working only really makes sense if the tasks of the team members are interdependent. In other words if there's a reason for the team members to actually cooperate and work together to achieve a collective goal, if there's not then there's no need for team working. If you're going to have team working you're going to need to have team members who've got quite good interpersonal skills. So that needs to be considered and do the organisational systems reinforce team work? </p> <p>So I gave the example of pay but it might also extend to things like recruitment for example. Are we recruiting into our organisation people with a teamwork approach or not? So these are the sorts of factors that need to be considered and if you get it wrong it can have consequences. So my colleagues and I did a study many years ago in a wire manufacturing company and we found that where they tried to introduce team work in a situation where there wasn't very much interdependence between the task members. Basically these were wire makers that were drawing very long pieces of wire and it really didn't make sense. It really wasn't even possible for them to collaborate with other wire makers. That actually caused the employees to experience stress and dissatisfaction because they were expected to work like a team and yet it didn't make any sense and they couldn't do that. So this principle is about aligning the work design with the bigger picture of the organisation.</p> <p> </p> <p>The next ‘What’ principle is that good work design is applied along the supply chain and across the operational life cycle. So first of all recognising that businesses can shape the work design practices along the supply chain. And for example the National Heavy Vehicle laws have this idea of a chain of responsibility about the responsibility of people in the transport chain to care about the work design of all of the people in the supply chain. And another example some of you may have watched the <em>Four Corners</em> program on the ABC a couple of months ago looking at the suppliers of supermarkets and this is a quote from the program: "The slave-like conditions found on some of the farms supplying the supermarkets." So it's important not only to be thinking about the work design of your organisation but if you have control and influence also be thinking about the work design of the suppliers. </p> <p>And in a similar vein work design can be relevant across all stages of a product lifecycle, of a service lifecycle or of an organisational lifecycle. So here imagine an organisation starting up. Work design can apply in thinking about "Well how are we going to lay out the processes?", "What sort of machinery are we going to have?", "Who are we going to recruit to do this work because if we get a good fit of the people that do the work with their skills and abilities that's going to reduce risks and so on?" So it applies at the start-up end. Of course during the organisation's growth work design issues apply and we know that from your own personal experience. And even if an organisation downsizes or closes work design can be relevant. So let me give you a little, quick example of that. </p> <p>So I worked with a chemical processing company that downsized by 40% over three years. Now when an organisation downsizes by 40% you could imagine that the survivors – the people that are left in the workplace – are going to have higher demands, right, because the same amount of work still needs to be done but there are 40 fewer percent people to do it and that's exactly what happened in this organisation. The demands increased but at the same time that the organisation downsized they introduced a program, an empowerment program aimed at increasing the autonomy of the workforce and increasing the workforce's engagement in participative decision making. And so ultimately – and we tracked this through surveys – there was no net increase in stress for the survivors over the time and actually a decrease in stress for some. And for the company as a whole improved performance and also improved safety performance. So by paying attention to work design, by thinking about "Well how can we deal with the fact that people are going to have higher demands?" the organisation managed the downsizing process with fewer risks to the people that were left.</p> <p> </p> <p>In the last 10 minutes I'm just going to talk through very quickly the ‘how’ principles, the “how do you get this good work design?” and the first principle is probably fairly obvious and that's about engaging the decision makers and the leaders in this process. So at the end of the day work design or work redesign is going to be most effective when there is support and endorsement and this needs to be genuine, active, visible support. It's no good just having the sort of rhetoric without the reality and I'll give an example of that in a minute. And that's partly because even though work design might on the surface appear to be free because it's not – it’s not a whiz-bang new machine that cost $5 million, – it's changing the work. Actually to do it well there needs to be an investment of time and energy in the change process and potentially in training people and of course in changing these broader organisational systems. So it's not free. So you do need the commitment of leaders. </p> <p>Let me give you a very quick example of an organisation that we worked with introducing lean production. Again we tracked this change over time with surveys. First of all there was very little engagement of employees in the process and the surveys pre- and post- for a particular group that we focused on, a pilot group, showed that compared to comparison groups they had lower job control where they introduced this particular moving assembly line, they had less variety, they had increased depression, reduced commitment and I could go on. Bottom line: bad work design.</p> <p>We gave the feedback of course and then the company decided to introduce this particular initiative across the whole organisation. So this is a case where the leaders were not genuinely committed to work design. Actually their company mission statement says "We are dedicated to exceeding customer expectations… in an environment of employee involvement and commitment” and some of their values on their website talk about the importance of workers, and yet you see this big gap between their espoused values and their enacted values. So it's the genuine commitment of leaders and decision makers that is important.