WorkSafe Urges Caution Following Falling Object Incidents

WorkSafe Victoria is reminding all employers about the importance of addressing the risks of falling objects on construction sites following an incident in Melbourne’s CBD recently.

A large metal prop fell from the 56th level of the building site and struck a work shed 53 levels below at the Collins Street site.It happened while workers were removing bracing for the 3 metre prop, which was used to support a concrete slab.

Thankfully nobody was injured in the incident however in cases like this workers as well as members of the public are at risk. Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/worksafe-warns-dangers-falling-objects/#.XIovVbglE1l

Queensland WHS Authority Targets Vehicle Loading Cranes

A safety blitz that will last 2 years has begun in Queensland following a number of incidents involving vehicle loading cranes.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recently announced the blitz which would address the high number of incidents that occurred between 2012 and 2018 – 18 are known of.

The safety regulator said in the past decade, 3 people were killed in the state and numerous more were injured as well as property damaged after a VLC stabiliser or outrigger arm extended during travel and struck other vehicles or pedestrians.

The campaign comes after an agreement between the coroner and the safety watchdog that there was a need to educate operators and enforce safe use and operation of VLC stabilisers and outriggers.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/08/blitz-targets-queensland-vehicle-loading-cranes/#.W51bzPYlHQV

Stonemasons Suffering Because of lack of WHS Adherence

Stonemasons are suffering from silicosis and associated diseases because of a lack of adherence to workplace health and safety laws.

Tradie Cameron Harper is one of those suffering from silicosis because he didn’t realise how serious the risks were of not wearing the appropriate protection. The 27 year old former stonemason has now been diagnosed with silicosis.

Silicosis is a serious and possibly life-threatening disease which is caused by exposure to silica or quartz dust.It involves the scarring of lungs which eventually causes respiratory impairment and in some people requires a lung transplant and may be fatal.

The scary part about silicosis in Australia is that it is on the rise, despite it declining globally. This spike in occupational exposure is believed to be due to the risk in engineered or artificial stone products, commonly used for kitchen benchtops.

As a tradie, what you suspect to be a persistent chest infection could actually be more serious.

Find out more at: https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/the-kitchen-trend-killing-our-tradies/news-story/91af922c5ee0f6d9d4de502f5ed49073

Worker Struck by Car at Roadworks Site

A man working on road construction in Sydney’s northwest is the latest to be run down by a driver over the legal alcohol limit.

The 59 year old worker was critically injured when a driver four times over the legal alcohol limit plowed through the roadworks site and came to a stop after hitting into the vehicle of another worker.

The man sustained multiple fractures to limbs and serious head injuries.

The worker was flown to Westmead Hospital where he remained in a critical condition. This incident highlights the risks that roadworkers are faced with every day.

Find out more at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/worker-hit-by-drink-driver-after-car-ploughs-through-roadworks/news-story/d40ff7e174aad1fb1111c53dd59293bf

WorkSafe WA Inspection Focuses on Construction Safety

melb metro
Source: www.abc.net.au

WorkSafe WA is conducting an inspection program over the course of the week focussing on construction sites in Perth’s CBD.

WorkSafe warned that it will be checking safety standards at construction sites in the area and the surrounding suburbs.

While the aim of the program is to assist employers in meeting their workplace safety laws, if breaches are discovered, inspectors will take the necessary enforcement action.

Inspectors will be focussing on electrical safety and work from height safety.

 

For more information call WorkSafe on 1300 307877.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/inspection-program-focus-construction-safety/#.VwL23vl97IV

Police Monitor Union Activity on Building Sites

Police are apparently monitoring activity on building sites, according to an article on www.afr.com

According to the article written by Larry Schlesinger, members of the federal police could be assigned to monitor the activities of unions on building sites, as a part of the new Coalition government’s plans to root out unlawful activities.

The following excerpt from www.afr.com explains

The Australian Financial Review understands Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott is considering a range of non-parliamentary measures as it faces a likely challenge in the Senate from Greens and Labor to plans to bring back the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Richard Calver, legal counsel at Master Builders, said there were a number of interim measures the government could introduce that would change the outlook ahead of being able to bring back the ABCC.

