Importance of General Construction Induction Training

One of the most important aspects of construction site safety is training. Having the best safety controls in place is pointless if workers aren’t aware of the hazards that work in the building industry can present, it’s like going into a battle unarmed because the hazards presented by construction work can be overwhelming to the untrained.

There are 2 main types of training that are mandatory for all workers in the building industry and they complement each other. The first form of training is The White Card course which is a comprehensive and informative course covering the most common hazards that work in the construction sector presents. The second is site specific and relates only to the hazards present on the specific work site.

The White Card Course is important because it is the foundation that workers in the construction industry need before they even begin work on any site regardless of the hazards it presents.

Now the White Card Course is national which means that once workers complete the course, they can work on any construction site anywhere in Oz. It also means that safety controls are more universal and that workers have a common and unified idea of how to control hazards on the building site. So it’s not only good for workers, it’s good for employers and for the construction industry in general.

For more information on the White Card Course or how you can complete it online, visit our homepage today.

White Card Online Upgrades Online Assessment Process

White Card Online recently upgraded their online assessment procedure for the CPPCCOHS1001A “Work Safely in the construction industry”. The course incorporates 15 short answer questions together with verbal questions to beanswered telephonically.

One of Australia’s leading online compliance training Registered Training Organisations (RTO), White Card Online, implemented a recent upgrade to their assessment process for the CPCCOHS1001A “Work safely in the construction industry” the online course.

The new assessment process incorporates both online as well as verbal questions which are answered via telephone in order to facilitate trainee’s learning to verbally report construction site hazards and risks and assess their ability to do so.  This is in addition to the 39 multiple choice questions contained in the previous course.

Peter Cutforth, Director of the course’s parent company Urban eLearning had this to say about the course’s upgrade: “We believe this improvement takes our course to an industry-leading new level amongst our peers of high profile White Card providers online, and sets a new benchmark and yardstick against which other online providers of the construction induction card must now be assessed.”

Cutforth went on to explain that Urban eLearning is taking an important step in lifting the bar in the industry. He went on to state “the governing body for RTO’s in Australia, “ASQA” has recently been looking closely at the quality of the assessment processes for this qualification, through a “Strategic Review” process”.

Urban eLearning has run the White Card Online course since 2009, providing more accessible, convenient and economical training to thousands of Australians, especially in regional areas.

In 2012 the Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council released course documentation amending the Skills and Knowledge for the White Card course CPCCOHS1001A by incorporating into the course:

– verbally reporting construction hazards and risks

– communication skills to clarify OHS Legislative requirements

– asking effective questions

– relaying information to others

– explaining OHS legislative requirements,

– explaining the meaning of safety signs and symbols, and

– discussing basic principles of risk management

According to Cutforth White Card Online’s short answer assessments are designed to delve beyond just knowledge and actually assess the trainee’s ability to apply the skills and knowledge gained in real life situations and scenarios that they may find themselves in on a construction site.

Certified trainers assess each trainee’s individual responses and are often required to further discuss their answers in order to confirm to our assessor that the trainee is fully competent.

With the new upgrades we are confident that as the leading RTO we have implemented the most efficient process which is in line with our core value, providing trainees with their White Card in a manner that is both efficient and convenient while sticking to the mandatory requirements laid down by the government for student ID verification and confirmation.

We at Urban eLearning anticipate further enhancements to our online programs as part of our company’s commitment to continuous quality improvement.

Visit https://www.whitecardonline.com.au for more information.

 

Construction Induction Card- How Do I Get One?

WorkSafe Red Card, are they still valid?

According to WorkSafe the construction industry in Victoria is one of the largest, employing approximately 225,000 workers and growing.  This is an industry that is expanding each year requiring new and inexperienced workers to undergo general construction site safety training in order to gain access to work a construction site.

