Festive Season Workplace Safety Warning Issued by WorkSafe Victoria

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.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/victorian-workplaces-reminded-stay-safe-lead-festive-season/#.W_uY9uIlE1k

When The Weather Requires You to Down Tools

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An interesting post on Abc.net.au highlights the dilemma facing all  tradies working on construction sites outdoors, when are the weather conditions enough to down tools?

As tradepeople interviewed point out, deciding when to stop work due to the weather can be tricky given that you also still need to get paid.

Each state has its own workplace health and safety regulations, but often it is up to the person to decide whether it is safe to work in weather conditions. While there are a number of factors to consider such as time frame, type of work etc, ultimately it comes down to safety. If it’s not safe, it’s not worth continuing.

Read the article at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-16/how-to-mange-weather-in-construction-jobs/10083870

Operator Fined After Driver Killed in Quarry Accident

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.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/quarry-operator-fined-following-death-worker/#.XD5Sec0lE1l

Advice for Handling Bullying on the Job

An interesting article on PerthNow.com.au discussed what to do when you are being bullied on a work site and in particular what to do when that bullying comes from your boss.

Workplace bullying is described as the repeated and unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to the health and safety of employees.

Workplace bullying can occur between anyone at work, it is even more complicated when it involves an employee and their manager or supervisor.

In this regard recognising what is unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour is very important.

The article’s writer provided a  list of red flags that employees can look for if they suspect their boss is bullying them including verbal abuse, threatening and inappropriate behaviour. If they regular yell, swear or make jokes at your expense on a regular basis, this constitutes bullying. Behaviour like this in front of co-workers can make people feel humiliated.

Bosses who bully also usually invade personal space and try to intimidate their employees.

Sometimes more sinister tactics are employed involving work, such as setting unrealistic deadlines or undermining work performance or even setting tasks that you don’t have the knowledge or skill to complete.

Isolating and excluding people from key meetings or team gatherings may also constitute bullying.

Some bosses may even spread malicious rumours to make co-workers shun the victim of their abuse.

Once you recognise that you are being bullied, you must decide what course of action to take. To learn more read the article on https://www.perthnow.com.au/business/workplace-matters/what-to-do-when-your-boss-becomes-a-bully-ng-b881088582z

How Toxic Work Stress Can Affect Your Health

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Everyone experiences some form of stress at some time in their lives but toxic stress left unchecked can have devastating effects on our mental and physical health.

Experts have warned about the danger of toxic stress. Safe Work Australia said that 92 per cent of serious work related mental disorder claims can be attributed to mental stress.

In a 2015 study, Stanford University organisational behaviour professor Jeffrey Pfeffer found that poor management in the USA was responsible for almost 8 per cent of annual health costs and 120,000 deaths annually.

He argued that mental health and stress in the workplace is not being addressed, but rather only the physical health and safety of workers was being focused on.

Signs of Toxic Stress:

According to US Clinical psychologist Monique Reynolds from the Centre for Anxiety and Behavioural Change, the first sign of a destructive job is loss of sleep. These people will likely wake up in the middle of the night thinking about their to-do list.

If you have a pattern of insomnia, it could be a sign of unhealthy job stress.

Another sign is chronic tension in the neck and shoulders which also causes migraines and tension headaches. Dr Reynolds said that because our nervous systems are constantly on edge in these toxic jobs, we are constantly waiting to react to that unpleasant boss or co-worker.

If you have had previous bouts of mental illness, this can cause you to “cross the clinical threshold”, experts warn.

Research also shows that chronic stress can affect your immune system and make you sick more often.

Read more at: https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/stress-from-toxic-working-conditions-can-cause-serious-health-risks-and-lower-sex-drive/news-story/a364f34172e34cd6ddb0b2a11d75daec

Man Dies After being Electrocuted by Overhead Powerlines while Trimming Trees

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A case being investigated by WorkSafe reminds us to beware of overhead power-lines, especially when working from elevated work platforms.

A man was killed recently after being electrocuted by power-lines while trimming trees in Melbourne’s south east.

The incident involved a 26 year old worker who died when the cherry picker platform that he was on came into contact with live power-lines in Hughesdale.

Emergency services were called to the scene but the man was pronounced deceased at the scene.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/tree-trimmer-electrocuted-hughesdale/#.XHa3aLglE1m

Worker Impaled on Steel Reinforcing Bar on Construction Site

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A horrific construction accident has taken place at a Gosford construction site, highlighting the risks of slips, trips and falls on construction sites.

A man was impaled by a steel reinforcing bar after falling from one floor to another at a construction site.

The man, in his thirties, was working on the 8th floor when he tripped and fell to the floor below, landing on a steel bar, being impaled.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and freed the man before airlifting him to Gosford Hospital where he arrived in a serious but stable condition.

The incident is under investigation by Safe Work.

For more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/worker-impaled-falling-gosford-construction-site/#.XGqp7LglE1l

Coroner Hands Down Findings on Ben Catanzariti Workplace Death

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The coroner has handed down his findings on the workplace death of Ben Catanzariti in 2012.

The accident took place 6 years ago on an ACT construction site.

Recently findings in the long awaited inquest were handed down in the ACT Coroner’s Court.

The coroner said based on the evidence that it was not possible to say what caused the bolts to fail that led to the young worker’s death.

The findings are similar to those reached by prosecutors years ago who dropped a criminal prosecution of the company involved following multiple reports suggesting various reasons of why the boom failed, hitting 3 workers, one of whom was Ben Catanzariti.

Workers Leg Crushed by Saw Blade in Workplace Accident

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Freak accidents are common occurrences on construction sites as a twenty-six year worker in New South Wales recently discovered.

The man sustained serious crush injuries after a saw blade fell onto his leg at a Sydney worksite recently.

It is believed the man was working at a West Pennant Hills site when the saw blade, estimated to weight one-tonne, fell and crushed his leg.

The man was treated by paramedics at the scene and rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital for further treatment.

The incident is under investigation by SafeWork NSW.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/10/workers-leg-crushed-saw-blade-sydney-worksite/#.W-l-cOIlE1k