Occupational Health and Safety: Contractor Crushed By Coal Truck

A New South Wales Hunter Valley mine has been shut down for the time being following the death of a contractor.

The contractor was killed after suffering crushing injuries from a coal truck.Emergency crews were called to the scene near Singleton. A spokesperson for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) reports that the trainee pulled out from a give-way sign onto the mines haulage road when her four-wheel drive was struck by a fully packed coal truck.

The driver of the truck had to be taken to a nearby hospital for reportedly suffering shock.

All operations have been closed down until the police and NSW Government mine inspectors have finished their investigations.

A statement from the Glencore mine said its  “primary concern is for the safety, care and welfare of our employees and we are providing all possible support for the families of the people involved”.

Staff at the mine can access counseling which was supplied for by management.

The state’s Minister for Resources, Chris Hartcher,  said an extensive report is being compiled before being sent to the coroner.

“I would like to personally extend my condolences to the families, co-workers and employers of those involved in this tragic accident,” he said in a statement.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-01/worker-killed-at-hunter-valley-coal-mine/5127356?section=nsw

WorkSafe VIC Issued $4 Million in Fines This Year

WorkSafe officers reportedly visited over 2,200 transport industry operators throughout this year, and 737 safety notices were issued.

WorkSafe has so far issued $4.1 million in fines throughout all of Victoria, according to an annual Victorian WorkCover Authority report.

With over 21 per cent of workers remaining at home six months following an injury, the report shows that the longer one stays away from work, the less chance they have of returning. These individuals are even more likely to suffer secondary issues like mental health, which is why the report suggests the implementation of a strong support network to help workers return to work.

The weeks before Christmas is still the most dangerous time for workers, with 3 deaths in December of last year.

Twenty fatalities were reported in the last year, and over 28,000 injuries and illness claims were lodged.

The lead-up to Christmas remains the most dangerous period for workers, with three people dying in December last year.

Twenty deaths were recorded in the past year and over 28,000 injury and illness claims were lodged.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au/industry-news/articleid/85560.aspx

Expert Says Cuts To Travelling Safety Claims Would Hurt Workers

Compensation law expert Mark O’Connor said reports the State Government was considering axing journey and recess injury claims was nothing short of mean and such cuts would be heartless.

Reports this week suggested Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie was considering a shake-up to WorkCover Queensland which would see workers stripped of their right to compensation if they were injured on their way to and from work.

It is understood Mr Bleijie is considering dumping journey and recess claims after pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.

However, Mr O’Conner said thousands of injured Queensland workers and their families could be financially crippled if the State Government cuts entitlements under the WorkCover compensation scheme.

“Reports that claim people injured travelling to or from work are a burden on the WorkCover scheme are simply not true,” Mr O’Conner said.

“WorkCover pays out for travel claims but 40% of that money is refunded to WorkCover when common law claims against CTP insurers are settled.

“Further, an injury caused when a worker is going to or from work has no individual impact on the employer’s WorkCover premiums.

“In fact, travel claims represent only about five cents to the average premiums rate,” he said.

Mr O’Conner said Mr Bleijie needed to come clean with his plans.

“It is time the Attorney-General stepped up and assured Queenslanders their scheme is safe from meddling,” he said.

“My message to the Attorney-General is to leave our scheme alone.

“Your own public inquiry into it said to leave it alone.

“Why would you meddle with it?”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/news/compensation-cuts-workers-financially-crippled/2029779/

Occupational Health and Safety:Roofing Company Fined For Injured Worker

A roofing company and its director have been fined a total of $100,000 after a worker suffered head and neck injuries when he fell through a roof. The Mallon Company, trading as Frontline Roofing, and director Michael Moore pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday to failing to provide a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a contractor.

The company was engaged in August 2010 to replace the roofing of a commercial premises after a hailstorm. Mallon engaged Debri to perform the re-roofing and Terry’s Crane Hire to provide a crane. Debri removed asbestos sheeting from the rear of the roof and moved the wrapped sheets to the front.

A crane operator employed by Terry’s and a 19-year-old dogger, who was a contractor engaged by Terry’s, began removing the asbestos sheets and landing the packs of new metal sheets. The 19-year-old accessed the roof to guide the crane operator and was warned by the Debri employees to be aware of the hazardous rusty tin sheets and damaged polycarbonate.

He walked across the damaged sheets and stepped onto the end of one of them while trying to remove the slings from a pack of metal sheets. The sheet collapsed and he fell to the cement floor, about 3.3m below, suffering serious head and neck injuries. Safety mesh was installed below the roof, but not in the frontage area, although there were plans to install it once the asbestos had been removed. Mallon was fined $70,000 and Moore was fined $30,000. They were also ordered to pay $2200 in costs. Terry’s and its director were fined $71,000 in June, and Debri is also due in court over the matter at a later date.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://bigpondnews.com/articles/NationalRegional/2013/09/20/Roof_company_and_director_fined_100000_907996.html

WorkSafe VIC Issued $4 Million in Fines This Year

WorkSafe officers paid more than 2,200 transport industry operators a visit this year, issuing 737 safety notices in the process.

WorkSafe issued $4.1 million in fines across all sectors in Victoria, according to the annual Victorian WorkCover Authority annual report.

With more than 21 per cent of workers still at home six months after an injury, the report shows that the longer one is off work, the less chance they have of coming back.

They are also more likely to suffer secondary issues, such as mental health.

The report suggests a strong support network is needed to help those return to work.

The lead-up to Christmas remains the most dangerous period for workers, with three people dying in December last year.

Twenty deaths were recorded in the past year and over 28,000 injury and illness claims were lodged.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au/industry-news/articleid/85560.aspx

Visy To Pay Out 50k For Occupational Health and Safety Breaches

iStock_000020019232XSmallVisy has been ordered to pay out $50,000 for breaching the Fair Work Act.

The Federal Court fined Visy approximately $47,850 for two breaches of the act, and imposed another $4,620 on its operations manager Robin Street. The incident in question occurred at the Visty Coburg factory in August 2011.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union brought legal action against the company on behalf of Visy machine setter Jonathan Zwart — also a health and safety rep.

Justice Bernard Murphy took Zwart’s evidence as proof there was “an immediate risk to occupational health and safety”  when it was discovered the forklift’s reversing beeper was not working.

Murphy accepted Zwart’s claims that he tagged forklifts that were not to be used, instead of the temporary measured proposed by his supervisors.

He found that Visy was wrong to subsequently investigate Zwart, suspend him from work and issue him with a written warning.

The judge said operating forklifts near other people was “inherently dangerous” – and that “Visy should have understood this”.

Source: http://www.proprint.com.au/News/357888,visy-fined-50k-for-safety-breach-with-inherently-dangerous-forklift.aspx

Occupational Health and Safety:Epping Market Deemed Unsafe

Concerns  about the safety of the new wholesale market under construction at Epping have been taken to WorkSafe.

Vegetable Growers Association of Victoria president David Wallace said a meeting was held with WorkSafe officials last week to discuss standholders’ fears about building defects and unsafe pathways for forklifts and pedestrians.

Photographs of the Epping site, which was due to be handed over to the Melbourne Market Authority this month, show a roller door that does not close properly on a sloping concrete floor – leaving a drop of more than 30cm to be negotiated by forklifts – forklift aisles that are too narrow and pedestrian walkways that cross in front of doors to be used by forklifts.

Mr Wallace said WorkSafe had rejected a request to establish a designated work group on the grounds that potential tenants had not yet moved in and their staff could not be considered employees working at the site.

But he said WorkSafe staff had agreed to look at aisle widths, entries and exits and other issues of concern and raise them with the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Market Relocation Project team.

“We want to work out these issues,” he said. “We want to see a safe work environment and it’s (the Government’s) duty to provide that, not to say that it is and find out later that it’s not.

“To them it’s just a project, it’s not 500 businesses that they’re moving. It’s just a building (going) from Footscray Road to Epping.”

A spokesman for Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett said any building defects at Epping would have to be rectified by the building company before the handover to the Government.

“There is an issue with the area set aside for the fruit and vegetable stands at Epping,” the spokesman said.

“The current site at Footscray Road has a floor size of 14,000 square metres, yet the former Labor Government’s design for the new area at Epping has an area for the stands of 7000 square metres.

“The Victorian Government and the MMA are working through the options for the layout and have issued several discussion papers including a traffic and logistics management plan.”

The spokesman said the draft plan looked at options for the best use of the smaller trading floor and feedback was being considered.

The draft plan recommended the stands be increased by 36sq cm and forklift trading aisles be widened by 95cm.

More info on Occupational health and safety

Source: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2013/09/05/581785_horticulture.html

Occupational Health and Safety:Tubing Manufacturer Fined $28k For Crushed Thumb

A manufacturing company responsible for the tubing and electrical components in South Australia, was fined $28,000 in addition to legal fees. The company was found responsible for an incident with a crimping machine that crushed an employees thumb because of a lack of guard.

SafeWork SA charged Tubing and Electrical Industries under the Occupational Health, Safety, and Welfare Act 1986 for failing to provide and maintain safe working conditions– especially by failing to provide a guard fitting for the machine.

