Tag Archives: ohs consultant melbourne

OHS Blogs & Briefs E-Booklet

OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne,

This e-booklet has OHS management tips I’ve handpicked from blogs and articles I have written.

Why read this e-booklet?

I’ve carefully selected these blogs and briefs because:

  • The individual blogs and briefs can be read in less than 5 minutes
  • The actionable blogs & briefs can solve OHS management issues your business may be having in a day or at least in the same week. You don’t have to wait.
  • I’ve proven the actionable blogs and briefs work with my existing clients and unfortunately many of them my clients and past employers have learned the hard way.

Who is this e-booklet for?

This e-booklet is for businesses whose employees are at an increased risk of injury due to the nature of the work tasks they must undertake as part of their employment.

Our clients currently work in commercial and civil construction, manufacturing, waste management, rail, retail, facilities management and heavy engineering.

Solving OHS issues can be a mind boggling labyrinth of out of date and non-compliant information. This e-booklet contains a few briefs that may help you out!

Download here, feel free to share and I trust you will benefit. Enjoy!

Blogs & Briefs e-booklet 2020

What Nobody Told Me – Industrial Manslaughter

OHS, OHS Melbourne, Industrial Manslaughter, OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne

In Victoria, from July 1 this year, the consequences of a workplace fatality will become far more serious for employers who are not providing a safe workplace. This date marks the passing of the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 – Workplace Manslaughter into law.

The Victorian Parliament has created Australia’s highest safety fine and made Victoria the third Australian jurisdiction to make industrial manslaughter a criminal offense.

Where are the new laws & Who so the laws apply to?

The new industrial manslaughter laws have been added to the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) and will apply to employers, designers, manufacturers, self-employed persons as well as officers. The laws apply to all businesses irrespective of size.

The new laws will introduce maximum fines of approx. $16.5m for employers and jail terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $1.65m for officers whose actions or omissions:

  • cause the death of a worker or member of the public;
  • involve a breach of an OHS duty;
  • were negligent

Where there are principle contractors and contractors involved in a workplace they will both have duties and they will be identified on a case by case basis.

The accused must be/or circumstances must involve:

  • A body corporate and not a person who is an employee or volunteer
  • Must owe a duty pursuant to sections 21-24 & sections 26-31 of the OHS Act 2004
  • Must have breached the duty with a criminal offence where there is a high risk of death or injury
  • The act causing the death must have been carried out consciously
  • There must be a death

How is negligence defined?

The negligence standard is the criminal negligence standard and applies where there is a great falling short of the care that would have been taken by a reasonable person in the circumstances in which the conduct was engaged in, and involves a high risk of death or serious injury or serious illness.

Who is an Officer?

An officer – Defined on a case by case basis. Typically a person who has the means to affect a safe work culture via day to day control over work processes and resources. An officer is typically somebody senior in the business must have a contribution to the significant company decisions.

What should businesses do now?

It is important to note that if you comply with the legislation now you will comply after July 1 the new laws are an increase in consequence change not a duty change and all existing laws pre 1st July 2020 will still apply post 1st July 2020.

However, it is important for businesses that they continued to ensure adequate OHS systems, instruction, training, supervision and also place a heavy focus on worker engagement and a strong safety culture within the organisation.

Now is a good time to review your organisations workplaces and processes. The steps you should look at taking include:

  • Reviewing all the potential hazards and risks in the workplace and ensuring that these risks are assessed and controls implemented.
  • Completing a formal review of all the safety systems and controls currently in place and ensure they are fully effective
  • Reviewing OHS leadership and culture to ensure that any alleged negligent conduct is not authorised or permitted by the company or culture;
  • Education and awareness for directors, senior officers and managers on the new legislation and offences;
  • Reviewing incident action plans and responses
  • Self-employed persons must consider how their business effects the safety people
  • Designers and manufacturers must design and make safe equipment

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

Assessing Your COVID-19 Response

OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne, OHS, COVID-19, Coronavirus

Under the Australian OHS Acts, employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety at work of their employees.

Employers must consult with their employees when assessing a risk to the health and safety of employees at any workplace under the employer’s control.

Consultation is also required in the selection and application of control measures. In assessing the risks posed by a pandemic, employers should consult widely using existing workplace arrangements ranging from committee or workgroup meetings down to tool box talks or daily pre-starts.

Employees also have duties under the OHS Acts. Employees must co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures. They should take practical steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.

In a pandemic situation it is reasonable to expect that these obligations placed on the employee and employer will include complying with public health advice such as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Department of Health & Human Services website – https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus and any emergency measures such as the stage 3 restrictions introduced in Victoria (7th April until 11th May at the time of writing)

As part of planning and preparedness, risk management should be applied to pandemic health and safety risks. This involves identifying and assessing the likely risks at the workplace and those risks associated with the way work is performed. Risk control measures to eliminate or minimise risks need to be determined. Risk management should be done in consultation with employees and call on expert advice when needed.