Due to the fact that this is a growing industry, wrought with high risk activities, construction safety training is crucial. Each week 50 workers are injured on building sites across the state, which is why the government has introduced the new, national white card to replace the previous Victorian Red Card which was mandatory for work on Victorian construction sites. The new requirement for work on any construction site in Australia is the completion of the white card course.

Many incidents occur because construction site safety is not sufficient and workers are not suitably trained. In order to avoid incidents like head trauma, broken appendages, back injury etc. workers must undergo construction site induction training in the form of a white card.

Thankfully the white card is available online. So all that is needed to complete the course is a computer and an internet connection. It is presented in the form of an easy to understand, interactive assessment that enables workers to complete the training at their convenience.

In addition to the general construction induction training, employers must also ensure that workers undergo site specific induction. By conducting an assessment of the site and the possible hazards, employers should work together with employees to develop safety procedures for the site. Site specific training will entail training workers on these procedures.

All workers performing construction work require proof that they have completed a general construction induction course for the industry in the form of a White Card which replaced the original Red Card. The course can be completed through a registered training organisation. Only once the course has been completed and the white card issued can the worker be allowed entry onto a construction site to work.

How do I get it?

It is simple to complete your White Card course because it can be conducted online, when and where it is convenient for you. What’s more is that our white card is accepted in all states, so you are not restricted to work only in Victoria, if you move your white will be valid in any state. All that is needed is a computer and an internet connection in order to access the course material. An easy assessment is done online and once completed you are issued with a certificate of completion/statement of achievement which will enable you to receive the white card. All instructions are available online at www.whitecardonline.com.au

Although red cards issued previously will still be valid, workers who wish to obtain the construction site safety training now can do so through the online white card course. In order to obtain more information on the Red Card and new White Card, visit WorkSafe Victoria’s website: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety-and-prevention/your-industry/construction/how-to-comply/induction-training

 

Unions warn workers of Coldest Winter

Winter is here

Unions have issued a warning to workers, particularly construction workers who work outdoors, of the dangers of working in the cold. Canberra workers should brace themselves for the coldest winters in over 3 decades.

One of the major hazards, expected to cause some problems are slips from frost or icy surfaces. Also workers should not be forced to continue working through impossible conditions. This alert on CFMEU’s website has more:

Canberra has experienced its coldest winter in over 36 years and winter is not half way through.

It is important for workers who are exposed to the frosty mornings and cold days to be dressed correctly, including non-slip shoes. Union EBAs state the employer’s responsibility to supply their workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and appropriate non-slip shoes. 

At this time of year frost and ice pose a considerable risk to your safety on-site especially on ply wood decks and the like. Don’t be forced to work in unsafe conditions this winter.

Please contact the union to check your employer has provided you with the correct clothing and PPE, or you are concerned about the impact of the weather conditions on your work safely.

http://www.cfmeu.asn.au/branch/act/secretary-message

The danger of working outdoors in extreme cold is that our bodies are unable to acclimatize to the cold in the same manner that they can adapt to heat. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injury may occur and permanent tissue damage and death may result.  Cold stress is associated with low temperature, high air movement and humidity, for example, from a blast of cold, wet wind.

Lowering of body temperature (also known as hypothermia) has an effect on the brain, causing erratic behaviour and numbness, muscular weakness and cramps. Therefore when operating dangerous equipment or working in a dangerous environment such as a construction site, the cold condition compounds the already prevalent hazards. For example a working operating a piece of heavy machinery or tool such as a jack hammer cannot afford to experience numbness or erratic behaviour caused by extreme coldness.  Hypothermia can occur when land temperatures are above freezing or water temperatures are below 37° C.

Some of the symptoms associated with extreme cold are

• Fatigue and drowsiness,

• Uncontrolled shivering,

• Cool bluish skin,

• Slurred speech or inability to speak

• Clumsy movements or unable to walk independently

• Hypothermia

• Irritable or confused behaviour.

• Frost bite. This is an extreme result of cold which occurs when deep layers of the skin freeze, the skin becomes waxy-white, hard and numb. It usually attacks the extremities first, fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears and nose.

