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Tag: workplace

Amendments Made to 3 Codes of Practice by SafeWork NSW

house start

As of 1 April 2016, 3 codes of practice approved under the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act) have been updated.

The codes relate to

  1. Managing the risk of falls at workplace
  2. Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals
  3. Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work

The revised code provides practical guidance on how to manage these risks in the workplace.

For more information call SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/safework-nsw-updates-three-codes-practice/#.VwwnRfl97IV

Tens of Thousands of Jobs Created by Infrastructure Projects in WA

gosford site
Source: DailyTelegraph.com.au

Tens of thousands of jobs have apparently been created by the infrastructure projects underway in WA, according to Treasurer Mike Nahan.

Dr Nahan said WA’s unemployment rate had falled from 6.3 per cent in December to 5.9 per cent in January,  this was despite a national employment rate of 6.0 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent in the previous month.

 

The “more competitive” exchange rate also had something to do with the rise in employment in the state, as did lower oil prices, softer rents and availability of labour. The greatest impact however was from a multi-billion dollar infrastructure spend which Dr Nahan said had created tens of thousands of construction and supply jobs in the state.

Let’s hope the negative impact of the losses in the mining sector have come to an end with most of the workers who lost their jobs being assimilated into the construction sector in the state.

67 Australian workers killed in 2015

The latest Notifiable Fatalities Report released by SafeWork Australia revealed that 67 people have been killed at worker this year.  In February alone 19 workers were killed.

safework aus
Source: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/

Western Australia has the highest number of fatalities – From the beginning of January to the end of Feb, 7 work related fatalities occurred. During that time 2 people died as a result of construction activities.

Read more here.

Know Bull! Day Observed Nationally

Yesterday was Know Bull! Day which was observed around the country as a day to end bullying in the workplace.

construction workers
Source: www.123rf.com

Bullying has become a major concern in the workplace and in construction particularly. A number of workers have  taken their own lives due to being bullied which is why days such as this are so important.

If you missed the day, don’t worry Anti-bullying will be theme for the month of June.

Click here for more.

Vic Workplace fatalities this year reach 11

So far this year fatalities on Victorian worksites have reached 11, this following the death of a 20 year old worker when part of the building he was working on collapsed onto him.

Co-workers and passers-by tried frantically to lift the rubble and remove the young man and co-worker who was also trapped by the debris during the collapse. The other worker was saved however the 20 year old man did not survive.

This post from WorkSafeNews.com.au has more:

WorkSafe is on site of an incident in Caulfield South, where it appears that part of a building has collapsed.

A 20-year-old man has died at the scene and a second man has been taken to hospital with leg injuries.

WorkSafe investigators are on site and a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is now underway.

This takes the number of workplace fatalities in Victoria this year to 11.

See more at: http://www.worksafenews.com.au/component/k2/item/337-man-dies-at-caulfield-south-construction-site.html#sthash.ypJRe8nD.dpuf

Emergency crews and WorkCover investigators spent the day at the scene but will not speculate on the cause of the collapse until investigations are complete.

With workplace fatalities in Vic reaching 11 and the high serious injury rate and fatality in other states, particularly in the construction sector now more than ever employers, site controllers, supervisors, management, principal contractors, construction workers and construction firms need to focus on construction site safety.

There has been an abnormally high number of collapses recently and construction workers aren’t the only ones at risk. Earlier this year a teenage brother and sister were killed when a wall collapsed in Melbourne, they were just passing by when the bricks and debris collapsed onto them, killing them instantly.

Construction workers are faced with these types of risks every day, in addition to numerous others. It is for this reason that we need to focus more on construction safety rather than solely concentrating on productivity and the bottom line. Construction safety is afterall in the best interest of everyone involved, the construction firm, workers and the client. If workers are safe, they are healthier and happier resulting in less time off work which means a higher level of productivity and that benefits the employer and the customer.

So how do construction firms ensure that safety is being prioritised? Firstly by ensuring that each and every worker on site, whether permanently employed or temporary workers, experienced or simply a trainee have completed the general construction safety training, The White Card. Each worker must be in possession of their White Card and proof of their completion of the course should be kept on site in case inspectors visit and ask to see it. Without it not only is the worker’s safety being jeopardised but other workers on site are also being placed at risk. It is important that we remember that construction tasks are interrelated and the actions of one can have severe even deadly consequences for others on site.