On 25 July 2011, an employee was operating a machine inwhich the guard had been removed in order to provide better visual access.

The top of the worker’s thumb became lodged in between the jaws. The injury caused long-term nerve loss which also required  hand therapy for nine months which subsequently prevented him from being able to attain full-time work.

Magistrate Michael Ardlie  explained his decision, saying “The bypassing of the guarding is a significantly serious transgression on the part of the defendant.”

Ardlie recognised the company took appropriate action following the incident by securing a guard and implementing a Standard Operating Procedure for the machine in question.

The defendant faced a maximum penalty of $300,000. The court imposed a fine of $40,000, with a 30 per cent reduction to $28,000 following the defendant’s early guilty plea, demonstration of contrition and cooperation with SafeWork SA.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.pacetoday.com.au/news/missing-guard-leads-to-penalty-and-crushed-thumb

WA’s Worst Occupational Health and Safety Fine Defaulters To Be Revealed

Occupational health and safetyWestern Australia’s worst repeat fine defaulters are being named and shamed on a new website.

The state’s top 100  repeat offenders are displayed on the website launched by Attorney-General Michael Mischin.

Mischin revealed that the most serious defaulters together owe $67 million out of a total $259 million in fines in WA.

He stated that  “staggering” list suggests a  pattern of lawbreaking by the defaulters – every subject owes at least $20,000 or more.

Mischin revealed there has been a significant increase  in payments of  outstanding  fines and infringements as of late– curiously before the  introduction of new laws, effective as of August 21, upon being announced on August 4.

The new laws empower the Sheriff’s Office to wheel clamp vehicles or seize license plates if a person has more than $2,000 owing in fines and infringements.

Nearly $4 million has been payed out in just over 2 weeks — an unprecedented amount.

The biggest defaulter is  cabinet-making firm Quadtilla Pty. The company was ordered to pay  $250,000 in September 2011 for failing to provide a safe working environment after a teenage pre-apprentice was crushed to death at their Wangara site in 2008.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wa-fine-defaulters-named-and-shamed-20130821-2sad6.html#ixzz2dUiXhHjw

Occupational Health and Safety: Worker Killed By Scissor Lift at BGC Plant

Occupational Health and SafetyAn employee of the BGC cement plant in Naval Base was killed recently after he was crushed by a scissor lift. The middle-aged man was doing work at the company’s cement site on Beard and Morley Streets. Police were informed of the incident shortly after noon, but Emergency services and WorkSafe inspectors are always on site.

WorkSafe had to visit the plant a year ago when another employee was killed, after being buried alive under a sand pile that collapsed on him in a silo.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said that any work-related death was a tragedy, and extended his sincerest condolences to the family.

According to a WorkSafe spokeswoman the man, in his 20s, was working under a pile of fine sand when it collapsed on him and killed him.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/man-dies-at-naval-base-building-site/story-fnhocxo3-1226717087866

AG To Investigate Workplace Safety Fine Loophole

Occupational health and safetyThe state Attorney-General in Adelaide will be carefully looking into a legal loophole that allows insurers to pay fines placed upon businesses  who have been charged for unsafe work conditions.

The move came about following the death of a Adelaide desalination plant worker in Summer 2010.

Brett Fritsch, 35, died after  a 1.8-tonne steel beam fell onto him from a crane while it was being moved.

Rigging company Ferro Con SA and its director were prosecuted for breaking workplace safety laws.

The company was told to pay out $200,000, but its insurer covered the cost.

Unions called on the Government to close the loophole, saying it allowed companies to put a price on workers lives by making it cheaper to get insurance instead of implementing safety systems.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says businesses should not be able to choose insurance over safety.

“Imagine if you were able to get an insurance policy that said somebody else would go to jail if you committed an offence. What we’re looking at here is something pretty well in that space. Somebody else pays the fine instead of you,” he said.

“Some people are in effect insuring against criminal liability and having an insurance company basically pay their fines for them. It’s clearly unsatisfactory. It’s a way of companies actually dodging their responsibilities to keep workplaces safe.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety  ( OHS )

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-30/insurance-liability-loophole/4924014

Occupational Health and Safety:Man Killed While Working at an Almond Farm

Occupational health and safetyA Robinvale man  was killed during an occupational health and safety accident at Wemen almond farm this week. The man is believed to have been killed after becoming caught beneath a slasher at the Annuello Wemen road farm.

However, WorkSafe Victoria later revealed the man was operating a tractor which they believe ran him over when he climbed down from the vehicle.

A spokeswoman said WorkSafe  will be conducting an investigation into the workplace death.

Ambulance Victoria media spokesman John Mullen said paramedics were called at 8.26am, but the man had already succumbed to his injuries when they arrived.

Olam Australia executive director Bob Dall’Alba said the company was shocked and saddened at the man’s death.

“Above all else, our thoughts and condolences are with the man’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time,” Mr Dall’Alba said.

“We are doing everything we can to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”

Mr Dall’Alba said the company closed the farm down immediately after the incident, and will be offering counselling and pastoral care the the man’s family,colleagues and staff.

“I want to assure you of our company’s commitment to safety and providing a safe environment for all of our employees,” he said.

“The Annuello farm will remain closed until consultation with all stakeholders is complete.”

The incident is Victoria’s third workplace death in eight days, following the deaths of a carpenter and an electrician earlier in the week.

Source: http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/1739473/man-killed-while-working-on-almond-farm/?cs=1259

Occupational Health and Safety: Impaled Man Lives, Aids Rescue

Occupational health and safetyA young worker was able to hold the projectile while crews freed him, despite having a steel rod lodged in his head.

The young man was working at the Lindfield site, breaking concrete with a 21-tonne excavator when a metre-long piece f steel rod flew from the debris and embedded itself between his eyes.

Emergency crews rushed to stabilise the man, who was conscious and coherent through the entire ordeal.

He remained holding onto the rod as crews attempted to free him from the excavator,

He was quickly taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital, where surgeons mulled over the best way to remove the steel rod.

According to  Ambulance Service of NSW district manager,Mark Hayes; it took crews an entire hour to get the man out of the excavator.

‘Because we had to remove all the hand controls and the foot controls so that we could actually take him out through the front of the machine,’ Mr Hayes told Fairfax Radio Network.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)  reported that the man had the front window of the cab open when the incident occurred.

‘It was down at the time and that’s how it (the rod) flung through his skull,’ CFMEU NSW State Secretary Brian Parker told AAP.

WorkCover will investigate but the incident appears to have been a freak accident, Mr Parker said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=897353&vId=4103400

OHS Training: Unions Go After Labour Party For Safety Changes

occupational health and safetyOne of the nations most prolific blue-collar unions intends to spend up to $1 million in a campaign directly attacking federal Labor over OHS changes that may have a serious impact of the safety of workers.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Troy Gray targeted proposed changes to national electrical licensing rules and said the union campaign would be the most ambitious since the union was founded more than a century ago.The ETU in Victoria will donate $300,000 to Adam Bandt, the Greens MP for the seat of Melbourne, in  the coming federal election

Gray stated that the changes, which have  gone through the Council of Australian Government, would lead to lower safety standards.

They would allow a large amount of highly skilled electrical work to be done under supervision. And an exam would no longer be required at the end of an apprenticeship, he said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/union-in-shock-1million-move-against-labor-20130730-2qxez.html#ixzz2ao3DPNyU

Two Separate Workplace Accidents Result In Injury and Death

Occupational health and safetyA middle-aged man has died following a workplace incident in which a two-tonne concrete block slipped off a moving forklift, crushing him.Emergency services rushed to the scene where they after 20 minutes, they were able to free the man. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died shortly after.

A similar incident occurred recently when a concrete slab fell 12 metres on to an Ultimo man, after its chains became loose.The man was guiding crane operators when he was struck by dislodged concrete . Fortunately he survived, but suffered back and hip injuries.

Police detectives and WorkCover representatives are looking into possible causes of the accidents.

More info on Workplace Safety

Source:http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/a-worker-has-been-injured-after-a-slab-of-material-fell-from-a-crane-onto-him-as-he-stood-on-truck/story-fni0cx12-1226691644275

Occupational Health and Safety: Workplace Injuries and Aggriculture

occupational health and safety Occupational Health and Safety related injuries and illnesses can often cost the Australian economy in excess of $60 billion dollars annually. Alertforce.com.au luckily offers several training opportunities for those looking to help minimize OHS hazards in the agriculture industry.

In 2010-2011, of the 175,050 employees in Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, over 3600 filed serious workplace injury claims

Alertforce founder Brendan Torazzi stated ” Most serious injuries in Australian workplaces can be attributed to a lack of quality OHS training. Our courses cover a span of work-related injury preventative training, that can help reduce hazards”.

Source: http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/reducing-ag-hazards/2666184.aspx

Occupational Health and Safety:Unions Fight For WHS in WA

Occupational Health and SafetyUnions WA has been making a plea for more improvements to occupational health and safety in Western Australia

Recent data from WorkSafe revealed that there were 18 workplace deaths in the past year– an increase of 1.2 per cent from the previous 12 months.