•  Long term effects can include arthritis, rheumatism, chest complaints and heart disease, because of the strain on the heart caused by circulatory changes.

All cases of cold illnesses must be taken seriously and medical attention must be sought as soon as possible. All cases of frostbite must be treated as an emergency and the patient taken to hospital.

Tips for Enduring Work in Cold Environments

•  Wear the appropriate PPE (Personal protective wear) including warm clothing and non-slip footwear. Because surfaces become slippery due to frost and ice workers can suffer serious slips, trips and falls.

•  Take breaks in a warm place or rest area out of the cold and get warm

•  Drink plenty of warm fluids such as soup or hot chocolate

•  Introduce more frequent rest breaks out of the cold and should it begin to rain or snow, stop work for that period. If you become wet your chances of developing hypothermia will increase.

•   When working outdoors delay the work until it can be undertaken at a warmer time of the year if possible.

•   Workers should receive the appropriate training and should be warned in advance of the presence of this hazard. They should also know how to react in the face of this hazard and what to do in emergencies such as hypothermia.

Hypothermia is major risk to the human body so the appropriate clothing should be worn at all times and workers should keep warm. If workers feel they are at risk they should seek advice rather than continuing work and endangering their lives. Safety should always come before productivity.

 Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

 

Crane Collapse on U.S Construction Site Results in Death

An interesting article recently highlighted the need for greater crane safety awareness in construction. According to the report on Usnews.msnbc.msn.com one person’s life was lost in the incident, the post went on to state:

120705-crane-collapse-wisconsin-11a.photoblog600

One person was killed and another injured when a crane collapsed at a highway construction site Thursday morning, authorities said.

A staffer with the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office and the state Department of Transportation confirmed the death to Newsradio 620 WTMJ. Spancrete, based in Waukesha, said one of its drivers, Joseph Bidler, 35, was killed, WTMJ TV reported.

DOT spokesman Kris Schuller said the incident happened about 9 a.m. on a causeway along U.S. 41 at Lake Butte De Morts when a crane collapsed as it was trying to lift a beam on a bridge.

The injured person was the crane operator, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. That person is employed by Lunda Construction Co., based in Black River Falls, the Journal Sentinel said.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are investigating, the Journal Sentinel said.

Read more at: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/05/12581413-1-killed-1-hurt-when-crane-collapses-at-wisconsin-road-construction-site?lite

The incident is the second of its kind this year alone, which brings to light the lack of safety surrounding cranes on construction sites. Raymond Ashenbrenner a 58 year old man from Black River Falls was killed on April 20 while unloading a crane in a work area in Brown County in Wisconsin. He worked as a subcontractor for a Construction Company in Brownsville. Ashenbrenner was pinned underneath a crane arm as workers were unloading the equipment from a trailer.

A crane is a powerful tool used for shifting heavy loads to and from a vehicle. Many fatalities have occurred where workers were crushed by cranes, either when the load shifts unexpectedly or a malfunction occurs.

Operators carry great responsibility and need to be aware of the danger zones on site that is the areas where the operator may be hit by the load or the boom section of the crane and avoid entering the danger zones while operating the crane.  Operators are also responsible for monitoring the load stability and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions in operating the crane.

Problems may arise from load slinging. These situations can be controlled successfully by consulting with the workers and planning safe work strategies.

A similar incident occurred earlier this month when a worker was trapper for over 6 hours in the cabin of the crane he was operating, resulting in his death. According to a post on Abclocal.go.com.

Eyewitnesses told police something just went wrong.

“It looks like he was lifting one of these concrete walls to begin construction of this building, and I’m told it was the first wall of the new building,” said Sgt. Smart.

The crane operator was trapped inside the cab for nearly five hours before help finally arrived. Police say they were waiting for large trucks and heavy equipment to lift the machine. As for the crane operator, sadly investigators say this accident appears to be tragic.

Family members tell me the operator’s been in construction for about 40 years. They call him a devoted husband and father.