</p> <p>The next principle is yes, you need to engage the leaders and the decision makers but you absolutely must actively involve the people who actually do the work as well, including those in the supply chain and the networks if necessary. At the very least you need to consult, ask people "What do you think of what we're doing?" at the very least. But ideally you should really go beyond consulting to actually involve people in the design of work. Involvement and by that I mean if you're redesigning people's work they can help. They can get involved and help come up with options. They can get involved in the evaluation and so forth and that's going to give them ownership and engagement. So it's actually going to mean you get better decisions because who knows the work better than the people that do it themselves? And of course involvement is a protective factor in and of itself. When people are engaged in making decisions, that enhances their wellbeing.</p> <p> </p> <p>And if you're going to ask people to be involved in the work design of course you then need to share information with them so that they can make good and sensible decisions. So hand-in-hand with involving people is ensuring people have the information to make those good decisions. And this is in fact highlighted in the Work Health and Safety Act. So this is part of the responsibility and part of the duty of care of an employer.</p> <p> </p> <p>There's a lot of evidence that this matters. So for example a review of 26 studies of interventions to reduce manual handling problems, the evidence shows that direct involvement of workers is a critical success factor. Those interventions that work tend to involve the workers and the same in the stress field. Those interventions that work tend to involve people and facilitate that participation.</p> <p> </p> <p>The ninth principle is about identifying hazards, assessing and controlling risks and seeking continuous improvement. And this really again comes out of the Code of Practice from Safe Work Australia and ties closely to the Work Health and Safety Act. This actually recommends a particular process and I'm just going to describe it from the point of view of some physical characteristics and also from the point of view of psychosocial characteristics. So the first step is identify the hazards. What might be the hazards in the workplace? Now with physical characteristics it might be as simple as looking around – okay – observation because you can usually see those things. </p> <p>But with psychosocial hazards you can't necessarily see them. So you might need to do something more like surveys or analyse exit interviews or look at attendance records and see if they've changed. But you probably need to do a bit more detective work in a sense, because they are not necessarily as visible as the physical hazards. And then after that of course having identified "Okay there might be a potential hazard here” "There might be” for example, "a possibility of bullying and harassment indicated in exit interviews." The next question is "Well what risk does that impose to people?", "Maybe the bully has left and it’s not a risk anymore but let's assess the risk” and that's the second step. And then the third step of course is then to put in place some processes to control that risk and those are the things that we've talked about – the level one, two and three strategies. </p> <p>But what's important is that there's a good diagnosis phase, so not leaping straight into the solution but a good checking out of what is the situation. And the final step for some reason is not showing up there, is to evaluate what has actually happened. So you've put in place these controls, you've put in place a bullying program, you've got rid of the bully or you've removed the machinery, whatever, what's the effect of that? and it's really important to do that evaluation. </p> <p> </p> <p>And the final principle is the importance of trying to learn from experts, evidence and experience.</p> <p>If needed, there are many experts in work design who can be sought and what ideally is people need to work together – different experts need to work together and learn from each other. So this is a quote from Chris Clegg: "Most design processes are dominated by people with partial forms of expertise such as the design of technology being dominated by engineers and other technical experts. Consideration of people, human and organisational issues is neglected which means that the full range of organisation and job design choices that may be possible are typically under-represented." So in another words ideally more than one stakeholder, more than one expert should be involved in shaping the work design so that we don't get this under-representation of the options. There is often more choice for work design than people recognise.</p> <p>I won't go into the detail but we've been doing some research looking at how do people design jobs, what we call "naive job designers" which is basically just managers and everyday people. How do they design jobs if given a chance? and our research basically shows that people design very bad jobs. People slip into designing Taylorist sort of jobs with very little variety, very little autonomy. So if you just leave it to people to intuitively design work it's not necessarily going to deal with some of the hazards that might occur.</p> <p>The second aspect to this principle is there's also a lot of evidence. I've just reviewed the literature on work design. There's more than 17,000 articles on work design in the published journals and 4,500 in psychology and management alone. Nobody expects organisations to read all that. So there's two things that can help. Experts can help translate this evidence, but also there are a lot of reviews and syntheses and Safe Work Australia and Comcare and also other similar bodies in the UK like Health and Safety Executive, they've got beautiful synopses of this material. So there's a lot of guidance available to help.</p> <p> </p> <p>And finally it's important to learn from experience. So experts and evidence are helpful and useful and we would totally recommend them but also as I said work design needs to be tailored to fit the situation and to fit the people. So it's really important to try things out and see how they work for that organisation and gather the data and do the evaluation and see if the experience is suggesting that they are helping to manage the risks. So this is the importance I guess of good monitoring and good evaluation of the changes that you might make.