The figures also that despite a decreased injury rate, there has been a growing number of workers who suffer far more serious injuries that prohibit them from working for more than 60 days.

Now the rate is at its 5-year peak.

Unions WA secretary Meredith Hammatt is concerned with the figures, stating “There are still on average one death every 21 days in Western Australia through a work fatality,”

“Clearly, this number is still way too high and we think much should be done by employers, by governments, by everyone in workplaces to really try and get these figures down and improving.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-29/unions-wa-says-more-needs-to-be-done-to-boost-workplace-safety/4851072?section=wa

Unions Believe Tougher OHS Laws Will Reduce Work Injuries

Occupational Health and safetyTasmania unions are confident that tougher fines under new workplace safety laws will help perpetuate a drop in workplace injuries.

Figures released for the launch of WorkSafe month revealed that injuries have dropped approximately 4 per cent in Tasmania.

Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne recalled that there were 8,934 injuries reported last year– almost 400 less than the previous year.

“For the first time we’ve dipped below 9,000 injuries per year,” he said.

Thus far there have been 4 work-related deaths  in the past year.

New workplace laws will be implemented this year.

Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins says “Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.

However, Harkins lamented that  Tasmania remains the second worst performing state behind Queensland.

Most injuries and deaths happen in the  construction and farming  industries.

Recently a Hobart man injured at work was granted the state’s highest compensation payout  of $7.5 million.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-25/fall-in-worplace-accidents-down-to-tougher-laws-say-unions/4843776?section=tas

Occupational Health and Safety: Worker Lucky To Have Survived Accident

Occupational health and safetyPolice say a man trapped under half-a-tonne of wood in Mount Isa in north-west Queensland is lucky to be alive, far less unscathed.

The 22-year-old was working at a sewage treatment plant on Miles Street when the wood fall upon him trapping him. He was subsequently released and airlifted to Townsville Hospital where he was treated for internal injuries.

He is now in stable condition and is expected to be released shortly.

Inspector Trevor Kidd stated that WHS will be looking into the incident.

“Initially we considered the injuries possibly life threatening and handled the police response to that incident,” he said.

“We have specialists investigators to look at that sort of thing and they attended the scene and effectively we brief Workplace Health and Safety and the scene was secured for them.

“Initially it looked really quite serious but this gentleman was very lucky it appears at the end of the day that he’s not seriously injured.”

Police in Mount Isa say the site is not currently open to the public.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-02/worker-lucky-to-survive-wood-crush-mishap/4860554?section=qld

Occupational Health and Safety :Safe Work Releases CoP for Traffic Management

occupational health and safetySafe Work Australia recently release the complete version of its model Code of Practice for workplace traffic management in addition to four industry-specific guides relating to the Code.
The Code will involve all businesses or tasks wherever there is a “risk of vehicles and powered mobile plant colliding with people in the workplace”.
The code of Practice for Traffic Management in Workplace will continue to require approval by the Ministerial Council on Workplace Relations, and  formal gazettal as assimilated in each relevant jurisdiction prior to the gaining of  full status as a COP in the relevant jurisdiction.
However, since the code and its related documents have essentially been accepted by all regulars (with the exception of Victoria),  they act as important guidance in all jurisdiction regardless of formal finalisation.
The Code of Practice contains; information related to identifying traffic hazards, an extensive list of control measures (complete with diagrams), and a traffic control measures checklist.
The Code highlights that “Vehicles moving in and around a workplace, reversing, loading and unloading are often linked with death and injuries to workers and other people,” and “Persons conducting a business or undertaking [in such cases] should contact the local road authority for the relevant traffic management requirements and guideline.
More info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: 
http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/785/Traffic-Management-COP.pdf

Mental Wellbeing An Important Part of Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and SafetyFor a long time, both government and businesses have neglected to consider mental health as important to workplace safety as physical safety. Now research has shown that depression in the workplace costs the nation in excess of $12 billion per annum.

Recently, this change in mentality has come with the launch of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.

Finally, for the first time ever, this alliance has brought together the efforts of Australian mental health organisations, as well as business and government officials. Together they reportedly aim to ensure that workplaces are mental health friendly.

“Mental health is a significant business issue that requires the attention of organizations. People who experience mental health issues face incredible challenges in the workplace. Many are misunderstood, shunned and underutilized,” said Karla Thorpe, Associate Director, Compensation and Industrial Relations at the Conference Board of Canada. “In a world where shortages of critical skills are top of mind for many organizations, employers cannot afford to allow this situation to continue.”

 

More info on Occupational Health And Safety

Source: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/1618942/mental-health-at-work-just-as-important-as-safety/?cs=64</em>

Occupational Health and Safety: QLD WorkCover Jobs In Jeopardy According To Union

Occupational health and safety An additional 200  Queensland public servants suffer wage cuts or employment termination while MP’s have seen drastic  pay rises, a union says.

The Together public sector union  reports that the government is compelling 25 per cent of WorkCover Queensland’s staff to choose between redundancies or classification downgrades.

This issue has emerged soon after it was revealed that  MPs pocket an extra $57,000, thereby increasing their base pay to $194,000 annually.

Together secretary Alex Scott says ‘Once again this has been a rushed process with a lack of transparency,’

He called forcing workers to choose between lower wages and their job, an ‘outrageous attack’ on workers.

Adding fuel to the fire is the government’s refusal to overturn laws that dictates state MPs’ wages should match their federal counterparts.

The government received legal advice that a 2009 wage freeze imposed by former Labor premier Anna Bligh breached legislation.

Which has now resulted in a hefty pay rise.

Mr Scott said WorkCover staff have already faced massive budget cuts and weeks of upheaval, including the closure of almost all regional WorkCover offices.

The Industrial Relations Commission will hear the wage matter on Friday.

Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.skynews.com.au/businessnews/article.aspx?id=885129

 

Occupational Health and Safety: Tour Guide Gets Compo For Broken Leg

Occupational health and safetyA tour guide who suffered a broken leg while helping a tourist, has won a workers compensation claim against her employer and insurer.

Adventure Tours Australia declined to pay Megan Elizabeth Woff compensation for the injury she sustained when she was struck by a snapped shackle of a 4WD tour bus which was towing a bogged car. The company reportedly refused to pay compo on the grounds that she was still a trainee at the time.

The company alleged that she was participating in a familiarisation tour – a prerequisite for  any potential employee.

But Ms Woff  brought the courts her claim that she was a “worker” under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.

Magistrate John Lowndes said: “The breadth of the definition is immediately apparent – it covers a person who is performing work or service not only under a contract but also under an agreement.”

Tour group recruitment manager Steve Wright was unwavering in his feeling that she was simply taking part in a familiarisation tour and thus not an employee by the company at the time .

But Dr Lowndes said: “Mr Wright’s … justification for requiring Ms Woff to go on a familiarisation tour was implausible, illogical and lacked credibility.”

Lowndes was confident that an agreement had been made between Ms Woff and the tour company – rendering them liable for the injury.

More info On Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2013/07/03/322441_travel.html

 

OHS:Maritime Safety A Hot Topic Following Ship Fatality

Occupational health and safetyThe Maritime Union described their findings from an investigation into the death of a man as “horrific”.

The 56-year-old worker was crushed and died while working on a cargo ship in September of last year. His death was result of a 20-tonne pallet of aluminium ingots fell upon him.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s recently released report from their 8-month investigation, revealed that unsafe work practices and stevedore fatigue could be to blame.

Union rep Warren Smith called for changes in the industry to improve safety.

“The findings are quite horrific really and it clearly demonstrates a complete lack of safety culture and massive gaps in the safe working systems within Newcastle Stevedores that absolutely need to be rectified,” he said.

“It’s quite abhorrent really that in the 21st century basic flaws in safety systems exist like that.”

The union are expected to meet with Newcastle Stevedores to discuss the findings of the ATSB report.

Smith says improvements to the system are especially needed.

“We have met them [Newcastle Stevedores] over a period of time prior to the release of the report and all our concerns have been articulated to the company very clearly.

“There will be ongoing meetings and we’ll do everything we can with the company to ensure the systems of work are eliminated, the gaps in their system of work are eliminated once and for all.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-05/maritime-safety-talks-to-continue-after-ship-fatality/4733616

 

Occupational Health and Safety:Man Crushed By Truck at NBN Site

Occupational health and safety A man was killed when he was crushed between two trucks at the National Broadband Network (NBN)  worksite.

Paramedics rushed to the scene and found the 57-year old trapped between two trucks but had already succumbed to his head injuries.

Police report that the man was removing an item from the back of one of the trucks when unaccompanied young worker got into a second truck and parked right behind. The 20-year old worker drove into the man and crushed him against the stopped truck.

NBN Co released a statement confirming the death and stated that it was working with its contractor to assist in investigations .

The death comes only a day after it was revealed several NBN rollout sites across the country have been under investigation for asbestos exposure risks.

Acting Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis says the worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It just seems to have been a tragic accident at this stage,” he said.

“We’re very early into our investigation of the matter.

“The driver of the truck was conveyed to a local hospital to undergo mandatory testing, we’ve got a crash investigation unit there.”