OSHA investigators are on the scene.

Source: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8718021

As with all risks on construction sites, the hazards of cranes can be controlled and managed to avoid injury with a little planning by employers. Operators can assist by remaining alert behind the control and remembering their safety training whenever they are at the controls.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe work environment, safe systems of work and plant and substances are in a safe condition.

Any operator needs to be certified to do so and be in possession of appropriate certificates of competency for Crane operation and Dogging.

Employers must ensure that a hazard identification and risk assessment is carried out and that safe systems of work are implemented as control measures for all operations. They must also ensure that all crane operators are qualified and certified to operate the cranes.  Operators must also be trained in the safe operation procedure for the crane being used.

While it’s too late for the workers involved, workers on Australian construction sites can learn from the mistakes of their American counterparts.  By paying more attention to crane and equipment safety, both employers and workers can reduce the risk of injury in the construction industry.

 Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

 

White Card Update: Hazmat Incident on Construction Site

A gas leakage incident on a construction site this week has highlighted the need for contingency plans to be developed as part of every work sites safety plan in order to deal with emergencies such as this one.

According to Bendigoadvertiser.com.au this is what occurred:

Gas Leak06/07/12Pb Matt Kimpton

EMERGENCY services workers have cleared the scene of a gas leak in Mollison Street.

Bendigo CFA senior station officer Bruce Quarrier said contractors using an auger accidentally broke a gas line.

“They’d marked the area out but these things happen from time to time,” he said.

“It didn’t cause too much disruption.

“We were probably there for about 20 minutes.”

Police blocked the Williamson Street entry to Mollison Street for a short period of time.

Source: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/hazmat-incident-at-mollison-street-site/2615896.aspx

Hazmat cases involve chemicals and other materials (in this case gas) that can cause harm to workers and other people, property or the environment through fire, explosion, reaction or release. Swift action is needed in these situations as delays could mean the difference between life and death. In order to be able to react quickly and without hesitation workers need to be appropriately trained and educated on workplace health and safety and management of hazards.

How to Manage a Hazmat Risk

The beginning of the process is Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Hazard Identification takes into the intrinsic hazards of the chemicals, hazards that are presented by the actual work environment and hazards that arise directly out of the work processes. Risk assessment in this situation would revolve around risk identification of physiochemical hazards.

Guidelines to Minimise Exposure to Hazardous Materials/Chemicals on Site:

  • As with all hazards the first attempt should always involve elimination of the hazard. This can be done by removing all non-essential hazardous material. If it is not crucial to the work process, try to do without it.
  • The second approach should be substitution, by using a less hazardous material or the same substance in a less hazardous form or process.
  • Engineering controls and administrative controls should be the attempted next if substitution does not sufficiently minimise the risk. An example would be to separate a process from people by distance or by barriers like separating the area for mixing and preparing chemicals with limited access.
  • An alternative may involve the use of machinery, equipment or processes that minimise workplace contamination by containing or removing hazardous material.
  • Change the way that people do the job or have procedures about how to do the job safely, like limiting the period of exposure for a worker, this is known as administrative control measures.
  • The final approach should be the provision and training on PPE. That includes clothing like respirators, gloves or eye protection that is suitable for the material, the task and the operator and is fitted to the worker. These PPE must be worn at all times and must comply with relevant Australian Standards.
  • These controls and PPE must be properly maintained and kept in good working order to ensure they are effective in minimising exposure to the hazardous chemical/material.
  • Monitor and carefully control the amount and level of the hazardous material in the workplace air so that a worker’s exposure is kept to a minimum that will not harm them.  
  • Worker exposure can be regularly monitored, estimated and compared with the exposure standards found in the Hazardous Substances Information System.
  • The employer must consult with the workplace health and safety committee representative when a new hazardous material is brought into the work environment or if the way the work process is carried out is changed.  
  • Employers should consult with workers regularly on workplace hazards and the effectiveness of current systems. Communication between workers and employers should be kept open so that workers can raise concerns about the way a hazardous material is used in the workplace with the committee or the Workplace health and safety representative.

