Roles and Responses of Key Actors Research Paper

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¶ … Roles and Responses of Key Actors in Employee Relations

The best way to analyze the current situation of employer / worker relationships in Australia is by assessing three of its very different key Acts dedicated to work-site environment. These are the QLD Health & Safety Acts (2011), the Petroleum and Gas, Production and Safety Act (2004) and the Western Australian Mines Safety and Inspection Act (1994). Focus will be made on its employer-worker relations during the years and investigation will be conducted into whether any improvement or change can be noted. Discussion will then be conducted of changes if any did indeed occur.

The QLD Health & Safety Acts 2011,

This stipulates that health and safety of workers and all person must be ensured to the fullest extent possible and this means taking into account all relevant matters including;

likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring

degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk

3 what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know about the hazard or the risk and ways of eliminating or minimizing the risk

4 the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimize the risk

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The person conducting the business has to expend all necessary costs in dealing the above. He can do this in conjunction with managers from other business but they have to be regularly in consultation with one another as to ways that they can decrease degree of harm on workplace and eliminate risk. They must also consult with their worker to ensure that their regulations are meeting required standards and worker's comfort. Unresolved issues are referred to the regulator.

This 2011 Act prescribes that the 'official' employs a positive duty of care in both private and public sector. Def inion of 'officials' include the following: Directors, company secretary, partner, officeholder; those involved in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business or undertaking or those with capacity to affect significantly the organization's financial standing

Research Paper on Roles and Responses of Key Actors in Assignment

The officers have to possess through and comprehensive knowledge of resources and processes, the nature of the work done on the site, legal system, and legal principles of safety and compliance to health regulations. They have to moreover act in timely manner. Their duty is proactive as is that of the workers at the site. The workers, to o, have to be proactive in taking care of their own health and safety, in complying with policies and instructions, and in ensuring that they do not harm others. The officials, too, can command workers to cease work if they notice or suspect anything wrong in workplace, or if conditions in workplace do not conform to existing laws.

Privileges accorded the workers include the following: The workers can request formation of multiple work groups in order to ensure that the safety needs are being met. Penalties are severe.

Union Inspectors too are given almost unlimited rights and power in enforcing laws. They have powers of entry at will, and can enforce recommendations to improve work-site. (Queensland Govt. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, 2011. )

2. Production and Safety Act (2004)

The main purpose of this Act is to facilitate and regulate the carrying out of responsible petroleum activities and the development of a safe, efficient and viable petroleum and fuel gas industry in a way that -- (a) manages the State's petroleum resources

(i) in a way that has regard to the need for ecologically sustainable development; and (ii) for the benefit of all Queenslanders; and (b) enhances knowledge of the State's petroleum resources;

and (c) creates an effective and efficient regulatory system for the carrying out of petroleum activities and the use of petroleum and fuel gas

In other words, all aspects of this Act are dedicated to the regulating and optimising petroleum mining activities to make sure that it is carried out in a responsible, safe way and that workers are duly compensated for their labour.

The Act does not deliberate much on worker's rights, merely stating that they must treated fairly, that minimal conditions of workplace safety and health should be in accord, that they should receive their rightful compensation, and that all possibilities of adjudication should be in place.

3. Western Australian Mines Safety and Inspection Act (1994,)

The Act covers mines, quarries, and exploration in the mining industry and contains similar obligations to that found in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1984.

The Act imposes general duties but also adds more specific duties for securing safety and health for people in the industry and of assistant employers and managers in reducing hazards. This extends to protecting employees against all risks and giving employees an active voice in formulating workplace decisions and regulations that impact them.

A Mines Occupational safety and Health Advisory Board is placed in charge to ensure that duties are met and to advise the Minister of Minerals and Energy on safety and health matters. Inspectors working for the Board inspect sites daily to ensure compliance with regulation.

There are general duties that are placed on employers, managers, and suppliers and criminal penalties if violations occur.

Managers have to ensure that safety is accorded to the extent that "is reasonably practicable' (s9). Safety precaution extend not only to employees but to anyone who may be effected by the activities of the industry.

Employees too are adjoined to take reasonable care that they do not fault their health and safety and certain obligations are extended to employees as well as to the conditions of the mines.

Identify recent changes in employee relations

The evolution of the Acts and investigation of their content alone tells us about the difference in the worker-employee relations in recent years. The QLD Health & Safety Acts is 2011. The Production and Safety Act is 2004, whilst the Western Australian Mines Safety and Inspection Act is 1994 . The QLD Health & Safety Acts goes to the fullest extent possible with the person conducting the business having to expend all necessary costs in ensuring fullest compliance with health and safety even beyond possible accountability (in contrast to the Miner's Act of 1994 where he need not exert himself). He can do this in conjunction with managers from other business but they have to be regularly in consultation with one another as to ways that they can decrease degree of harm on workplace and eliminate risk. They must also consult with their worker to ensure that their regulations are meeting required standards and worker's comfort. The Production and Safety Act (2004) barely touches on worker's rights but contains the spirit of the time in that, as seen later, fundamental privileges and conditions of workers rights and safety had to be kept. Oftentimes, the worker had the upper say. There seems to have been very little change between the 1994 Act and the 2004 Act. Indeed, as we see later, the power of the Union has grown incrementally but only achieved its greatest intensity and strength during the last few years.

The last (the Miners Act (1994)) involves itself with the mining industry and is more similar to the first than to the second in its rights and concern accorded to workers. Instead of the 'officials' who are appointed in the first Act to monitor and observe safety and comply with regulations, a special Board is set up but this board is in direct contact with the appropriate government division that then supervises the site daily. There is, in other words, a more indirect and stricter form of supervision in this case than in the first. However, there are certain radical differences between both Acts driving up to the conclusion that the Union workers are accorded a great deal more power than they are in the first and that power seems to have shifted from worker (as it was largely in the Miners Act) to employer (as it seems to be in the 2011 act) in the 2011 Act, forced entry is performed whenever officials suspect that violation of Acts has occurred. In the second, supervision occurs daily and penalties for violation are severe with the focus centering on victim's rights. Nonetheless, the onus and negotiation-making lies largely with employer.

The Acts are also interesting in that all three indicate the growing power of the Trade Unions in Australia in particular the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) which is conglomeration of all the trade unions and was engineered in the early 1990s.

the Australian workplace agreement (AWA)

On this point, it is crucial to bring in the Australian workplace agreement (AWA) controversial of 1996 that is criticised by many as seeking to undercut the growing power of the trade unions. The AWA stipulated that employers could offer a "take it or leave it" contract as condition of employment. Inherent, therefore, in contracts was the implication that the advantage lay with the employer; there would always be candidates who would need or want the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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