Superintendent Koutsoufis says the driver is very distressed.

“But as yet, other than undergoing the mandatory testing we haven’t spoken to him in a formal manner,” he said.

WorkCover is currently investigating the incident and union officials from the Community and Public Sector Union are looking into the death.

Kiama is one of the five towns connected to the $37.4 billion high-speed broadband network  or NBN

The project is expected to take until atleast 2023.

More info on Occupational health and safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/17410507/man-crushed-by-truck-at-nbn-work-site/

Alertforce Becomes Diamond Sponsor For SIA

POTTS POINT, NSW- Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and environmental training company, AlertForce (AF) has recently been awarded the honor of being a Diamond Sponsor for the Safety Institute of Australia Ltd (SIA).

SIA is an OHS organisation that has represented OHS professionals for over 50 years and with over 4’500 members. Members of this organisations are able to easily access timely advice relating to a variety of OHS issues relating to policy,regulations, and any current developments regarding the OHS industry.

Members of the SIA often join if they are currently employed or desire to be working in the OHS field.  Other times members join in order to have professional and qualified advice on OHS issues. Regardless of the issue, SIA aims fulfill its mission :

  • To affirm the SIA as the peak professional body for health and safety
  • professionals by:
  • Driving the development of the health and safety profession;
  • Setting and maintaining standards of professional practice

 AlertForce with its extensive catalogue of respected online safety training programs;has given their support to another organisation that continues to provide quality safety advice.  AF was granted Diamond Level status; the highest tier in SIA sponsorship grade levels. Diamond Sponsors contribute $10,000+ dollars to the OHS body in order to help SIA embark on the their vision of  providing “Professional Excellence– facilitating and communicating”.

Brendan Torazzi, the founder of AlertForce says, “I am very happy to have been able to contribute to such a vital organisation as the SIA — another organisation that is as dedicated  as us to providing helpful, qualified, and professional advice for all OHS issues.

AlertForce (http://alertforce.com.au) specialises in delivering fast, competency-based, interactive short online and face to face OHS & E courses to mitigate risk and health and safety & environmental hazards in Australian workplaces.

For more information please contact Brendan Torazzi – CEO AlertForce. Ph: 1300 627 246

-30-

OHS:Company Fined for Burned Chef

The Company that owns a fancy Sydney restaurant was subject to an over $100,000 fine, after a chef was badly burned by boiling stock.

SG Foodservice was slapped with the $110,000 fine over the incident which occurred at the Pendolino restaurant in September 2010.

The apprentice chef, 19, was carrying a boiling stock in two 20-litre buckets when he slipped and dropped them, burning over half of his body.

The chef was using the fire stairs when he dropped the boiling buckets.

He received emergency hospital treatment and had to receive skin grafts to his left calf, right ankle, and right thigh, according to WorkCover.

His injuries were so severe that he had to wear compression bandages, and was prohibited from being in sunlight and required physiotherapy.

WorkCover said SG Foodservice pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health & Safety Act over the incident.

WorkCover NSW’s acting general manager of work health and safety, Peter Dunphy, said it would “work with the company to ensure that the same mistakes were not made in the future”.
More info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/company-fined-after-sydney-chef-burnt/story-fni0xqi4-1226657098067

OHS:Ten Queensland Rides Given Prohibition Notices

Ten amusement rides were given Prohibition Notices and made temporarily  inoperable after they were found to be so dangerous that they may could result in injury.

Amusement ride safety has once again become a hot topic after a young child was flung 10m from a frisbee ride only a few weeks ago.

Carnival Land Amusements, the ride operator, had recently passed an official audit conducted by Workplace Health and Safety when the accident occurred.

In order to maintain safety standards, OHS inspectors frequently do random audits at shows,carnivals and fetes — where they assess the rides against the Amusement Devices National Auditing Tool.

Currently over 200 inspectors are employed and continue to conduct audits on rides all over the country– with 663 assessments last year alone.

The peak industry body, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association has also developed a private audit – AMSAFE – through which members can gain another safety “tick”.

Amusement ride inspecting engineer of 13 years Brian Bradley said most operators maintained their equipment and complied with the regulations

Mr Gidlow said a Prohibition Notice was reserved for rides that were likely to cause injury or illness.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/ten-amusement-rides-found-to-be-dangerous-and-temporarily-shut-down-last-year/story-fnii5v70-1226650511597

 

OHS:Worker’s Arm Caught in Olive Crushing Machine

WorkSafe ACT is reviewing safety conditions at a Narrabundah business where a worker’s arm was became wedged into an olive-crushing machine.

Crews were required to use hydraulic tools in order to release the machine’s hold on the man’s hand and he was then transported to Canberra Hospital by ACT Ambulance service.

The man suffered injuries to the lower part of his arm.  A spokesperson for the hospital was reportedly unable to comment on the man’s condition beyond the fact that he had been receiving continued treatment.

ACT WorkSafe Commissioner Mark McCabe said the authority had handed out a prohibition notice on the equipment in addition to an official do not disturb notice throughout the area. A full  investigation is being considered.

McCabe stated that investigators would deliberate on whether the  business owner’s are required to comply with regulations established by the Work Health and Safety Act.

”WorkSafe has some serious concerns about the processes in place,” Mr McCabe said. ”Our serious investigations unit are looking at the issues involved and once we clarify the situation we will investigate how this incident came to take place.”
Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/mans-arm-caught-in-olive-crusher-20130530-2nd7j.html#ixzz2VE70ihgG

Company Faces $100K Fine for Breaching Occupational Health and Safety Act

A project management company has been fined $100,000 after a dogman lost half a leg during an accident at the Port Kembla steelworks.

David Wormleaton’s right leg was amputated below the knee after the March 2009 incident, which occurred during work to dismantle a large sinter cooling system being trialled at the BlueScope Steel site.

Transfield Services Engineering Group (TSEG) was subcontracted to carry out the dismantling work.

Workers were removing pieces of the cooling system when a large fabricated steel frame weighing 1.7 tonnes and measuring 2.3 metres high and 8.1 metres long toppled onto Mr Wormleaton, causing serious crush injuries.

He was unaware that nuts securing the structure to concrete had been loosened and removed by other workers before it was to be secured by chains to a crane.

WorkCover launched an investigation into the incident, which led to proceedings in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in April.

TSEG pleaded guilty to a breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $100,000.

The court found TSEG had failed to put in place adequate safety processes to prevent the frame from being unbolted before it had been attached by chains to the crane.

Last year, building firm Thomas and Coffey pleaded guilty to two charges and was fined $270,000 over the incident.

Thomas and Coffey was a subcontractor on the project which in turn contracted Allstate Cranes and Plant Hire, for whom Mr Wormleaton worked.

WorkCover NSW’s General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John Watson said safety for workers must be the highest priority for all employers, especially those working in manufacturing or with heavy machinery.

“Working with such heavy machinery or large products can be very dangerous, which is why every safety precaution must be taken,” he said.

Mr Watson said WorkCover would work with TSEG to ensure no similar incidents occurred in the future.

During court proceedings, a company representative expressed remorse and regret over the incident and said arrangements had been made for a safety and fund-raising program to assist Mr Wormleaton.

More info on occupational health and safety

Source: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/1562969/firm-fined-after-man-loses-leg-in-accident/?cs=12

 

OHS:WorkSafe Crackdowns on Apprentice Safety

High-risk apprentices will now be safer following a renewed crackdown on construction projects by WorkSafe ACT

Commissioner Mark McCabe released two new sets of guidance requirements for apprentice supervision.

Under these new requirements, apprentices and trainees are prohibited from working without mandated supervision or without required accreditation

”We have seen several accidents in recent months involving apprentices working alone doing high-risk work,” Mr McCabe said.

”Supervisors should be aware that they are responsible for the safety of all of their workers, and especially apprentices and trainees, who require a higher level of supervision than experienced workers.”

Last February, Fairfax Media reported young electrical apprentices were illegally being told to work despite no proper supervision and completing jobs charged at the full commercial electrician’s rate.

A WorkSafe audit and compliance campaign was launched following two serious accidents in the ACT in which apprentices suffered from electric shocks while working without supervision.

Mr McCabe said  ”I am releasing these new guidance notes as part of a campaign to ensure that all supervisors understand and adhere to this responsibility,” he said.

”Failure to do so could not only lead to severe penalties for supervisors, it could cost lives.”

The guidance notes for construction and electrical call for risk assessment and proper supervision as well as fines of $3 million for corporations and $600,000 and even up to five years imprisonment for individuals who breach the rules.

The notes state that licensed electricians must be present when an apprentice is carrying out licensed electrical work as a suitably qualified person must be present to oversee output by apprentices and trainees.

Mr McCabe said closer scrutiny of supervision of apprentices by WorkSafe inspectors in the ACT would begin in coming months.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/crackdown-on-work-sites-for-apprentices-20130520-2jx8v.html#ixzz2UMhWD9z3

Poultry Worker Hospitalised After Machine Pulled His Arm

A poultry worker from Geelong was hospitalised when his arm was pulled into a cutting machine at Turi Foods’ Golden Farms Breakwater plant . The 40-year old man was dragged into the machine after his clothing become caught in the machinery.

