How to Make the Workplace Safe for Employees

Source: Pixabay.com

If you’re responsible for a business, you will need to create a safe working environment and maintain it. This is a crucial part of management because protecting the health and welfare of workers by providing a safe working environment and system of work is part of workplace health and safety requirements. It will also ensure the business runs smoothly and efficiently.

Employers also need to ensure that workers are aware of the health and safety procedures in place. Employees have a responsibility to abide by the rules and safety measures set out and work in a way that does not put themselves or others at risk.

So what should Management do?

A recent post on BusinessComputingWorld.co.uk offered a few tips. While Australian health and safety regulations may differ from the UK’s, we can also put these into practice,

1.Develop a safety plan established upon health and safety regulations. 

A manager needs to know the risks present in the workplace in order to minimise their harm or eliminate them.Once the hazards are known, a plan can be developed to make the workplace safer.

Once the safety plan has been drawn up, it needs to be shared with employees. They also need to have the tools in place to execute this plan, including having first aid kits on hand in case something goes wrong.

2. Examine the Workplace

Have a team in place to look at the workplace and identify hazards and risks. They also need to review these measures regularly,

You do not have to inspect the work site by yourself, you should have a team of specialists who know what the equipment and tools state should be. It is important to have regular checks, because even an out of date computer can lead to an accident, and can hurt the person who is using it. Or it can cause a fire, and in this case multiple persons could be hurt. Regular inspections will show if there are any risks posed by the equipment you and your employees use. Safety specialists can also examine the areas where people have access in case your clients come on site and they can inspect the work procedures.

Source: http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/guidelines-for-organising-a-safe-working-environment/

3. Focus on Investigating Health Accidents Related to Work

The writer suggests investigating past accidents, incidents and health issues experienced by the people in the workplace. Determine whether health issues are related to the workplace and investigate near misses, to determine if there are any areas that need to be addressed.

4. Ensure Employees Are Properly Trained

Ensure employees have been properly trained. In the construction industry this includes general construction induction training, site specific training and any high risk training that may be needed.

General construction induction training is mandatory in Australia, to teach workers how to work safely in the construction industry. This training can be completed quickly and conveniently online from wherever you are. Once complete, the White Card accreditation gained is nationally recognised, so you can work anywhere in Australia without having to repeat the training.

5. Help Employees Manage Their Rehabilitation

No matter how committed to safety you are, sometimes an accident can still happen. In this case its crucial that you help employees manage their rehabilitation.

This step should be part of any safety plan, because it shows your employees that you support them in case they suffer an injury or accident when working. You will have to work with the employee who faces health issues happened at their workplace, because it is in your interest they to come back at work. Even if the employees experience a health issue because of an outside the work factor, you should still support them, because it will help them recover faster. When an employee experiences work related health issues you should have a plan on how their duties will be relocated.

Read more http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/guidelines-for-organising-a-safe-working-environment/

Builder Fined For Bullying Apprentice

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A builder has been fined $12,500 for bullying an apprentice in his employ over a 2 year period.

The bullying which came not only from the builder himself but other employees who he encouraged to join in on the bullying of the apprentice.

The bullying and harassment apparently only stopped when the apprentice left the job.

The teenage apprentice was subjected to extreme and shocking harassment and abuse including verbal, physical and psychological abuse.

A victim impact statement said that the apprentice still suffers  from anxiety, depression, nightmares and insomnia caused by the bullying.

This conviction serves as a reminder to those who use their positions of power over others to abuse and bully them that this is not acceptable and they will be brought to book for their unacceptable behaviour.

Read more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/builder-fined-12500-bullying-young-apprentice/#.V4AT4fl97IV

Bullying in the workplace is Unacceptable

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A Geelong carpenter has pleaded guilty to one rolled up charge for workplace bullying under the 2004 OHS Act for failing to provide a safe system of work to an apprentice worker.

The builder was charged $12,500 for bullying an apprentice over a period of 2 years until he left in April 2015.

The worker was subjected to repeated abuse and harassment during the 2 year period, including having a live mouse put down his shirt and being spat on by an employee. The apprentice was also drenched with water, slapped with timber, scraped with sandpaper and had hot drill saw bits held against his skin.

This case proves that bullying will not be tolerated in the workplace. See more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/builder-fined-12500-bullying-young-apprentice/#.V4AT4fl97IV

China’s Tallest Building Ready

The tallest building in China and second tallest building in the world is complete.

The 127-story Shanghai Tower took extremely long by Chinese standards to build – 7 years from ground breaking to completion.

The only building in the world higher than Shanghai Tower is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

What makes the Shanghai Towers so special and unique, other than the height? Watch this video to find out…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCbLNu6hzxI

 

 

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 Restores Rights of Queensland Workers

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Source: soundsaustralia.com.au

On 17 September 2015 the new workers’ compensation law was passed by Parliament and has been hailed as the Queensland Government’s fulfilment of a promise to restore the rights of Queensland’s injured workers.

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 attempts to “reinstate common law rights for injured workers that were affected by changes made by the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (the 2013 Amendment Act)”.

The bill also attempts to “establish the ability to provide additional compensation to particular workers impacted by the operation of the common law threshold”.

