I trust all readers enjoyed their Christmas break – whatever form it took.
Occupational Medicine in Tasmania
I met with the Self-Insurers Association of Tasmania on 05 December 2019. They were supportive of initiatives to train Occupational Physicians locally with the aim of retaining a pool of local expertise with knowledge and understanding of Tasmanian industry and our legislation. There didn’t seem to be any issues for employers to provide access to workplaces and enable trainees to gain local industry knowledge. I expect there will be more dialogue with SIAT in 2020. Our thanks to Peter Coxhell and Julieann Buchanan for facilitating the dialogue.
In the run up to Christmas Barry, Andreas and I had further discussions about how best to support local OEP trainees. More about that in the New Year!
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Australia
SafeWork Australia in conjunction with Latrobe University has just released a comprehensive report about musculoskeletal disorders in Australia. Perhaps the most important statement in the report is the recognition that the requirement of Workers Compensation Systems for a causative “event” can distort a holistic understanding of causation with unfortunate consequences for prevention and management. This is expressed in the report in the following terms:
“Substantial evidence supports the multifactorial nature of WMSD development, associating it with exposure to a range of physical and psychosocial workplace hazards. Whilst musculoskeletal disorders may result from a single event, more commonly they arise from cumulative exposure to one or more hazards over an extended period. However, a tendency exists to try and pinpoint the exact event which triggered the injury, in part driven by the workers’ compensation systems which generally require identification and date of a ‘causative incident’. In cases where WMSDs are related to cumulative exposure, this approach can lead to misdiagnosis or omission of the relevant workplace hazards, and then a subsequent development of controls that are not appropriately targeted.”
I haven’t finished digesting this report to see what other important messages are contained – more on that in 2020.
Here is a link to the full report.
Medico-legal Communications Protocol Working Group
The initial meeting scheduled for December has been postponed to the New Year. I am interested to receive any comments or feedback about this matter prior to the rescheduled meeting.
Victorian Ombudsman’s Report
Deborah Glass, the Victorian Ombudsman has released her follow up report into the Victorian WorkCover Scheme. I have referred to that report and a few other matters in a blog article for those interested.
Government Policy on access to Alcohol
The important role of the medical profession in influencing government policy was highlighted at a recent AMA meeting..
Medical Practitioners witness first hand the health and social consequences of inappropriate use of alcohol. In my view it is important that this medical perspective be heard by decision makers.
I understand that a liquor outlet in Hobart is seeking a licence to extend hours of business through the night with some talk of an after-hours home delivery service, when the evidence indicates that increased access only escalates the levels of harm from alcohol in our community.
We can all have some influence through the organisations we work with.
Barry has alerted us that the ANZSOM (Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine) are running their national conference in Launceston next year from 19-22 March 2020 at the Pepper’s Silo Resort. The draft programme includes presentations by Dr Andreas Ernst, Dr Barry Gilbert, Dr Rob McCartney and Dr Tim Stewart with plans for multiple workplace visits and opportunities for training in audiometric skills and making presentations. More details as they come to hand.
ANZSOM are also hosting ICOH 2021 in Melbourne.
I am still seeking contributions for future newsletters.
All the best for 2020!!
28 December 2019