He was immediately taken to Geelong Hospital for emergency surgery to treat a deep cut and torn muscle in upper

WorkSafe officials are currently looking into the incident that they deemed as non-life-threatening.

National Union of Workers lead organiser Belinda Jacobi revealed that unions had recently visited the site following member’s safety concerns.

“We have very serious concerns about injury rates in this industry,” Ms Jacobi said.

“A survey of 1000 workers showed 35 per cent have sustained an injury in the workplace and we’ve had fatalities.”

Jacobi cited the union’s main concerns as the  line speeds of processing plants, with the Breakwater facility handling 100,000 birds a day while having employment through casual and contract roles which, she said, contributed to risk.

“We understand he (the victim) was intending to return to India today for a holiday to see his family,” she said.

“Members had told us of concerns at the plant and we will continue our campaign.

“Our members who work in food processing should be able to work safely.”

Golden Farms did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2009, major poultry company Baiada, the safety record of which had been the subject of a coronial inquest, was forced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to offload the Breakwater plant to Turi Foods for its acquisition of poultry giant Bartter to be approved.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source : http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2013/05/20/365368_news.html

Alertforce Wins Gold With LexisNexis- WHS-Modules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

POTTS POINT, NSW–   Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training company, AlertForce (AF) has successfully attainedwinning gold in the “Best in OHS” category for a Work Health and Safety (WHS) modules program they designed in conjunction with leading content provider LexisNexis.

The partnership successfully combined AlertForce’s OHS training expertise with LexisNexis respected and renowned legal content. This team produced the successful LexisNexis Online Training- WHS modules, which have since been awarded the Gold recognition for the program’s outstanding and quality design.

The modules designed by AlertForce sought to provide participants with the ability to identify and apply crucial aspects of the Model Work Health and Safety act. Their success in these aspects resulted in AlertForce earning a distinction from LexisNexis, which acknowledges that AlertForce’s course design is unparalleled in both quality and accessibility.

Together both organizations specially designed three interactive online training modules to allow participants the ability to engage in the modules at their own convenience. The training modules were written by the employment specialist law firm Harmers Workplace Lawyers.

The following modules were offered:

  • Course 1 – Health and safety duties
  • Course 2 – Health and safety representation in the workplace
  • Course 3 – Health and safety consultation in the workplace

Each course required less than an hour to complete depending on the individual user and time spent exploring additional resources.

Completion of the LexisNexis Online WHS training modules provided participants with the opportunity to earn CPD/CLE points– declaring them as competent and compliant with the methods needed to sharpen an organisation’s competitive edge. Each course was available for purchase individually allowing participants to engage in the modules according to their own schedule.

Brendan Torazzi, the founder of AlertForce says, “I am extremely proud to hear that our LexisNexis –WHS modules have been acknowledged as being one of the best of its kind! Our courses allow people to learn at their own pace in a convenient and cost effective way. We will continue to provide the “Gold standard” of OHS training courses!”

AlertForce (http://alertforce.com.au) specialises in delivering fast, competency-based, interactive short online and face to face OHS & E courses to mitigate risk and health and safety & environmental hazards in Australian workplaces.

For more information please contact Brendan Torazzi – CEO AlertForce. Ph: 1300 627 246

-30-

OHS:Mine Worker Measles Leads to Statewide Alert

A statewide alert has been raised following the diagnosis of a Central Queensland mine worker with measles.

Queensland Health’s communicable diseases unit acting senior director Stephen Lambert stated that the Moranbah mine worker had contact with several mining colleagues and others over the past few weeks.  Investigators are concerned that he may have infected others. 

He said many of the mine workers had returned to homes throughout Queensland.

Dr Lambert said measles was a serious infection, particularly in children too young to be immunised.

“Up to one-third of young adults who are infected will be hospitalised,” he said.

The Moranbah mine worker who has triggered the measles alert is believed to have contracted the virus while holidaying in Asia.

Dr Lambert said the man had been in the dining room of Moranbah’s Grosvenor Village camp in the last week of April.

He said Queensland Health was asking anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to seek medical advice if symptoms developed.

They should alert their general practitioners they may have measles before attending the clinic.

“Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing,” Dr Lambert said.

Symptoms usually start around 10 days after becoming infected and include a fever, lethargy, runny nose, a cough and sore, red eyes followed by a blotchy red rash.

Measles complications can include pneumonia and inflammation of the brain. The infection can occasionally be fatal.

More on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/moranbah-mine-workers-measles-prompts-alert/story-e6freoof-1226637798701

 

OHS: Falling Gate Kills Worker

A 32-year-old man was killed when a steel gate pinned him between it and a vehicle. The industrial accident occured at Bayswater North  earlier last week.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the incident occurred just after 7pm at an automotive engineering factory in Clipsal Drive.

It is believed three men were working on a large steel gate at the factory when the heavy object suddenly fell from its track.

The gate then landed on one of the men and pinned him between the gate and a vehicle.

Advertisement

Emergency personnel were unable to revive the 32-year-old Croydon man.

Police said the two other men, believed to be a 55-year-old from Ringwood East and a 44-year-old from Donvale, were not injured.

WorkSafe Victoria also attended the site and will prepare a report for the coroner in conjunction with police.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/man-crushed-killed-by-falling-gate-20130509-2j8sm.html#ixzz2T3n3JEkG

OHS:Rural Death Causes Plea For Safety

The WorkSafe commissioner says the agriculture industry must undergo a cultural change to prevent any more fatal accidents.

A 65-year-old man was killed on Tuesday at a potato farm near Pemberton while trying to stop a truck that was rolling down a hill.

It is the sixth death in the sector this financial year.

Lex McCulloch says while the industry only accounts for 3 per cent of the workforce Australia-wide, it accounts for 35 per cent of workplace deaths.

“We’re moving to a very busy time of the year, it’s really important that they assess the risks of the work they’re doing, they put in place strategies to minimise and mitigate those risks and that they use … [equipment] consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions,” he said.

“They do work in quite a dangerous industry, they work long hours but they also need to be really clear about the … [equipment] and the safety requirements … and if they do that and follow the manufacturer’s instructions there’s a good chance that nothing untoward will happen.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-09/potato-farm-death-sparks-plea-for-rural-jobs-safety/4679478?&section=news

OHS:Plasterer Suffers Back Injury

A plasterer suffered a back injury at a construction

A 34-year-old plasterer has been lowered from an O’Malley construction site with a hydraulic lift after suffering a back injury this morning.

The man has received pain relief and was talking to paramedics before he was taken by ambulance to Canberra Hospital.

An ACT Fire & Rescue Skylift hydraulic platform  was used to lift the man from the second storey of the private residence on Wallangara Street, as he was unable to use the scaffolding.

Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said inspectors had been on site, but there was no concern over working conditions.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/plasterer-injured-in-workplace-incident-20130507-2j4ed.html#ixzz2Sel3EA9T

“It appears the man has bent over to pick something up and his back has knocked up,” he said.

“We don’t believe there’s any worksafe issues.”

ACT Ambulance Service duty officer of operations Steve Mitchell said he was alerted to the incident about 8.45am, and wasn’t aware of the exact details.

“He hasn’t fallen from a height or anything – he said [he was doing] some sort of lifting,” he said.

“This doesn’t appear to be an accident, more an incident.”

Complete Fixset Plastering owner Ron Rawson, the man’s employer, said he understood the worker had been moving a stool at the time of the injury.

Mr Rawson said his company had been on the site for a week.
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/plasterer-injured-in-workplace-incident-20130507-2j4ed.html#ixzz2Sel0ibZm

Safety Issues At Hospital Denied

Safety concerns at St John of God are “completely untrue”, the oncology nurse manager has argued, despite a senior nurse admitting he almost administered the wrong chemotherapy treatment.

On the second day of a Fair Work hearing into the dismissal of oncology nurse Guy Mitchell, day stay nursing unit manager Anita Edwards painted a picture of an employee who “wouldn’t even say good morning”, was unhappy when he wasn’t in charge and was not a team player.

Ms Edwards told the hearing she believed Mr Mitchell understood he was not to treat a patient who was a friend of his, an order he went against, leading to his termination.

Under cross examination from Mr Mitchell, she said staff were not counselled about bullying inherited from the previous ward staff nor were there numerous safety concerns.

She said she did not speak to Mr Mitchell about “frequent” crossing of patient boundaries by other staff who did not receive warnings and said a complaint from the same patient about another nurse was “poles apart” from his behaviour.

Ms Edwards said she was unaware of his concern about not double checking chemotherapy to the patient was driven partly because he was one of the nurses who had almost given a patient the wrong treatment.

Mr Mitchell said he realised the mistake and removed and discarded the chemotherapy bags and lines before any incorrect treatment entered the patient.

He said he then told Ms Edwards and the treating doctor.

“There were many reasons why we needed to change the policy in regard to checking the chemotherapy,” Ms Edwards said.

“Safety is paramount, we have a process in place and they are dealt with immediately.

“Perceptions of unsafety (at the hospital) are completely untrue.”

