August 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter finds us in the beginning of the month of August and the cold “EKKA” winds starting to make their presence felt.

In the area of WHS it has been a horror start to the new financial year, with 2 fatal accidents in the past week.

Some of the statistics are as follows from the department’s 48 Construction Inspectors:

  • There were 10 work related fatalities in Queensland Construction in 2013 – 2014.
  • 2765 complaints were made about hazardous job sites.
  • 1350 improvement notices were issued to builders and contractors over unsafe practices.
  • 750 stop – work orders were issued at high risk sites.
  • 330 incidents / accidents were notified.
  • 32 fines ranging between $200 and $3600 were issued.

At present the Office of Fair Trading and Safe Work Queensland is finalizing a 2014-2017 action plan for the construction industry targeting “critical risks/issues related to fatalities” We understand this will focus on working moving equipment and vehicles, falls prevention, site management and mentoring of young workers.

Watch this space as we will send through further information once it comes through!!!!

On another issue that is close to most business owners / managers and that is the “contractors” Here is some pro active advice. Here are some facts for you!

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics report there are now almost one million Australians who work as independent contractors in their main job! By far the most common industry in this use / working as an independent contractor is Construction with 304,800 people.

So who many of you have hired independent contractors to undertake work for you only to witness them doing unsafe acts and they are seemingly oblivious to it? What do you do about it? How do you minimize the chance of this occurring?….REMEMBER YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM IN YOUR WORK AREA…….THEY ARE PART OF YOUR WORK TEAM!

We all know it is too late once they get to the site and start working, so our words of advice for you this month is to PLAN!!!!

Planning falls into a couple of headings; Scope, Tender Development, Evaluation and then the contract.

Get the planning process correct and the pain at the process end will ease!

Scoping: Look at the work that you are going to engage the contractor in. Make sure you do not just look at the tasks they are going to perform. Look at the Health and Safety issues associated with the task. Some thought provokers are.

  • What key tasks MUST be performed to achieve the outcome you want?
  • Could they involve high risk activity or environment? (heights, Confined space)
  • Could there be hazardous materials / dangerous goods needed for the task?
  • Will the materials and equipment they require create hazards?
  • Where or what can go wrong? Is there the possibility to take short cuts by the contractor?

Tender Development: There are 2 parts to every tender. Developing the tender documents (regardless of the format they take) and evaluating the responses.

Part of this documentation is to ensure the requirements for the following of safety procedures, policies etc. is very clearly focused upon.

Also at this point you look at how they approach their responsibility to WHS matters.

  • Their safety records from past work.
  • Do they carry any certification for their Safety Management System?
  • What are their qualifications and their competencies of any other workers they may need to assist them in the contractual work?
  • How do they induct and train their workers?
  • What process do they use, and how often do they carry out consultation and communication to the head contract or yourself as the business owner?

Evaluation: This is the stage where you undertake a thorough assessment of the contractor’s health and safety capabilities, maturity and performance. Do not be ashamed to ask for further information / clarification or even an interview with them.

REMEMBER WHEN THEY ARE ON SITE IT IS TOO LATE. MAKE SURE THEY ARE THE CONTRACTOR THAT WILL NOT CAUSE YOU PAIN!

The contract: Obviously you will need to have some form of contract or agreement between you and the contractor. Some recommendations that should be included (should you need to refer back to them) are;

  • The need for them to follow YOUR health and safety requirements when they come into your work site. Failure to do so will be dealt with!
  • Health and safety roles and responsibilities need to be clearly set out for both the contractor and also yourself as the “employer” (PCBU)
  • Process for eliminating / reporting hazards and risks. Steps to follow. Time frames.
  • Process for inspections and audits.
  • Communication requirements, including site or workplace specific inductions.

All of these actions help to ensure that the contractor you choose is one with a good health and safety mindset and that they understand your expectations of a safe work environment.

We hope that this has again given you some information and assisted you in ensuring you are doing as much as is “reasonably practicable” to maintain a safe work environment by also managing your hazards and risks.Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

May 2014 Newsletter

Who would think we are about to enter the winter months already? Where is this year going?

I know one thing that is keeping us busy and that is the constant change that is happening with legislation. Thought we would share one that is important to all of you, regardless of the size of business you work in. Emergency preparedness is something we are constantly focusing on, so these will be significant changes to some businesses out there.

