Category: How To Blogs

What Nobody Told Me – Hiring an OHS Consultant

5 things to Consider

Placing your company’s OHS management into the wrong hands can lead to accident’s resulting in injury and/or property damage, inconvenient and avoidable work stoppages and contract delays where clients expect a high level of compliance from contractors. It pays to do your due diligence when choosing an OHS consultancy. Within this article we discuss 4 critical components in choosing the right OHS consultant for your business.

1.      Reputation & Quality of Work

Outsourcing your OHS management may have a lot of benefits, but it can also be a significant risk if not put into the right hands. You want an OHS consultancy whom can deliver what’s required with a high level of quality and whom you can trust and establish a long term relationship with. The types of questions you may want to ask include:

  • Do they have any solid client references from other similar sized clients like you?
  • What success stories can they share?
  • What industries do they get majority of their business from?
  • What areas do they specialise in?

2.      Customer Service & Support

Customer service during the purchase phase is paramount and all good professional service providers will assist in the planning, development, training, trouble shooting, maintenance and upgrading of a service. You should expect to receive a detailed proposal in writing for large jobs or a quotation in writing for smaller jobs. The types of questions that should be answered in the proposal/quotation prior to project completion include:

  • Job Delivery Time frame
  • Fixed Fee Guarantee
  • Professional Indemnity & Insurance
  • Confidentiality
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Exclusions
  • Availability

 3.      Pricing & Fee Structures

In the OHS consulting services industry it is common place for OHS service providers to charge ‘day rates’ without giving an accurate assessment of how long (or short) a job might be. This ‘open cheque book’ type of fee structure has turned many businesses away from using OHS consultants in the past as they experienced job over runs and often pay far in excess that what was originally forecast. The types of questions you may want to ask include:

  • Do you provide a fixed all inclusive job proposal/quotation?
  • Can you set and guarantee a job completion date?
  • Do you take on jobs under $500 in value?

4.      Responsiveness & Dependability

Business moves fast. With that you need to have professional service providers such as accountants, IT and finance brokers to be both responsive and dependable. OHS consulting is no different and you need a provider that can solve your issue or assist your efforts when the time arises in the quality expected from a professional service provider.

Posted by: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

What Nobody Told Me – Plant Risk Assessments

Plant RA

Step 1 – Inspect the plant

When identifying hazards, you should think about all the activities that may be carried out during the life of the plant at your workplace, such as installation, commissioning, operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, storage and dismantling. For each of these activities, you should consider whether:

  • the plant could cause injury due to entanglement, falling, crushing, trapping, cutting, puncturing, shearing, abrasion or tearing
  • the plant could create hazardous conditions due to harmful emissions, fluids or gas under pressure, electricity, noise, radiation, friction, vibration, fire, explosion, moisture, dust, ice, hot or cold parts, and
  • the plant could cause injury due to poor ergonomic design—for example, if operator controls are difficult to reach or require high force to operate.

Step 2 – Assess the risks

To assess the risk associated with plant hazards you have identified, you should consider:

What is the potential impact of the hazard?

  • How severe could an injury or illness be? For example, lacerations, amputation, serious or fatal crushing injury, burns
  • What is the worst possible harm the plant hazard could cause?
  • How many people are exposed to the risk?

How likely is the hazard to cause harm?

  • Could it happen at any time or would it be a rare event?
  • How frequently are workers exposed to the hazard?

Step 3 – Control the risks

The ways of controlling the risks associated with plant are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. This may involve a single control measure or a combination of two or more different controls.

Hierarchy of Control

Step 4 – Review the risk control measures

You should consult your workers to obtain feedback on the plant and work processes being used and consider the following questions:

  • Are the control measures, for example guards, working effectively in both their design and operation?
  • Have all hazards associated with the plant been identified?
  • Has the purchase of a new item of plant made the job safer?
  • Are safety procedures being followed?
  • Has an incident occurred in relation to the plant?
  • If new legislation or new information becomes available, does it indicate current controls may no longer be the most effective?

This article was taken in part from Safe Work Australia ‘Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace’ Draft Code of practice we hope you found it informative.

Posted by Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

Dogman Required?

ohs, dogman, rigging, ohs melbourne

The debate over whether a dogman is required to sling and lift loads in Australian workplaces has raged on and on countrywide for quite some time now.