She told the hearing she was “absolutely mortified” Mr Mitchell had treated the patient, then asked the patient to write a letter of support, after her “clear” direction not to.

Mr Mitchell highlighted differences between Ms Edwards’s statements to Fair Work and Work Cover to suggest she was an untruthful witness.

He has claimed the meetings and warnings were part of a sustained bullying campaign against him.

The hearing was adjourned to a date to be set.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2013/04/24/363541_news.html

NSW Man Critical Condition After Forklift Traps Him in Freezer

A NSW man is in a critical condition in hospital after being trapped by a forklift inside a commercial freezer thought to be set at minus 19 degrees Celsius.

The man was trapped in the freezer at a business in Matraville, in Sydney’s east, for at least half an hour on Saturday.

He was operating a forklift alone at the time of the accident.

It is thought the machine tipped over against a set of shelves, trapping the man.

He was found by colleagues, who called police rescue and paramedics to the scene around 3.00pm AEST.

The man was freed and taken to St George Hospital in a critical condition.

Police say WorkCover has been informed, and an investigation will take now place.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-27/forklift-traps-man-inside-commercial-freezer/4655408

OHS: Unions Raise Concerns Over WorkCover Closures

Unions have raised concerns that the imminent closing of WorkCover’s regional offices in Queensland, is in fact an attempt to hinder workers’ compensation claims.

The Toowoomba branch will join nine others when they are shut down throughout the next month.

The closed branches are set to be replaced by four outlets in Brisbane, which means claims outside of the state’s capital will have to be made by phone.

Electrical Trades Union Toowoomba spokesman Chris McGaw stated that the move was simply a part of the LNP’s “slash and burn” public service policy.

McGaw stated that the concerns are not simply about jobs and offices but rather, the impact the closures would have on people’s access to the services.

“The hoops they have to jump through to get workers’ compensation is hard enough already.

“The last thing an injured worker needs is more hassles – especially for people who live from pay to pay.

“That office has been operating here for as long as I’ve been in the workforce – more than 40 years.”

Mr McGaw said the forthcoming May 5 Labour Day march in Toowoomba would be the “biggest since WorkChoices”.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/unions-react-workcover-office-closures/1840918/

OHS:Perth Company Fined for Grinder Death

A Perth based powder coating company has been fined $85,000 over the death of a worker who was killed when a drum he was cutting with an angle grinder exploded.

Welshpool-based Diamond Powder Coaters this week pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to failing to provide a safe workplace and causing the death of the worker as a result of that failure.

The incident occurred in November 2010, when the worker used an angle grinder to cut into a metal drum that had previously contained methylated spirits.

A spark from the angle grinder ignited the residue or fumes in the drum, causing an explosion so large it blew part of the drum 20 metres over a fence into a neighbouring property, and inflicted fatal head injuries to the worker.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said serious incidents involving the cutting of drums was something he heard about far too often.

“Angle grinders, oxy torches or any other heat-producing equipment should not be used to cut metal drums that have contained flammable or combustible liquids or gases, or when there is any doubt about the previous contents of the drum,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The rule of thumb is that if you don’t know what has been in the drum or tank, assume it has contained an explosive substance and have it recycled by a specialist cleaning company.

“This is neither an expensive nor inconvenient process, and it could well save someone’s life.”

Earlier this week, a Bunbury man was seriously injured when a fuel tank he was cutting with an oxy torch exploded.

A worker in Welshpool died last year doing the same thing.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/business-fined-over-angle-grinder-death/story-fnhocxo3-1226624683812

OHS: Wharfies Demand Safety Reforms

The protests are part of a national campaign by the Maritime Union of Australia to push the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to end its opposition to a national stevedoring code of practice.

Workers rallied in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Devonport on Tuesday, but not in Perth, where other union meetings were being held.

About 40 union members turned up blowing horns and waving placards at chamber offices in Brisbane and succeeded in gaining a 20-minute police-brokered meeting with ACCI members.

Outside the NSW Business Chamber, 200 protesters rallied against opposition to the code, aimed at protecting the safety of workers.

MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer said the ACCI argued the code was too expensive, but that was a step backwards.

”For them to say that the cost of implementing the code is an obstacle effectively says wharfies’ lives and safety are not a priority for them,” Mr McAleer said.

In Melbourne, MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith told more than 100 union workers that waterfront workers were 14 times more likely to die on the job than the average worker.

ACCI spokesman David Turnbull said industry would work with unions to make sure the code reflected good practice. He said Safe Work Australia would make the final decision on the code.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source :  http://www.smh.com.au/national/wharfies-demand-industry-back-safety-reforms-20130326-2gsdg.html#ixzz2P3R5TBB2

Young Workers Face Higher OHS Risk

Nearly 20 per cent of all workplace injuries experienced by Australian workers were involved individuals 25-years old and younger.

Safe Work Australia’s Work-related injuries experienced by young workers 2009-2010, report found the injury rate of young workers (the rate of injuries per 1,000 workers) was 18 per cent higher than for those aged over 25.

Compared to workers aged 25 and over  (56.2/1000 workers), the rate for younger workers was significantly higher at approximately 66.1 OHS injuries per 1000.  The report revealed that the disparity was greatest in the manufacturing, accommodation, food service, healthcare and construction industries.

The report also showed that nearly 66 per cent of injured workers never applied for workers compensation, with about half of them feeling their injury was too minor to lodge a claim.

Chair of Safe Work Australia, Ann Sherry stressed the need for  young people to comprehend the various safety issues in their workplaces and learn the value of following procedures.

“Often in their first jobs, young workers can get caught up with the excitement of entering the workforce,” Ms Sherry said.
“They may overlook the need to be familiar with the potential workplace hazards and safety procedures in place.”

She said the statistics in the report showed why it was necessary for young people to learn safe workplace practices and who they should go to for help.
“The safety habits and behaviours they learn now will set them up for positive safe work practices for the remainder of their working lives,” she said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.psnews.com.au/Page_psn3543.html

OHS:Spinal Injury Results in 60k Fine

A woman who suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and serious spinal injuries  almost three years ago, has seen her employers fined approximately $70,000 for the inability to protect her.

National Fleet Administrative Services pleaded guilty for failing to provide and ensure a safe work environment.

The company contracts drivers who transport goods. According to WorkSafe, In 2009, a driver was sent to a customers residence to move two large industrial ovens.  The driver told the woman, an employee of NFAS, to lift the oven off the factory floor with the help of a device known as a “walkie stacker”. However, the truck did not have “roll stop devices fitted” and the stacker rolled backwards and fell off the end of the truck effectively pinning the woman to the ground.

It was revealed that the driver had not received any training on how to use roll stop devices or how to properly use the tail lift on his truck.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch called the driver’s  lack of training  “a recipe for disaster,” in a statement on Monday.

“The customer’s employee needlessly suffered serious injuries as a result,” he said.

“The case should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of training workers in all aspects of operating machinery and having safe systems of work in place at all times, especially when handling heavy items.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/company-fined-60k-for-spinal-injuries-20130225-2f1re.html#ixzz2MPdYbua9

OHS: Air Collision Narrowly Avoided Due to Faulty Radio Switch

A close-call involving two aircrafts at Jabiru at the edge of Northern Territory has examplified the need for regularly checking radio equipment.

The Australia Transport Safety Bureau showcased the incident in October of last year in a bulletin released today.
The pilot of a passenger plane on a flight from Darwin didn’t notice that another plane was on the runway until right before their descent.
Both planes had to take quick evasive measures to avoid an accident.
Both pilots quickly used their radios the broadcast their position but the Safety Bureau revealed that one of the radios weren’t working because a switch was in the incorrect position.

Jabiru is inside Kakadu National Park, approximately 230 kilometres east of Darwin.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-27/aviation-safety-near-miss-jabiru-nt/4542854?section=nt

OHS:Unions Left Out of WorkCover Pamphlets

The state’s peak union body has accused WorkCover NSW of sidelining the unions in newly released leaflets.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon raised concerns that a new fact sheet advising sick and injured workers on how to make compo claims and disputes, failed to make mention of any trade unions.

Lennon stated that documents of similar nature had always mentioned them in the past.

“People should always be made aware of their rights to seek information from various sources, including from their union,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

Mr Lennon lamented that sick or injured workers were vulnerable and sometimes needed help with their cases.

The new fact sheet comes a year after the state passed far-reaching WorkCover reforms to help lower the $4 Billion deficit.

Benefits and medical expenses were capped and journey claims axed for many workers.

“I think this makes the situation even more difficult,” Mr Lennon said.

WorkCover could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

More on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/we-were-sidelined-in-compo-leaflet-unions/story-e6frf7kf-1226587207557#sthash.gNvvp86C.dpuf

OHS: Worker Struck by Ute At Mowbray

A road worker died after being struck by a utility vehicle  in the Launceston suburb of Mowbray.

The 62-year old man from Ravenswood, was holding a stop-go traffic control sign when he was struck and thrown back approximately 15m.

He was rushed by ambulance to the Launceston General Hospital but succumbed to critical to both internal and external injuries and later died.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Nicholas Clark stated that the middle-aged driver of the Nissan flat tray vehicle was not injured but will undergo standard drug and alcohol tests at the LGH.

