Workers Warned of Extreme Heat Dangers

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A warning has been issued to workers about the dangers of working in high heat environments.

Although the reminder was issued by The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, it is a warning that people in construction trades should also heed.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn  supervisors and workers need to understand the risks and symptoms of heat stress and report any signs to a supervisor.

Workers and employers must remember the seriousness of the issue, heat stroke can cause permanent brain damage as well as damage to other vital organs and possibly death.

People suffering from heat-related illnesses must get urgent medical treatment.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/11/warning-issued-dangers-working-extreme-heat/#.W_uYKeIlE1k

Revolutionary New Construction material made from Unlikely Waste

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Researchers at a South African university have developed a way to make building materials using something we literally flush down the toilet every day.

Urine is the key ingredient in the construction of eco-friendly building materials, human urine that is.

The bio-bricks may be the sustainable alternative to the clay and concrete bricks that currently dominate the building landscape.

The technique used in the prototypes involved “growing” the bricks from urine, similarly to how seashells are naturally formed.The bricks take six or eight days to form.

The invention comes from 2 students and a lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Read more at https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/inventions/world-first-human-urine-bricks-developed-in-south-africa-could-weevolutionise-building/news-story/8b674950e39a4c49987295eaaf067e7f

When The Weather Requires You to Down Tools

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An interesting post on Abc.net.au highlights the dilemma facing all  tradies working on construction sites outdoors, when are the weather conditions enough to down tools?

As tradepeople interviewed point out, deciding when to stop work due to the weather can be tricky given that you also still need to get paid.

Each state has its own workplace health and safety regulations, but often it is up to the person to decide whether it is safe to work in weather conditions. While there are a number of factors to consider such as time frame, type of work etc, ultimately it comes down to safety. If it’s not safe, it’s not worth continuing.

Read the article at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-16/how-to-mange-weather-in-construction-jobs/10083870

Construction Safety Update for 2019

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So far in January (January 24, 2019) according to Safe Work Australia, there have been 5 workplace fatalities in Australia.

In 2018, there were 152 workers killed at work, an improvement from the previous year when 190 workers were killed on the job.

Of the 5 workers killed in 2019, 2 were from the construction industry, as compared to last year this time when only 1 construction worker had died on the job. The agriculture, fishing and forestry industry was responsible for 2 deaths this year as well, with the transport industry claiming one life.

For the construction industry, we haven’t had a very good start to the year however it’s not too late to make a change. There’s still time to turn things around and make safety the first priority, beginning with construction safety training.

Read more at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics

Prioritise Worker Safety in 2019, Especially Young Workers

Let’s work to ensure that 2019 is better for workplace health and safety than 2018 was.  Although we did see a slight improvement last year in comparison to the previous year, more needs to be done to keep workers safe, particularly young and inexperienced workers.

A recent court case in Brisbane is a reminder of the importance of training and supervision of young workers in keeping them safe. A company was in court over an incident that involved a young worker who had injured his hand.

The company was fined $80,000 over the incident which involved a wheel trencher. The incident prompted Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to remind employers to protect young workers particularly because of their inexperience and eagerness which often causes them to take risks.

In Queensland around 50 young workers are injured every day and one a day is permanently impaired.

Authorities reminded employers to consider their unique risk profile when managing them. They were also reminded that proper induction is vital, in construction that includes White Card training as well as site specific and job specific training. Young workers also require additional support and supervision.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/employers-reminded-ensure-safety-young-workers/#.XEBXqs0lE1l

Worker Dies after being Electrocuted on Roof

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A fatal workplace electrocution has taken place in Melbourne’s outer-west at a house in Plumpton.

A 19 year old man died after being electrocuted while working on the roof of a house. The man was installing an air-conditioner on the roof of a 2 storey home when the electrocution occurred.

Not much more is known about the incident but WorkSafe is investigating.

This death brings the total to 3 workers who have been killed at work since the start of the year.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/victorian-worker-electrocuted-roof/#.XFgOEM0lHQV

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

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

Blitz Focusing on Work From Heights Successful- SafeWork NSW

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SafeWork NSW says a 12 month construction blitz focusing on reducing falls from heights has been successful and has improved work from height safety and compliance.

During the course of the year inspectors visited 1000 sites around the state, following a high rate of fatalities in 2017 and a spike in falls.

Inspectors embarked on a concentrated education campaign and provided rebates for small businesses.

More than $86,000 in rebates has been given out to 186 small businesses.

Inspectors also issued on-the-spot fines for non-compliance.

A focus on work from height safety will continue this year.

Read more at: https://www.miragenews.com/safework-blitz-results-in-improved-construction-safety/

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