WorkSafe Victoria is reminding all workers and employers, across all industries to put safety first as 2018 comes to a close.
The safety watchdog said this time of year is usually marked by a spike in workplace injuries and fatalities. Typically the 2 month period between November and December account for 22.3 per cent of all workplace fatalities.
Between 2008 and 2017, there were 53 workplace fatalities.
Workers and employers were reminded not to let busy work schedules and tight deadlines cause them to compromise on safety. Also don’t allow the festive feeling to allow you to relax when it comes to safety.
During Asbestos Awareness Week, 19-25 November the dangers related to asbestos were highlighted, particularly to young tradespeople and apprentices who may not be familiar with the risks or what to do if they suspect exposure.
Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace visited year 10 students at Kelvin Grove State College’s Trade Training Centre highlighting the importance of asbestos safety.
She reminded them that there is no cure for mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis and there are other horrible conditions that can be contracted from exposure to asbestos.
It’s crucial that everyone is aware of the risks from students to apprentices to experienced tradespeople and foremen. It’s also important for people to know what to do if they suspect asbestos may be present.
The NT is one of the areas in Australia experiencing extremely hot temperatures prompting WorkSafe to issue a safety warning to businesses and workers to take precautions to avoid heat illnesses which can be deadly.
Heat related illness can present itself as heat rash, heat cramps, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
NT WorkSafe warned employers and workers to follow safety tips to help avoid heat related illness including,
drinking plenty of water,
using shade protection including a hat and suncreen,
ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is efficient for the work being done and the amount of sun exposure,
Try to schedule work for cooler times of the day and avoid the hotter hours
The 12 month construction blitz conducted by SafeWork inspectors in NSW has been hailed as a success following 1258 notices being issued and 186 small businesses receiving rebates.
The blitz was aimed at reducing work from heights.
According to SafeWork NSW Executive Director, Tony Williams 1000 sites were visited, prompted by 9 workplace deaths in the state in 2017. Alot more people were injured on construction sites due to falls from heights.
“Falls from heights is the number one killer on construction sites. We undertook a concentrated education campaign for tradies and provided rebates for small business,”
“Since the start of the blitz, we have given more than $86,000 of rebates to 186 small businesses to help them work safely at heights.
“While inspectors have observed troubling levels of non-compliance, they are working with employers to educate them and taking enforcement action where needed, including issuing on-the-spot fines. Williams explained.
Mr Williams said inspectors issued 1258 notices to stop or improve work processes and 93 on-the-spot fines when the falls risk to workers was imminent or serious, and for repeat offender workplaces.
Since the start of the safety blitz, inspectors say they have seen an improvement of up to 9 per cent in compliance relating to work from height such as scaffolds, formwork, ladders, safety planning documents, site inductions, and toolbox talks. Mr Williams said the construction industry still has a long way to go to secure safety.
“Over the next two years, SafeWork will continue to work on those areas of highest risk in the construction industry. This includes working on roofs, ladders and non-compliant scaffolds, as part of a broader falls from heights action plan SafeWork NSW is releasing today,” Mr. Williams said.
Following the tragic death of a dump truck driver in 2016, a quarry operator has been fined $230,000.
The driver was killed when the vehicle he was operating rolled on a stockpile.The man was in his sixties at the time.
The court heard that the vehicle flipped over the edge of a stockpile at the Plumpton quarry and slid down the other side.
The company was found guilty after it was revealed that the company contravened section 26 of the OHS Act by failing to ensure a safe workplace without risk to health and safety.
The quarry operator failed to complete a risk assessment and a Safe Work Method Statement for the work being carried out. The investigation also found the company failed to take the reasonable steps to eliminate or remove the risks including ensuring the perimeter of the stockpile was adequately walled. The operator failed to engage a qualified engineer to assess the stability of the stockpile.
Safe Work Australia has released the latest figures on workplace health and safety and in 2018, 118 Australian workers were killed on the job.
While the transport,postal and warehousing and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries emerged as the most high risk with 38 and 33 fatalities consecutively, the construction industry has the third highest number of fatalities with 21 recorded deaths.
There were also 5 workers killed in the mining industry.
One of the reasons the federal government has mandated construction safety training is due to the high risk nature. Before beginning work on a construction site, workers must complete White Card training. Find out more at www.whitecardonline.com.au
Researchers at the Centre for Built Infrastructure Research at the University of Technology Sydney believe they may have discovered the solution to protecting buildings from earthquakes.
Led by associate professor Behzad Fatahi and supported by Ruoshi Xu, the team believe existing synthetic geotextiles used within building foundations may provide the protection buildings need against earthquakes.
Currently, solutions are expensive and subsequently rarely utilised, which is why the team used a material like a plastic, made up of polypropylene and polyester. The material is commonly found in plastic chairs and tables and is affordable as well as strong and flexible.