From May 1, 2014, amendment 1 of Australian Standard 3745-2010: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities replaces the existing standard of the same name. Prior to its publishing, the amendment has been in “draft review” format since mid-2013.

So what amendments have been made to the standard? Let’s take a look at the major changes, and how they affect you:

1. Emergency Planning Consultants

The amendment introduces the “Emergency Planning Consultant”. The terms refers to emergency planning specialists with “the knowledge and skill enabling him/her to advise on human behavior, fire safety systems, evacuation methodology, emergency preparedness and response and the development of an emergency plan”.

A person gains “Emergency Planning Consultant” status through acquiring training, education, qualification and experience relevant to emergency planning.

The Impact on You

Be careful of imposters!

The standard makes no reference as to the technical level that a person must be to be considered an “Emergency Planning Consultant”.

Be sure to ask what qualifications your Emergency Planning Consultant holds. In Queensland, for example, your consultant must hold a valid Fire Safety Advisor (FSA) qualification. The FSA qualification is also best practice outside of Queensland.

Also consider asking for your consultant’s licenses and experience. The last thing you want to be doing is taking life safety advice from someone who doesn’t have a full understanding of emergency planning.

2. Emergency Plans and Emergency Response Procedures

The amendment states in writing a few additional elements that the emergency plan should now reference.

Some examples of the changes include:

a)      Inclusion of maintenance and routine servicing requirements of the plan

b)      Broader definitions of emergency features, which now include safety and security considerations in addition to fire safety.

c)       Inclusion of a separate section for the emergency response exercises.

The Impact on You

Consider reviewing your emergency plan against the amended standard to ensure that you cover everything that is required.

Remember that the standard lists quite a few strict elements that are required to be included within your emergency plan. Note a thought is that if your plan is less than 80 – 100 pages, you probably aren’t covering off everything you need to!

3. Emergency Evacuation Diagrams and Signs

The requirements for emergency evacuation diagrams and signs have perhaps seen the biggest of changes in the amendment.

  • Building specific emergency evacuation procedures should now be included on the diagrams.
  • Fire hydrants are no longer a required element within the diagrams, and are now optional.
  • External elements of the plan (such as landscaping, fences etc.) should not be included on the diagrams, unless they form part of the egress path.
  • Larger facilities (such as hospitals, universities and shopping centers) should prepare their diagrams in sections, showing no more than 2 exits on each section.
  • The size requirements of the diagrams have changed. Where only minimum elements are being shown on the diagram, the diagrams must be at least A4 in size, with the floor plan at least 30,000mm2 in size. Where there are also optional elements shown on the diagram, the diagram must be at least A3 in size, with the floor plan component at least 60,000mm2.
  • Finally, a number of the standard’s icons have changed, and they have included a new icon for evacuation devices.

4. Evacuation Exercises

The amendment to AS3745-2010 has introduced some interesting changes to evacuation exercises.

  • First of which, the initial emergency response exercise for the building may be simulated, in order to test the procedures and the ECO members.
  • For ongoing exercises, all areas of the building must participate in at least one evacuation exercise each year. These exercises must involve an evacuation of the building.
  • The required time frame remains unchanged as being at “least” annually.

I am sure there will be some further discussion about this when you start to read through this and think what is around your workplace.

We have also had a few “draft” changes from the WHS Act 2011 come into effect as of May 16th and happy to send these through to any of you that requests it.

As we said in the beginning of this newsletter “changes” are happening all the time, so I hope this assists you in ensuring you are doing as much as “reasonably practicable” to stay on top of your requirements. Until next month stay safe.

Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

January 2014 Newsletter

Happy New Year !!!!!!

Well it is finally here….another year begins and the challenges start straight away.

It is only half way through the first month of 2014 and already we are seeing “changes” come into legislation.

Firstly: As of the first of January there have been changes to the “Bullying” Laws.

New provisions in the Fair Work Act, effective January 1, 2014, whereby the Fair Work Commission (FWC) can receive applications to make workplace bullying stop. So we thought we should refresh you all on the actual definition of Bullying. Bullying at work, as defined by the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people behaves unreasonably and repeatedly towards a worker or a group of workers while at work

AND

  • the behavior creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Also in order for Fair Work to undertake the “investigation” into the alleged Bullying it must be against a “constitutionally covered business”. This is a proprietary limited company, a foreign corporation, a trading or financial corporation within the limits of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth or Commonwealth Authority, a body corporate incorporated in a Territory, or a business or organisation conducted principally in a Territory or Commonwealth Place.

