OHS professional, Dr Eric Wigglesworth AM, died on the weekend. Dr Wigglesworth was due to present a paper to the Australian Exhibitions & Conferences ’ Safety In Action Conference calling for greater research into workplace health.
In his conference abstract, Dr Wigglesworth said he intended to show "how health research in the 20th century has benefited Australians in all aspects of their life, except at work where it has been neglected”.
Dr Wigglesworth has observed in his abstract that Australian health research has provided the evidence-based foundation for health improvements. OHS research findings could provide a similar firm basis for evidence-based counter measures that could be taught in tertiary courses.
According to Dr Geoff Dell, Dean, Safety Institute of Australia College of Fellows, Dr Eric Wigglesworth was a driving force behind formal education for safety professionals.
Dr. Eric Wigglesworth was the doyen of the Australian safety profession, a former President of the Safety Engineering Society (now the Safety Institute) and former executive director of the Menzies Foundation.
According to Dr Geoff Dell, Dr Eric Wigglesworth was instrumental in getting the first formal safety education curriculum in Australia in mid 1960s and was also pivotal in getting the first tertiary programme started in Australia in the late 1970s, a Graduate Diploma at the Ballarat College of Advanced Education (now the University of Ballarat).
Dr Dell notes that throughout the last 60 years, Dr Eric Wigglesworth was at the fore of strategic thinking in applied accident prevention. While he had many interests, his work on railway level crossing accidents was his passion throughout much of his professional life. Dr Eric Wigglesworth opinions and ideas were quoted in the recent Victorian Government Report into level crossing accidents. Dr Dell adds that Dr Eric Wigglesworth believed in the need for applied, researcher-driven safety research to underpin decision-making by industry and government, and to provide the basis for effective safety education.
Dr Dell will present Dr Eric Wigglesworth's paper, ‘Using Injury Research to Underpin Safety Education’ on day two of the Safety In Action Conference.