</p> <p> </p> <p>To summarise we've talked about the importance of why you might design work differently and yes, it's about legal compliance and that's absolutely critical. But it's also about creating work environments where people have good wellbeing, where they're learning and thriving. And it's also about creating efficient organisations where people are maximally productive and innovative and creative. And work design is a vehicle for all of those agendas. What is good work design? Think probably the most important message to come away with is that it's that holistic approach of looking not just at the physical aspects or not just at the psychosocial aspects but looking at all of those aspects in relation to the person and the needs of the person but also in relation to the business and the needs of the business.</p> <p>Work design can sometimes be pretty straightforward. It might be as simple as an injured worker is coming back to work and the doctor and the worker negotiate with the boss to make some changes. It might be as simple as that but many times it's more complicated than that because work is part of that bigger system of an organisation and as I said it's intimately related to other systems like payment and selection and so on. And because of that it's really important to sort of think about the change processes. And so the ‘how’ principles are all about how do you get that sort of larger scale work design actually embedded and working effectively in an organisation? No matter how small or how big the work design it's fundamentally important to involve the workers in the process.</p> <p> </p> <p>So I want to conclude. As I just mentioned I've just done a review of work design research in the past 100 years and in doing that I found an article written in the <em>Journal of Applied Psychology</em> which is one of the most important journals in my field that was actually written almost 100 years ago about the importance of job design. So I just want to share with you a quote from that paper. "Every man should be more of a man for having worked." Sorry, "Every man should be more of a man, a better man for having worked a day. The humdrum shop operated by humdrum workmen managed by humdrum superintendents, dominated by humdrum ideals should be banished to Humdrum Land if for no other reason than to save the men." </p> <p>I suggest we still have a fair number of humdrum jobs in our workplaces not just affecting men but also affecting women. So hopefully by taking on board some of these principles we can indeed banish those jobs to Humdrum Land and those 11,000 days that most of us spend in work hopefully all of those days can be safe and productive and make us better people.</p> <p>So thank you very much.</p> <p>(Audience Applause) </p> <p>And questions, comments? </p> <p> </p> <p>Yes?</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thanks Sharon for that interesting presentation. I'm Amanda Day from the CSIRO. My question is I'm looking for what would be your advice to people looking to apply and implement these principles for the first time?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>For the first time? I guess the first piece of advice would be to read the handbook which – we've had to sort of rush through the principles a little bit today but the handbook involves lots of examples of different applications in different sorts of industries and the handbook also signals to other sources that people go to. So I guess I'd start there with first of all there's a nice summary in there. Start with that and then that will refer to many other sources that can help. So, you know, learning from other organisations that have gone down this path or experts that can help and so on. So I guess I'd say to an organisation thinking about this for the first time use the resources that are there and that have been developed. Thank you for the question.</p> <p>Any more questions? Yes? It's – Howard – here we go.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thank you. Fantastic Sharon. Thanks so much for that. Just really interesting to see that involving sort of picture.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Great.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>And having been in work health and safety since the ‘80s which is quite a long time I feel that whole thing of we're standing on the shoulders of giants and I'm quite interested because I sort of cut my teeth in safety management systems, you know, management commitment, hierarchy of control, supervision, consultation and I see so much of it. But I'd just be interested in your concept of how it links in with this.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yeah. Great question.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thanks.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>And I mean – I guess the principles have been deliberately designed to be underpinned by the same core messages that many health and safety systems already have. And as I alluded to – and a couple of the principles focus explicitly on things that are in the Work Health and Safety Act such as the hierarchy of control. And most people in this area are familiar with that and they understand how that works. And I guess what these principles are trying to do is say most people are familiar and understand how they work in relation to the more physical aspects but they can also work in relation to the psychosocial aspects. So let's also think about those and have that more holistic perspective. So hopefully the principles are very tightly tied to what organisations are already thinking about who are focusing on the health and safety aspects. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Great.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Aileen Conroy from Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. Thank you Sharon. My interest is particularly when it comes down to the new job that's just about to be created. I work in a hospital and it's a very complex system and what I see is that say the government says "We need this statistic to be gathered in this hospital” somebody just says "Okay how are we going to do that?" and they create a job. They don't actually think about any of this. Is that what you mean by "Taylorist"?