The accident which occurred on a suburban stretch of Vermont Rd at Mowbray, was witnessed by several coworkers who had been resealing the road.

Sgt Clark revealed the police will be investigating the speed and specifics of the accident while Workplace Standards will be investigating the work site’s signage and safety arrangements.

“We just ask motorists if they come across roadworks to pay particular attention to the signs there and slow
down,” Sgt Clark said.

“If the maximum speed is 50km, 40km or 60km, that is the maximum speed.

“Slow down, take your time and look out for people who are on the road or on the edges of the road.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2013/02/06/371764_print.html

Fatal Fall Prompts WorkSafe Investigation

WorkSafe is currently investigating the state’s first workplace fatality of the year which occurred at a Somerton crane company. 

A middle-aged man was found unconscious at the Hume Highway business by his workmates.

The man was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital but eventually died.

Recently another Somerton business was found guilty and ordered to pay $275,000 following a workplace death in December 2011.

A workplace spokesperson stressed that despite the deaths, Hume workplaces are no more dangerous than other areas

“As many businesses get back into full swing after the holidays, the best thing for all businesses to do, regardless of the area or industry, is to make safety their priority,” she said.

“Regardless of whether the job’s been done a thousand times before, we urge businesses to step back and assess what could go wrong, identify solutions and put them in place.”

Preliminary investigations into the recent fatality hinted that the man may have died as a result of falling from a prime-mover cabin. He suffered a serious injury to the back of his.

WorkSafe general manager for health and safety operations Lisa Sturzenegger said, “The fact that this happened on the Australia Day public holiday is a tragedy for the family, friends and colleagues and a timely reminder for all Victorians to continue to exercise vigilance.”

More info on Occupational Health and safety

Source: http://www.humeweekly.com.au/story/1273441/fatal-fall-at-somerton-sparks-plea-for-work-safety/?cs=12

Perth Company Fined 10k for OHS injury

Perth-An engineering company was ordered to pay a $10,000 following a dangerous work incident that left an unlicensed 16-year-old apprentice without two fingers.

The Fremantle Magistrate’s Court accepted KEP Management Services Pty Ltd (trading as Phillips Engineering) guilty plea for two charges of allowing unlicensed work.

The apprentice was being taught by a crane operator how to sling and direct loads when he got his hand caught between steel beams. His right index and middle finger were amputated  at the middle knuckles.

Upon investigation, WorkSafe discovered that no one in the workplace had gained the proper licence for the work.

His right index and middle fingers were amputated to the middle knuckles.

The apprentice, 16, could not be granted the required license because it is not issued to individuals under 18.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said,“A 16-year-old apprentice is not likely to be in a position to refuse to do work he is not licensed to do, which makes the situation that existed at this workplace even more worrying,” Mr McCulloch said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/16097117/fine-after-apprentice-loses-fingers/

 

Dry Cleaner Audit Following Dangerous Incident

Soon after receiving criticism for “high handed statements”, WorkSafe ACT will be auditing all dry cleaners throughout the territory. WorkSafe has already issued approximately 60 improvement notices in just six inspections. 

Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe stated that he was ”appalled” at the first results of the audit, which were launched in response to a near-fatal carbon monoxide leak from a Woden dry cleaner.

The Drycleaning Institute of Australia expressed their disappointed by the  alleged lack of communication from WorkSafe ACT  pertaining to any breaches.

Chief executive officer Philip Johns said the Work Safety Commissioner’s  comments were “accusing” the entire industry of being responsible, despite the industry’s efforts to work very hard to be compliant with all safety laws.

”We would hope that the authorities come to us if there are any particular breaches, rather than making some fairly high-handed statements about getting your house in order, otherwise cop a $250,000 fine,” Mr Johns said.

”A little bit of working together is actually going to help us achieve more,” he said.

Johns revealed that the industry will conduct their own audit to address any potential safety issues.

McCabe said on Wednesday he would be more than happy to assist the industry with the internal audit.

He said it was to premature to commence talks with the industry, given the audit was still in its early stages.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/dry-cleaners-have-their-say-20130131-2dnvv.html#ixzz2JmLGdv8m

Compensation for Injured Public Servants Almost $1 Billion

This year twice as much money is being paid out to compensate stressed federal public servants. The cost has doubled  to almost $1 billion for 2011-2012. 

The Federal Government’s workplace compensation insurer Comcare, blames the dramatic increase in claims and a result of public servants “not recovering as quickly as they should”.

They have also attributed the increase to lower interest rates on earnings and higher forecasts for inflation.

Comcare has been overseeing the recent surge in compo claims for bullying and an ” adjustment disorder”.

Comcare’s most recent annual report stated the cost of ongoing workers’ compo claims have risen from $459 million in in 2011 to $994 million a year later. Increases are slated to increase by 25 per-cent this year in order to combat the $564 million loss.

Comcare’s latest annual report reveals the cost of ongoing workers’ compensation claims soared from $459 million in 2011 to $994 million last year.

Comcare’s acting chief executive, Cathy Skippington, attributed the loss to ” economic factors and because some injured workers are taking longer to get back to work “.

“As a result, we’ve had to increase our scheme premium rates substantially to return the scheme, over time, to a fully funded position.”

A Comcare spokesman said the operating loss would have no effect on the Government’s Budget

Skippington also revealed a “moderate” increase  in mental health claims during 2012.

“People are much more aware of bullying now and the fact they don’t have to put up with it,” she said.

bullying has accounted for nearly half of the mental stress cases.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/compensation-payouts-to-federal-public-servants-double-to-1-billion/story-e6frea6u-1226553103168

Smelter Accident Prompts Investigation

SafeWork SA is attempting to determine if the Port Pirie smelter Nyrstar broke workplace safety standard laws which resulted in two of its workers suffering serious burns.

Nyrstar has yet to agree to discuss  over the incidents which occurred at the smelter early this January. The first incident involved a 53-year-old male worker who sustained burns to both his face and neck while cleaning a hot flue.

Sometime afterwards, a 43-year-old worker suffered burns on his feet, thighs and hands while cleaning waste products in the same area.

Both men were treated at  Royal Adelaide Hospital.

SafeWork SA has rejected any request to reveal further details until a thorough investigation has been conducted to determine if there have been any breaches of work health and safety laws

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-14/smelter-accidents-under-investigation/4463760?section=sa

OHS:WorkSafe Investigating Death of Roma Worker

AN investigation has begun into the death of a coal seam gas project worker during last week’s heatwave.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has confirmed it is investigating the 38-year-old employee’s death on Sunday at Roma, where temperatures reached 42.8C.

Police are also preparing a report for the coroner.

Electrical Trades Union assistant state secretary Peter Ong said members had told him the man collapsed in his donga after finishing work on Sunday and hit his head.

He was taken to the Roma Hospital, in southwest Queensland, and pronounced dead.

Queensland Health said nine people had been seen at Roma Hospital since New Year’s Day with heat-related conditions.

Two people were admitted.

Another person has been admitted to the St George Hospital with a heat illness since the start of the year out of seven people who turned up at the emergency department affected by the extreme temperatures.

Figures provided by the Bureau of Meteorology show the mean average maximum temperature for Roma so far this year has been 38.9C, almost five degrees higher than the average January mean since records were kept.

Project manager Fluor Australia said it was investigating and assisting authorities in their investigations.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/workplace-health-and-safety-authorities-investigating-the-death-of-38-year-old-worker-at-roma-on-sunday/story-fndo45r1-1226555379672

OHS:Man’s Injury Blamed on Dock’s Poor Safety Standards

A man’s arm was seriously injured while working at a dock supplying Chevron’s large LNG project in Western Australia, according to the Maritime Union of Australia.

The MUA was rushed by air ambulance to Perth when his arm was crushed between the dock and a barge at the Mermaid Marine Supply base.

There have been conflicting reports as to the severity of the injury, with the Mermaid Marine spokesman claiming the the injury was to the wrist and was treated at the Nickol Bay Hospital in Karratha.

The spokesperson claims he is resting at home following the incident.

“The health and safety of our employees is paramount and all steps will be taken to ensure our employee makes a full and speedy recovery,” the company said.

“The incident is currently under investigation.”

MUA WA secretary Chris Cain remarked on  Chevron and its contractor’s poor safety record at the Mermaid Marine Supply base for months.

“It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Chevron and their contractors like Mermaid are cutting corners to make up time and money on the Gorgon project,” Mr Cain said.

The union said WorkSafe WA was advised of the level of poor training and management  and the accident was “inevitable”.

“We’ve got serious issues when the day after WorkSafe says there’s no problem, ambulances are called to an accident of the type exactly predicted by health and safety representatives,” Mr Cain said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/poor-safety-blamed-for-dock-worker-injury/story-e6frg2qc-1226537890019

OHS: Whyalla First To Launch Statewide Safety Initiative

Whyalla will be the first in the state to launch an initiative developed by Safework SA in order to compel community businesses to collaborate on reducing workplace injury.  Safework SA Executive Director Bryan Russell met with local business leaders and industry groups to discuss the Zero Harm Business Leaders forum . Safework SA proposed that a periodical forum be held in Whyalla.