Every week you can rest assured that a workplace manager and a client/contractor or employees are at odds about the requirement of a dogman to sling and lift loads.

Unfortunately if we are to consider the issue of dogman requirements across all Australian workplaces and in all Australian states there is no definite yes/no answer to the issue.

If a dogman is needed in ‘every instance of lifting a load’ then every nurse in every hospital and aged care facility should have dogman training which is currently not the case. However, in many construction sites and steel foundry’s dogman training is a pre requisite prior to performing any load slinging/lifting.

Is a bundle of steel being lifted and the persons below any more critical that a patient and a nearby nurse?

rigging, dogman, ohs melbourne, ohs

To help with this commonly encountered workplace dilemma here are a few notes on Dogman requirements we always use to provide direction:

  • If there needs to be an assessment made as to the weight of the load, a dogman is required.
  • If there is a need to make a selection of the lifting equipment (sling/chain) needed to lift the object a dogman is required.
  • If there is a need to work out where and how the lifting chain/sling is to be attached to the load a dogman is required.
  • If the load leaves the sight of the person operating the crane/hoist and whistles or radio signals are used a dogman is required.

The exact requirements on whether a dogman is required or not will continue to vary from state to state based on legislation and industry to industry based on expectations but hopefully you might find these short notes useful.

Posted by Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

What Nobody Told Me – Site Safety Inspections

site inspection OHS Inspection  safety walks,

Step 1 – Find the Hazards

Start by talking. It’s a legal requirement that safety is discussed in workplaces, and you gain great insights into safety issues and solutions from your workers.

Regularly scheduled meetings, such as tool box talks, production meetings, team meetings are a great way of identifying safety issues.

Make a list of the possible hazards workers are exposed to on site.

Not all injuries are immediately obvious. Some are only discovered over time, such as illnesses caused by long-term exposure to certain chemicals so consider whether these are a hazard in your workplace.

Go through any injury records you have (if you don’t currently have a register of injuries start one now – it’s legally required that you keep one). You’ll be able to see if any problem areas exist, or if any patterns are emerging.

Step 2 – Assess the Risks

After you’ve made your list of possible hazards you need to make a judgment about the seriousness of each hazard, and decide which hazard requires the most urgent attention.

Take a close look at each item on your list. What is the possible outcome if things go wrong?

Are we talking about scratches and bruises, or is there potential for someone to be seriously injured or even killed?

Is it an everyday thing, or something that only comes up now and then, giving you more time to find a solution? Are there things you can do right now, as a short term fix, while you work out a permanent solution?

Once you’ve worked out which hazards have the greatest potential to cause injury or disease, or are a risk to public safety, mark them as your high priority hazards. After that, rank them in priority order from highest to lowest.

Step 3 – Fix the Problems

When you’ve prioritised the hazards on your list, you need to start immediately on the most important step of all – fixing the problems.

Your first aim should be to totally remove the risk. For example, if the risk involves a hazardous chemical, try to find a safe alternative to the chemical. If there is a slipping or tripping hazard in your workplace, see if it can be removed.

If it’s not possible to totally remove a risk, you need to find ways to control it. You might have to alter the way certain jobs are done, change work procedures, or as a last resort provide protective equipment.

You’ll often find there are simple solutions to many of the hazards in your workplace. Most of them will be inexpensive, and some will cost nothing at all. Of course, sometimes there are no straightforward solutions.

There are a number of options you can take in that event:

Check Worksafe publications, alerts and guidance for your industry topics and see if there is a documented solution to the problem.

Talk to other businesses in your industry to see how they handled similar problems.

Seek assistance from the principal contractor on site on how to go about solving the issue (if applicable)

Seek professional advice from consultants or industry associations.

This article was taken in part from the Worksafe Victoria ‘Do Your Own Inspection’ webpage

Posted by Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

swms, writing swms, ohs, ohs melbourne, whs, occupational health and safety, health and safety, ohs

How to write a SWMS

 

swms, writing swms, ohsHere’s 6 steps we use when writing Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).

1. Title Page

When preparing the title page of a SWMS it is important the following information is available to the reader.

  • Work Activity
  • Project Name
  • Project Address
  • Client
  • Persons involved in the development & Approval of the SWMS
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • Company ABN
  • Equipment Used
  • Training/Licensing
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Permits to Work
  • High Risk Work
  • PPE Required
  • Legislation/Standards Referenced when preparing document

2. Risk Matrix

A SWMS should contain a risk matrix that outlines how the hazards will be assessed and rated in terms of consequence and likelihood and what each rating corresponds to in a matric table.

