The Keys to Keeping Young Workers Safe

Young workers are arguably the most at risk on the worksite, mostly due to their inexperience on the job and in life in general, that is why I found an article written by Joanna Weekes on www.healthandsafetyhandbook.com.au useful.

The post entitled “6 steps to keep young workers safe” highlights the steps that employers can take to ensure the most “at risk” workers on the site are being protected.

Despite the fact that young workers are usually the most eager and willing to please workers you will come across, they are also the ones with the least knowledge and experience which makes them a safety risk. Employers cannot underestimate the need for protection when it comes to this section of the work force.

The article goes on to highlight the 6 steps to making a workplace safer for young workers.

people_160Take these steps to keep your young workers safe:

  • introduce new workers to their supervisor and co-workers; 
  • carry out inductions of the workplace, work tasks, and health and safety policies and procedures;
  • explain the process for reporting a safety incident or concern;
  • roster experienced workers with young or inexperienced workers to ensure they are adequately supervised;
  • ensure there are always adequate staffing numbers, particularly during busy periods; and
  • provide training for all new workers.

Source: Source: http://www.healthandsafetyhandbook.com.au/6-steps-to-keep-young-workers-safe/

Training is one of the most crucial aspects of worker safety especially young workers who are both inexperienced and not as knowledgeable as older workers.

Naturally safety training is the best way to pass safety knowledge on to young workers who are probably entering the work site with little or no knowledge of safety. They should receive training that covers first aid, health and safety policies, accident and emergency procedures; and bullying, discrimination and harassment policies.

As the writer points out, in certain industries such as the construction industry workers also need to receive training that covers correct use of personal protective equipment; manual handling, e.g. how to safely lift heavy objects; and how to safely operate equipment and machinery.

For young people beginning in the construction sector they must first complete White Card training which is the mandatory construction safety training course required for anyone embarking on construction work.

Getting a Construction White Card online has become the most popular choice because of its convenience. The White Card (CPCCOHS1001A Construction Industry Induction Training) is now available online 24-7 and is here we show how simple it is to complete the training.

 

Prisoners Given a Second Chance at Life with Construction Certificates

Prisoners at a minimum security prison in Western Australia have been given a second chance to make something of their lives. They are being trained to engage in horticulture or construction work so that when they leave prison they can become productive members of society.

The prisoners from Pardelup Prison Farm, a minimum security prison located outside Mount Barker are given the opportunity to receive certificates so that they can gain employment in these sectors once they are released from prison.

The prison located about 27 kilometres west of Mt Barker in Western Australia’s Great Southern region is also a working farm which grows crops and raises livestock.

The farm is situated amongst other farms and vineyards off the Muir Highway. The farm called Pardelup is used to train the inmates on the operation of a farm and agricultural work. The prison inmates are also given a chance to complete training and get accredited in subjects like horticulture and construction.

An article on Abc.net.au quoted the prison’s superintendent, Richard Butcher who said that Pardelup places a strong emphasis on training so that inmates can become ready for a sustainable life on the outside. He went on to explain:

5839036-4x3-700x525‘It’s not enough just to accommodate prisoners in prison,’ he said.

‘One of the key aspects of helping people to live a healthy life and a life free of crime,is that they’ve got the skills and the employability skills, to get a job when they are released.’

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/wa-prison/5888248

The farm isn’t just about training, it is a financially viable farm providing supplies of fruit and vegetables making up 28 per cent of supplies to Western Australian prisons.

The article also explained:

A workforce of more than 20 inmates tend to vegetable crops, a fruit orchard and a hydroponic tomato shed, which grows 10 to 12 tonnes of tomatoes each year.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/wa-prison/5888248

This story is encouraging because if prisoners can turn their lives around and learn a new skill, there is hope for others out there that are dissatisfied with their lives.

One of the industries that is welcoming new workers at the moment due to a boom in activity is the construction sector.

Workers in the construction industry are in high demand as we experience a nation-wide construction boom and skills shortage.

