Joint Inspection Blitz Targets Young Workers

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A joint inspection blitz by WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW focusing on keeping young workers safe and reducing deadly falls in the Albury Wodonga region, is a reminder of the importance of keeping these young and inexperienced workers safe on the construction site.

Young workers are not only inexperienced but usually eager to please and naive to the potential risks on construction sites which often puts them at a greater risk. That is why inspectors from both safety agencies visited construction sites as part of the Cross Border Construction Program to help keep them injury free.

The program operates at three locations on the Victoria-NSW border annually helping construction employers learn more about the similarities and differences between work health and safety regulations in each state.

Read more at  http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/inspection-blitz-targets-young-workers/#.XLN1FKQlE1l

Beware when Working on Live Circuits/Switchboards – WorkSafe Warns

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WorkSafe Victoria is urging business owners, contractors and workers to be cautious when working on live switchboards or circuits. The warning comes as the safety regulator focuses on a month of electrical safety.

The regulator is also stressing the importance of ensuring the adequate training and supervision of apprentices.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Health and Safety, Paul Fowler said electricans were often under pressure from clients to get the job done quickly and to work with live electricity in order to avoid disruption to trade and production. Clients often don’t recognise the risks, so electrical employers and contractors must look for alternatives, such as scheduling work when the power supply can be shut down without affecting business.

He went on to say that the electricity should always be isolated and tested before work begins, regardless of the task.

Lives shouldn’t be put at risk to save time or inconvenience. Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/worksafe-victoria-warns-dangers-working-live-switchboards-circuits/#.Wz_fASAlE1l

Falls the Focus of Cross Border Construction Program in Mildura

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The prevention of falls on construction sites was the recent focus of a joint program by SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria in Mildura in June.

The Cross Border Construction Program involved inspectors jointly visiting local building sites on both sides of the border to minimise the risk of workers being injured due to falls.

Inspectors were identifying safety risks and breaches and highlighting the similarities and differences between regulations in the 2 states.

Falls are a serious issue for the construction sector. Over the past decade 17 construction workers died due to a fall in Victoria.

In NSW, falls are responsible for the most number of deaths on construction sites. In 2017 the NSW government introduced new laws giving SafeWork NSW inspectors power to issue penalty notices of $3600 to companies and $720 to individuals for fall from height related  breaches.

Falls are just one of the health and safety issues that construction workers are faced with. In this high risk industry, it’s important that health and safety are the main priority.

One of the ways to ensure safety on construction sites is through worker training. Every worker must be adequately trained for the specific construction site and tasks they undertake but they must also be in possession of a White Card to prove they have completed general construction safety training as mandated by the federal government. Complete the White Card course online today and you are eligible to work on any construction site in Australia and across borders because the accreditation is nationally recognised.

Read more at http://www.worksafenews.com.au/news/item/665-falls-the-focus-of-cross-border-safety-program.html

Workplace Injury Rates Fall in Victoria

 There’s good news for the Victorian workforce, workplace injuries and deaths have fallen to an all time low, according to WorkSafe Victoria figures.

According to annual figures released by Victoria’s safety regulator, the rate of workplace injuries per million hours has fallen to 6.43 claims from 6.95 claims per million hours worked in the 2015/16 financial year. This is a 7.5 per cent reduction.

WorkSafe credited the improvement to the vigilance of Victorian employers and employees as well as WorkSafe inspectors.

The news isn’t all good though, WorkSafe Victoria said the rate of mental health problems has increased,  a trend we’re seeing across the Victorian community and particularly in the construction industry.

It’s important we address mental health safety, because mental health has an impact on safety, health and productivity.  See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/09/injuries-work-fall-record-low-victoria/#.WdzNCDC1vIV

Poor Safety around Mobile Plant Addressed by Work Safe Victoria

Over the course of the month of May, WorkSafe Victoria targeted poor safety around mobile plant as part of a campaign, aimed at minimizing fatalities and injuries on building sites.

Inspectors visited sites to ensure employers and contractors have identified the hazards associated with this type of machinery and are addressing any risk to workers or the public.

WorkSafe said that over the past decade, 16 people lost their lives working with or around machinery on construction sites, including forklifts, cranes, front end loaders, elevated work platforms, skid steer loaders, concrete trucks and other types of powered mobile plant.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/worksafe-victoria-targeting-poor-safety-around-mobile-plant/#.WS8s18YlEl1

Victoria Workplace Fatalities Rose in 2016

 WorkSafe Victoria has urged workplaces in the state to make safety a priority, given the atrocious year we had last year when it comes to workplace health and safety.
2016 saw 26 workplace fatalities taking place and since 2009 it was the worst year on record.
Seven of the incidents were from the construction industry. Five incidents involved tractors, four were due to falls from height and 3 were from electrocutions.
The youngest person killed was 21 and the oldest was 94.
This year hasn’t gotten off to a very good start with 5 fatalities already, let’s pay more attention to safety to make sure 2017 is a good year. Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/2016-considered-worst-year-workplace-fatalities-victoria/#.WHOJuVz-m-c

WorkSafe Victoria Celebrates 30 Years

worksafe victoria
Source: SafetyCulture.com.au

WorkSafe Victoria is celebrating its 30th year as Victoria’s workplace health and safety regulator, having started operations on 1 September 1985.

The regulator was established as a single Government insurance scheme, WorkCare replacing more than 50 insurers. In 1996 the organisation’s power was increased to regulate work health and safety.

The organisation has been successful in improving workplace safety in the state dramatically. The number of injuries in the state went from 58,700 in 1985 to 26,500 in 2014 and 1.27 million injured workers have received support from the scheme.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/09/victorias-work-health-safety-watchdog-marks-30-years/#.VeYaD_mqqko

 

WorkSafe Vic urges People to Work Smart in the heat

WorkSafe Victoria has urged people, particularly those who work outdoors, to be cautious over the next week due to the rising temperatures.