It does not include sole traders, partnerships, some state government employees, corporations whose main activity is not trading or financial. So I hope this information is of interest to you and a good time to revisit your training for “potential issues” to your management team and others.

Secondly: As of January the 1st there are the “transitional arrangements” for codes of practices through changes flow on from Harmonisation and WHS Act 2011.

  • There has been an extension of the transitional arrangements for high risk work licensing where the national competency units and assessment instruments are not available until January 1st 2015. This will give some RTOs time to deliver.
  • Clarification of requirements for specific control measures to be used where there is a risk of falling at least three (3) metres in housing construction work or two (2) in constructions.
  • Repeal of specific provisions relating to Spray Painting and Excavation work that were carried over from the repealed WHS Regulation 2008 as an interim measure from December 2013.
  • Commencement of the Electrical Regulations 2013.

As well as Queensland review there were also changes at the national level which sees the introduction of new codes of practices as well as existing ones being replaced. The new codes are:

  • Abrasive Blasting Code of Practice 2013.
  • Demolition Work Code of Practice 2013.
  • Excavation Work Code of Practice 2013.
  • Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013.
  • Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013.
  • Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice 2013.
  • Spray Painting and Powder Coating Code of Practice 2013.
  • Welding Process Code of Practice 2013.

The codes now no longer in use are:

  • Abrasive Blasting Code of Practice 2004.
  • Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice 2003.
  • Plant Code of Practice 2005.
  • Tunnelling Code of Practice 2007 (replaced by the National Tunnelling Guide)

So just when we thought we were “organized” changes have again had us reading and cross referencing!!!!

So what is next?

  • The guys that require specific “referencing” on their documents need to ensure they have theirs updated.
  • Make sure you have “communicated” any changes through all levels of your work place and to all “workers”
  • Set up a schedule so you make sure any relevant and significant changes effected into your operation of the business are in place, checked and signed off to ensure your “due diligence” is met.
  • Give us a call if you need assistance to sign any of these changes off for you.

Finally: Make your new year’s resolution commitment to ensuring ongoing compliance and timely monitoring (Audits, Meetings etc)

So there it is. A simple run down of the changes so far for 2014. I am sure there will be more and we will send them through as they come to our attention.

I hope that this information is useful to you and you can refer back to it if you need at any stage.

Once again…….you know where to contact us if you need anything clarified.

Remember our goal is to ensure you and all your workers go home in the same condition they come to work in………….that is safely, and you business remains compliant.

Our next newsletter will start you give you some idea of the “prosecutions” that have come out through the year now since the start of the new “fine” and “breaches” regime in WHS Act 2011.

December 2013 Newsletter

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

This newsletter will no doubt find you ready to start your Christmas break, or for some, deciding who has drawn the short straw to be “on call” over the festive season.

For this reason we wanted to send out the last newsletter for the year so that some “planning” and “thought” can begin for the next challenge we face, 2014!

There will be some changes for our business next year and we will be able to extend our “offer” to our valued clients.

First Point: We will have a person on our team that is a “qualified Drug and Alcohol” tester. We have taken on this extra service after listening to a number of you requesting contacts for, or referrals to, a provider. Our decision therefore ensures that we are able to offer a service that has been requested and is carried out by a person that has our business, and our client’s satisfaction, in their best interests.

Second Point: After a great deal of “searching” for a compatible certification business to work with, we have finally found one that we are happy to refer our clients to. They have the same business ethics as we require and we seem to be able to “compliment” each others offer, in other words we are happy with their business professionalism and acumen. Therefore we are now able to offer ISO Certification through this relationship in Quality, Environmental and of course OHS. Having the “certification” ticks are now becoming more and more the request especially in the area of tenders and preferred suppliers.

Third Point: Along with the certification supplier we are also happy to say we have been able to form a “working relationship” with an RTO that is able to offer accredited training in some areas that require actual qualifications to be delivered. This will again prove valuable for the clients that are looking for the same “personalised service” we have been offering.

Final Point:  Watch this space as we will be sending out further information re the changes to the Bullying Laws which come into effect on January the 1st.

So as you can see we are looking forward to some exciting times when we all return from the Christmas break, and the “silly season” returns to one of normality!