Those people who are grappling with the idea of pursuing a career in construction or even those who are just interested in learning more about the industry, the first step is completing general construction safety training and obtaining a White Card accreditation, to be eligible for employment on a construction site.

Even prison inmates who seek construction work on their release will need to complete the training, made mandatory by the federal government. Under unified work health and safety laws introduced in 2012, not only is this training mandatory but once it is completed successfully and the White Card gained, workers can seek work anywhere in Oz because the accreditation is nationally recognised.

Sydney Housing Market Strongest in Australia

While many experts predict that housing price growth will ease in the near future from the recent boom, Sydney is one of the areas around the country where the housing market will remain high. In fact Sydney’s housing market prices are the highest in the country.

The value of homes in the capital cities increased by 0.3 per cent in February seasonally adjusted, according to the RP Data-Core Logic Home Value Index. This was lower than January when it grew 1.3 per cent but it is still high compared to other parts of the country.

Currently Sydney is the strongest market with prices up 13.7 per cent in the 12 months to February which makes it the highest growth in the country. The growth is Melbourne is almost half the value of Sydney’s.
People looking to buy new homes in other parts of Australia can breathe easy with high prices cooling slightly however in Sydney the median house price has passed three quarters of a million. Buying a flat in Sydney will cost Australians more than half a million.

In an article on Sourceable.net, RP Data research director Tim Lawless was quoted as saying that a bleaker looking economy combined with declining housing affordability may result in lower interest rates but may not give the housing sector the boost it normally would.

The article also mentioned how an increasing supply of new housing was evident in figures released by the Housing Industry Association (HIA). According to HIA figures, new 2home sales grew by 1.8 per cent in January this year.
The number of flats, townhouses and semi-detached homes sold also rose in January by 9.9 per cent, house sales rose only 0.1 per cent.

The following figures from the article on Sourceable.net detail the percentage growth for the capital cities in the year to February:

Sydney – up 13.7pct to $680,000
Melbourne – up 7.4pct to $515,000
Brisbane – up 5.9pct to $452,200
Adelaide – up 3.4pct to $410,000
Canberra – up 1.8pct to $510,000
Darwin – up 1.6pct to $530,000
Hobart – up 0.7pct to $336,500
Perth – up 0.6pct to $510,000

– See more at: http://sourceable.net/sydney-house-prices-highest-in-the-nation/#sthash.t3JVqLzx.dpuf

Workers in Sydney and other states and territories can work across borders due to the nationally recognised White Card. Even more good news for these workers is that they can register and complete the course online and receive their nationally accredited White Card in just a few days in the mail. All the fuss and hassle of completing face-to-face training has been done-away with by the new online training and it costs a lot less than traditional training.

White Card Victoria News: Historic Melbourne Market Gets Huge Upgrade

queen-victoria-market

Photo source: http://sourceable.net/250m-upgrade-plan-queen-victoria-market/#

The historic Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne opened in 1878 will be getting an overhaul and it is expected to be a major economic driver for the city over the coming years.

According to a report on Sourcable.net, the City of Melbourne is expected to spend $250 million in the coming decade to revamp the inner-city market. In conjunction with the upgrade, the city wants the market’s trading hours to be extended as well as opening seven days a week and evenings.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle of the City of Melbourne estimates that the overhaul will be the largest investment in the council’s history. The upgrade is expected to boost the market’s annual turnover from $91 million to $690 million.
Mayor Doyle explained:

“This is about creating one of the great economic drivers of our city,” he told reporters on Thursday at the launch of a draft master plan. The project, which will include upgraded facilities as well as new event spaces, open areas and car parks, is earmarked for completion in 10 to 12 years.

– See more at: http://sourceable.net/250m-upgrade-plan-queen-victoria-market/#sthash.3Ht6Gcnk.dpuf
The construction sector in Melbourne will be getting a major boost from the upgrade. It is estimated that the project will create 9000 jobs over the duration of its construction. As the market expands 9000 more jobs will be created.

One of the traders at the market, Karen Birthisel believes that the extended trading hours will be good for working families – also boosting business. She also welcomed the updating of facilities and idea of bringing people back to the city for their shopping.

