Festive Season Workplace Safety Warning Issued by WorkSafe Victoria

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.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/victorian-workplaces-reminded-stay-safe-lead-festive-season/#.W_uY9uIlE1k

Keeping Workers Safe This Summer – WorkSafe Safety Warning

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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
  • Equally distribute the work load amongst workers

For more information visit NT WorkSafe website


Trench Collapse Fatality Results in Fine for Company Involved

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A company has been fined over the deaths of 2 Ballarat workers that died last year in March when the trench they were working in collapsed.

The incident was investigated by WorkSafe who alleged that the company had failed to properly supervise its employees and did not provide the appropriate safety equipment, as a result one man was instantly killed while the other died in hospital after being buried waist deep in the trench.

The families of the 2 workers are campaigning for the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws.

This tragedy should serve as a warning to other companies about the risks of failing to provide a safe working environment for employees and the importance of supervision when high risk work is being undertaken.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-09/company-charged-over-ballarat-trench-collapse-deaths/10701784

Keep Workers Safe in the Heat – WorkSafe Urges

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WorkSafe Victoria has urged employers in the north to ensure the protection of workers in the extreme heat.

With temperatures often soaring above 40 degrees, employers were reminded to ensure work is managed safely and that workers are well hydrated.

Working in such extreme heat can cause dehydration and heat stress which can be fatal in the worst cases. Brain injury and organ failure are also a risk,WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said.

She warned that it is important to plan out the day and prioritise the workload, rescheduling or modifying the work load to reduce heat exposure.

Read  more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/worksafe-urges-employers-protect-workers-heat-related-illnesses/#.XFgdMc0lHQV

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

WorkSafe Investigating Fatal Roof Fall Incident in Victoria

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A man has been killed in central Victoria after falling from a roof.

The man, believed to be in his 60s, fell from a roof and became impaled on a metal picket.

The man was working with another on a verandah roof in Neilborough, near Bendigo when the fall took place.

The cause of the fall is not yet known however WorkSafe is investigating.

This is another example of the horrific consequences of a lack of fall protection. Ensure that even when working from a perceived ‘low’ height, the proper fall prevention and fall protection controls are implemented and utilised.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/man-dies-fall-roof-central-victoria/#.XNlk3KQlE1l

WorkSafe Victoria Advertising Campaign Redefines Workplace Safety

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WorkSafe Victoria launched an advertising campaign which shared the opinions of working Victorians to highlight the changing nature of what health and safety at work means.

People from a range of industries talk about their own workplace health and safety views.

According to WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies, the campaign will hopefully reinforce the importance of physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing for every worker.

She highlighted that as the workforce ages, the industry mix evolves and people work more flexibly and in broader types of employment, the concept of ‘work’ itself is changing.

She also said that health and safety must include prevention of mental injury, as well as physical health and safety.

Read more at http://www.worksafenews.com.au/news/item/662-new-campaign-redefines-workplace-safety.html

New WorkSafe Victoria Campaign Redefines Workplace Safety

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WorkSafe Victoria recently launched an advertising campaign to highlight to Victorians the changing nature of what it means to be ‘safe and healthy’ and work.

The campaign shows people of different industries discussing workplace health and safety, which WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said would reinforce the importance of physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

The campaign is based on extensive research, showcasing community ideas about workplace health and safety, which she said was broadening as the workforce evolved.

Amies said the workforce is aging, the industry mix is changing, people are working more flexibly and in different types of jobs and workplace health and safety needs to take this into account, preventing mental injury as well as physical injury.

Find out more http://www.worksafenews.com.au/component/k2/item/662-new-campaign-redefines-workplace-safety.html

WorkSafe ACTs Focus on Work from Height Safety

WorkSafe ACT is narrowing in on employers who compromise workers’ safety when it comes to working from height and can now issue an on-the-spot fine of up to 3,600 to offenders.

In the 2017-18 period, there were 72 workers compensation claims in the state for falls from heights as well as many near-misses reported where the appropriate safety protections were not in place.

Given the significant risks of any fall from height, even falls from relatively low height, the consequences for the workers can be catastrophic. Falls can leave workers with debilitating injuries and in some cases prove fatal.

The state government decided to allocate WorkSafe ACT with greater powers to prevent these types of injuries and enforce safety requirements.

Stronger regulatory action including prosecution will be used by WorkSafe where appropriate.

A spokesperson from WorkSafe said this should send a message to the industry that safety must remain the main priority on worksites.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/worksafe-act-now-issues-spot-fines-target-falls-heights/#.Wxzw-CAlHQV

Contractor Fined for Death of Fatigued Worker

Worker fatigue is not to be taken lightly, as an incident in New Zealand has recently proven.

WorkSafe New Zealand warned that work fatigue should not compromise worker safety, sharing the details of an incident which led to a company being sentenced for the death of a fatigued worker in 2016.

A worker had logged a 16,75 hour day when he crashed the tractor he was driving and died as a result of injuries.

An investigation found that the man had workers 197.25 hours in the two weeks leading up to the incident and fatigue was identified as the most likely cause of the incident. He had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time.

The company received a final fine of $10,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $80,000.