National Asbestos Awareness Week Observed

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.

Find out more at: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/national-asbestos-awareness-week-provides-focus-dangers-related-asbestos/#.XBKwaeIlE1l

Revolutionary New Construction material made from Unlikely Waste

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Researchers at a South African university have developed a way to make building materials using something we literally flush down the toilet every day.

Urine is the key ingredient in the construction of eco-friendly building materials, human urine that is.

The bio-bricks may be the sustainable alternative to the clay and concrete bricks that currently dominate the building landscape.

The technique used in the prototypes involved “growing” the bricks from urine, similarly to how seashells are naturally formed.The bricks take six or eight days to form.

The invention comes from 2 students and a lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Read more at https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/inventions/world-first-human-urine-bricks-developed-in-south-africa-could-weevolutionise-building/news-story/8b674950e39a4c49987295eaaf067e7f

Keeping Workers Safe This Summer – WorkSafe Safety Warning

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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
  • Equally distribute the work load amongst workers

For more information visit NT WorkSafe website

 

NSW Construction Safety Blitz Yields Promising Results

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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.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/nsw-construction-safety-blitz-results-improved-safety/#.XBuR6s0lE1k

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.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/nsw-construction-safety-blitz-results-improved-safety/#.XBuR6s0lE1k

More information on  the construction safety blitz and falls from heights action plan can be viewed at www.safework.nsw.gov.

Townsville Accident Claims Workers Life

Another fatal workplace accident has taken place, this time in Townsville, highlighting once again the risks associated with construction work.

A man has been killed in Bohle. It is believed he was hit by a falling pipe being unloaded from a truck.

Emergency services were called to the scene but pronounced the man, in his sixties, dead at the scene.

The incident will be investigated by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

As we all return to work and commence with building projects, let’s make sure we’ve got our safety plans in place and all workers are properly trained in safety to avoid tragedies like this one.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/worker-killed-falling-pipe-townsville/#.XDurIc0lE1l

Construction Safety Update for 2019

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So far in January (January 24, 2019) according to Safe Work Australia, there have been 5 workplace fatalities in Australia.

In 2018, there were 152 workers killed at work, an improvement from the previous year when 190 workers were killed on the job.

Of the 5 workers killed in 2019, 2 were from the construction industry, as compared to last year this time when only 1 construction worker had died on the job. The agriculture, fishing and forestry industry was responsible for 2 deaths this year as well, with the transport industry claiming one life.

For the construction industry, we haven’t had a very good start to the year however it’s not too late to make a change. There’s still time to turn things around and make safety the first priority, beginning with construction safety training.

Read more at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics

Canberra Light Rail Workers Forced to Labour in Extreme Heat

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Construction workers on Canberra’s light rail network recently had to work in near 40 degree heat, despite the construction union pushing for a deal for workers to stop working when temperatures reach 37 degrees.

Workers had to endure 39 degrees recently while working on the government funded light rail project, in attempts to stop delays to completion of the first stage of the project from Gungahlin to the city.

This comes just days after WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Greg Jones went on the radio and urged businesses and employees to take of each other and themselves as temperatures soared. He highlighted the construction industry in particular as well as other exposed sectors.  See more https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/canberra-light-rail-workers-on-shift-in-near-40-degree-heat-20190116-p50rqj.html

Keep Workers Safe in the Heat – WorkSafe Urges

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WorkSafe Victoria has urged employers in the north to ensure the protection of workers in the extreme heat.

With temperatures often soaring above 40 degrees, employers were reminded to ensure work is managed safely and that workers are well hydrated.

Working in such extreme heat can cause dehydration and heat stress which can be fatal in the worst cases. Brain injury and organ failure are also a risk,WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said.

She warned that it is important to plan out the day and prioritise the workload, rescheduling or modifying the work load to reduce heat exposure.

Read  more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/worksafe-urges-employers-protect-workers-heat-related-illnesses/#.XFgdMc0lHQV

Civil Construction Firm Charged over Worker Trench Deaths

While charges, fines and prosecutions aren’t the most serious consequences of workplace incidents such as trench collapses, (the human cost is much higher) they hopefully do serve as a deterrent for others to avoid similar mistakes that can have such as tragically high cost of human life.

One such incident involved the deaths of 2 workers who died in Ballarat last year when a trench collapsed. The civil construction company involved has since been charged with breaches of section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company is accused of failing to maintain the battering or benching of the excavation and failure to use trench shields and manhole cages to avoid the risk of engulfment. It also failed to provide workers with supervision.

The incident took place in March 2018 when the 2 workers were laying pipe in the trench at a housing development site. One worker, a 34 year old died on the scene while the other worker, a 21 year old man died in the hospital shortly afterwards.

The court case is ongoing.

See more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/civil-construction-company-charged-two-workers-death/#.XFggqs0lHQV

Blitz Focusing on Work From Heights Successful- SafeWork NSW

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SafeWork NSW says a 12 month construction blitz focusing on reducing falls from heights has been successful and has improved work from height safety and compliance.

During the course of the year inspectors visited 1000 sites around the state, following a high rate of fatalities in 2017 and a spike in falls.

Inspectors embarked on a concentrated education campaign and provided rebates for small businesses.

More than $86,000 in rebates has been given out to 186 small businesses.

Inspectors also issued on-the-spot fines for non-compliance.

A focus on work from height safety will continue this year.

Read more at: https://www.miragenews.com/safework-blitz-results-in-improved-construction-safety/