Working in the heat! Did I do that?

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As the Australian defence force investigate whether or not they are responsible for starting a bush fire out by Lithgow and the subsequent lose of homes, livestock and bushland. Now is the time to make sure your small business isn’t asking itself “Did I do that?”

Regardless of who you are and the business you are in the warning is clear “this is going to be a long hot summer”. Now is the time to review your plans for the coming months and assess will my workers be safe, will my work affect anyone else and if so do I  have adequate controls in place to ensure the safety of yourself,  your workers  and the communities in which you operate.

Do you work out doors?

If your work includes being outside for any or all of the day you need to consider the controls that are in place.

Have you provided your workers with

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothing that protects against UV
  • Hat
  • Shade

Have you allocated regular breaks to recover and have you checked that all workers are using the controls provided?

Do you have any smokers in your work place?

Will it be their butt or yours?

If you have smokers in your workplace you might want to consider are you taking responsibility of their (cigarette) butt and it so have you exposed your own?  You may allow smokers to smoke in your workplace but are they creating a risk to your business.

A few questions to ask yourself

  • Where so your workers routinely smoke?
  • Do they routinely flick lit butt’s out of company vehicles and is your company  logo on the side? Is it adjacent to car park? What would happen if a key client/customer saw this?
  • Can your smokers accidently ignite a garden or grassed area adjacent to the car park?  Think this can’t happen! Smokers are being investigated in the recent fire at Homebush Bay car park where there was an estimated million dollars in vehicles property loss and damage?

You can check if your insurances cover third party property damage via negligence but why not remind everyone about their responsibility to extinguish all cigarettes and provide adequate receptacles for butt collection.

Do you work with ignition sources?

Regardless of whether you’re doing a quick spot weld for emergency maintenance or need to weld all day long. If your work can create a spark you need to consider

  • How quickly could that get out of control?
  •  What are the adjacent surrounds can they burn?
  • How quickly will they burn?
  • Do I have you adequate fire suppression to contain a fire?
  • How far away is the fire brigade?
  • How strong is the wind?
  • Can I reschedule this work for another day?

If you have to ask yourself “Did I do that?”, you might also want to ask is my insurance up to date, how good is my lawyer and can I blame someone else, will my business survive?

Or you may rather take action now to prevent yourself asking “Did I do that?”

Why not simply amend you current safety systems. In the next few minutes reassess your controls on Systems on a Shoestring, edit any controls, re induct your workers in the changes email a copy for your records and get back to work, before it gets to hot!

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