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2016 Australian Workplace Fatalities

OHS, OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne

Safe Work Australia’s latest worker fatality statistics identifies that 148 workplace fatalities have occurred from 1st January 2016 to 8th November 2016.

The below link will bring you to a numerical chart with industry breakdown:

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/statistics/work-related-fatalities/pages/worker-fatalities
Some notable industry trends are listed below:

Fatalities by Industry

  • Transport, postal & warehousing account for 35% of all workplace fatalities
  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing account for 23% of all workplace fatalities
  • Construction accounts for 15% of all workplace fatalities

Year on Year Comparisons

  • Transport, postal & warehouse fatalities are up 8% on 2015
  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing fatalities are down 22.7% on 2015
  • Construction fatalities are up 28% on 2015

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

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 – 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

 

How OHS Consultants Help Companies in High Risk Industries

  • Contractors working for government/large organisations must submit OHS documents for pre-approval
  • Level of detail required by government/large organisations can be high
  • Contractors can find preparing the documents, frustrating, difficult & time consuming
  • The client can also find the process frustrating & time consuming
  • Contract pre-start difficulties can mean a bad start to a working relationship
  • Custodian Safety Services have the capabilities to prepare documents to what’s required of a fee for service basis
  • Custodian Safety Services have helped a number of contractors, often by referral via the large contractor, achieve document compliance and start the client off with a healthy working relationship.
  • This is a win/win scenario for all parties and we will continue to learn and develop this service offering in the future based on our experiences and strive to maintain our high level of success rate in the future.

How OHS Consultants Help Companies Manage OHS

  • All employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees have safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work.
  • Where a builder or contractor is also a person in control of a business and undertaking (PCBU) they may have the responsibility for the safety of other company employees
  • While these issues are placed at the forefront of importance at contract commencement they often become less of a priority as the project progresses, schedules get busy and resources are stretched.
  • having a competent person available to regularly check and inspect that safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work are in place becomes even more of a challenge.
  • Custodian Safety Services have the technical capability to regularly check and inspect that safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work are in place.
  • Our clients have found the reports beneficial and value a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ and have found that they can manage OHS across a larger area.
  • We will continue to pitch and develop this service offering in the future based on feedback received and our own experiences.

How OHS Consultants Help Companies with High Risk Tasks

  • Being compliant is hard work
  • Many business owners & managers are forced to make decisions on what areas of the business receive resources and what don’t.
  • Many companies acknowledge the importance of OHS but often don’t have the skills, expertise or time to manage the area sufficiently.
  • Custodian Safety Services has the technical capabilities to assist with the management of OHS within organisations.
  • Custodian Safety Services provide free company OHS assessments (Gap Analysis), absorb the cost of 1 hour no obligation consultations, have quick job turnaround and guarantee all of our work meets current legislation and standards.
  • Custodian Safety Services have assisted companies in multiple industries to date that include commercial construction, rail, telecommunications & waste & recycling.
  • Many companies have asked us to continue to develop there OHS systems which is always a good indicator of how successful our work has been.
  • We will endeavour to develop the services offered and fee structure based on experiences and we will continue presents the services to companies who we feel would benefit most.

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?

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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

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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