According to advice given by WorkSafe Victoria, employers can use a generic risk assessment for their given industry as hazards, risks and work processes will be similar or the same. Rather than developing their own risk assessments that can use one from a similar workplace. An example given by WorkSafe is that of a service station who could use a generic risk assessment developed for other service stations rather than developing their own. The same is true of construction sites.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

White Card Update: Asbestos Clean-up Breach

Asbestos Clean Up Breach reinforces need for White Card trainingImage Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/asbestos-clean-up-breach-fears-at-old-mitsubishi-site/story-e6frea83-1226370401166

The suspected safety breach at the old Mitsubishi site involving asbestos removal has sparked outrage among workers at the site, who fear for their health due to exposure to the harmful substance.  Construction work has commenced at the site, beginning with the removal of old asbestos. Workers believe that safety procedures have been ignored by neglecting PPE requirements. Some workers attempted to highlight the seriousness of their concern by quitting work on the site.

A report by Adelaidenow.com.au had this to report on the issue:

WORKERS on the state’s biggest asbestos-removal site at the former Mitsubishi car plant say procedural breaches are risking safety.

Workers who contacted The Advertiser anonymously say they do not believe correct removal procedures had been adhered to in the first four months of the project, to clean up 93,000sq m of asbestos sheeting on the former factory site.

SafeWork SA officers, regularly on site, said its inspectors had issued statutory notices to address non-compliant work practices.

The breaches involve a failure to comply with the personal protective equipment requirements of workers in the asbestos-removal zone. But the workers, some of whom have quit, believe the issues and dangers at the site extend beyond people not being appropriately equipped with protective gear.

They have questioned how the clean-up project, conducted by DE-Construct for developers Baulderstone, handles the asbestos sheeting once it is removed from the factory structure.

One worker said the sheets were “dumped” into trucks lined with plastic, causing asbestos particles and dust to become airborne.

And workers are also concerned about thick dust in the factory that they fear contains asbestos.

A Baulderstone spokesman said the health and safety of everybody involved with its projects was the company’s first priority.

“We take our environmental obligations very seriously and the protection of all aspects of the environment is a key concern,” the spokesman said.

Asbestos removal is being carried out under the EPA guidelines together with approvals from SafeWork SA.

“The subcontractor engaged on the project is working in accordance with the asbestos-removal plan.

“The Baulderstone project team will continue to work with SafeWork SA to ensure all preventative measures are adhered to for the life of this project.”

SafeWork SA said the Tonsley Park redevelopment, an SA government project being managed by the Urban Renewal Authority, has been declared a major project.

“The redevelopment involves significant construction work including the removal of asbestos,” a SafeWork SA spokeswoman said.

“SafeWork SA has assigned specialist inspectors from the Mineral Fibres Unit and the Construction and High Risk Plant Team to this project.”

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/asbestos-clean-up-breach-fears-at-old-mitsubishi-site/story-e6frea83-1226370401166

Contractors tasked with asbestos removal have a responsibility to themselves and to other workers to ensure they perform their duties in a manner that will not endanger anyone’s health and safety. They should ensure that asbestos-related work areas are separated from other work areas and that signs are used to warn workers of areas that are undergoing asbestos removal.These should be kept clear of unnecessary workers. Barricades can be used to close off these areas from foot traffic.

A competent person should carry out air monitoring and where there is uncertainty about level of exposure the asbestos waste should be contained and labelled according to regulation, not like the Mitsubishi site where asbestos was thrown onto a truck, releasing potentially dangerous particles into the air, to be inhaled by workers in the vicinity.

PPE is vital in the removal of asbestos and these PPE should be sealed, decontaminated, labelled and disposed of according to Australian safety standards.  If that is not possible, PPE should be decontaminated and kept in a sealed, secure container until it is necessary to re-use for the same asbestos removal purpose.