We will be having a break from the telephones and computer over the next week until we see in the new year, however if you need us for any reason, just phone the office and leave a message and one of the team will come back to you.

We will not “desert” you in your time of need just because it is Christmas!

Once again, Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.

Thank you for allowing us to share your businesses with you this year and we look forward to catching you all in 2014

If any of the “extra” services we will start to provide is of interest to you and you require extra information please let us know.

October 2013 Newsletter

Hello to you all.

I hope this finds you and the team safe and well. Our apologies for not sending through anything to you all before now, I really do not know where this year has gone. They say that the older we all get the faster the time goes!!!!! Anyway into the area of updates and what is happening in the world of WHS.

There have been a number of updates in the area of compliance since we last sent out a newsletter and I will follow up with another one before we all break for the “silly season”.

As you have probably read we have had some Work Cover changes here in Queensland been passed in recent weeks. I have detailed in bullet points the “glaring changes” that affect the business world.

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was passed in the Queensland Parliament on Thursday night, despite being hotly contested. The Bill makes a number of changes to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) that will benefit employers, which include:

  • requiring a prospective worker to disclose a pre-existing injury or medical condition, if requested to do so;
  • allowing employers access to a prospective worker’s claims history in particular circumstances; and
  • increasing the threshold for compensable psychiatric or psychological injuries.

Notification of previous injuries and medical conditions

When requested to do so in writing by a prospective employer, a prospective worker will be required to disclose all pre-existing injuries of which they are aware of, that could reasonably be aggravated by performing their employment related duties.

The prospective employer will need to provide the prospective worker with information about the nature of the duties the subject of the employment for this purpose. Prospective employers will also be required to advise prospective workers that, if they do not comply with the request or supply false or misleading information, they will not be entitled to compensation or damages under the Act for any event that aggravates the non-disclosed pre-existing injury.

If a prospective worker is engaged prior to the disclosure (or before being requested to make the disclosure), their rights will unaffected by these changes.

Allowing access to claims history

Prospective employers may now request a prospective worker’s claims history summary from the proposed new regulator (for an administrative fee), provided that they have the prospective employee’s consent. There is no requirement under the Act for prospective workers to provide such consent.

The prospective employer must not disclose the contents of, or give access to, the document to anyone else.

Psychiatric and psychological injury

A worker will now need to show, in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation, that an injury resulting in a psychiatric or psychological disorder (or an aggravation of an existing disorder) arose out of, or in the course of, employment and that the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the injury or aggravation.

This amendment makes it more difficult for workers to access compensation for a psychiatric or psychological disorder.

A word of caution!

While these changes will provide prospective employers with more information about a prospective worker, it is important that employer:

  • comply with the specific provisions of  the Act to obtain this information lawfully;
  • clearly and accurately articulate the nature of the duties the subject of employment so as to make any disclosure meaningful; and
  • be careful not to fall foul of the discrimination legislation when making decisions based on this information.
  • As any unlawful conduct in this area is likely to have serious consequences, we recommend that employers obtain advice and assistance before implementing these changes.

So I hope this gives you a quick “overview” of the changes in the Bill. When there is more information out there we will post it on our web site for you to refer back to.

Also there have been a number of fatalities in the workplace over the past few months.

  • Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is investigating a fatal incident that occurred on Monday 28 October 2013 at a shade sail business in Townsville. A man died after falling while fixing an anchor point for a shade sail to a 5.25 metre high roof.
  • Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is investigating a fatal incident that occurred on Tuesday 8 October 2013 at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast. A welding explosion on a boat killed the welder and seriously burned the boat’s owner.
  • Friday, 20 September 2013 A roofing company and its Director have been fined a total of $100,000 (plus more than $2200 in costs) over an incident in which a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a roof. The Mallon Company Pty Ltd – trading as Frontline Roofing – and Director Michael Moore pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a contractor and were fined in the Perth Magistrates Court today. The company was fined $70,000 and Mr Moore $30,000. In August 2010, the Mallon Company Pty Ltd was engaged to replace the roofing of commercial premises in Osborne Park after it was damaged in the March hailstorms. However, Mallon then engaged Debri Pty Ltd to perform the re-roofing work and Terry’s Crane Hire to provide a crane to land the new roofing and lift down the removed roofing.”

So as you can see unfortunately the issue of work injuries and fatalities remains a real problem, and sometimes these type of actual cases are good to share with the team so they “understand” it happens in all different industries and addresses!!

