3 Tower Complex for Old ABC Toowong Site

radical design 3 towers
Caption: Radical design of Toowong 3 towers
Source: BrisbaneTimes.com.au

Three residential buildings in the shape of champagne flutes will radically transform the old ABC Toowong site and Brisbane’s skyline.

Construction on the towers is expected to begin at the end of the year.

The development is expected to cost $430 million and will allow the public access to the former ABC site.

The design of the towers is a first for Brisbane and Australia.

Read more here.



Which Jobs Make You Drink?

Alcohol drinking
Source: www.theguardian.com

According to data from the US Government miners and construction workers are more likely than people in other jobs to drink and take drugs.

The survey undertaken recently showed that construction workers in The US showed abnormally high levels of alcohol consumption, regardless of their age or gender.

Here in Australia, the male dominated nature of construction means that workers drink often and a lot. Many employers are implementing alcohol and drug programs.

Read more about the survey here.


Stress Management for Construction Workers

foreign-construction-workerManaging stress has become an issue that we in the construction industry must address if we are to reduce suicides, improve safety and boost productivity on work sites.

Factors such as a heavy workload, traveling,  having responsibility for the safety of others, working long hours and the high risk involved with construction work sometimes brings more stress than other workplaces.

Addressing stress similarly to other risks is one way of tackling the issue…

  • Step 1: Identify the hazards
  • Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Step 3: Evaluate the risk and take action
  • Step 4: Record your findings
  • Step 5: Monitor and review

More tips on stress management here.


WorkCover NSW Issues Scaffolding Safety Alert

scaffolding collapse
Source: www.heart.co.uk

WorkCover NSW have issued a safety alert highlighting the safety risks associated with scaffolding collapses. The alert also aims to help avoid such incidents.

The alert comes after an incident when workers were injured after a scaffold collapsed into the street. A second incident occurred when a scaffold collapsed into a laneway and neighbouring properties, no one was injured in this incident.

Access the alert here.

Safety Video : Preventing Trips and Falls on Site

Trips and Falls are responsible for great number of injuries on construction sites and although the subject is covered in brief by White Card training (mandatory safety training for all construction workers), more in-depth training may be necessary in specific cases.

Watch this informative safety video to brush up on your safety knowledge.


Company Pleads Guilty over Wayne Vickery Death

wayne vickery
Caption: Wayne Vickery killed on a worksite in 2011.
Source: CanberraTimes.com.au

The Canberra construction company that employed Wayne Vickery, a construction worker killed in a 2011 grader accident, has now pleaded guilty  to safety failings which resulted in the fatal incident.

The 45 year old worker was killed on a Macgregor site belonging to Canberra Contractors Pty Ltd.

Mr Vickery was described as a construction veteran who had been crouching down to check ground levels while building roads in a new residential housing estate when a grader reversed into him.

The company initially planned to fight the charges but changed their plea to guilty earlier this month.

Read more here.

White Card Update: Addressing Bullying From Senior Staff

Employers should understand the importance of addressing bullying in the workplace but we need to recognise that bullying doesn’t always occur horizontally, between employees or colleagues, bullying can also occur from the top down.

A recent case which took place at Mount Thorley is an example of bullying from senior staff down to lower level employees.

Mine workers at the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine have alleged that they were bullied and harassed by senior staff at the mine and have lodged complaints against the supervisors in production and maintenance areas of the mine.

The CFMEU has lodged complaints on behalf of the 8 employees who claim that their supervisors at the mind had bullied them. The complaints have been lodged at the NSW Department of Trade and Investment mine safety office.

The CFMEUs union district president Peter Jordan reiterated that no workers should ever be bullied in the workplace and it is important that we take all bullying and harassment complaints seriously but even more so when it comes from eight separate employees within a single workplace.

Jordan explained that it was unusual for complaints to be lodged against supervisors from so many workers at the mine, usually individual members would lodge complaints against other workers at other mines.

A spokesperson from Mount Thorley Warkworth recently said in a statement:

Mount Thorley Warkworth mine workers claim bullying   Newcastle Herald“Mine safety operation inspectors are investigating under the Work Health and Safety Act,” the spokesman said.

“They have recommended that the company form a panel to further investigate the allegations, resolve the issue and report back to the inspectors.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2381727/mount-thorley-warkworth-mine-workers-claim-bullying/


A panel consisting of Rio Tinto representatives and a CFMEU mine site check inspector will be considering the case within the next few weeks. According to a spokesperson from the mine, the company had clear standards which upheld the rights of all employees but other companies can save themselves this kind of problem by educating employees including management about bullying and monitoring the situation on worksites regularly. Employers should never wait until the situation gets out of hand before addressing the problem, especially when there are a number of workers making the same complaints. Ignoring even one complaint is bad enough, but when it takes 8 workers lodging complaints for action to be taken, the situation is out of hand.

Not only do allegations such as this one affect the corporate image of a company, it affects productivity and as research has proven bullying costs companies in Oz billions of dollars every year.

A survey conducted by Drake International earlier this year which questioned 800 employees revealed that half of them had witnessed bullying in the workplace and at least 25 per cent had actually been victims of bullying themselves. Much of this bullying occurs from the top down and employers have a financial incentive to address this type of behaviour before it affects workplace productivity and the company’s bottom line.

White Card Update: Safety Tips for Construction Drill Usage

It seems that one of the most widely utilised yet incorrectly utilised tools in the construction and building sector is the simple drill. Often it is the most commonly used items that are abused and those tools which we tend to operate on a daily basis are those which we develop bad habits when working with.

