Tag Archives: ohs melbourne

OHS.com.au Podcast – How Custodian Safety Services make an impact

I recently recorded a podcast with the founder of OHS.com.au Brendan Torazzi on how Custodian Safety Services makes an impact. You can listen to the podcast by following the link below:

Ep 58 Meet Cathal Uniacke & how Custodian Safety Services makes an impact

Key podcast points:

  • How I got started in OHS & Why I emigrated to Australia – 0.45
  • Differences between OHS in Ireland & Australia – 1.50
  • Why I established Custodian Safety Services – 5.55
  • The current industries I work in – 6.42
  • My feelings on running a small business – 8.30
  • Advice to OHS professionals thinking about starting a business – 9.12
  • Why the name Custodian Safety Services – 12.58
  • Our favourite clients – 14.15
  • How long before companies see the benefits of our services – 19.13
  • Advice to business owners/managers engaging an OHS Consultant – 19.45
  • What the future holds for Custodian Safety Services – 21.40

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative. If you have any feedback or want to ask any questions let us know at info@custodiansafety.com.au

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

Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Finalists 2022

  • We were delighted to be a finalist in the Small to Medium Enterprise category of the Irish Australian business awards in 2022.
  • We are passionate about assisting small to mid-sized business with their OHS management while also delivering cost effective and efficient management systems that integrate with other business activities.
  • Our key achievements in recent years that helped us become a finalist include:
    • The development of an online shop that provides low-cost documentation to small businesses
    • Adding accredited auditing to our services
    • Operating at profit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Reaching the milestone of providing services to over 150 companies across Australia
  • My current vision and purpose is to continue to grow Custodian Safety Services and develop professionally while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. I would also like to continue to give back to the profession through contributions via not-for-profit industry associations.

Dig Deep Event for Mental Health

The Dig Deep Initiative Incorporated is a passionate non-profit association made up of members who work within the civil construction industry who have decided to set their sights on raising $1million for Beyond Blue to assist their ongoing provision of much-needed support services, programs, research, advocacy, and communication activities.

In order for the Dig Deep Event to achieve this mammoth task, they will need your help. This is a challenging time, but without us working together to support Beyond Blue so that they can continue to provide vitally important support services, these challenging times may just become insurmountable for those in real need. Keep digging keep talking.

The event takes place on 29th May 2022 at 324 Perry Road, Keysborough. Event exhibitors, sponsors and donators are welcome and can find out more information on how to get involved by clicking here.

For more information on Beyond Blue and what they strive to achieve see below:

Anxiety, depression and suicide affect millions of people around Australia, impacting how they connect with family and friends, thrive at work, and live productive and meaningful lives.

Beyond Blue helps people in Australia understand that these feelings can change, equipping them with the skills they need to look after their own mental health and wellbeing, and to create confidence in their ability to support those around them.

Beyond Blue’s vision is simple: for everyone in Australia to achieve their best possible mental health.

Every donation helps Beyond Blue:

  • Provide an expert listening ear – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – through our Support Service
  • Develop and trial ground-breaking new initiatives to tackle anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • Give people the information they need, whenever they need it, wherever they live
  • Distribute free information resources across Australia
  • Produce evidence-based awareness campaigns to reach people at risk of developing mental health conditions; and
  • Fund world-leading research

Click here for a link to the Beyond Blue website

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

What Nobody Told Me – Risk Assessments

OHS Consultant Melbourne, SWMS Melbourne, IMS Management Systems, Facility Risk Assessments, Auditor Melbourne, OHS management Systems

The question of do I need to do a risk assessment before undertaking a work activity is a common one in workplaces far and wide around all states and territories in Australia. So, with that I have prepared this blog to provide some clarity on the question of do I need to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking a work activity.

While like many OHS or legal matters, I cannot give definite answers in this blog I can provide you with some information that will help you identify whether you a risk assessment does or does not need to be conducted based on the individual circumstances of your work activity.

A risk assessment should be done when:

  • There is only limited knowledge about a hazard or risk, or about how the risk may result in injury or illness.
  • There is uncertainty about whether all of the things that can go wrong have been found.
  • The work activity involves a number of different hazards that are part of the same work process or piece of plant and there is a lack of understanding about how the hazards may impact upon each other to produce new or greater risks.
  • Changes at the workplace occur that may impact on the effectiveness of control measures.

A risk assessment is mandatory under the WHS Regulations for certain activities that are high risk such as, but not limited to, entry into confined spaces, diving work and live electrical work.

Some hazards that have exposure standards, such as noise and airborne contaminants, may require scientific testing or measurement by a competent person to accurately assess the risk and to check that the relevant exposure standard is not being exceeded (for example, by using noise meters to measure noise levels and using gas detectors to analyse oxygen levels in confined spaces).

A risk assessment may not be required when:

  • OHS laws require some hazards or risks to be controlled in a specific way – these requirements must be complied with
  • Other laws require specific risk controls to be implemented, e.g. gas and electrical safety and dangerous goods laws – these requirements must be complied with
  • A compliance code, code of practice or other Worksafe/Safework guidance sets out a way of controlling a hazard or risk and the guidance is applicable to the situation – this guidance can simply be followed.
  • There are well known and accepted controls that are in widespread use in the particular industry that are suited to the circumstances in the workplace and provide acceptable control of the hazards or risks – these controls can simply be implemented.

A risk assessment may be appropriate to reuse in situations where all the hazards, tasks, things, workers or circumstances are the same and no worker or other person will be exposed to greater, additional or different risks. However, as stated above, if there are any changes at the workplace, a new risk assessment should be performed.

There are common events in the life of an organisation when a risk assessment should be done. These events typically result in a lack of understanding about OHS hazards and risks or what needs to be done to control them.

Please see below for a list of common events that should trigger a formal risk assessment:

  • Commencing a new business from scratch
  • Purchasing a new business
  • Appointment of an insolvency administrator to a business administration
  • When there are changes in the work done, changes in the work environment, etc.
  • Purchasing new or used equipment or hiring equipment, or using new substances and processes
  • Planning for the impact of new OHS legislation
  • Responding to incidents
  • Responding to issues
  • To justify an alternative to recognised practices


WorkSafe Victoria – Controlling OHS hazards & risks – A handbook for workplaces

Model Code of Practice – How to manage work health and safety risks

Note: This blog does not constitute legal advice and advice around risk assessments specific to your work activity should be sought before undertaking work activities.

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

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

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

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.



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 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

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.

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