So there are a few points for you to catch up with. There are more changes coming to Queensland re the WHS Act and I will give you a run down on these when I send out the next Newsletter (which will be November…I promise!)

Also you will note we have made some changes to our web site and we have moved to the world of YOU TUBE and are working with a great local business to start and develop training material (including inductions) for our faithful clients like yourselves. Please let us know if you are interested in hearing more about what we have in store in this area, as we would welcome suggestions and topics so that it becomes a useful tool for everyone to use!

So until next month stay safe. Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

June 2013 Newsletter

Who could believe we are half way through this year already!

Sorry we missed catching up with some of you at the safety show last week, but we decided to use the money we normally spend on floor space and a stand as well as a week out of the business and invest it back to our clients, so we are happy to offer the same discounts we would have through the Safety Show, so just contact us and we will share with you some savings to help get you through the next half of 2013.

We have come across a number of really good reading articles over the last couple of weeks and they are a great topic for tool box discussions or staff meetings when you hold them. Thought we would share a couple for you to use now and will post others on our web site for you to refer to from time to time.

This is about the cause of injury and death through texting and the culture that the whole social media has brought into the safety management of both work and private life.

Also what the “effect” is re inductions, a little light hearted but very relevant to the world of safety professionals.

I hope you can use these as a training tool for your work and remember to keep checking our web site for more “useful information and tips” you can share with your team.

Oh!!!….do not forget, once you share this with your team, document the process and it becomes “training” for your compliance requirements (due diligence).

An idea for a Toolbox Meeting or a family gathering. “Please, put the phone away”, how one text at the wheel can kill.

TRIVIAL text messages sent or read by drivers at the wheel have claimed the lives of at least 20 people on the nation’s roads and left many more injured, a News Limited investigation shows.
A man believed to have crashed while texting a smiley face icon to a mate is among current cases being probed by state coroners and police.
Other short messages linked to recent fatal accidents on the nation’s roads include “I’ll be home soon”, and “Hey are you still coming today?”
The News Limited analysis of police, court and coroner’s records reveals text wreck victims over the past decade include drivers, their passengers, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Revelations of the mounting death toll have prompted a coalition of grieving relatives,
road safety groups, mobile service providers and others to unite in a bid to stop such accidents.”

Discussion 2. OHS Induction “A common cause of Hypersomnia”

Its 08:00 in the morning and a team of landscape gardeners have just arrived at their new jobsite; they have a 4 week contract to do the landscaping of a new garden at an office building. Before they are allowed to enter the worksite they’re first herded like lemmings into the dreaded OHS training room, where they have to endure their fifth OHS induction in the last 12 months.
As the team wait in participation for the OHS advisor to arrive, beads of sweat start to appear on their foreheads. Knowing that for the next 2 to 3 hours they will have to listen to the same old story about following risk assessments and method statement, wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), and of course the safety guys favorite non-motivational quote, “we all have a legal and moral responsibility to follow the safety rules”. Then with chest puffed out and chin held high the trainer will ask if there are any questions, (of course, there won’t be) hoping he can share some more of his technical or barrack room lawyer knowledge before sending them on their way to work. However there is only one real challenge for the team, which is to try and stay awake long enough to complete the multiple choice questions at the end, and get that Zero Harm Induction sticker.
Now the point I’m trying to get across is the vast majority of OHS inductions are simple boring and non-engaging, yet it shouldn’t be the case. Any induction can be a fantastic opportunity to communicate with workers and help them understand the importance of safety and the role
they play in achieving a safe workplace. What are yours like that you have in place?”

So I hope these give you some ideas to start a different approach to discussions in your workplaces and still have the focus on safety and culture.

Remember if you would like to take advantage of our “Claytons Non Safety Show Deals” let us know and we will send you more information.

Until next month stay safe. Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

May 2013 Newsletter

Another month gone and we are into the cooler half of the year.

Thought we would share some facts from a court case re Harassment, seeing it is such a “hot topic” in all industries to present.

We have found some of the “comments” made that led to this case getting to the court stage are probably ones that we often hear in general workplaces, and ignore instead of taking action to address them…….Makes us all take the time to “rethink” our cultures we are accepting!!!!!

