There is no "she'll be right mate" with safety

Published on Tuesday, 2 August 2022 at 8:29:40 AM

In my opinion...

Council CEO Ingrid Stonhill

Council CEO Ingrid Stonhill

There really are some quite remarkable characteristics about the Northern Territory.  Stuff you don’t really get to see or feel unless you are living the dream in the top end.  Depending on your age, upbringing, values and perspective, not all of them are easy to embrace.  There are the usual facts like we cover a sixth of the Australian continent, equal to a combined area of France, Spain and Italy.  Four-fifths of the territory lives within the tropics, it only takes your first wet season to deliver that realization home!
There is also a very strong underlying tone, of “she’ll be right mate, it’s the territory”.  This frequently used idiom expresses the belief that “whatever is wrong will right itself with time”.  From the books I have read, about the extraordinary challenges faced by the pioneers of the territory, I can most certainly understand this belief, some of their challenges unimaginable let alone lived through.
It could also be assumed that the population demographics of the NT also largely influence this idiom.  It’s not just the general acceptance of the boundary pushing slogan “CUintheNT” campaign that screams young and risqué, the demographics prove the large number of persons, predominantly men, aged 25-34 years in the NT is indicative of the NT’s economy, dominated by mining, construction and defence industries.
Territorians love their outdoors adventuring.  Camping, hunting, fishing and the freedom that comes with such a vast, uninhabited land.  But that wild abandonment that comes with age, freedom and she’ll be right mate, is over.  In March 2022 a landmark, first time prosecution, for industrial manslaughter was brought to the court in the Northern Territory, by NT WorkSafe. 
The model Work, Health and safety laws require employers, managers and offices to maintain a safe workplace, due to their primary duty of care.  Furthermore, employees also play a role to protect their health and safety and the health and safety of others. For example, both employers and managers may provide employees with the necessary protective equipment, training and instructions. However, all employees are responsible for cooperating and complying with any relevant directions. 
Perhaps what is not fully understood here in the Territory, is that there are consequences to actions.  Particularly if your actions have the ability to cause harm to others.  All employees have duties to comply with reasonable instructions and WHS policies or procedures. Employees also have duties to take reasonable care of their health and safety and the health and safety of others in their workplace.
When it comes to safety, there is no “she’ll be right mate”, failure to understand or comply with the relevant WHS duties has serious consequences.

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