 

Scaffolding Collapse in Shopping Mall Prompts State-wide Safety Checks

4929910-3x2-940x627Image source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-02/scaffolding-collapse-at-robina-shopping-centre/4929910

It appears that a scaffolding collapse which took place in a shopping complex on the Gold Coast has resulted in state-wide safety checks as authorities fear a the repeat of such an incident.

Incidents where the public are also placed at risk are particularly concerning because unlike construction workers, the public aren’t trained on construction safety and don’t know how to react in the face of a construction accident.

The accident in question took place last week at the Robina Shopping Complex and thankfully did not result in any injuries or fatalities.

Workplace Health and Safety authorities are looking into the incident and have also begun conducting safety checks on other construction sites across the state of Queensland.

An excerpt taken from SafetyCulture.com.au explains what happened:

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are investigating, along with the construction company, why scaffolding that was a part of a new car park collapsed on Sunday.

All work has been stopped at the site until the investigation is complete, there was nobody injured on in the collapse.

David Hanna, the Builders Labourers Federation state secretary, said that scaffolding on projects in the state will be checked.

He said that this incident highlights the need for safe and correct erection and dismantling of scaffolding. The incident could have been a disaster if it had happened on a work day or if somebody walking or driving by had been injured.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/

Scaffolding that is overloaded or inadequately tied to a building is vulnerable to collapse. It is important that principal contractors, scaffolding contractors and employers assess the risks and develop, implement and maintain appropriate risk control measures in order to prevent an accident like this from occurring again.

Safety Regulation dictates that scaffolding be inspected by a competent person. It is important that principal contractors or those in control of the site ensure that this inspection takes place before the scaffolding is initially used and before it is used following any alterations or repairs.

Scaffolding should also be inspected after an incident that might reasonably be expected to affect the stability or adequacy of the scaffold or its supporting structure such as a heavy storm. Also inspection should take place regularly following that for example at intervals of a week (but not exceeding intervals of 30 days).

Another common error that is often made is overloading of scaffolding. Remember that the scaffolding cannot hold an indefinite weight, there is a limit to the weight it is capable of holding before it risks collapsing.

It is also vital that all on-site workers and subcontractors are provided with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision regarding the control measures required to prevent the collapse of the scaffolding.

Remember if an accident did occur often it is not only the workers on site at risk, the public in areas adjacent to the site may also be hit by falling elements or steel from the structure so ensure that all scaffolding is up to standard and inspected regularly.

 

New Workplace Laws to Curb Tasmanian Injury Record

According to Tasmanian unions, tougher fines under the new workplace laws will help to continue a downward trend in workplace injuries and fatalities.

According to the figures released as part of the launch of WorkSafe month, we are seeing a decline in the number of Tasmanian workers injured at work.

This welcomed reduction in injuries is believed to be linked to new laws which include higher fines for OH&S breaches and offences.

According to Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne, we saw 378 less injuries in 2012 in Tasmania than we did in 2011. He is pleased that we have now recorded less than 9000 injuries in a year and only 4 Tasmanians have died on the job in the past year.

Sadly the construction sector is lagging behind others in safety, with farming and construction recording the highest injury and fatality rates in Tasmania.

This post from Abc.net.au explains,

Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne says there were 8,934 injury reports last year, 378 fewer than the year before.

“For the first time we’ve dipped below 9,000 injuries per year,” he said.

Four Tasmanians have been killed at work in the past year.

New workplace laws came into effect this year.

Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins says they are helping combat an alarming culture.

“Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.

But Mr Harkins says Tasmania is still the second worst performing state behind Queensland.

Most injuries and deaths occur in construction and farming jobs.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-25/fall-in-worplace-accidents-down-to-tougher-laws-say-unions/4843776?section=tas

The article goes on to offer a cautionary tale for readers about a Tasmanian worker who was injured at work. The worker explains how tedious the process of recovery from a workplace injury can be especially from more serious injuries which affect not only workers health and safety but their family lives and ability to make a living as well. In fact injury claims have gotten so common that insurance rates have skyrocketed this year. Often workers who are injured aren’t able to continue in the position they are in when the incident occurs because of a debilitating or permanent injury.

