Author Archives: online

Safety Alert – Can you have Xmas drinks?

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Alcohol in the Workplace

It may be quite common to enjoy a few alcoholic drinks in the evenings or on weekends, but the topic of drinking on the job should be approached very cautiously.  There may be a time or two, where employees sharing drinks together may be acceptable, but these will probably be limited to holiday functions and the occasional after work celebration.  Employers will need to go to great lengths to ensure that employees are not placed in harm’s way while driving home from a company function as the liability could potentially fall to the employer.  The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) estimates that from 2001-2002, 7.5% of work-related injuries were alcohol related. As far as normal work hours and duties are concerned, alcoholic beverages should not be considered appropriate at any time.  Many businesses rely on employees to operate equipment, drive company vehicles and perform many other tasks that if left to cloudy decision making could lead to serious workplace injuries and increased liability for employers.  Steps should be taken to consider the potential for these scenarios and how to best prepare for dealing with situations that could arise. (more…)

Safety Alert - Work on the Road

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In a recent 10 year period (2003 to 2012) vehicles were involved in two-thirds of worker fatalities, which included both traffic and non-traffic incidents (Safe Work Australia).  This is an alarming number and it really places a significant emphasis on the need to do everything possible to protect employees travelling and working on our roadways.  Ensuring that your vehicle fleet is being maintained adequately is a critical component to keeping employees safe on the roads.  A comprehensive fleet policy is another important way to influence safe driving behaviors.  Driver training can be one of the best ways to get started in preparing employees to encounter various hazards presented on the road.  There are a number of specialized training areas that include topics such as defensive driving and extreme weather driving.     (more…)

Safety Alert – I Heard That

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Hearing Protection

Hearing loss is one of the most permanent types of workplace injuries that can and probably will remain with employees for the rest of their lives.  As an employer, it’s critical to ensure that your staff understands the risk, that you have identified areas of your workplace that pose a risk, and that you have done everything possible to try and protect your employees.  In 2010-2011, deafness accounted for 3.6% of all serious workplace injuries, which equated to 4,583 workers’ compensation claims (Safe Work Australia).    Hearing protection is at times the last line of defense for protecting employees, but it’s critical that they understand when and how to use it and their required use should be enforced. (more…)

Safety Alert - Managing equipment in the workplace

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Equipment can take many different forms including machinery, tools, and personal protective equipment.  Some of this equipment has a short life span, like that of a dust mask that may only last for a single use, while other equipment such as a lathe that could last for 30 years or more.  Some equipment requires routine maintenance and cleaning while others may not.  It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instruction for routine maintenance and care.  Failure to properly maintain equipment can lead to a wide variety of injuries that could include cuts, lacerations, slips, crushing, struck-by, caught-in and a number of other types of injuries that can be the result of mechanical failure or protective equipment not providing adequate levels of protection. (more…)

Why You Need to Worry about Subbies

Posted in News, Press release

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Emma Bentton was interviewed by EzyAccess.net about the potential risks of subcontractors with no WHS training.

The original article can be found here

In this post we want to explore the ramifications of having a sub-contractor who hasn’t undergone any WHS training working on your premises. To this end, we spoke to Emma Bentton, a Work Health and Safety expert and Director of Systems on a Shoestring, a company that launched a series of WHS mobile apps for small businesses.

When a Subbie has No Induction

Sub-contracting is a pretty common occurrence, particularly in the construction industry. But the danger occurs when a sub-contractor arrives at a site to complete a job, and hasn’t been given any formal induction or WHS training.
(more…)

Safety Alert – A bit sleepy are we…

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Fatigue in the Workplace

There can be many different effects of fatigue on workers including things that impact concentration, distraction, decision making, vigilance, recognizing risks, coordination, and communication.  Fatigue can certainly lead to mistakes being made at work and also an increased likelihood in accidents or injuries.  It’s important to consider both work related and non-work related factors that influence a workers’ level of fatigue and to then consider what can be done to increase awareness in these areas and to help minimize or eliminate their influence. (more…)

Demonstrating due dilligence

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Emma Bentton discusses how you can use enforceable undertakings to demonstrate due diligence and learn from them to avoid being prosecuted for an alleged contravention of a state’s WHS Act.

One of the responsibilities for anyone with control in your business (referred to by WorkCover as officers) is to demonstrate due diligence. This means officers must demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to avoid committing an offence in breach of work health and safety (WHS) acts.

One way to meet your responsibilities is by acquiring knowledge, keeping up to date with health and safety issues, and adjusting your work practices in response. A good place to start is by staying abreast of WHS or enforceable undertakings, and using them as a way to proactively manage your WHS and demonstrate due diligence. (more…)

Safety Alert - Fridge Fiasco

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Common Areas in the Workplace

There are a number of areas that we share with coworkers on a regular basis; these may include kitchens, loos, lounges, smoking areas, and job-site trailers.  A little messiness here and there can lead up to some big problems with significant unintended consequences.  Unsanitary kitchen and loo practices can lead to harmful bacteria being transmitted in a number of ways.  If left unclean, refrigerators can host e. coli, staphylococcus and even listeria.   It’s critically important to determine how these spaces will be cared for and to establish some rules for their use as well.   (more…)

Safety...it's personal

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Personalising safe work method statements ensures compliance, increases safety, and can save a company from bankruptcy

When it comes to high-risk construction work, a safe work method statement (SWMS) is essential. An SWMS needs to list the types of dangerous work being done, list the health and safety hazards and risks arising from that work, describe how the risks will be controlled, and explain how suitable measures will be put in place.

While one SWMS can be prepared to cover a variety of tasks, a generic SWMS will rarely take into account the changing nature of the work environment. This is especially true on construction sites, particularly domestic construction, where a principal contractor is working with numerous sub-contractors on a job.

Below are a few ways an SWMS can fail on the worksite: (more…)

Safety Alert - Excavator Safety

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Excavators, backhoes and other digging plant can lead to serious workplace accidents that can result in equipment and property damage, serious injury or even death.  In the 10 years spanning 2003 to 2012, 25 workers have died from injuries involving this equipment (safe work Australia).  In 2012, excavators were also responsible for the deaths of 3 pedestrians (safe work Australia).  While self-propelled plant serves the important purpose of easily moving soil or rock on a site, they pose a wide variety of hazards including ground collapse, water inrush, falls, hazardous manual tasks, airborne contaminants, buried contaminants, and underground services.  It’s important to ensure that each self-propelled plant operator has been trained and is considered competent.  Non-operator workers present in areas with self-propelled plant traffic should also be familiar with working safely around these vehicles. (more…)