Temperatures have been predicted to reach above 40 degrees Celsius over the next few days and WorkSafe Victoria is therefore warning workers to protect themselves against heat related illness and injuries in the workplace.

On WorkSafe Vic’s website, its Director Jarrod Edwards said that employers should ensure that they protect their workers from the heat. Workers have been warned to “work smart” to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Employees and employers have been warned especially if they are working outdoors, to look out for each other and observe each other for signs or symptoms of heat stroke, fainting, heat exhaustion, cramps, rashes and/or fatigue.

It is vital to be on the lookout for symptoms and if you or a co-worker feels nauseas, dizzy, weak or sick in any way, stop work immediately and drink a sufficient amount of water to keep hydrated.

Employers must ensure that workers have access to clean, cool, drinking water and should be encouraged to drink water often and keep well hydrated over the hot days. They should also have a shaded area to rest.

WorkSafe Vic recommends drinking one cup of water or approximately 200ml every 15 to 20 minutes.

Personal protective equipment is also important and employers must ensure that workers are provided with the necessary PPE. Workers should be wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and loose cotton shirts with collars and sleeves.

Employers should also implement control measures such as fans and air conditioning to increase air flow, erecting shade cloth to minimise heat on work areas.

Workers should also be encouraged to take frequent rest breaks and drink plenty of water to prevent heat related illnesses.

Employers must consider factors such as the humidity, radiant heat and air movement when implementing controls. Employees’ physical fitness and the fact that construction work involves manual labour and usually long hours outdoors should also be considered.

Employers should also keep in mind that workers may get tired more quickly in the heat and this may have an effect on their ability to concentrate on doing their job and in the construction industry, this has an effect on safety. As WorkSafe Victoria points out “mistakes can happen and people get injured” more easily in the heat.

The work safety authority also suggests implementing practical solutions such as modifying workloads and adjusting work rosters so that the same workers aren’t spending the entire day in the sun, if possible. Also reschedule work so strenuous tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day.

Employers can also use mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion to help minimise the effects of working in the heat. Also workers should be provided with information, instruction and training to manage fatigue and illness associated with high temperatures.

The recent death of a Melbourne based school gardener due to the heat is an example of what can happen when the proper precautions aren’t taken in the heat, so employees and employers need to ensure they play their part in keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Financial Benefits of Safety

A record low rate of workplace injuries and ongoing improvements in scheme management have helped deliver a sound 2012/13 financial result for WorkSafe Victoria and similarly companies in Victoria undoubtedly also benefited from this record safety year.

Most employers already know that one of the greatest benefits of safety for a company is increased productivity. An increase in productivity also affects numerous other areas of the business, particularly financially.

Employers that invest in workplace health and safety can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses and this will in turn result in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses, avoiding penalties and reducing costs to train replacement employees and conduct accident investigations.

Reducing the number of injuries that happen on your job site means that work is not interrupted and a continuous flow of work means that the construction project is more likely to be completed on time and on budget.

Injuries are very costly to employers because an injury means time off work for the employee and for the employer this means either a certain amount of time one set of hands short or money and resources must be spent on finding and training a replacement worker to temporarily fill the workers shoes. If a fatality occurs, the consequences and financial loss for the company are even greater.

Another major benefit of ensuring safety on site is up to scratch is that it keeps authorities happy and this means they will stay off your back. Heavy penalties and fines can be the result of employers neglecting safety.

There is also the chance that a worker becomes injured during a larger scale construction accident for example one involving a crane or some other piece of heavy machinery. These accidents can damage or even destroy costly machines and cause destruction to the structures already completed on site. The destruction caused by heavy machinery can significantly set work back and cost construction companies and their clients thousands.

In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization’s productivity and financial performance.

The greatest benefit of safety is that it promotes productivity. When workers are safe and feel safe they will work better, faster, more accurately than they would if they are constantly stressed and afraid of being injured. Those workers who are constantly stressed or afraid of being injured, are not working at their best and often these are the workers who make mistakes, which sometimes costs them their lives.

Those companies who care about the wellbeing of their employees are the ones who have the best reputation for corporate responsibility among investors, customers and communities. A better corporate image promotes good business and ultimately affects a company’s bottom line, positively.

 

Safety blitz found breaches in housing construction sites

WorkSafe Victoria has conducted a total of 120 safety blitzes on houses across Bendigo, Ballarat, Mildura, Warrnambool and Geelong which has yielded shocking results. 90 safety breaches have been discovered last month as part of the organisations Operator SafeSite program.

A number of workplace deaths have occurred this year already and construction workers in particular are in danger. That is why employers and workers need to work together to do all they can to ensure workplace safety.

The inspectors warned sites ahead of time of their visitation yet many failed to make their sites safer before inspectors showed up. Some businesses did yield the warnings and made improvements before inspectors arrived.

Fifty one improvement notices were handed out by site inspectors requiring businesses to fix health and safety breaches before it results in serious injury for workers. During the blitz a total of 39 breaches were identified and dealt with on the spot.

Some of the things that need to be considered include security of the site in the form of fencing, housekeeping and safe storing of tools when not in use are all examples of small measures that need to be taken but can make a huge positive impact on site safety.

Inspectors have reminded people in the housing construction sector that safety takes a proactive approach, it doesn’t just happen. It requires planning, effective controls in place, regular supervision and training.

For those businesses who have been issued with notices and those who managed to escape without any notices, inspectors will be conducting follow-up visits over the next few weeks, so make sure your business is not the one receiving safety notices for lack of safety compliance.