Find out more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/09/workers-compensation-bill-passed-parliament/#.VhLsyPmqqko

WorkSafe WA Inspection Program Reveals Compliance in Licensing and Training

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Source: www.constructionweekonline.com

A WorkSafe WA inspection program conducted in the northern suburbs of Perth at the end of August revealed overall good results in terms of compliance with training and licensing.

During the inspection 44 construction sites were visited and 29 improvement notices and five prohibition notices issued.

Inspectors focussed on the priority areas of electrical safety and working at heights, and also checked whether workers held High Risk Work licences where required and whether they had completed the necessary induction training, also known as The White Card.

White Card training is mandatory for all construction workers.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/09/worksafe-wa-inspection-program-reveals-compliance-licensing-training/#.VghSe_mqqkp

The Keys to Keeping Young Workers Safe

Young workers are arguably the most at risk on the worksite, mostly due to their inexperience on the job and in life in general, that is why I found an article written by Joanna Weekes on www.healthandsafetyhandbook.com.au useful.

The post entitled “6 steps to keep young workers safe” highlights the steps that employers can take to ensure the most “at risk” workers on the site are being protected.

Despite the fact that young workers are usually the most eager and willing to please workers you will come across, they are also the ones with the least knowledge and experience which makes them a safety risk. Employers cannot underestimate the need for protection when it comes to this section of the work force.

The article goes on to highlight the 6 steps to making a workplace safer for young workers.

people_160Take these steps to keep your young workers safe:

  • introduce new workers to their supervisor and co-workers; 
  • carry out inductions of the workplace, work tasks, and health and safety policies and procedures;
  • explain the process for reporting a safety incident or concern;
  • roster experienced workers with young or inexperienced workers to ensure they are adequately supervised;
  • ensure there are always adequate staffing numbers, particularly during busy periods; and
  • provide training for all new workers.

Source: Source: http://www.healthandsafetyhandbook.com.au/6-steps-to-keep-young-workers-safe/

Training is one of the most crucial aspects of worker safety especially young workers who are both inexperienced and not as knowledgeable as older workers.

Naturally safety training is the best way to pass safety knowledge on to young workers who are probably entering the work site with little or no knowledge of safety. They should receive training that covers first aid, health and safety policies, accident and emergency procedures; and bullying, discrimination and harassment policies.

As the writer points out, in certain industries such as the construction industry workers also need to receive training that covers correct use of personal protective equipment; manual handling, e.g. how to safely lift heavy objects; and how to safely operate equipment and machinery.

For young people beginning in the construction sector they must first complete White Card training which is the mandatory construction safety training course required for anyone embarking on construction work.

Getting a Construction White Card online has become the most popular choice because of its convenience. The White Card (CPCCOHS1001A Construction Industry Induction Training) is now available online 24-7 and is here we show how simple it is to complete the training.

 

Developers in NSW to Cover Defect Costs

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Source: www.apartmenttherapy.com

A report by the University of New South Wales has found that building defects are present in about 85 per cent of buildings since the year 2000 with the most common defects including shifting foundations, water leaks, wall cracks and tiling faults.

As a result the government has proposed a new system that would see developers paying a 2 per cent bond to cover the remedy of any defects.

A bill will be introduced to Parliament in October and the laws would likely be introduced in the new year.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-02/nsw-developers-to-pay-levy-to-cover-defect-costs/6743248

Importance of Training to survive emergency situations

Although the number of incidents occurring on construction sites where workers are injured or killed is declining according to work authority statistics, it is still important to ensure safety is a priority so that these good safety records are maintained. Sadly many people tend to become complacent with safety the more familiar they are with it, this is when accidents happen because people let down their guards.

The first thing employers should ensure is that all workers, whether contract workers, temporary, experienced or apprentice workers, are properly trained to handle the many hazards presented by construction work. According to Australian legislation this involves completing the white card course (visit our homepage for more on the online course).

Often on a construction site workers are injured or cause injury to others because they are taken by surprise. If workers are adequately trained on safety and remain alert at all times, the risk of incidents is lowered.  Unfortunately accidents do still happen and workers need to be able to respond appropriately in an emergency situation. Workers must be prepared to handle these situations to avoid injuries and possible fatalities.

Panic is the enemy when it comes to accidents on a construction site however there is little we can do to stop human nature, other than ensure that workers are prepared and in order to that they need to be trained. When an accident or some other emergency occurs workers don’t have much time to make decisions – that is why they need to be trained so that they are aware of what to do should something go wrong.

When events such as fires, explosions, structural collapses and falls etc. take place, fast action is needed to prevent further injury and assist workers that may be already injured. Workers need to be trained on the appropriate response because time to assess the situation is limited and workers need to instinctively know what to do.

Workers need to stay calm, raise the alarm and get help by alerting supervisors, first aid officers or health and safety reps as to the situation.

Employers need to remember that they have a responsibility to implement emergency response plans, keeping in mind all stages of the construction project. It is also important to consider the availability of emergency services. Every scenario should be taken into consideration and a strategy should be developed to control whatever the emergency situation may be. Some of the possible situations that need to considered are vehicle and machinery rollovers, excavation collapses, cranes making contact with over-head power lines etc, the list is very long.

Employers must however remember that having the best safety plan in place is not good enough to overcome incidents, workers need to be made aware of these plans through adequate training. Emergency procedures should be regularly reviewed and assessed to determine whether they remain sufficient or whether they should altered depending on the stage of construction and the processes taking place.