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.

Airborne Fungi Pose Health Risk to Construction Workers at WestConnex

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Construction workers working in the M4 East tunnels in Sydney’s inner west were exposed to extremely high concentrations of airborne fungi. It posed a potentially “high risk to all persons”.

Recently 500 construction workers walked off the site after the findings were revealed. They had failed to receive adequate assurances from the contractor building the tunnels.

A confidential report by a Mycolab laboratory found the average of 4 samples taken from inside the tunnels had an “extremely high” rating of airborne fungal concentrations.The concentration found was significantly higher than outdoor airbourne fungal concentrations, which may pose a health risk to everyone present and particularly to sensitised individuals.

Construction staff and electricians refused to enter the tunnels until steps were taken to safeguard their health, walking off the site.

SafeWork SA Apologise for Failing Victims after Failed Prosecution

SafeWork SA has apologised for the failed prosecution of a construction company following a fatal incident that caused injury to 2 women in Adelaide’s CBD.

The women were crushed by a steel construction gate in 2016 when it fell on them at North Terrace, causing them to sustain serious injuries.

SafeWork apologised to the victims after admitting to failing to secure evidence. Following the incident, SafeWork SA embarked on an immediate investigation.

SafeWork SA executive director Martyn Campbell admitted that SafeWork should have done better to secure evidence.

Read more at : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-11/safety-watchdog-apologises-for-another-failed-prosecution/10366474

SafeWork’s Plan to Lower Construction Fatalities in NSW

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SafeWork NSW has a plan to lower construction fatalities in the state.

The plan aims to reduce work related deaths by 30 per cent and injuries and illnesses by 50 per cent over the next 5 years.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the plan isn’t about numbers alone, it’s about people.

Mr Kean said NSW has already exceeded national targets, with workplace deaths falling by 35 per cent. He said that while the outcome is good, even one death or injury is too many.

The issue is particularly relevant given that NSW is in the middle of its biggest road and rail construction boom in the nation’s history.Worker safety needs to remain the main focus.

It’s crucial that all workers in construction have completed general construction induction training also known as The White Card course, to ensure they know how to work safely on a construction site.

Find out more at: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/news/media-release/driving-down-deaths-in-construction-industry

NSW Gets More Funding for WHS

Workplace Health and Safety in NSW has received a $10 million boost to help slash red tape for small businesses and to increase the reach of workplace safety regulators in the state.

In the 2018-2019 budget, government made a significant investment in SafeWork initiatives to address workplace health and safety in the state.

The Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the funding for SafeWork NSW for 2018-19 will include rebates for small businesses committed to worker health and safety, Roadmap Health and Safety Landscape initiatives, development of a mentally healthy workplaces strategy and expanding the Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

Mr Kean went on to stress the importance of getting workers home safely at the end of the day, something the government is committed to.

Find out more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/funding-help-keep-nsw-workers-safe/#.Wz5KKyAlE1l

SafeWork NT issues Tilt Cab Safety Alert

Heavy vehicles and trucks are common fixtures on construction sites because they are invaluable for transporting loads, making the task of workers a little bit easier. But sometimes a useful tool can become an unsuspected and dangerous threat to workers.

SafeWork Northern Territory has just issued a safety alert to make workers aware of the dangers of maintaining work vehicles and machinery. It is crucial that all safety mechanisms are engaged before beginning any maintenance on this equipment to avoid serious injuries or death. Although maintenance work has to be done to ensure these vehicles remain in good working order and safe, the very act of maintaining these machines can be hazardous.

SafeWork was prompted to issue an alert after a worker who was engaging in maintenance work in the engine compartment of a truck died after the cab fell back onto him. The particularly model of vehicle required a locking pin to be inserted into the cab support in order for it to be secured and prevent it from falling back down. In this instance, the worker either did not insert the locking pin or it became dislodged accidentally, either way it resulted in tragedy. Read what happed below with a post from SafetyCulture.com.au:

SafeWork NT has issued a safety alert to remind workers and person’s conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU’s) to properly engage all safety mechanisms before undertaking maintenance work on vehicles and machinery.

Background

A station hand carrying out maintenance work in the engine compartment of a truck received fatal injuries when the cab fell back onto him.

The truck, a Mitsubishi FV418, requires the cab to be tilted up and forward to access the engine compartment. When the cab is tilted forward, a cab support is extended and engaged to hold the tilted cab in place. A locking pin is required to be inserted into the cab support to prevent the cab support from being accidentally disengaged and falling back into place.

Contributing factors

The locking pin was either dislodged or not inserted, allowing the cab support to disengage.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/nt-safety-alert-securing-raised-tilt-cabs/

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Cab support with locking mechanism in place

Photo Source: http://www.worksafe.nt.gov.au/SafetyAlerts/SiteAssets/Lists/Posts/NewPost/SA201304.pdf

It is quite surprising that something as small as a locking pin is enough to prevent the big cab from falling and crushing a worker. Although it is so small and seemingly insignificant, without it workers are endangering their lives, as this tragedy proves. The alert by SafeWork went on to describe the steps that should be taken to avoid this kind of incident in the future.

Action required

  • Before undertaking any maintenance on vehicles or machinery workers should refer to the vehicle or machinery operating manual and follow all safety instructions.
  • All safety mechanisms should be engaged and checked before the commencement of maintenance work on vehicles or machinery.
  • PCBU’s concerned with the suitability of the inbuilt safety mechanism should consider, in consultation with the manufacturer, additional safety mechanisms such as:
  • Using additional cab struts to secure the cab
  • Using a cotter pin or similar restraint to secure the locking pin if there are concerns it can be easily dislodged

Contact Details

For further information please contact NT WorkSafe on 1800 019 115 or go to www.worksafe.nt.gov.au

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/nt-safety-alert-securing-raised-tilt-cabs/