“What defines a win? Certainly NOT this case where “technically” the court found in favor of Rebecca Richardson, an employee of Oracle who had been sexually harassed by another employee AND awarded her damages. But I suspect the defendant and the harasser “laughed” all the way home while the winner must have felt, and still be feeling absolutely sick over the result. Unfortunately this firm has been in the headlines in many cases, but you have to ask were its client’s happy with the outcomes??

Judge slams law firm over costs in sexual harassment case after employee “financially devastated” Wednesday, 24 April 2013 – Cara Waters An Australian employee of Oracle who won a sexual harassment case against the software giant in the Federal Court is likely to be left financially devastated after the court criticised her law firm, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, for the costs incurred. The Federal Court found Oracle was liable to pay program manager Rebecca Richardson $18,000 after finding she was harassed by another employee, Randol Tucker. Tucker made comments to Richardson such as: “Rebecca, you and I fight so much; I think we were husband and wife in our last life,” and, “How do you think our marriage was? I bet the sex was hot.” But last week Justice Robert Buchanan ordered Richardson to pay the costs of both Oracle and Tucker after they offered to jointly settle her claim for $55,000 in September 2010, three months after the case had started. Richardson rejected the offer and as the award of $18,000 was less than the $55,000 she could have got if she settled, Oracle and Tucker are entitled to costs on an indemnity basis. Justice Buchanan described the result as “very disturbing” and found that at this point “the proceedings would have been conducted solely for the financial benefit of her lawyers“. “The final outcome of these proceedings, in financial terms at least, will probably be devastating for Ms Richardson both financially and personally.” The Australian Financial Review reports that by mid-December 2011, Richardson’s costs were already $224,475 so accepting the offer would have left her with nothing. Harmers Workplace Lawyers has previously come under fire from the courts, with Justice Rares singling out the law firm for scathing criticism for its handling of the case brought by James Ashby against the former Parliament Speaker, Peter Slipper. The criticism went so far that founder of Harmers Workplace Lawyer, Michael Harmer, asked the Federal Court to let him appeal adverse findings made against him personally. Smart Company contacted Harmers Workplace Lawyers for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication. Charles Power, partner at law firm Holding Redlich, told Smart Company while the court accepted it was “disturbing” that Richardson’s legal expenses were greater than the settlement offer, it found it wasn’t relevant to the question of whether it was reasonable to reject the offer. “For applicants who are generally individuals with invariably less means than respondents who are businesses, it shows the risk that you have if the relationship with your lawyer gets out of control,” he says. “If you have a lawyer who does not give you proper information about how much you are going to be out of pocket for the litigation you are going to be very much exposed.” Power says the case highlights the risks of failing to accept a settlement offer. “If you are an applicant and you receive an offer that is not paltry you really face significant risks if you ignore it; you can be ruined,” he says. “If you are going to reject offers, you need to be putting a lot of pressure on your lawyers to give you the best possible information and opinions about prospects, and what is likely and what is not.”

I am sure there will be some further discussion about this when it starts to be read around workplaces.

We have also placed a copy of Key Work Health and Safety Statistics 2013 produced from Safe Work Australia on our Web Site. Some of you may find it interesting to assess your business against like industries. Until next month stay safe.

Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

March 2013 Newsletter

 

Welcome to the March Newsletter.

We cannot believe how this year is flying by, March already.

With this in mind we thought we should give you a snap shot of where the WHS roll out per state are at and you can note any changes that are relevant for your business:

WORK HEALTH SAFETY ACTS, REGS, COPs and TRANSITION – STATUS UPDATE AS AT 14 MARCH 2013

The following is a snap shot of where the jurisdictions are with the Act, Regulations and COP’s including transitional provisions:

 

QUEENSLAND

Provisions of Queensland’s mirror WHS Act and Regulation relating to HSR training, fall-arrest systems and related emergency procedures, and pipelines used to transfer hazardous chemicals began January 2013.
Regulations relating to abandoned flammable gas and liquid tanks, prohibited carcinogens, major hazard facilities and diving work also commenced on 1 January 2013.
Transitional Issues: http://bit.ly/ZJT5ch

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The South Australian Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 began on 1 January 2013. They are currently supported by 23 Codes of Practice.
According to Safe Work, transitional periods apply to any “significantly new regulation requirements”.
It says new obligations exist for work involving asbestos, construction, diving, electricity, hazardous chemicals, lead risk and noise.
General Overview and links to the legislation, Codes, transitional periods and fact sheets:  http://bit.ly/13Xo8XZ  Transition Periods: http://bit.ly/Xxff5P