While PPE is not effective on its own, it will need to be used in conjunction with other control measures. Selection of PPE will be determined by a risk assessment. It may occur that hazardous chemicals will need to be used in the removal of the asbestos and in this instance a further risk assessment will be necessary. In this case Safety data sheets (SDS) must be referred to for information on the appropriate PPE to use and the appropriate precautions to take when working with the hazardous chemical.  When considering which PPE to use one of the factors that need to be considered will be ease of decontamination and the extent of protection they provide.  Other basic safety precautions and a comprehensive risk assessment should also be adhered to as outlined in the CPCCOHS1001A – Work safely in the construction industry White Card course.

Workers at the Mitsubishi site acted wisely in alerting authorities and the public to what they perceived as unsafe practices on their work site. Safety should always be the main priority of workers and employers. It’s not worth endangering your life in the name of productivity. Let’s hope this case will serve as a warning to other contractors and employers that safety is their main responsibility and even more so where dangerous materials are involved.

Posted by Steven Asnicar.

White Card Update: Danger of Slips, Trips and Falls – Is Your Workplace Safe?

While accidents can occur in any workplace, construction sites are particular susceptible to slips, trips and falls due to the large number of potential hazards on site. Slip and fall hazards are one of the most commonly identified hazards that are dealt with at some length in the OHS White Card course at www.whitecardonline.com.au.

Some of the injuries associated with slips, trips and falls include cuts, sprains, fractures, spinal injury and strains to name a few. As numerous as the possible injuries are the hazards that contribute to these injuries. By paying attention to these hazards, it is possible to reduce the risk involved.

Factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls include wet or oily floors, uneven or slippery surfaces or slopes.

Other areas of concern are working on ladders, working from heights, stairs, areas with bad lighting, working near trenches or pits. Vigilance is necessary when working with any of these.

Picture source: www.checkonsafety.com

Slips especially occur when shoes lose their grip on the floor. Whether a substance is spilled on the floor or an object is left on the floor that causes a fall, a loss of balance is the result.

Ladders

Working with ladders can be dangerous when not used safely. Ladders should be used specifically for its task, don’t improvise, follow the rules. Accidents do occur and you may injure yourself or co-workers and be held responsible. Some guidelines regarding ladders include, not placing ladders in front of doors or allowing more than one person on at a time. Another important point to remember is to not climb higher than the third rung from the top of a straight ladder or the second rung from the top of a step ladder.

Trenches

Another falling risk is the presence of trenches or pits on site. By falling into a trench or pit, workers can be seriously injured. While most deaths in trenches are caused by cave-ins, falls could also be hazardous. Fences, barricades, guardrails and appropriate warning signs must accompany trenches or pits. According to OHS law, employees must be trained about working near trench and other construction site hazards.

Heights

Falling from heights could also be critical. When working on scaffolding or a rooftop, workers need to be cautious. Regulation requires an approved safety system should be implemented, including guardrails, scaffolding and fall protection. If these measures do not sufficiently reduce the risk workers should be equipped with proper safety harnesses.

According to statistics trips most often occur due to uneven floor surface or obstacles on floors for example cables or tools, or loose tiles or foreign objects on floors. Good housekeeping is vital to ensure floors are kept clear of obstructions and possible tripping hazards. It is also important to make sure floors are free from holes, uneven surfaces or obstacles.

Smaller details that are often ignored also need to be attended to when identifying hazards. Such as appropriateness of footwear. Footwear on site needs to be suitable for the type of work and environment. A non-slip sole and appropriate tread is needed to ensure proper grip between the floor surface and footwear. Lighting is also often ignored and contributes to accidents on site. Poor lighting and distractions can impact a person’s awareness of their surroundings, including possible slipping or falling hazards in their path.

As an employee you can assist by keeping floors clean and clear of obstructions, dealing with spills or accidents immediately, barricading or placing warning signs around potential hazard areas, avoiding trailing cables, cords, pipes or other equipment across the walkway.