Other market traders warned that while a change is much needed, there should be trials and ongoing consultation with them. Some traders said they didn’t want to alienate their current customers.

With the thousands of construction jobs expected to be created by the project over the next few years, as well as the overall growth in housing construction in the state, experienced builders are being encouraged to pass their skills on to the next generation. More apprentices in the industry are necessary if we are to sustain the growth in the sector over the next decade.

Apprentices must first be trained on general construction safety, throughout Australia this training is The White Card.

The White Card training can be completed online in just a few hours and the accreditation gained is recognised nationally. So whether you choose to work in Melbourne and be part of the upgrading the city or in another part of the country, you do not need to repeat the training.

Occupational Health and Safety News

It is interesting to take note that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has published a report on work related injuries sustained between July 2013 and June 2014.

According to the report, of the 12.5 million people over the age of 15 who worked during that time frame, 531,000 sustained a work-related injury. While this figure still seems high, it is relatively less than we recorded in previous years, indicating a decline in workplace injuries and an improvement in workplace health and safety.

Not surprising though is that the manufacturing, transport and agriculture industries topped the list with the highest number of work-related injuries, followed closely by the construction industry.

The report also indicated that men were at a greater risk of workplace injury than women with males having a higher rate of work related injuries during the time period. This can be attributed to the fact that high risk industries are mainly male-dominated particularly the manufacturing, agriculture, construction and transport industries.

Another useful bit of information that we can make use of when tackling workplace health and safety issues is that sprains and strains are a serious concern which are sometimes not taken seriously enough. Sprains and strains followed by joint or muscle trauma were the most commonly reported.

Sprains and strains are usually sustained by workers engaging in manual handling tasks such as lifting, pushing, pulling or bending. General labourers on construction sites are often exposed to these risks but others such as tilers, roofers, carpenters etc. can also be placed at risk.

The ABS report revealed that most workers who suffered work related injury or illness took less than 5 days off work. Forty per cent of them took no time off work at all. Sixty per cent of those injured received some sort of financial assistance, including workers’ compensation.

It is important that we take note of the most common injuries and incidents so that we can pay better attention to them this year and hopefully reduce their occurrence in the workplace. Workplace injuries not only affect the injured worker, but their families, co-workers, employers and the economy in general as well.

In a post onHealthandSafetyHandbook.com.au the writer explains what these stats mean to the ordinary worker,

meeting_1603These findings show just how common work-related injuries have been in recent years, and highlight the importance of following correct health and safety procedures to prevent these incidents from happening in your workplace.

In particular, ensuring that your workers follow correct manual handling techniques can prevent a large number of common work-related injuries, potentially saving your business money in workers’ compensation claims.

Source: http://www.healthandsafetyhandbook.com.au/key-findings-of-the-australian-bureau-of-statistics-abs-report/

When an employee sustains a serious injury the cost of medical bills and other expenses can be large, as well as the cost of fines that may be incurred if the company is found to be negligent of safety regulations.

If the employer is found to be negligent in providing adequate safety equipment and procedures for the worker, the employer may have to pay thousands of dollars in damages, this can cripple a business.

In order to decrease liability, employers must demonstrate that they have gone to adequate lengths to protect their workers and provide a safe work system and environment. They must also ensure that workers have undergone the necessary safety training, including the White Card.

Musculoskeletal Disorders Convention taking Place in Brisbane

Musculoskeletal disorders are amongst the most common and debilitating injuries suffered by workers in the construction industry. But despite their seriousness and how commonly they occur not enough is known on these injuries and how to overcome them.

A symposium to be held in Brisbane in the first half of next year aims to address this issue by discussing the latest research on the subject and highlighting best practice approaches. The event will take place at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre from 3 to 4 March 2015.

The symposium will include discussion sessions on the characteristics of high performing workplaces, critical role leadership plays in creating a good safety culture and the business benefits of managing musculoskeletal Disorders.

A post on SafetyCulture.com.au explained in more detail about what the symposium will feature,

200x200xqueensland.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kyNFjqmft5Sessions on the link between MSDs and psychosocial risk factors, the link between MSDs and chronic disease risk factors (including sedentary work), and how to engage workers on MSD risk factors will be conducted.