  • Step 1. – Identify the credible consequence for each unwanted event
  • Step 2. – Determine the likelihood of the event occurring and it resulting in the consequence
  • Step 3. – Utilise the risk matrix to identify the risk and risk rating.

3. SWMS Body

The body of the SWMS should be tabular in form and contain the following headings

  • Activity Step – 1,2,3,4 etc.
  • Activity Process – Job Planning/Induction, Initial Site R.A, Delivery of Materials
  • Possible Activity Hazards – Crush injury from plant collisions, Impact injury from falling loads, Electrocution via Overhead Lines etc.
  • Initial Risk Score – The corresponding risk score for the hazard, before controls, from the matrix as calculated by the person preparing the SWMS
  • Control Measures – What measures are being taken to reduce both the consequence and likelihood of the risk. Control measures should be identified in line with the hierarchy of control. Elimination – Substitution – Engineering – Admin – PPE
  • Residual Risk Score – The corresponding risk score for the hazard, after controls, from the matrix as calculated by the person preparing the SWMS
  • Control Responsibility – Who has the responsibility of implementing the controls

4. SWMS Work Team Sign On

All employees involved in the works activities must sign onto the SWMS document to acknowledge:

  • They have been given the opportunity of SWMS input
  • Read and agree with the contents
  • Agree to use and work kin accordance with the SWMS
  • Will stop immediately if the SWMS cannot be followed

This section is usually tabular in form and with the following headings:

  • Employee Name
  • Employee Signature
  • Date

5. SWMS Amendments Page

A blank SWMS body page with the same headings as the SWMS body above should be available in the rear of the SWMS or at the end of the SWMS initial body to allow for additional/variation work activity SWMS input.

6. SWMS Amendments Work Team Sign On Page

All employees involved in the additional/variation works must review the amended SWMS section and sign on to the SWMS amendment sign on page.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

OHS Plan, ohs, ohs Melbourne

OHS Management Plan

Mnagement System

What is an OHS management Plan and what should it include?

An OHS management Plan is a combination of commitments from company management in the form of policies, organisation arrangement, assigning of responsibilities to internal company management and specific details and methods in the form of procedures and administrative documentation on how these commitments will be realised.

A typical contents page from an OHS Safety Management Plan can be seen below:

·         Document Control

·         Organisational Structure

·         Project Details and Introduction

·         Sub-Contractor Management

·         Company Policies

Health & Safety Policy

Environmental Policy

Industrial Relations Policy

Harassment Policy

Anti-Discrimination Policy

Rehabilitation Policy

Alcohol & Drugs Policy

·                                Roles & Responsibilities

            Managing Director

            Works Supervisor

·                                Risk Management

            Risk Rating

            Safe Work Method Statements

                         Hazard Reporting

·                               Safe Work Procedures

            Company Induction

            Incident & Accident

            First Aid

            Emergency Procedure

            Hazardous Substances

            Electrical Equipment

            Manual Handling

            Permits to Work

            Personal Protective Equipment

            Environmental Impacts

            Worker Health Issues

            Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

            Young Workers

·                               OHS Training

           Training & Toolbox Talks

           Employee Consultation

           Health and Safety Representatives

·                               Performance Monitoring

           Statistics

                        Performance Evaluation     

·                              Corrective & Preventive Actions

           Corrective action

                        Preventive Action

·                              Forms & Registers

           SWMS01 Template

           FOR-01 Worksite Accident/Incident Report Form

           REG-01 Incident/Accident Register of Injuries

           REG-02 Chemicals Register

           REG-03 Plant Register

           REG-04 Electrical Test & Tag Register

           REG-05 PPE Register

                       FOR-02 Toolbox Talk

 

An effectively implemented OHS management Plan will:

·         Identify and minimize hazards associated with your organisation’s business

·         Reducing incidents, accidents and injuries in the workplace

·         Reducing risks of legal action for worker’s compensation and liability claims

·         Providing due diligence evidence should an incident or accident occur

·         Boost Staff Morale

·         Allow staff to concentrate on basic business activities

·         Improve performance and productivity

We hope you found this blog enlightening. If so, please don’t be afraid to comment below. Thanks for reading.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au