Category: What Nobody Told Me

Our WHat Nobody Told Me Series

Are You GHS Ready?

OHS, OHS Consultant, OHS Melbourne

From the 1st January 2017 new labeling for workplace hazardous chemicals is required.

The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is a United Nations initiative that standardises chemical classification, labelling and safety data sheets (SDS) for use in workplaces internationally.

To meet the new requirements manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals will need to reclassify their products, relabel them and prepare new safety data sheets.

To meet the new requirements manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals will need to reclassify their products, relabel them and prepare new safety data sheets.

The GHS changes include using a common set of pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements for labels and SDS to communicate information about a chemical to the user. It covers physical, health and environmental hazards.

For persons conducting a business or undertaking, essential tasks for GHS readiness include:

  • reviewing current inventory holdings for GHS compliant and non-compliant stock
  • allowing holdings of GHS non-compliant stock to run down
  • ensuring all new purchases are GHS compliant
  • reviewing SDS to ensure hazard management practices are in place
  • ensuring workers are aware of the new labelling system and SDS.

In WA, VIC & ACT the GHS classification has not been mandated yet but the hazards associated with using  chemicals still need to be communicated to workers and companies in the aforementioned states may be wise to implement the changes now to keep up with the rest of the country.

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

What Nobody Told Me – SWMS Vs JSA

SWMS, JSA OHS Consultant

When working with clients time and time again we are asked to clarify when a task requires a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and what is the difference between a SWMS and a JSA.

With that in mind I have prepared the below comparison table which helps to identify when each type of document should be used and what the differences between the documents are.

SWMS

JSA

Must be in place for tasks involving high risk work as per the OHS Regulations Should be in place for tasks that do not involve high risk work
Must include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing Does not need to include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing
Must include the address and ABN of the company submitting the SWMS Does not need to include the address and ABN of the company submitting the JSA
Should include a risk matrix where no two risk scores repeat themselves. (5×5 matrix – 1-25 risk scores recommended) A basic risk matrix is required (3×3 – H,M,L matrix is acceptable)
Should include required training, equipment, hazardous substances, PPE and permits required to complete the task in specific requirement identification sections. Should include required training, equipment, hazardous substances, PPE and permits required to complete the task in the risk control measures sections.
Job step, task process, possible hazards, initial risk score, risk control measures, residual risk score and control responsibility should be detailed. Task process, possible hazards, risk control measures, control responsibility and risk score should be detailed.
Additional blank sections should be included in the rear of the document in the event that the task changes and additional safety control measures are required. Additional blank sections should be included in the rear of the document in the event that the task changes and additional safety control measures are required.
Must be communicated to and signed by all persons undertaking the listed tasks. Must be communicated to and signed by all persons undertaking the listed tasks.

 

I expect the workplace debates on whether a task requires a SWMS or a JSA to rage on into the future but I hope readers of this basic comparison can identify what type of risk control tool they should be using and what the document should include.

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

 

What Nobody Told Me – OHS Don’ts

index

Don’t conduct high risk tasks without written work methods

Australian OHS/WHS law identifies area of work that is classified as High Risk. Where work carried out by companies comes under the category of high risk, written work methods with sequential task identification, associated hazards, initial risk ratings, controls, residual risk rating and a responsible person must be prepared and in place. The document is commonly referred to as a Safe Work Method Statement.

Don’t ignore accidents resulting in injury no matter how minor they may appear

Minor accidents resulting in injury if left untreated can escalate. If insurers are not notified of injuries they may not accept the claim meaning the company may have to cover the costs themselves. Employers also have a duty to report accidents that are classified as ‘serious’ under Worksafe guidelines to Worksafe for further investigation and follow up action consideration. Failure to report accidents is an offense and can result in considerable fines and penalties.

Don’t presume materials or equipment has adequate safe working load capacities

Materials and equipment safe work load capacities can vary depending on the manufacturer and the place of manufacture. Although materials and equipment from different manufacturers may look the same the safe working load capacities can vary so the specific specifications should always be checked prior to use.

Don’t skip plant or equipment servicing, maintenance or inspection intervals

Australian OHS/WHS law outlines that all plant & equipment must be maintained. It is important that companies with the responsibility of maintaining plant and equipment develop maintenance schedules and conduct maintenance as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Don’t develop detailed OHS procedures, plans & written work methods and not inspect and maintain them throughout the job

Companies place a lot of focus on OHS management in the preliminary or pre-start stage of projects and this focus can often times ware off as the works progress. It is important that project teams keep their focus on OHS management as works progress and not just at the start when the OHS management documents are being developed.

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

 

What Nobody Told Me – OHS Do’s

OHS Consultant, OHS Melbourne

Conduct Company Inductions

The OHS/WHS Acts of all states require that employees are provided with information with regards to the job they will be undertaken. The best time to do an induction is the time directly before the employee start work. It’s also a good idea to do other pre-start tasks like tax and payment details collection and the issue of any specialised work equipment.

Prepare & Communicate Written Work Instructions

The OHS/WHS Acts of all states require that employees are provided with instruction with regards to the job they will be undertaking. When taking into account the what both the employer and the employee needs to get out of work instructions the most appropriate way to manage the process is through the preparation and communication of written work instructions.

Have an Accident Reporting System

Employers have a duty to record & report accidents under workplace laws or alternatively face legal action. Employers also have a duty under agreements with insurers to record and report accidents or face there insurance cover being declared null and void by the insurer. It is important that an accident reporting system is in place and properly implemented.

Have a Risk Management Procedure

Employers are required under the OHS/WHS to provide employees with a safe place of work. Arguments between builders, contractors and employees occur every day in Australian workplaces as to what exactly a safe place of work is? In order to manage the process of managing risks and to help provide a safe place of work a risk management procedure should be in place and properly implemented.

Have a Competent Person Regularly Inspect Work Areas

Workplaces change. No matter how well managed work processes are or how well the procedures are implemented the fact is materials are brought out/in, rearranged or redeveloped. Having a competent person available to regularly inspect the work area for risks can greatly reduce the likelihood and consequences of an accident/incident occurring.

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

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

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