Professor Dennis Else, Executive Director, Safety, Sustainability and Health, Brookfield Multiplex Australasia and Director, the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living will deliver a keynote presentation on the OHS characteristics of high performing workplaces.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/musculoskeletal-disorders-symposium-held-2015/#.VJ5evl4AGU

Manual handling tasks are often not given then the attention that other hazards have because the injuries associated with them, ie. musculoskeletal injuries, are perceived as less dangerous, this is a dangerous belief because if we are not aware of the risks we cannot guard against them. An especially exciting forum will take place at the symposium which will include a myth busting panel session and a range of case studies presented by Queensland businesses.

Musculoskeletal disorders in Oz are a major source of disability and lost work time which is why events such as this one are so needed.

It is also important that safety training take priority in the workplace before workers even begin work on the site. The mandatory construction induction training required for workers anywhere in Oz is the White Card. The White Card course covers the topic of musculoskeletal disorders in general and also covers the hazards that carry a risk of a musculoskeletal injury.

The highest prevalence area of the body that is linked to musculoskeletal disorders is the back. The neck and shoulders are also very commonly affected followed by the knees.

Employers need to ensure that the activities being carried out on their worksite do not present a risk to workers. The hazards that could lead musculoskeletal disorders need to be addressed beforehand and the risks assessed. They can either be eliminated and replaced with a less hazardous activity or controlled so that the risks associated with them are minimised.

 

 

August 2014 A Bad Month for Australia Worker Safety

The latest Safe Work Australia monthly notifiable fatalities report has been released and it shows that 28 Aussie workers have been killed while on the job in the month of August – the highest number of monthly recorded fatalities for the year.

Of the 28 Aussies killed in August, the majority were as a result of being hit by a vehicle. 13 of the 28 fatalities were due to incidents involving vehicles and 4 were as a result of a working being hit by falling objects.

Most of the fatalities recorded were male workers, 1 female worker and 5 male bystanders. There were 3 female bystanders killed.

The report also said that of these fatalities 7 workers and 7 bystanders died as a result of incidents in the air or on public roads.

An article on SafetyCulture.com.au recently highlighted the report, making mention of 3 fatalities that occurred as a result of workers being hit by moving objects other than a vehicle. 2 fatalities were as a result of being trapped in machinery.

The article went on to explain:

workplaceThree fatalities were due to being hit by moving objects other than vehicle and 2 were the result of being trapped in machinery. The remaining 6 fatalities were all different types of incidents, including a vehicle incident–air crash.

Transport, postal & warehousing workplaces accounted for 7 fatalities, 6 fatalities occurred in construction workplaces, 5 fatalities occurred in electricity, gas, water & waste services and 3 fatalities occurred in agriculture, forestry & fishing workplaces.

Manufacturing, arts & recreation services and administrative & support services workplaces each had 2 fatalities. The final fatality occurred in a public administration & safety services workplace.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/28-workers-killed-month/#.VHMT34uUeRw

So far this year there have been over 160 worker fatalities and the manufacturing and construction industries have been responsible for the greatest number of fatalities.

We need to look into the safety on our individual worksites to ensure that workers aren’t being placed at risk and we need to review controls regularly.

On a construction site there are some dangers that are more prevalent than others and are common to most construction sites, be it residential or commercial sites. It is important to investigate potential hazards of the construction site before proceeding with work. These include unstable grounds, power lines and hazardous materials. These are hazards that are unique to the site and vary from site to site.

Most importantly ensure that workers are adequately trained. Both site specific and general construction induction training is required for every worker and is another crucial aspect of workplace safety. The good news is that workers can now obtain their general construction site training (White Card) online, which makes it both easy and convenient. It can be done from the privacy of your home or office and is valid nationally. This is a pre requisite to entrance as a worker on any construction site in Oz.

 

Beware of Faulty Building Products putting Workers and the Public at Risk

Popular construction industry website Sourceable.net recently posted an article which highlighted the deteriorating quality of building products flooding the Australian market, putting not only workers but the public at risk.

