January 2019 – Newsletter

2019 has begun!

For those of you that we have not already caught up with, best wishes for a great 2019!

A new year and it is always difficult to “hit the ground running”!!

So, I know that you are all wondering what the focus will be for 2019. What is the New Year’s resolution for your business?

To help you with some “planning topics” I want to share the following with you.

Safe Work Australia Report:

The report shows that there were more than 106,000 compensation claims for serious injuries suffered by workers in just 12 months. Labourers and Construction workers had the highest rate of injury claims for any occupation, while agriculture and forestry had the most claims for any industry.

Labourers are the most likely to be seriously injured while at work, with the occupation accounting for almost a quarter of all workplace injury claims.

Shockingly, 56 labourers were tragically killed while on the job in one year alone. More than half of worker fatalities between 2012 and 2017 were caused by machinery such as cars, tractors and excavators.

One topic to consider when planning your focuses for 2019. What does your workforce consist of?

Chain of Responsibility:

The Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws came into effect in the beginning of October-2018. Under the new CoR laws, all parties in the Chain will have a proactive and non-delegable duty to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their transport activities

All Executives (Directors, Partners, Owners) will have a proactive and non-delegable duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that their business complies with its duty
If you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you could be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) even though you have no direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle. In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners, and managers are accountable for the actions of people under their control. This is the Chain of Responsibility (COR).

Does this need to be included in your 2019 planning?

Young workers / new workers: (Court outcome)

As thousands of youngsters prepare to kick start their careers this time of the year, a recent court case in Brisbane is a stark reminder of the responsibility’s employers have with rookie employees.

Employers must be aware that young workers will often take risks if they are anxious to please their bosses – and they must be protected against this blind enthusiasm.”

Recently in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court, a company pleaded guilty and was fined $80,000 for failing to meet its work health and safety obligations after a young pipeline labourer’s hand was amputated by a wheel trencher.

The magistrate said an employer’s duty of care involved preventing injury to all workers, no matter if they were fit or fatigued, careful or careless, experienced or inexperienced.

In this case, the young worker was engaged as a pipeline labourer and his duties included observing the wheel trencher for obstacles or blockages while it was in operation. He noticed a stick about to jam between two of the buckets in the bucket wheel, reached in with his hand and moved the stick out of the way.

When he tried to remove his hand, his shirt got tangled in the bucket wheel and a bearing roller and his hand was drawn into the moving parts. Despite multiple surgeries, his hand was eventually amputated.

In reaching a decision, the magistrate acknowledged the defendant did have a safety management system in place. However, it did not address the specific risk in this case and that a person conducting a business or undertaking needs to be aware young workers often just want to please employers and will take risks to do so.

“Whether it’s part time work to get through uni or embarking on their careers, young people need extra supervision, training and direction,” Mr James said.

“Around 50 young Queenslanders a day – mostly young men – suffer a compensable work injury, and one a day is permanently impaired. Young workers have a unique risk profile and it’s up to employers to consider this when managing them. A proper induction, plenty of support and much-needed training are vital.”

With the silly season starting, businesses may attempt to rush jobs before the shutdown, even giving the work to inexperienced youngsters – but the safety risks aren’t worth it.

Work health and safety laws require employers to:

  • identify the health and safety risks of particular work tasks and adopt procedures to eliminate or control them
  • train workers in the procedures and provide them with any safety equipment they need
  • ensure workers perform their tasks safely by providing training, supervision and support
  • encourage workers to speak to supervisors about any health and safety concerns.

Does this fit your business model? Can it be a focus for the team?

HSC Meetings:

We are fortunate to be able to sit in and sometimes chair the HSC meetings in a variety of businesses.

It is a continual improvement to watch the committee members grow and become and intricate part of the safety culture within the workplace.

The ones that take it very seriously have a great mix (through the election process) of workers really can and do make a difference.

Maybe one of the focuses for this year is to have a good look at the HSC and what they are producing for the business.

  • Is it an effective use of meeting time?
  • Are they really looking at issues / hazards/ trends?
  • Do they require some coaching to be a pillar of the safety culture within your business?

A couple of points to consider before you sign off your 2019 planner.

Even if just one of the above helps you, then the continual / proactive safety management continues!

Stay safe for 2019 and look forward to catching up through the year.

As always, happy to chat about your requirements and the business needs.

Give us a call or drop a note on our web site.

Until next time.

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Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

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