TASMANIA

The Tasmanian Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 also commenced on 1 January. As in South Australia, 23 Codes of Practice have been approved to date.
GENERAL OVERVIEW: for links to the legislation, transitional and consequential provisions, supplementary requirements for mines, fact sheets, guides and a resource kit for volunteers. http://bit.ly/14ZJqjv
Transition Periods (not user friendly): The Act: http://bit.ly/WdSpOC
The Regulations: http://bit.ly/15NVLcL

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

Provisions of the ACT’s mirror WHS Regulation relating to the storage of flammable or combustible substances, residual current devices, diving work, plant design and the inspection of mobile and tower cranes began on 1 January 2013.
Regulations relating to the registration of plant and plant designs, construction management plans, high-risk work and earthmoving machinery also commenced January 2013.
General Overview and Transition:
and links to the legislation, Codes, transitional periods and fact sheets:http://bit.ly/X97tcp

NEW SOUTH WALES

Regulations relating to licensed asbestos inspectors, the storage of dangerous goods, plant registration and reach stacker licenses begin on 1 July 2013.
Transitional Issues: http://bit.ly/16tIzuR

NORTHERN TERRITORY

A number of transitional arrangements for the Northern Territory Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations, which were due to expire on 1 January 2013, have been extended “to allow NT Work Safe additional time to work with businesses to understand the new regulatory requirements and put measures in place to ensure compliance”.
Transitional arrangements for workplace asbestos management, construction work, diving work, electrical safety, hazardous work, plant and workplace management will now expire on 1 January 2014.
Transitional Issues: http://bit.ly/X97CMT

 

COMCARE

Codes of Practice, which underpin the Commonwealth’s mirror WHS Act, which took effect on 19 December 2012: http://bit.ly/V9GhvZ
Regulations: Meanwhile, the changes to the Commonwealth WHS Regulations took effect on 1 January 2013 in relation to the following matters:

• Construction induction training cards
• Lead risk work
• Carcinogens
• Amendment to Reach Stacker Licenses
For details on these changes to Regulations see: http://bit.ly/V9GhvZ

VICTORIA and  WA.

Still working under the “old” regime.

However remember that if the business has a head office in another state that has the WHS Harmonisation laws, or if under Federal control, they are bound by them.

We hope that you find this update useful and remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

Stay safe (and well).

December Newsletter

Where has 2012 gone?

What a year. Hope this newsletter finds you all safe and well and busy. The year of 2012 has seen a lot of “change management” in the world of WHS. The harmonization of the Act and Regulations made it a year of “shift” in the landscape when we talk about safety management and looking at hazards and risks. Unfortunately it has also been a year when we have again seen serious injuries and even fatalities in the workplace. With the “silly season” well and truly upon us it is now time to reflect on the “seasonal hazards” that revisit us each year. I know you all look forward to me reminding you of these concerns, so I did not want to disappoint you and again have listed the “TOP 5” in the Christmas WHS list.

Top 5 “silly season” hazards.

  • The work Christmas Party. Remember someone needs to be accountable for taking control of the event. Harassment and bullying is a sure outcome from the Christmas break up in a number of businesses.
  • The passive risk of “depression” during a time of increased stress. This can be a mixture of work and home life. Maybe some of the workers spend Christmas alone? Maybe some do not have enough resources to get them through the “needs” of the Christmas Season. Ask the question….”are you OK?”
  • Fatigue. The week before the Christmas break and then the first week back at work are the 2 most injury risk times in the year. This is due to “fatigue” of trying to get work completed and then being in a festive state of mind as well!!!!….look for the signs in your team.
  • Driving becomes a concern at this time of the year. The workers are on leave, and trying to reach family and friends for the festive season. Maybe a “we care about you” talk prior to the break up would make a difference. Let them know they are an important part of the work team, and they are needed back at work.
  • Alcohol and drugs. This hazard is present in the modern workforce at all times of the year, but more so in the “silly season”. Especially when there are more social events to attend and the risk of driving from one to the other can be a fatal hazard. Have a look at the workers you have in the business and again let them know they are important to your team.

I hope these points assist in helping you all get through the Christmas Festivities, and survive them to welcome in another challenging year…..2013.

Merry Christmas to you all, and thank you for another “memorable” year.

October Newsletter

Hope these points give you all something to think about.