According to the post, faulty construction products and materials are a real problem in Oz and are putting families and lives at risk.

A senior government minister said that poorly manufactured construction products and materials are becoming a major problem in Oz putting families and lives at risk as well as putting legitimate and compliant product suppliers at an unfair disadvantage. The shoddy products are obviously much cheaper than good quality, Australian produced products.

During a national meeting with construction industry leaders to discuss the problematic influx of sub-standard and non-conforming products onto the Australian market, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin spoke of the serious problems that are stemming from these products.

Mr Baldwin explained:

caution“These faulty products are not meeting Australian standards and causing significant risk of fire or failing the most basic of stress tests,”

Source: http://sourceable.net/faulty-building-products-flooding-australian-market-minister/#sthash.67EgvNx8.dpuf

 

 

Mr Baldwin went on to explain that families that renovated or built homes were entitled to be confident that the products used in the construction or renovation process were good quality and that the building was safe. Mr Baldwin said that an action strategy was needed to address these “unsafe” practices and stop them from taking place in Oz.

The following excerpt from Sourceable.net went on to explain:

Around Australia, the issue of non-conforming products used in residential construction caught public attention in August when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recalled around 40,000 electric cables supplied by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd after testing found that poor quality insulation coating meant the cables would degrade prematurely and that the insulation could break and expose live conductors if the cables were disturbed, resulting in possible electric shock or fires.

http://sourceable.net/faulty-building-products-flooding-australian-market-minister/#sthash.67EgvNx8.dpuf

The article went on to discuss another incident which took place in 2012 which involved Grocon when they were forced to replace half of the glass they had used on a building project after vision panes to the glass were found to exhibit blue streaks in polarised light conditions. The replacement glass resulted in a significant financial expense. Companies can avoid the inconvenience and added expenses of replacing poor quality products by simply choosing better quality, Australian standard materials and products the first time around.

The Australian Windows Association, among other industry groups weren’t lying down to the spread of these low quality products. The group operates a ‘dob-in-a-site’ scheme which allows people to report any cases they believe a builder has installed non-compliant windows or doors. This can be done confidentially.

The Australian Procurement and Construction Council in September also implemented a procurement guide to assist designers and builders in understanding Australian regulatory and product requirements.

Housing Industry Association building spokesperson Kristin Brookfield expressed her support of the initiative. She said that much of the problem could be attributed to “a lack of coordination and oversight amongst regulatory authorities”.

Brookfield went on to explain:

“This is an increasing problem for the whole building industry, and no one wants to see a significant or catastrophic failure occur,” she said. “It’s time that all levels of government worked together to seriously address the issue.”

See more at: http://sourceable.net/faulty-building-products-flooding-australian-market-minister/#sthash.67EgvNx8.dpuf

 

Demolition Worker Killed in Sydney

A part of the construction process that is especially concerning because of the high risk associated with it is demolition. An incident that happened in Sydney recently highlights the dangers surrounding demolition work. A worker was killed during demolition when a steel pipe he was cutting struck him on the head. Apparently the pipe wasn’t well supported when it swung down and hit the man in the head, causing fatal injuries.

An article on SkyNews.com.au reported on the tragic incident:

skynews.img.1200.745A family’s in mourning today after a father watched his son die when a pipe struck him on the head at an inner Sydney demolition site.

The man in his 30s was hit by the heavy steel pipe as he was cutting it above his head at a construction site in Redfern.

The man was working for his father’s demolition business and his father and brother were there at the time.

See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/local/sydney/2014/11/15/family-mourns-sydney-demolition-worker.html#sthash.YDJPpvru.dpuf

Construction workers performing demolition work are exposed to many hazardous conditions and materials. Although a contractor should prioritise the safety of employees, there should also be heightened awareness for the safety of the general public and the property of others when demolition work is going on.

As this incident proves, even workers involved in demolition need to be trained on safety because even more so than other construction workers, these employees are exposed to a number of risks that are often life threatening.

Safety training for demolition workers and in fact all construction related fields should involve the White Card course.

