NSW Government Take Aim at Dodgy Building Certifiers

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The NSW Government announced a crackdown on dodgy building certifiers, saying any corrupt certifiers would be barred from the industry.

The recent debacle involving Sydney’s Opal Tower, when a crack was discovered in a precast concrete panel inside the building, a full investigation was launched by government. Fears that the building was unstable prompted evacuation, at a time when the government is under pressure to ensure safety of buildings in Sydney.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean warned dodgy certifiers that they will be found and have the book thrown at them.

Under a new disciplinary policy, corrupt certifiers will be immediately kicked out of the industry, Kean warned. Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/crackdown-dodgy-building-certifiers-way/#.XFgfQ80lHQV

Ladder Fall Incident Sends Man to Hospital

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Falls from height remain the biggest problem on construction sites and on work sites in general, yet still not enough is being done by employers and workers to combat the risks involved with work from heights.

The latest incident involved a man who fell from a ladder in northern New South Wales, suffering head and shoulder injuries as a result.

The man had to be airlifted to hospital following the incident at the Barraba property.

The man was stabilised on site before being transported by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Tamworth hospital.

According to figures from Safe Work Australia, 46 fatalities occurred as a result of falls from height between 2013 and 2017.

Read more at: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/man-hospitalised-ladder-fall-2/#.XFgeIM0lHQV

Civil Construction Firm Charged over Worker Trench Deaths

While charges, fines and prosecutions aren’t the most serious consequences of workplace incidents such as trench collapses, (the human cost is much higher) they hopefully do serve as a deterrent for others to avoid similar mistakes that can have such as tragically high cost of human life.

One such incident involved the deaths of 2 workers who died in Ballarat last year when a trench collapsed. The civil construction company involved has since been charged with breaches of section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company is accused of failing to maintain the battering or benching of the excavation and failure to use trench shields and manhole cages to avoid the risk of engulfment. It also failed to provide workers with supervision.

The incident took place in March 2018 when the 2 workers were laying pipe in the trench at a housing development site. One worker, a 34 year old died on the scene while the other worker, a 21 year old man died in the hospital shortly afterwards.

The court case is ongoing.

See more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/civil-construction-company-charged-two-workers-death/#.XFggqs0lHQV

Keeping Workers Safe when Working in Confined Spaces

SafeWork NSW highlighted on its website the risks of working in confined spaces and for employers, the aspects to consider in keeping workers safe.

Examples of confined spaces are pipes, chimneys, sewers, shafts, wells, pressure vessels, trenches, tunnels, pits, tanks and vats.

These confined spaces aren’t designed for people to work in them and as such they usually have poor ventilation, allowing hazardous atmospheres to develop quickly and even more so in small spaces.

Work in a confined space is risky and can be fatal if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Some of the hazards include lack of oxygen, risk of explosions and airborne contaminants, incidents when people are swallowed up in flood waters, sewerage, smoke or dirt.

SafeWork goes on to highlight the laws surrounding confined space work and provide some practical tips.

Read more at https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/confined-spaces

These Careers Must Undergo CPR Training

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A recent post highlighted the value of CPR training and that it can boost your ’employable skills’.

CPR training can make a person more attractive to employers, which is valuable in are world where qualified candidates for every job abound.

In fact there are some jobs and careers where CPR training (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation training) also known as first aid training is required including,

  • Construction workers
  • Electricians

Construction workers are exposed to a high risk environment and one mistake can lead to serious injury, illness or death which is why first aid training for construction workers is important – it can save lives. Workers on site may need prompt first aid treatment to save a life.

Similarly, electricians are exposed to a high risk environment where risks include electric shock, fire, explosions, falls etc. In order to assist a co-worker in an emergency, first aid training is invaluable.

Read more https://bestinau.com.au/careers-that-require-cpr-or-first-aid-training/

How Toxic Work Stress Can Affect Your Health

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Everyone experiences some form of stress at some time in their lives but toxic stress left unchecked can have devastating effects on our mental and physical health.

Experts have warned about the danger of toxic stress. Safe Work Australia said that 92 per cent of serious work related mental disorder claims can be attributed to mental stress.

In a 2015 study, Stanford University organisational behaviour professor Jeffrey Pfeffer found that poor management in the USA was responsible for almost 8 per cent of annual health costs and 120,000 deaths annually.

He argued that mental health and stress in the workplace is not being addressed, but rather only the physical health and safety of workers was being focused on.

