March 2015 Newsletter

March 2015

As another month draws to a close and we all start to focus on a couple of days off over the Easter break we thought it was timely to catch up on how businesses are performing in the area of WHS.

Some facts to consider:

Unfortunately we are still hurting our people.

Unfortunately we are still having fatalities in the workplace.

The business sector is slower than normal in most industries, but we are still managing to not have the time to maintain our compliance, induct our staff and update our records.

As at this week we have had 3 fatalities involving Excavator Operators since Christmas.

As at 27th March, just 3 days before we put this update out, 39 Australians have been killed at work in 2015. Yes it is a slight improvement since this time last year, but I am sure you will all agree is still far too high.

We should all have the focus that everyone of us has one right in the workplace, and that is to go home in the same condition we came to work in (except of being a little dirtier or weary)

With the occurrence of each work related fatality, Safe Work Australia records information, updates statistics and prepares various reports.

If you are interested it may be worth a visit to the site as they also have relevant information on each industry.

 

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/statistics/pages/statistics

 

So what can we learn from statistics?

Simple, we can see that all incidents are preventable, in some way. The fatalities we have spoken about may have been an injury if there were the “checks and balances” in place.

In one of the Excavator Operator fatalities mentioned we know that the plant was less than in “good and well maintained condition, no pre starts undertaken”. The protection of the operator was not in place to ensure he was kept in a safe work environment!

So no SAFETY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM!!

In one industry we work with we can state that there were over $3.7m in workers compensation payments made with an average of 30 plus days off work for injury in the last calendar year.

This is a HUGE loss to any sector, and if you add it up across all industries the bottom line of any size business would suffer severely. Nobody EVER puts this allowance a loss of this size in their budgets!

We do seem to focus on the “cost of doing business” but the biggest impact is really one that cannot be measured.

This is the cost of the injury (mental and physical), time off work, loss of self-esteem, total incapacity of the injured worker, impact to their family and the work mates that are around the work area. Worst outcome would be the loss of a life.

This is an impact that cannot be given a “single” dollar amount and I am sure that if we all sat with pen and paper and started to list out all the things we can do now, and then take into account what we would not be able to do if we were injured or suffered an illness as a result of poor work habits, we would all have a “LIGHT BULB” moment.

Maybe a good exercise to undertake in a team meeting!

Now another topic that has really started to get the discussion happening around workplaces at present is the debate: Should we all have a standing desk?

A report from research is showing that “sitting is the new smoking”.

I was able to read a report on a worker who “tried” out the standing desk over a 3 day period. It was interesting to see they listed the following “benefits” after the trial.

  1. Standing and working felt a lot more natural after a few days.
  2. They were able to stand for longer stints (time frames) without back and foot pain.
  3. After the initial trial they found they were able to get absorbed in work and forgot they were upright in stance.
  4. They were able to stand for more than an hour at a time and would do this at least twice per day.
  5. They were more aware of the body responding to its position which made them more likely to stretch throughout the day before discomfort becomes pain.
  6. Headaches had not entirely disappeared but were becoming less frequent after the short trial. There was also noticed improvement in the neck, back and shoulders.

I thought this was an interesting “outcome” for a short “trial” which the resource documented, and could be worth further consideration in your workplace if you have an “office” based environment.

So until the next update, I hope this has given you something to share with your team and I would be interested to hear from their feedback, especially when you ask them what “impact” an injury would have on them!!!!!

Remember if there is any further information you require on points raised in this newsletter just let us know.

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Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

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Worplace Health & Safety Training and Audits

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