Workplace health and Safety (WHS) is one of the most important issues for employers to consider but it is also the responsibility of employees. Employees in the construction sector including demolition workers, those involved in mining construction, road construction etc. must undergo safety training prior to entering a site and must apply the knowledge learnt while engaging in work on the site.

Workers must abide by the training they have been provided and follow safety procedures as set out by their employers. They must also utilise PPE as directed by employers and never work in an unsafe manner that would risk their own health and safety and that of their co-worker/s. One form of personal protective equipment which cannot be compromised is the hard hat.

Protecting one’s head is important and mandatory on every construction site, so that accidents such as the one above can be avoided. There are a number of incidents that can occur on a construction site which can injure a worker in the head such as falling objects, slips, trips and falls etc. That is why wearing a hard hat is so important and can be life-saving.

Every worker should complete the online White Card Training Course to certify that they are qualified to work on a site and aware of important safety controls such as the use of hard hats on construction sites and numerous other measures.

Each worker on site is ultimately responsible for his own safety but they also have a responsibility to ensure that he/she does not put the lives of his/her co-workers at risk.  Therefore no matter the task being undertaken, every construction worker should ensure that he is working safely and according to the safety training he/she has received. Workers should also receive white card training so that they are aware of the responsibilities of their employer and can feel free to take any matters involviing safety up using the relevant channels.

 

Lack of Communication leads to Near Miss on Building Site

One of the greatest enemies to workplace safety especially on construction sites is a lack of communication or ineffective communication.

Communication particularly relating to safety is a matter of life and death on construction sites which is why employers need to ensure that communication is taking place about the important issues and that this communication is being understood by workers. It is also vital that all the risks have been identified, assessed and dealt with beforehand to avoid workers paying the price.

An accident on a British construction site which resulted in the injury of worker was caused by incorrect information being given to the worker which led to him cutting a cable which was live with his angle grinder. Had it been communicated to the worker that the cable was still live, the accident could have been avoided.

The company responsible have been prosecuted by Liverpool authorities. The following excerpt from a post on PPConstructionSafety.com explains more about what happened:

electricalexplosion1Vermont Capitol Ltd has been prosecuted after a labourer cut through a mains electricity cable after 22-year-old was told the supply had been disconnected.

He was thrown across a basement when his angle grinder made contact with the live wires on a Liverpool building in August 2013.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard (23 October 2014) the company was clearing the site prior to construction of student flats at the end of a row of Grade-II-listed Regency terraced houses.

The end terrace had been partially demolished after becoming structurally unsound, leaving the façade and basement on the building site.

The court was told the workman was instructed to remove old pipes and cables from the cellar. The mains supply was not disconnected contrary to information provided to the site manager.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2014/10/28/labourer-cheats-death-in-cable-strike-incident/

The writer also highlights that there was a flash as the workman cut into the cable and he suffered injuries to his elbow and shoulder. The man was thrown across the room and lucky for him, his protective clothing prevented him from suffering burns or being more seriously injured.

Although this company seemed compliant in other areas, such as providing adequate PPE to workers, they failed to ensure the worker was aware that cable was live and was actually instructed by his supervisor to cut into the cable.

The charges against the company are as follows and highlight that written confirmation is necessary when energy work is concerned:

Vermont Capitol Ltd, of Liverpool, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £980 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 34(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 which states: “where necessary to prevent danger, energy distribution installations shall be suitably located, checked and clearly indicated.”

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2014/10/28/labourer-cheats-death-in-cable-strike-incident/

Following the incident a health and safety inspector, Chris Hatton was quoted as saying that the young worker was lucky to be alive, let alone to receive such minor injuries. The electric shock he suffered could have also been much worse as it came from a mains cable which was probably carrying at least 240 volts of power.

The worker was also placed in direct risk of losing his life because the  team on the site had been told all of the utilities entering the site had been disconnected and so the worker had no way of knowing he was actually cutting into a live electricity cable.

It is important that builders and developers get written confirmation that supplies have been disconnected before undertaking work with gas pipes and electricity cables.