Australian aviation health and safety case study highlights the importance of appropriate resourcing

Thursday, 8 September, 2022 - 09:00
Media release
National News

Like many Australians, representatives of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) were troubled by the health and safety case study shown on Four Corners on Monday 5 September, on ABC. 

The story highlights the importance of employers engaging appropriate levels of workers who have the right skills and capabilities. When operations aren't appropriately resourced, performance gaps can emerge, exposing workers and others to higher risks of health and safety incidents. 

Whilst the AIHS is not in a position to comment on the specifics of the Qantas story, work health and safety professionals know that:

  • Directors have duties to be challenging Executives' decisions to cut resources, insofar as those decisions impact the risk profile of organisations' performance 
  • Critical risks (such as those associated with aviation operations) require multiple and coordinated controls, and the organisation needs to test for the presence and effectiveness of these controls
  • It is important organisations have effective means in place through which workers can raise health and safety issues to management. 

AIHS Chair Naomi Kemp said that large Australian employers should be leading the way on health and safety, and that the case study demonstrated the risk and impacts of short-term thinking in cutting costs. 

"Health and safety professionals and practitioners are often left to advise duty holders on how to best mitigate risks to health and safety after key decisions have been taken by Executives. Facilitating early input from health and safety professionals into these decisions can help mitigate unintended consequences."

Kemp said that Directors need to think about material business risks through not just a health and safety lens, but also a reputational one. "The potentially public nature of the fallout means the impacts are felt across the business, to customers, and through to the share price in publicly listed entities." 


Media Enquiries:
AIHS Contact:    Rebecca Turnbull
Tel.                       (03) 8336 1995

About the AIHS: with a more than 70-year history, the Australian Institute of Health & Safety Safety is Australia’s national association for the health and safety profession, with a vision for safe and healthy people in productive workplaces and communities.