What new have found during this crisis is that employers are finding the task of adequately identifying and addressing all workplace risks with practicable control measures a daunting task.

When we consider the literal overnight changes to the way we live our lives, the negative mental health effects that come with the mandatory social distancing and stay at home orders the government is currently enforcing it is easy to see why employers may struggle to comprehensively manage the risk control of the Coronavirus outbreak at their workplaces.

Through the provision of support services such as COVID-19 response audits we may be able to provide some relief and assistance to employers and provide assurance that they are doing the right things and complying with the aforementioned legal obligations. We may also be able to identify any areas of concern in an employer’s COVID-19 risk management and provide direct recommendations on how to adequately address these areas of concern.

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

What Nobody Told Me – Working From Home

OHS, OHS Melbourne, Ergonomics, OHS Consultant

While working at home may be a new concept for some industries and job roles many employers have been adopting and implementing work from home employment agreements since cloud computing and high speed internet have become common place within industries.

With the recent uptrend in working from home even before the COVID-19 came about there have been some experience based learning’s that we can share with you. If adopted with the right attitude working from home does provide opportunities for business improvements and may result in some innovative new practices within businesses moving into the future.

Establishing a Routine

It is important that you keep yourself in a regular morning routine so that your in the right frame of mind for work. i.e. shower, get dressed for the day, eat breakfast just as if you were leaving the house to go to work.

Those lucky enough to have a spare room or enough space for a dedicated workstation should set up a workstation in these areas. As much as possible try and minimise distractions, ensure comfortable seating (more on this later) and have natural light. Try to avoid working in the same space as where you sleep.

Create a schedule just as you would at work and take regular breaks. Hand out the washing, walk around the block or just make a coffee or cup or tea, all of these things will refresh your mind. Also, it is important to ensure all persons living with you are aware that you work from home and some house rules or structure are set that all persons can respect.

Ergonomic considerations

It is important to ensure your workstation is set up safely in order to reduce aches and pain associated with working at a desk.

We assist companies manage this workplace safety issue and have developed a workstation self-assessment form to guide managers and persons undertaking work at desks to implement adequate controls to reduce risks. We are happy to share this resource with you: Workstation Self-Assessment

When working off a laptop of using a non-height adjustable chair you may need to be creative. Some of the ‘out side the box’ controls listed below may be of use to you.

  • Access an external wireless keyboard and mouse to increase posture flexibility
  • Raise your screen to eye level
  • Introduce a sit stand desk or duel screen
  • Use pillows or a rolled up towel to provide lumbar support
  • Increase your chair height
  • Placing a stool on the ground so your feel have a surface to rest on

 Mental Health

One of the most underestimated challenges when working from home is mental health and the often unexpected sense of isolation people can feel. We humans are a social species and need to feel connected.

While you wont have the coffee machine or water cooler for 5 minute chats when working from home there are other ways of staying connected. Here are a few ideas:

  • Scheduled work team conference calls with video where possible
  • Sychronised coffee or lunch breaks with work colleagues
  • Work group Whats app, Facebook Messenger or just plain old group texts

Our Working From Home Support Services Include:

  • Remote workstation assessments including interviews or video call sessions.
  • Working from home policies and procedures
  • Setting up your workstation procedure

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

ISO 45001 OHS Management Standard – Whats New & Why Change?

45001, OHS, OHS Management, Management Standards

After the much anticipated wait the ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety management standard has been published by the International Standards Organisation and adopted by the Australian and New Zealand standard body.

We are seeing businesses across a range of industries here in Australia start to transition there OHS management systems to the ISO 45001 management system standard with a view to the eventual migration from AS/NZS 4801 to ISO 45001.

Whats New?

There are a lot of new changes to how a company manages there OHS in accordance with the ISO 45001 standard but for practicality I have detailed some of the key new aspects below.

  • Consistent language and increased compatibility with other standards
  • Defining context of the organisation including understanding & needs & expectations of relevant parties
  • Leadership & Commitment
  • Planning – Identification of Risks & Opportunities associated with OHS
  • Management of Change
  • Outsourcing & Contractors
  • Continual Improvement
  • Communication – Now requires worker consultation and worker participation in the decision making process

Why Change?

In comparison to the AS/NZS 4801 management standard the ISO 45001 OHS management standard is a OHS management system standard rather than and OHS work processes standard and integrates seamlessly with the new ISO 9001 Quality standard and ISO 14001 Environmental standard.

The ease of which ISO 45001 can be integrated into any existing certified Quality or Environmental management systems and associated costs savings in both internal staff and consultant time add a lot of weight to the pro ISO 4500 migration argument. When you also consider the fact that AS/NZS 4801 is likely to be discontinued in the future the argument for migrating to ISO 45001 is further supported.

In addition to the above reasons for change unlike AS/NZS 4801 which is only recognised in Australia and New Zealand the ISO 45001 standard is internationally recognised which is ideal for Australian businesses trading internationally.

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

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 – 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
Should include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing Does not need to include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing
Should 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

 

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.