Read what the post’s author went on to state:

Last year, Chris Dornauf spent an agonising hour and a half with his arm caught in the conveyor belt of a potato grader.

He says recovering from a workplace injury is a slow process.

Cut all five nerves, or five tendons and two of the main arteries,” he said.

After eight surgeries and with more to come, he still has not regained the use of his arm.

He is now able to drive trucks instead of working the farm, but says he is more aware of what might go wrong.

“When you stand back and look at it, you think about how dangerous things are,” he said.

“It’s a big, it’s a lot different now.”

Last week, a Hobart man injured at work was awarded the state’s highest compensation payout of $7.5 million.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-25/fall-in-worplace-accidents-down-to-tougher-laws-say-unions/4843776?section=tas

 

Australian Public Service Promotes Workplace Mental Health

The Australian Public Service (APS) has just released its new guide across the country which aims to promote mental health and wellbeing among employees. The guide is entitled “Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work”.

The new guide is a collaborative effort between the Australian Public Service and Comcare who want to promote mental health among workers, thereby promoting productivity. In fact the organisations want to encourage workplaces to adopt positive attitudes that can respond appropriately to mental ill health at work, whereas at the moment many workplaces do not know how to deal with this issue.

According to the media release on The Australian Public Service website the guide will cover the following topics:

  •  How to create respectful workplaces
  •  Talking about mental health
  •  Managing risks to prevent harm
  •  Recognising when help is needed
  • Supporting return to work.

mhgfactsheetsThe guide is a key initiative of the Australian Public Service Commission’s As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy.

This guide, Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work, is a key initiative of As One—APS Disability Employment Strategy. The guide aims to empower managers and employees to work together to build inclusive workplace cultures and effective systems for promoting mental health in the Australian Public Service (APS).

We will all be touched by mental ill health at some stage in our lives and some of us live with a mental health condition. Leaders and managers must build their levels of confidence around mental health issues to better include people with mental ill health in our teams, and to enable appropriate support of employees during illness and recovery.

Source: http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/mental-health

The guidance aims to address two basic aspects of this problem, namely addressing the technical aspects of dealing with mental health among workers as well as cultural aspects of dealing with the issue.

The technical side includes guidance on improving processes and procedures, including early intervention among workers suffering from mental health issues. The cultural aspects include what attitudinal and behavioural changes to look out for and expect and how to understand and connect with each other in the workplace.

The APS goes on to explain that while the technical changes can be implemented into workplace policies quite quickly and relatively seamlessly, changing the culture of the workplace and people’s attitudes may take more time and sensitivity.

The APS also goes on to explain that the guidance will only be effective if it is adopted correctly, with people in workplaces utilising perseverance, courage, commitment and leadership.

According to the APS it is in everyone’s best interest to adopt this guide, employers, clients and employees all benefit from greater productivity, improved workforce participation and an increase in social inclusion. Workers who are mentally and physically healthy are more happy and productive. Mental health issues in our workplaces have become an increasing problem however little understanding exists about how to deal with these hazards in workplaces.

 

Dealing with Harassment in the workplace

A key problematic issue identified in the building industry is bullying. Bullying has been linked to depression and a high suicide rate in the construction industry. In this post I attempt to discuss the problem of workplace harassment and how to deal with it, an issue particularly relevant in the macho, male dominated industry.

It is important when discussing harassment or bullying in the workplace to first identify what it actually entails for example sometimes people may mistake direction or correction by their employer as bullying when in fact they are simply doing their job. When these employers or supervisors begin to use derogatory language or be abusive or behave in an intimidating way then it crosses over into bullying. It is important for workers to recognise the difference.

Workplace harassment is:

  • repeated, unwelcome and unsolicited
  • the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening
  • a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Source: http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/hazards/harassment-bullying/index.htm

Harassment or bullying in the workplace can be committed by employers, workers, co-workers, groups of people at work, customers and even members of the public.

Workers that bully and intimidate others are most commonly experiencing some sort of emotional problem themselves which they project onto others. These individuals as well as those who are the victims of bullying need to seek help from a counsellor or mental health professional, instead of attempting to deal with this issue themselves because this is what often leads to depression and suicide.

For more information on workplace bullying and harassment visit http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/hazards/harassment-bullying/index.htm