These include outsourcing investigations of underpayment of wages and other breaches to the Fair Work Ombudsman and freeing up Fair Work Building and Construction inspectors to investigate unlawful activity.

“It’s about a changing of mindset, providing greater resources and a sharper focus on enforcement,” he said.

Source: http://www.afr.com/p/australia2-0/police_to_monitor_union_activity_CuDJRtUd4JLHXrpocqRcBN

The post went on to explain the Senator Eric Abetz is expected to take on the responsibility of the ABCC and have a stricter industrial relations approach as workplace relations minister. The government has committed to moving quickly on the issue.

The government is so committed to moving swiftly on the issue that they have set a 100 day time frame within which to accomplish this.

Building groups were also happy with the government’s pledge to accomplish this within 100 days.

Members of the building industry said they supported the government’s efforts and its desired timeframe however they hoped that it was done in a manner that protects worker’s rights and includes the appropriate communication. Because the matter of health and safety is so important to both workers and employers, it is vital that we get it right.

Unfortunately the only way we are going to see any improvements in the building industry is if we apply all workplace health and safety rules, including those pertaining to general safety training – this is particularly important.

Some would argue that general construction safety training is central to site health and safety because it is the foundation upon which every worker’s knowledge and education about all construction health and safety issues are built.

In other words every worker that begins work in the construction industry must first complete general construction safety training, in the form of White Card Training.

The federal government long ago realised the importance of this training which is why they mandated this training for every person whose work takes them onto a construction site. That is why complete site safety cannot be achieved without all workers first completing this training.

General Construction Induction Training is a nationally accredited competency unit known as “Work safely in the construction industry”.   The general construction induction training also known as the White Card is nationally recognised and allows for uniformity within the construction industry across Oz. Go to our homepage to learn more about this training.

 

Beware of Reversing Vehicles on Building Sites

It goes without saying that anyone entering a work site needs to be alert and cautious at all times but with all the machinery, equipment and work processes on a site, all contributing to noise it becomes easy for workers (or visitors to the site) to miss important, warning noises such as the reversing beepers of heavy machinery and vehicles.

It is important that while on a construction site where heavy machinery and vehicles are in operation, we are not only on the lookout for these vehicles but also aware of their reversing beepers. This is particularly important because pedestrians being run over or struck by reversing vehicles is one of the major causes of injuries and deaths on construction sites.

Although these types of incidents are commonly occurring on Australian construction sites, a recent incident which took place on a site in Cheltenham in the UK highlights the need for attention to reversing beepers. A civil engineering firm was fined after a worker was seriously injured by a reversing tipper truck at one of its work sites.

The worker was struck down from behind by a vehicle which was delivering goods to the site last year.  The worker suffered serious injuries to his leg because of the incident, including a severed artery, a severely damaged thigh muscle and a large puncture wound. He had to be airlifted to hospital and was off work for 7 weeks following the incident.

An article on PPConstructionSafety.com explains what happened:

On Friday, Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how the man’s employer, Swindon-based John O’Flynn Developments Limited, failed to put adequate safety measures in place to prevent the incident. Following an investigation, the company was prosecuted by the HSE after it found that not enough was done to segregate workers on the ground from moving vehicles.

The injured working was using a noisy floor saw to cut a channel in a roadway when he was struck. The road should have been closed to site traffic, or vehicle movements closely supervised and monitored to ensure there was no risk.

Source: http://www.build.co.uk/construction_news.asp?newsid=168729

Following the hearing, the health and safety inspector said that the company had to be held liable because they were aware of the risks associated with allowing vehicles unrestricted access on construction sites but still allowed numerous vehicles to make deliveries by passing through the area where the injured worker and other workers were also positioned.

The company failed to implement the necessary measures to keep workers safe, such as separating workers from vehicles. The accident above occurred because the worker was working with his back to the reversing vehicle and because of the noise on the site, he was not able to hear it coming.  The company failed to implement basic safety measures and a worker suffered serious injury as a result. In this case or similar ones companies need to implement other control measures to ensure that workers and vehicles are separated or warned of each other. The control measures that need to be implemented will depend on the site’s unique circumstances which need to be identified, assessed and then a safety plan needs to be developed taking all risks into consideration.