Knowing When Is The Right Time To Down Your Tools Due To Weather

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A real challenge in the construction industry is knowing when to down tools due to the weather for example when it is too hot or too wet to work.

While in most cases workers get paid upon completion of work, it’s important to know when downing tools is warranted and when it’s best to continue working.

In some cases it may just be too dangerous to continue working and when you’re safety or health is at stake, no amount of money is going to make up for your health.

In every state there are workplace health and safety regulations but it is often the job of individuals to assess the weather and decide whether or not they should continue working. Construction employers should also have guidelines in place to protect workers in harsh weather.

Natural disasters, heavy rains and even climate change has an impact on construction.  Read more about it at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-16/how-to-mange-weather-in-construction-jobs/10083870

NSW Government’s Plan to Reduce Deaths in Construction

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The NSW government has a plan to address workplace deaths and accidents in the construction industy, pledging $80 billion to NSW infrastructure over the next 4 years.

As infrastructure construction amps up over the coming years, safety in the construction industry is a priority with  more than 400,000 people expected to be employed by the industry by 2022.

Between 2013-14 and 2015-16, 35 workers lost their lives on construction sites in the state, mostly due to falls from heights.

The state government has been working with more than 100 industry representatives to gain a better understanding of the industry and its safety needs. The feedback has given the government an idea of how to better support businesses and workers. The plan addresses issues such as asbestosis, management of musculoskeletal injuries and mental health of workers.

The plan will precede 4 sub-sector plans that address specifically the high rise buildings, housing, infrastrastructure and demolition sectors of the industry.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/07/plan-reduce-deaths-injuries-nsw-construction-workplaces-launched/#.W3qV2bglE1l

Why Tradies Need to Put their Health First

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A recent post on CanberraTimes.com.au highlighted the importance of taking care of your health as a tradie because this is something we often neglect.

Canberra carpenter Adam Potts has been a tradie for 15 years and explains how neglect of his body has taken its toll. This neglect led to neck, shoulder and elbow pain which has led him to taking time off work.

In fact research from the Australian Physiotherapy Association reveals that Australian tradies are almost twice as likely to take good care of their tools than their bodies despite having one of the highest injury rates of any occupation.

According to researchers 79 per cent of tradies reported taking good care of their tools and only 47 per cent took good care of their bodies.

Mr Potts advises tradies to avoid working 80 hour weeks, for their physical and mental health.

See more at https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/you-think-you-re-invincible-how-the-job-is-taking-a-toll-on-tradies-20180802-p4zv5f.html

Tradie Safety Month – What we’ve learned

Tradies make up one third of Australia’s workforce, yet their injuries account for more than half of the country’s serious workers’ compensation claims.

That is why Safe Work Australia has made August Tradies Health Month to remind employers to protect their workers and to remind tradies of the importance of safety.

Michelle Baxter of Safe Work Australia said employees were a company’s greatest assets, so employers need to take care of them.

The most common serious claims for workers compensation are due to muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects. Tradies most often experienced traumatic joint, ligament and/or muscle/ tendon injuries.

Another alarming statistic released by Safe Work revealed that 50 tradies die every year from vehicle incidents.

Ms Baxter said taking shortcuts will actually end up costing you more. Throughout the month information and resources regarding tradie safety will be available in the form of data, videos etc on Safe Work’s website.

Read more at https://psnews.com.au/2018/08/06/safe-work-to-trade-on-tradies-safety/

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

ACT Government May Implement Licencing Exam for State Builders

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Mandatory licensing exams may be implemented by The ACT  Government for builders in the state across the A,B,C Classes when renewing.

The ACT introduced the entry test requirement in 2016 and currently it has a high failure rate for builders seeking a C Class licence. The ACT government provides a notice to builders to brush up on their skills and knowledge.

Minister for Regulatory Services Gordon Ramsay recently said builders need to take steps to lift their performance and skills to ensure they are delivering quality, compliant and safe buildings.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/licensing-exam-act-builders/#.W0MeJCAlE1l

Beware when Working on Live Circuits/Switchboards – WorkSafe Warns

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WorkSafe Victoria is urging business owners, contractors and workers to be cautious when working on live switchboards or circuits. The warning comes as the safety regulator focuses on a month of electrical safety.

The regulator is also stressing the importance of ensuring the adequate training and supervision of apprentices.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Health and Safety, Paul Fowler said electricans were often under pressure from clients to get the job done quickly and to work with live electricity in order to avoid disruption to trade and production. Clients often don’t recognise the risks, so electrical employers and contractors must look for alternatives, such as scheduling work when the power supply can be shut down without affecting business.

