||Issue No. 244||29 October 2004|
Raking Over The Tea Leaves
Interview: The Last Bastian
Unions: High and Dry
Security: Liquid Borders
Industrial: No Bully For You
History: Radical Brisbane
International: No Vacancies
Economics: Life After Capitalism
Technology: Cyber Winners
Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Locker Room
Nothing To Stand On
Itís The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Dear Mark letter
Drivers Derail Game Boy
Nick Lewocki, from the Rail Tram and Bus Union told a safety delegates conference how RailCorp have chosen to test drivers on shape recognition, picking the odd one out and letter recognition.
Experts called in to examine the RailCorp tests asked why a train driver simulation wasn't being used to test drivers.
Lewocki says that the tests RailCorp are using, known as psychometric tests, are not designed to test driver safety, but to give RailCorp management an excuse not to invest in safety infrastructure, such as an adequate communications system and proper training.
One test inflicted on drivers involves a computer game style test using what looks like an oversize Game Boy to "test" your brain.
"This would be great if we were getting Donkey Kong to drive our trains, but luckily we deal with real people." Lewocki told the conference. "We have had members who have, out of their own pocket, had themselves re-tested, only to find that RailCorp's tests were way off the mark."
One of the tests, the Mackworth Clock test, was used to test spitfire pilots in WWII.
Psychometric testing will come under the microscope at the conference, which will also hear how miners were Psychometrically tested for their ability to operate heavy machinery by using straws and cellotape to stop an egg from breaking.
The conference also heard from experts on emerging issues such as fatigue management and bullying, as well as receiving valuable information on return to work provisions under WorkCover.
"At the heart of that system is a consultative process," says NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson. "Unfortunately not all employers are rising to the challenge."
"We are seeing examples in workplaces where safety is being used as a justification for management to wield the big stick with employees simply to reinforce management authority.
Robertson called on employers to take a holistic approach to managing the risks that their employees face.
"Fatigue is a killer; we know that from our road statistics," says Robertson. "The decision last Thursday by Justice Walton acknowledges that this is true of the workplace as well.
"Fatigue is a serious and emerging workplace safety issue that needs to be adequately addressed.
"This is an issue about impairment and employers that seem to be eager to implement drug and alcohol testing must also show the same sort of eagerness to address the underlying issue behind drug and alcohol testing, which is impairment if they are fair-dinkum about safety."
"The message has been sent loud and clear to employers - they must address risks before workers are hurt or tragically killed."
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