Workers need to have a thorough understanding of slips, trips and falls hazards and how these hazards can be managed and hopefully minimised. Staff should be trained on how to control hazards and avoid injury, including proper reporting procedures.

As a worker, you have a duty to take care of your own safety as well as that of your co-workers. Workers need to continually assess the situation to assure they are not putting themselves or others at risk. Compliance with safe work practice and cooperation with your employer is crucial in this regard.

If you feel your workplace does not comply with proper safety regulations or place you or your co-workers at risk report it immediately before it’s too late.

Other rules and guidelines would have been made available to you during your induction training. If you have not received your training and are working on a construction site you are doing so illegally. To rectify the situation complete your online white card course today.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

White Card Update : Caution When Working Alone

A tip truck driver died after being crushed between the cabin of his truck and a tree whilst preparing for the day’s operations.  He was working alone at the time in an isolated area. This is just one of the incidents involving workers who were injured whilst working alone, highlighting the dangers that solitary work poses. These dangers need to be identified and workers need to remember certain work health and safety procedures in order to avoid being injured or killed in an incident.

The risk of injury for people working in solitary may be increased because of difficulty contacting emergency services and following other emergency procedures when they are required to do so.

Emergency situations may arise because of the sudden onset of a medical condition, accidental work-related injury or disease or exposure to the elements. The harm caused can be very serious and may result in a fatality for workers who are separated or working alone. These workers are on their own, therefore they cannot be heard or seen when an emergency arises.

Picture: presecurity.com.au

A safe system of work needs to be developed for people who work alone. Employers have a duty to conduct a risk assessment and have a means of communication available for emergency situations.

Employers need to firstly identify hazards that may affect the person working alone and assess the risks of injury from the hazard by considering the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the worst case scenario if it does occur.

Implementing control measures to minimise the risks would be the next step and these control measures need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

The person who will be working alone must be trained and instructed on working alone and the procedures to follow as these will differ from ordinary workers who work in a group.

Workers who work alone have a responsibility to comply with workplace health and safety regulations.

Workers should report hazards and any incidents that may have occurred to their employer. Employers can then develop systems to reduce this hazard.

Even self-employed people have to take care of their own safety when they work alone.

Employers must ensure that in the event of an emergency a means of communication is available.

The person working alone must be trained to carry out work activities safely without supervision, manage events that occur when working alone and follow procedures to obtain emergency assistance if required. If working in a remote location without the proper infrastructure and support the person working alone must be able to do so safely.

Picture: bpgroup.com.au

Factors that need to be considered when compiling the safety procedures are the amount of time spent working alone, communication, location and nature of the work.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment, information, instruction and training, supervision, personal protective equipment and safe plant and machinery for employees working alone. Employers need to also determine if it is really necessary for the worker to work alone. Some activities may be too dangerous to carry out alone or without assistance or supervision.

The information, training and instruction provided by the employer must specifically address working alone and procedures the worker should follow in an emergency.  Employers should also educate the worker on procedures and use of emergency communication devices.

Procedures need to be put in place in the event of fires, need for first aid or exposure to hazardous material for the worker and be specific to the workers unique situation.

Because of the nature of the work, direct supervision would not be possible but a form of indirect supervision should be employed.

Employers should be satisfied that workers have the necessary skills and capability to work independently before allowing them to do so. Young, new or apprentice workers are particularly vulnerable on site, so employers should be careful to avoid making them work alone.

Workers have a legal obligation to comply with safety instructions as directed by their employers.

Personal security systems should also feature in work-sites where people work alone. These wireless, portable devices carry a signal from the workers transmitter to a transcribe at the companies receiver at a central location. Some advanced devices have non-motion sensor that will alert the head office if there is no movement for an amount of time, indicating a possible emergency.

Workers need to remain especially alert and vigilant when working alone as the dangers are just as real, and they don’t have the same support and assistance as other workers.

Posted by Steven Asnicar.