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Yeah.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>I think what happens is people tend to design jobs that sort of fit with their assumptions about what work should be and even though we're probably not conscious of it, people sort of intuitively hold this idea that, you know, simple – jobs that have all the same tasks for example put into one are going to be more efficient because they're more specialised. And that's a fairly pervasive idea that's sort of in people's heads that's very Tayloristic and that might be the best way of doing it. I don't know. But the important point is to open up the options and say "Okay that's one way of doing it but maybe a person searching for statistics all day long or whatever is going to have some risks of boredom or whatever. Would it make more sense actually if they also were liaising with the customer or they were also, I don't know, gathering some primary data or whatever?” But ask the question at least.</p> <p>A lot of the time the jobs that we have are just taken for granted and we don't even see that they could be configured another way and when there's a new job it just slots into the existing without saying "Is there a different way or a better way we could do this?" So I guess part of the agenda here is hopefully just for people to ask that question. "Is there a better way we could configure these jobs or what we're calling a job? Should we have a think about which tasks really should be in there to make it more meaningful and fewer psychosocial risks?" So it's asking the question. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>May I drill down just a little bit further?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Sure.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>So if I go in to do the work station assessment and I think "Okay this person's reporting symptoms but I don't think it's actually to do with the way their work station's set up. I think it's to do with the psychosocial aspects of their job” and this has actually happened to me as you can kind of see. And I put in their report this section and then their supervisor takes umbrage about the fact that I am actually suggesting that the job design was a problem and this person shouldn't have three different supervisors who don't work together and things like that. For those who work actually on the ground have you got a suggestion for something we could point the supervisor towards? Would you say the handbook would be the way to go?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yes. So what you're describing actually is a classic role conflict and in fact the evidence suggests that role conflict is one of the most stressful psychosocial work aspects. If you've got three different people telling you to do three different things and there's no schema for prioritising it's a classic cause of stress. </p> <p>So hopefully you would be able to go to the handbook and say "Role conflict appears to be a challenge for this job and here's some tips on how to address it." And then if perhaps you were presenting the supervisor first of all with a language for talking about it because sometimes that's half the challenge and second of all with some ideas about how to address it, perhaps then it's not quite so threatening because there's that – and it's also recognising that this is something that many people face. It's not the supervisor's fault necessarily. You know, they just probably inherited the management of this job but it gives you a language and a way of talking about it hopefully.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Great question. Thank you.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Wendy Elford from Now to Next. My question is when we do the job design quite often it's done in a pilot in a small team. When the job is rolled out it's exposed to everything that changes in that job over a long time and quite often the pilot is done with a small team that can see the results quite easily. Once it's out in the wild all the results are particularly hidden particularly if you take in some of the issues to do with the built environment which are controlled by people who are often not HR people and not connected with the job designers. So how do you keep it together and keep it real over the long term?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yeah. Great question and I mean what you're describing is a classic problem with the change strategy of pilots and then rollout, because what happens with a pilot is everyone's invested usually in making it work. So there's a lot of attention, there's a lot of resources and sure enough it works, right, because it's had all that attention and resource and fine-tuning and tailoring to that particular pilot. And then when it's cascaded out there's not enough resources for the same level of attention and then issues emerge. </p> <p>So I guess it's – I guess it comes back to what I said earlier that changing work is not necessarily free. It requires resources. So I guess in that case it might be important to set up some people whose responsibility it is to manage the process of the rollout knowing in advance that there are going to be some challenges and some issues. Just because it's all worked in the pilot it's not going to necessarily work for everyone else. So I think as long as people are entering into it knowing that and there have been perhaps some roles to set up to support that rollout then you could be managing some of the risks associated with that. So put in place some controls I guess in a pre-emptive type of way.</p> <p>It's a very good problem and very classic. You try something over here in this hospital and it works and then it's – and partly it's the way it is cascaded out too, because often people try to then take what was learnt in that particular setting and codify it and make it standard for everybody else, when part of what happened in that particular pilot was that people adapted it to work for themselves. So I think the participation principle would also be really important there as well, that even if it's cascaded out and you're trying to do something that's applicable to all there'll still need to be some tailorisation that comes out of full participation. So great. Thank you.