He went on to say that the electricity should always be isolated and tested before work begins, regardless of the task.

Lives shouldn’t be put at risk to save time or inconvenience. Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/worksafe-victoria-warns-dangers-working-live-switchboards-circuits/#.Wz_fASAlE1l

Thousands Of Construction Workers Required for $3.6b Project

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A $3.6 billion project planned nearby The Sunshine Coast has promised to create more than 2000 jobs.

The search for the 2000 workers has begun at the same time as the first day of construction on the Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane.

The project will involve work on the diaphragm wall, a concrete wall 172 metres in length which will provide a watertight underground barrier between the planned wharf and the Brisbane River.

Over the next 15 months workers are expected to excavate more than 450,000 cubic metres of material for the 5 level basement to accommodate thousands of parked cars.

Recruitment has started and hundreds more construction workers are needed to complete the project.

Tradespeople, suppliers, sub-contractors and interested parties can register their interest on www.queenswharfbrisbane.com.au

Read more at https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/2000-construction-workers-wanted-40-minutes-from-c/3441728/

Work Stress Link to Common Mental Illness

According to the latest research by the Black Dog Institute, high strain on the job is linked to an increased risk of common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety among middle-aged workers.

The research shows that up to 14 per cent of new cases of common mental health illnesses, such as depression could be prevented simply by reducing job strain.

Job strain was classified by researchers as a combination of high work pace, intensity and conflicting demands, together with low control or decision-making power.

According to lead author Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from the Black Dog Institute, mental illness is the leading cause of sickness absence and long term work incapacity in the nation.  Harvey explained that this absence equates to $11 billion lost by Australian businesses annually.

The good news is that research also provides strong evidence that organisations can improve employee wellbeing by modifying their workplaces to focus on being more mentally healthy.

Harvey explained,

“Our modelling used detailed data collected over 50 years to examine the various ways in which particular work conditions may impact an employee’s mental health.

“These findings serve as a wake-up call for the role workplace initiatives should play in our efforts to curb the rising costs of mental disorders.

“It’s important to remember that for most people, being in work is a good thing for their mental health.”

“But this research provides strong evidence that organisations can improve employee wellbeing by modifying their workplaces to make them more mentally healthy.”

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/job-strain-linked-common-mental-illness/#.WwwUNCAlE1k

The team involved in the research were from all over the world, analysing health data from 6870 participants. They investigated if people with job strain at the age of 45 were more likely to develop mental illness by age 50.

They also considered non-work related factors such as divorce, financial woes, housing, instability, stressful life events etc. Researchers also included in their research controls for people’s temperament, personality and other personal factors like IQ, education etc.

Researchers found that participants experiencing higher job demands, lower job control, and higher job strain were at greater odds of developing mental illness by age 50.

“Our research attempted to account for the possible reasons an individual’s work conditions could impact their mental health – and this modelling is the most complete ever published,” said Associate Professor Harvey.

“The results indicate that if we were able to eliminate job strain situations in the workplace, up to 14 percent of cases of common mental illness could be avoided.

“Workplaces can adopt a range of measures to reduce job strain, and finding ways to increase workers’ perceived control of their work is often a good practical first step. This can be achieved through initiatives that involve workers in as many decisions as possible.”

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/job-strain-linked-common-mental-illness/#.WwwUNCAlE1k

Take A Mental Break After Work to Improve Sleep

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A new study by the American Psychological Association claims that taking mental breaks after work will improve your sleep.

As we already know the quality of sleep we get is vital to our functioning at work and fatigue on the job can be a major health and safety concern. Getting good quality sleep is crucial to our health and safety, especially on high risk worksites.

This study reveals that taking mental breaks after work can actually help improve sleep quality.

The study involving 699 employees of the U.S. Forest Service had them rating the level of rude behaviour they experienced in the workplace, how often they had negative thoughts about work, whether they have insomnia symptoms and how much they were able to detach from work and relax.

Researchers also asked the respondents questions about issues previously linked with sleep issues such as the hours worked per week and frequency of alcoholic drinks consumed.

Lead author Caitlin Demsky, PhD, of Oakland University said experiencing rude or negative behaviours at work and bullying have been linked to more symptoms of insomnia.

If people are able to detach and relax after work, they are able to sleep better, Demsky said. She said the incivility in the workplace took its toll on sleep quality and the related negative thoughts were linked to other health problems.

The study’s authors also suggested employers introduce programs to reduce incivility in the workplace.

Find out more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/new-study-recommends-mental-breaks-work-improve-sleep/#.Wx0uGyAlHQV