While the construction sector is one of the most dangerous, recording a lot of injuries across the country, many of these injuries are so called “minor” injuries or those which aren’t life threatening such as musculoskeletal injuries, minor cuts and bruises etc. Even though drill use is perceived as a simple task which doesn’t require much brain work, if you fail to adhere to the safety precautions required for safe drill usage, you can sustain minor or even more serious, life threatening but totally preventable injuries.

Here we discuss a few Drill Safety Tips to refresh your memory about best drill practice.

Those in the construction field need to keep in mind that it is up to the employer to train all employees on how to use them safely and correctly.

There are different types of drills which are utilised in the construction sector and each presents its own risks and safety control measures. The most commonly utilised on building sites are Drill Presses and Hand Held Drills.

Working with Hand Held Drills

Hand held drills are common even in private residences, so because of their commonality many people incorrectly assume that they aren’t dangerous. Any tool can be dangerous if it is improperly utilised and hand held drills are no different.

In fact hand held drills can actually present even greater risks than other types of drills because it is portable. Because hand held drills are not stationary, they are often more versatile than a standard drill press but this portability also presents its risks. Therefore workers must be educated on how to safely use a hand held drill.

  • Although it may seem unnecessary ensure that workers have received the necessary safety training to undertake work with any tool including a drill. Also make sure they read and understand the drill’s manual before they use it for the first time.
  • A danger to workers presented by work with any electric power tool is that they may be electrocuted. Drills with cords should be inspected to ensure they aren’t damaged. The plug should be checked for cuts, fraying or tearing and should not be used if any of these are discovered.
  • Another common malpractice when it comes to hand held drill usage is that workers set it down for a minute without turning it off. Every time the drill leaves your hands it should be turned off. Also never walk around with a drill that is turned on.
  • Ensure that the drill bits being used are made for the use in that drill and fit perfectly. If the drill bit is made for other drills it may not fit correctly. Also ensure the drill is turned off before you replace drill bits.
  • Don’t forget the use of Personal protective equipment. Goggles should be worn when working with a drill to protect your eyes from dust, wood, drill bits etc.

Tips for Drill Press Safety

The use of a drill press is common in a number of trades and commercially they are given preference over hand held drills because they tend to be more accurate. It also allows the user to have more control over the piece they are working with because it is built in to the table and has clamps to give complete control to the operator. But like handheld drills they can present a risk and need to be used safely.

  • Like hand held drills workers should begin by ensuring that the drill isn’t damaged. Inspect the tool and if it is in good order you can proceed.
  • During your inspection, also check the clamps and the table that the drill is attached to. If there are any cracks of breaks don’t use the drill. Also ensure that the clamps are properly secured and immovable. Also check the guards and covered before starting the drill.
  • Don’t operate a drill press while wearing loose, baggy, flowing items of clothing or anything that can get caught. Remove your jewellery and ensure that your long hair has been tied back and away from the machine.
  • Don’t improvise when it comes to drill bits. If the bit hasn’t been made for the drill you’re using, don’t use it.
  • Ensure that before you begin drilling, whatever you are working with has been tightly secured with clamps.
  • Always keep your extremities at least 3 inches away from the drill bit.
  • If you walk away ensure it has been turned off and avoid distractions while the drill is in use.


Importance of Safety near Power lines and Electricity

WorkCover NSW is once again reminding workers to be cautious when working with electricity and near power lines, an issue that is particularly relevant for those in the construction industry.

The warning from WorkCover NSW came after a recent analysis showed that there were 2 people who were electrocuted in the last 12 months and 14 people suffered electric shocks – that’s 16 incidents in a 12 month period between August 2012 and August 2013 involving electrical hazards.

WorkCover NSW highlighted one instance of a worker installing air conditioning when the wiring which was still energised caused him to receive an electric shock. The man died shortly afterwards in hospital.

The second incident cited by WorkCover NSW involved a plasterer attempting to install a ceiling fan when he cut through energised wiring by mistake and received an electric shock. In addition to the shock he also subsequently fell 2.4 metres off the ladder he had been working on causing additional injuries.

According to WorkSafe, working with or near electrical installations can be dangerous making it necessary for workers as well as employers to take the necessary precautions and always use licensed electricians for all electrical installation work.

It is important to remember that although all electrical situations are different, there are basic control measures that can be undertaken to improve electrical safety. WorkSafe reiterated the importance of testing before touching, a simple but commonly overlooked step in electrical safety.

Workers must remember to de-energise before starting work by identifying and isolating the source of electricity and locking and tagging the switch.

WorkSafe also reminded workers to regularly test and tag equipment especially in certain conditions including those which involve exposing electrical equipment to moisture, heat vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals and dust.

It is also particularly important to take into consideration any nearby over head or underground power lines to avoid getting electric shock or arc flash burns. Workers, equipment, material and plant should be kept at a safe distance from overhead and underground electric lines.

WorkSafe also warned businesses that if they fail to implement the necessary safety controls to protect workers, they will be prosecuted. Under workplace health and safety laws employers must provide workers with a safety system of work and that includes preventing them from being shocked or electrocuted while conducting their work.

In another incident a company was fined after 2 of its workers received electric shocks while unloading construction materials underneath live power lines. This is just the type of incident which can occur when sites controllers don’t implement the necessary safety measures on site to keep everyone safe. The 2 men involved almost lost their lives but luckily managed to survive the shock, the next time they may not be so lucky.

While the alert is regarding all work near or with electricity, the last incident also highlights the importance of ensuring that everyone who visits a construction site, even material delivery workers are trained on general construction safety training in the form of the federally mandated White Card. Even casual visitors like these 2 are going to be exposed to the hazards presented by construction work and need to know how to remain safe and avoid becoming a liability to others on site – this is the purpose of the White Card.