</p> <p>Yes?</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thank you very much Professor Parker. It's been a real eye opener and fascinating. Helen Righton from Safe Work Australia. You've talked a little bit about a couple of the challenges historically in applying these principles.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yes.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Maybe you could just talk a little bit more about some other challenges that you see in applying those principles please?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Great question. Thank you. I think one of the major challenges that we face particularly in the area of work stress is the temptation of organisations to focus just at level three. So there's a lot of organisations that have invested in providing EAP services. There's a lot of excitement and interest around training workers to be more optimistic and resilient. And those things are important but they frequently do not deal with the root cause of the stress. And that's a harder message for organisations to swallow. In some senses it's easier for organisations to send everybody off on training than it is to change their shift structures or to, you know, look at the micromanaging behaviour of their leaders. So I think one of the challenges is getting organisations to go further up the hierarchy when it comes to psychosocial risks. I think they get it with the physical risk because it's sort of almost intuitive. If there's a dangerous machine try to replace it. It's harder to grasp that concept I think with psychosocial risks. </p> <p>So that's probably one of the challenges and the other challenge I think is getting organisations to believe that psychosocial risks matter. Again with a physical risk, a toxic chemical, no one's going to argue that that's bad for people. Okay. But things like role conflict as we just discussed or long work hours, you know, there will be some organisations that say "Well that's not our problem. That's just the worker is not up to the job” or, you know, that "they just need to be tougher." And so getting them to actually – getting organisations to say "No look, if people here are routinely working 12 hours a day that is something we should pay attention to and thinking about the expectations we're placing on people." That can be challenging. </p> <p>So I think getting people to recognise that psychosocial risks are just as problematic as the physical risks is a challenge. But one that hopefully organisations are going to be listening to more because of the rising incidence of work stress and the problems of mental health. It's becoming more and more spoken about and evidenced. So hopefully that will change.</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>Yes?</p> <p><strong>Audience Member: </strong></p> <p>Thank you. Professor Parker my name is Alex Allars and I'm also from CSIRO. I'm interested in the notion of what an individual employee can do in this space. A lot of the job design that's been discussed is about an organisation doing something to employees. It has to be fit for purpose and it has to involve them. But what role can they realistically play?</p> <p><strong>Sharon Parker: </strong></p> <p>That's a great question and actually in the work design literature, there's been a lot of interest in this concept called "crafting" or "job crafting" and the basic idea being that most people, given a little bit of latitude, craft the job, especially professional jobs. You know, you craft the job around your expertise and your interests. So personally as an academic I have three responsibilities in my job – research, teaching and leadership. You know, I craft those responsibilities to best fit my preferences and my expertise. So in many jobs there's some scope to do that.</p> <p>You probably need some autonomy to do that too. So some jobs that are very lacking in control there's no scope to do that whatsoever. So employees can shape their own jobs and they can do it in many different ways. They can do it just through a sort of natural evolution of what they focus on. They can do it by going to their boss and saying, you know, "I would like more decision making responsibility in this area” or "I feel I'm experiencing conflicting expectations. When I experience this please tell me what I should do. Which should I give more priority to?" So people can absolutely take responsibility and try to make their job a better job and people do.</p> <p>I guess what I would also say is that that's important and we should encourage that but it does not dissolve responsibility for the organisation to create jobs in which people can do that. So in the crafting literature there's a bit of a temptation to focus on crafting as a solution to everything. I mean I happen to think if you work in say a call centre where every single word you speak is crafted by someone else and you cannot deviate from the script, I happen to think that crafting is not going to help you much. Okay. Maybe the job needs to be changed too. So both things should ideally go in parallel but great question. Thank you.</p> <p> </p> <p>Okay. It looks like that's all the questions. </p> <p>So thank you very much guys for your very thoughtful questions and participation in the workshop. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>(Audience Applause) </p> <p>§ (Music Playing) §</p> <p><strong>[End of Transcript]</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-downloadable-transcripts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/good-work-design-and-psychosocial-risks-application.pdf" type="application/pdf">good-work-design-and-psychosocial-risks-application.pdf</a></span> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"><article class="media media--type-file media--view-mode-default"> <div class="field field--name-field-media-file field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-vnd-openxmlformats-officedocument-wordprocessingml-document file--x-office-document"> <a href="https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/good-work-design-and-psychosocial-risks-application.docx" type="application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document">good-work-design-and-psychosocial-risks-application.docx</a></span> </div> </article> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 11:13:53 +0000 Good work design