Hope this newsletter finds you all safe and well and busy. When we talk about workplace safety we very rarely talk about or focus on the HEALTH part that is a big part of being a business that has a real safety culture. The benefits are great and it is a win / win situation for both the owners, managers and workers involved.  I hope this gives you some ideas and is very timely with SAFE WORK WEEK about to commence.

Integrating health, wellbeing and safety in the workplace

Good work health and safety systems can easily incorporate health and wellbeing risk management into existing policies and procedures, because the fundamental goals of work health are the same as work safety, for example:

  • controlling the risks to workers’ health and safety
  • reducing illness and injury
  • retaining valuable skills
  • enhancing productivity
  • strengthening business outcomes.

Evidence shows that where work health initiatives and workplace health and safety programs are mutually reinforcing, workers are more likely to respond positively to the activities designed to encourage healthy behaviours and lifestyle change.

What the legislation says

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 defines health as both physical and psychological health. Under the Act, both PCBUs (person conducting a business or undertaking) and workers are responsible for ensuring health and safety in the workplace.

  • PCBUs have a duty of care under section 19 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers while they are at work.
  • PCBUs must provide and maintain a work environment without risks to the health of workers, or other persons affected by the conduct of the business or undertaking.
  • Workers also have a responsibility under section 28 to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and to comply with reasonable safety instructions.

Managing the risks to health and wellbeing is therefore a shared responsibility.

By working together to manage the risks to health and wellbeing associated with work design or the workplace environment, both workers and PCBUs can meet this responsibility to ensure workers remain healthy and safe.

What an integrated work health, wellbeing and safety approach looks like

  • Awareness and knowledge
    Include strategies designed to raise awareness and increase knowledge about health issues and work health initiatives on offer within the organisation and in the community.

Examples of complementary WHS activities:

  • integrate health promotion messages into tool box meetings
  • integrate health and wellbeing information into other health and safety communications
  • provide information about the interaction between health behaviours and relevant industry issues, such as fatigue management.
    • Behavioural and social
      Include strategies that help workers develop skills that support and encourage healthy behaviours in the workplace and provide activities that specifically support management of these risk factors.

Examples of complementary WHS activities:

  • integrate health promotion messages into injury prevention and management (e.g. benefits of physical fitness for productive work)
  • ergonomically assess and review manual task procedures, practices and equipment
  • review return to work processes to ensure a holistic view of rehabilitation as part of a broader healthy lifestyle
  • provide personal health risk assessments and refer at risk workers to appropriate services and support.
    • Environmental
      Include activities that lead to the establishment of a work environment that supports healthy choices and healthy behaviours.

Examples of complementary WHS activities:

  • remove cigarette vending machines and on-site smoking designated areas
  • provide adequate facilities for welfare of workers, including access to buy or prepare healthy food options
  • review industrial agreements e.g. long working hours may impact worker health either through increased risk of injury at work or impaired ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    • General project management and capacity building
      Include activities in planning the health promotion project such as establishing needs, involving stakeholders and building appropriate skills within the organisation.

Examples of complementary WHS activities:

  • consult with health and safety representatives and/or committee to ensure ongoing integration
  • review and integrate your drug and alcohol policies and no smoking policies as part of a holistic approach to worker health and wellbeing
  • review OHS policies and processes to include worker health and wellbeing issues, such as identifying hazards and managing risks.

I hope these few points have given you some ideas of what you can put into practice in the workplace.

They are relatively cost minimal, and also go towards another TICK in your Due Diligence.

Until next month…..stay safe and enjoy the Safe Work Week activities!!!!

     

 

Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

PO Box 678
Bribie Island QLD 4507
Tel: 07 3410 8482

Worplace Health & Safety Training and Audits

WH&S Services:

  • Safety Officers
  • Fire Safety Advisors
  • Risk Assessments
  • Seminars
  • Hazardous Material Management
  • Harmonisation Laws
  • Farming / Rural WH&S

 

HR Services:

  • HR Management
  • HR Audits
  • Staff/Team Assessments
  • Staff Surveys
  • Software Systems
  • Coaching Programs

 

Workplace Auditing Services:

  • Safety Management Systems (OHSMS AS4801)
  • Construction Audits
  • High risk safety work (SWMS) Audits
  • Traffic Management
  • Environmental Audits
  • Ergonomic Audits
  • HR Audits
  • QMS Audits

 

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