WHS Bulletin Issue 1: Mining, asbestos and codes of practice news
Mining’s improving safety performance is reflected in latest figures – with companies in resources, materials and “heavy industry” among lower injury rates in the latest Citi workplace safety survey.
Citi’s Safety Spotlight: ASX100 Companies & More survey found safety systems were “often well established in such industries, given the potentially high risks in these industries, where major injuries and fatalities do occur”.
“Conversely, higher injury rates tend to be seen in industries with diverse sites, and activities like logistics, manual handling and hospitality – including consumer staples and retail,” its July 13 report said.
The research of Top 100 companies found in general, injury rates had “tended to come down over time, though for many companies substantial improvements have already been made and improvements are now more incremental”.
“Indeed, where injury rates are now low, it may be unrealistic to expect to see a continuing smooth downtrend”. Figures over the past five years revealed significantly reduced injury rates from earlier high levels for several ASX100 companies.
Metcash consistently had the highest lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) injury rate in the sample at 14.1 injuries for every million hours worked, though the rate was down from 16.3 in 2012-2013. Woolworths (10.37), Qantas (8.9) and Wesfarmers (7.6) were next on the list. The report identified 437 fatalities among the Top 100 companies between 2005-2014.
Companies with more than 10 fatalities among employees and contractors over the period included Aquarius Platinum (37 fatalities over the period), BHP Billiton (45), Boral (15), Coca-Cola Amatil (17), CIMIC (ex-Leighton Holdings) (49), Downer EDI (10), Lend Lease (40), Newcrest Mining (18), Orica (12), Rio Tinto (51) and Transfield Services (11). (Toll Holdings was previously in this category but recently delisted.)” It appears that more companies are now reporting vehicle accidents (eg, Coca-Cola in Indonesia) and we suspect historical reporting may have been less comprehensive,” the survey said.
The charts identify where a single incident resulted in five or more fatalities – these were three aviation accidents: BHP (5 fatalities, 2008), NCM (8, 2012), RIO (10, 2008) and one underground mining fall-of-ground: AQP (5, 2011). South Africa featured heavily in BHP and RIO’s fatalities. Of BHP’s 49 fatalities from 2005-2015, 16 (33%) were in South Africa. Of RIO’s 54 fatalities, 12 (22%) were in South Africa.
Fatalities have tended to result from: vehicle / mobile plant accidents, helicopter accidents and falls from height, falling objects or crush injuries, electrical accidents and drowning.
Rethink for asbestos training in utilties sector
The Federal Government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) is undertaking a review designed to strengthen asbestos-related training materials in the utilities sector. The public has until Friday (July 17) to respond to an issues paper on the subject.
The best practice training materials developed will ultimately be for use by organisations within the utilities sector. Improvements to asbestos-related training in other sectors may be considered following this process. The review follows a number of reported instances of inappropriate handling and removal of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) during the Telstra/NBN cabling rollout.
An independent national taskforce was established by the Australian Government to monitor ongoing activities and prevent exposure of employees, contractors, and the general public to airborne asbestos fibres.
One area requiring continued focus and oversight included the development and implementation of an improved practical competency based training program for safer work practices for all workers engaged in pit and pipe works.
Feedback on the issues paper can be provided by email to Secretariat@asbestossafety.gov.au or by mail to Mr Julian Farrugia (Assistant Director), Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, GPO Box 9880, Sydney NSW 2001.
New WHS codes of practice for the ACT
The ACT Government has adopted new model codes of practice developed by Safe Work Australia.
The notified codes are:
- Work Health and Safety (Demolition Work Code of Practice) Approval 2015
- Work Health and Safety (Excavation Work Code of Practice) Approval 2015
- Work Health and Safety (First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice) Approval 2015
- Work Health and Safety (Managing Electrical Risks at the Workplace Code of Practice) Approval 2015
- Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice) Approval 2015
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