A warning has been issued to workers about the dangers of working in high heat environments.
Although the reminder was issued by The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, it is a warning that people in construction trades should also heed.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn supervisors and workers need to understand the risks and symptoms of heat stress and report any signs to a supervisor.
Workers and employers must remember the seriousness of the issue, heat stroke can cause permanent brain damage as well as damage to other vital organs and possibly death.
People suffering from heat-related illnesses must get urgent medical treatment.
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.
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.
The NT is one of the areas in Australia experiencing extremely hot temperatures prompting WorkSafe to issue a safety warning to businesses and workers to take precautions to avoid heat illnesses which can be deadly.
Heat related illness can present itself as heat rash, heat cramps, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
NT WorkSafe warned employers and workers to follow safety tips to help avoid heat related illness including,
drinking plenty of water,
using shade protection including a hat and suncreen,
ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is efficient for the work being done and the amount of sun exposure,
Try to schedule work for cooler times of the day and avoid the hotter hours
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.
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.
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.
Safe Work Australia has released the latest figures on workplace health and safety and in 2018, 118 Australian workers were killed on the job.
While the transport,postal and warehousing and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries emerged as the most high risk with 38 and 33 fatalities consecutively, the construction industry has the third highest number of fatalities with 21 recorded deaths.
There were also 5 workers killed in the mining industry.
One of the reasons the federal government has mandated construction safety training is due to the high risk nature. Before beginning work on a construction site, workers must complete White Card training. Find out more at www.whitecardonline.com.au
So far in January (January 24, 2019) according to Safe Work Australia, there have been 5 workplace fatalities in Australia.
In 2018, there were 152 workers killed at work, an improvement from the previous year when 190 workers were killed on the job.
Of the 5 workers killed in 2019, 2 were from the construction industry, as compared to last year this time when only 1 construction worker had died on the job. The agriculture, fishing and forestry industry was responsible for 2 deaths this year as well, with the transport industry claiming one life.
For the construction industry, we haven’t had a very good start to the year however it’s not too late to make a change. There’s still time to turn things around and make safety the first priority, beginning with construction safety training.
Let’s work to ensure that 2019 is better for workplace health and safety than 2018 was. Although we did see a slight improvement last year in comparison to the previous year, more needs to be done to keep workers safe, particularly young and inexperienced workers.
A recent court case in Brisbane is a reminder of the importance of training and supervision of young workers in keeping them safe. A company was in court over an incident that involved a young worker who had injured his hand.
The company was fined $80,000 over the incident which involved a wheel trencher. The incident prompted Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to remind employers to protect young workers particularly because of their inexperience and eagerness which often causes them to take risks.
In Queensland around 50 young workers are injured every day and one a day is permanently impaired.
Authorities reminded employers to consider their unique risk profile when managing them. They were also reminded that proper induction is vital, in construction that includes White Card training as well as site specific and job specific training. Young workers also require additional support and supervision.