Signs of Toxic Stress:

According to US Clinical psychologist Monique Reynolds from the Centre for Anxiety and Behavioural Change, the first sign of a destructive job is loss of sleep. These people will likely wake up in the middle of the night thinking about their to-do list.

If you have a pattern of insomnia, it could be a sign of unhealthy job stress.

Another sign is chronic tension in the neck and shoulders which also causes migraines and tension headaches. Dr Reynolds said that because our nervous systems are constantly on edge in these toxic jobs, we are constantly waiting to react to that unpleasant boss or co-worker.

If you have had previous bouts of mental illness, this can cause you to “cross the clinical threshold”, experts warn.

Research also shows that chronic stress can affect your immune system and make you sick more often.

Read more at: https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/stress-from-toxic-working-conditions-can-cause-serious-health-risks-and-lower-sex-drive/news-story/a364f34172e34cd6ddb0b2a11d75daec

Man Dies After being Electrocuted by Overhead Powerlines while Trimming Trees

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A case being investigated by WorkSafe reminds us to beware of overhead power-lines, especially when working from elevated work platforms.

A man was killed recently after being electrocuted by power-lines while trimming trees in Melbourne’s south east.

The incident involved a 26 year old worker who died when the cherry picker platform that he was on came into contact with live power-lines in Hughesdale.

Emergency services were called to the scene but the man was pronounced deceased at the scene.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/tree-trimmer-electrocuted-hughesdale/#.XHa3aLglE1m

Worker Impaled on Steel Reinforcing Bar on Construction Site

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A horrific construction accident has taken place at a Gosford construction site, highlighting the risks of slips, trips and falls on construction sites.

A man was impaled by a steel reinforcing bar after falling from one floor to another at a construction site.

The man, in his thirties, was working on the 8th floor when he tripped and fell to the floor below, landing on a steel bar, being impaled.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and freed the man before airlifting him to Gosford Hospital where he arrived in a serious but stable condition.

The incident is under investigation by Safe Work.

For more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/worker-impaled-falling-gosford-construction-site/#.XGqp7LglE1l

WorkSafe Inspections To Focus on Falling Objects

WorkSafe inspectors continue their focus on falling objects at building sites across Victoria.

WorkSafe has warned that falling objects are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry and not only do they possess a risk to workers but also to people on the street or nearby work sites.

Over the past 5 years there have been 5 fatalities and 721 injuries caused by falling objects on construction sites.

One incident that took place in January involved a piece of timber falling 22 floors at a Southbank site.

Another incident happened when a piece of MDF sheeting fell through an open window and 63 floors to the ground on Little Latrobe Street.

In another incident a tower crane dropped a 11.5 ton concrete slab at a Clayton construction site.

While these incidents were not fatal and fortunately nobody was injured, they could easily have been, like an incident in September last year when a 48 year old man died when a kibble full of concrete fell from a crane. Another man was seriously injured at the Box Hill construction site.

WorkSafe warned that some of the common causes for falling objects on construction sites include gaps in safety screens, holes in safety netting, kick and toe boards missing in scaffolding, debris and material coming loose while being lifted. The work safety authority also warned that unsecured items stored near edges or exposed to high winds can cause objects to fall.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen reminded us that even small objects can cause serious injury when falling from a high height.

“Every year WorkSafe is notified of hundreds of incidents involving falling objects, which are not only dangerous for workers, but also for members of the public passing by construction sites,” she said.

“Loads being lifted through the air must also be properly secured, and as we saw last year, the consequences can be tragic when a crane drops its load and there are workers below.”

“Risk control measures for falling objects are well known so there is no excuse for employers failing to implement them.”

Source: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2019-02/worksafe-target-falling-object-dangers

Work Safe went on to describe the steps employers and site duty holders can take to address the risk of falling objects on construction sites,

  • Eliminating the risk through off-site assembly of equipment that would otherwise be performed at an elevated edge.

  • Using containment systems or securing objects through substitution, isolation or engineering controls.

  • Using guardrail systems that incorporate mesh infill panels and kickboards.

  • Isolating the risk with barricades or fencing to create exclusion zones at ground level.

  • Implementing engineering controls such as perimeter safety screens, overhead protection gantries, enclosed perimeter scaffolding, and restraining loose material.

  • Administrative controls such as lines markings and signage to advise lanyard systems are to be used on tools, or to monitor the possibility of windy weather.

Source: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2019-02/worksafe-target-falling-object-dangers