“We met with key business groups to establish a high level discussion group to share ideas and solutions to drive further improvements in safety performance in Whyalla,” Mr Russell said. The general consensus regarding the forum was positive and Russel indicated Safework SA intends to work on implementing it.

“The participants in the meeting fully supported the proposed business leaders forum and everyone welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively towards improving safety at work,” Mr Russell said.

“Any injury in the workplace is one injury too many and efforts by all individual parties to reduce injuries in the workplace are welcome.” Mr Russell said the initiative was an exciting opportunity for Safework SA to work collaboratively with key business leaders in Whyalla to achieve safety improvements. “This is as a significant initiative to engage businesses, workers and government in achieving a shared vision for reducing accidents in the work place,” Mr Russell said.

Source: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/story/1190906/whyalla-first-to-pilot-statewide-workplace-safety-initiative/

More info on Occupational health and safety

Safety Watchdog Goes After RailCorp for Workplace Death

The State’s transport safety regulator is seeking prosecution against RailCorp, for the death of a track worker who was struck by an oncoming train at Kogarah.

Tamati Grant, 59 was struck and killed by a train while attempting to avoid the southbound train from Hurstville on April 13,2010.

The fatality was blamed on a failure of a RailCorp employee- an area controller- at the train operators signalling complex in Sydenham. The area controller was supposed to alert Grant’s cleaning team of the arrival of the train but failed to do so, resulting in his death.

The Independent Transport Safety Regulator is set to prosecute RailCorp and the area controller for breaching the Rail Safety Act of 2008.

The specific charges that will be aimed at the company, the operator or the company’s former area controller, are not yet clear.

A 2010 prosecution of the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which manages freight lines around the country, resulted in a $200,000 fine. Under the act, individuals can face jail terms of up to two years.

A report into Mr Grant’s death was compiled by the Office of Transport Safety Investigations and it outlines a succession of errors and breaches of procedure.

The report outlined a crucial error in which the area-controller told the leader of Grant’s team that “signal blocks” were on, which would block any potentially incoming trains from passing through. The blocks as it turns out, were not on and by the time the area-controller became aware of this, the train had already been within the teams sights. Grant’s co-workers quickly scrambled to evade the train but tragically he was not so fortunate.

Months prior the fatality, the area controller had taken sick leave, for reportedly seeking treatment for ‘‘psychological conditions and drug rehabilitation”. He allegedly wanted to call in sick on the day of the fatality.

The proceedings against RailCorp are listed  expected to be mentioned in Industrial Court of NSW on December 13.

The court date for the area controller is listed for hearing before the Chief Industrial Magistrate between March 4 and 13.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/safety-watchdog-to-prosecute-railcorp-over-workers-death-20121129-2airr.html#ixzz2E8TdOOPN

Proposed New Legislation Will Allow Amputee Worker To Receive Compensation

A legal loophole that left a man unable to access workers’ compensation despite losing his leg in a workplace accident will be amended by proposed new legislation.

Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne, under pressure from union delegates, yesterday revealed the new laws, which address the issue of  “sham contractors”.

Glenorchy man Anthony Young was denied workers’ compensation after a workplace accident at K&D Brickworks at New Town resulted resulted in the loss of his leg.

Mr Young was working  for two years at  brickworks but was technically contracted with a contracting company.

In July Mr Young was unsuccessful in his appeal for  workers’ compensation after the Court of Appeal in Hobart sided with an earlier decision that he was an independent contractor — not a worker, and therefore not entitled to workers’ compensation.

Mr O’Byrne said  the amendments to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988  would render workers’ compensation rights to anyone on a sham contract.

“They extend the definition of ‘worker’ to ensure anyone on a sham contract has the same workers’ compensation rights as people on traditional contracts,” the minister said.

The new laws  are currently facing debate and review.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/11/22/366625_tasmania-news.html

OHS: A Significant Decline in Work Safety

ohs training Approximately  33% of ACT workplaces that had  a safety inspection last financial year  passed – a  significant decrease on previous years’ outcomes.The dismal results have showcased  a policy difference between the government and its new cabinet partner, Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who wants the building industry put more money into training workers.

A third of inspected businesses complied with health and safety laws in 2011-12, compared with just under 55% per cent in 2009-10. The government’s objective was reportedly 80 per cent.ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said the trend was likely to reflect his inspectors’ focus on the construction industry, which has been tainted this year by a record high rate of   safety incidents and deaths.

Mr McCabe and former public service commissioner Lynelle Briggs will presumably report the findings of their inquiries into industry practicess within a week.WorkSafe ACT and its preceding agencies reportedly lost half of their inspectors over the past seven years, at a time Canberra was undergoing a construction boom.

A disappointing 34 qualified inspectors now supervising construction sites, reduced  from 68 in 2004-05.Labor frontbencher Simon Corbell, who became the ACT’s first Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Minister last week, said yesterday the result showed why the government had created the new portfolio.

”Poor compliance across industry is a deep concern for the government. My first priority will be to respond to the findings that Mark McCabe and Lynelle Briggs present in the coming weeks.”

Mr Corbell said the government hired five extra inspectors when it merged WorkCover with WorkSafe in 2010.”But I don’t think inspecting capacity on its own will solve this problem. We need to improve the culture of occupational health and safety in all workplaces,” he said.”We need to be sure that businesses don’t just see it as red tape, and instead treat their safety of their workers as a matter of real importance.”

The Greens attempted unsuccessfully to campaign for workplace safety funding during the last Assembly.The minor party went to last month’s ACT election pledging to increase a building industry levy from 0.2 per cent of the value of construction projects to 0.3 per cent, to raise more money to train apprentices.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/dramatic-decline-in-worksite-safety-20121111-296sm.html 

OHS: Builder and Union Clash Using Ads

Conflicts between builder Grocon and Victoria’s most prominent construction union continue, with expensive billboard attack-advertisements being erected throughout Melbourne’s freeways. A spokesperson for Grocon described the give billboards as a fragment of a campaign meant to discredit or “distract from the union’s increasingly toxic brand”.

The billboards were erected at the Flemington section of CityLink, the Monash Freeway in Richmond and the West Gate Freeway in Port Melbourne.The ads are estimated to have cost approximately $20,000 monthly. As such, the ad is expected to remain in place until the end of the month.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union  has also taken to running ads amidst the dispute with Grocon. The dispute was reportedly started following a disagreement over who was to appoint shop stewards and the right to display union paraphernalia at work sites.Police clashed with protesters at a Grocon Lonsdale Street Emporium site, when a picketline was formed last August. Grocon claimed in court that the picket line was a tool to intimidate its employees.

Bill Oliver, state secretary of the union’s building division, claims to have remaining concerns regarding the safety of workers on Grocon’s sites.

“Until workers are able to have proper safety representatives rather than employer-appointed stewards, the union will continue to have concerns,” he said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/union-billboards-attack-grocon-on-safety-standards-20121108-28zua.html#ixzz2Bqu8pUtj

WorkCover Amends Laws To Include Fire Fighters With Job-Related Cancers

SA firefighters will  incontrovertibly receive WorkCover payments if they are diagnosed with work-related cancers.

The State Government says SA will be the first state the amend its laws to cover  firefighters diagnosed with such cancers as primary brain,bladder, kidney, breast and prostate cancers.

Workers’ Rehabilitation Minister Jack Snelling indicated that the new measures will implemented by July 1,2013.

“The onus of proof should no longer be on those who risk their lives for our safety every day,” he said.

United Firefighters industrial officer Joe Szakacs  reported that dozens  of firefighters are currently suffering or recovering from job-related cancers.

He cited research that  showed a professional firefighter with five years’ experience  has  five times the risk of contracting 12 different types of cancer than others throughout the community.

Premier Jay Weatherill said attributed firefighters exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes in the line of duty, puts them at a higher risk of the disease.

He believes the amendments would make it  “easier for those firefighters to get the compensation they deserve for putting themselves in harm’s way”.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/workcover-change-for-firies-diagnosed-with-job-related-cancers/story-e6frea6u-1226510713687

OHS:Perth Company Pays Out for Injured Labourer

A Perth company was told to pay $10,000 to an employee who lost part of a finger in a mincing machine.

In February 2010,  a labourer at D’Orsogna Limited was using a mincing machine that had a metal chute also known as a hopper, in which meat was fed into.

The employee placed 200kg of meat onto a hoist and checked the levels of meat being consumed by the hopper.

Upon inspection, the labourer noticed the meat was not reaching the mincing area. This prompted the worker to use his hand to push the meat down which resulted in him getting his finger stuck in the mincing area. He was subsequently required to have his finger amputated at the knuckle.

D’Orsogna LTD pleaded guilty in court for failing to provide and uphold a safe work environment for employees.

In a recent case, Harvest Freshcuts was told to pay over $50,000 when an employee lost two fingers in a vegetable slicer.

WorkSafe executive director Ian Munns said “It’s disappointing that the message evidently still has not gotten through that it is never safe to allow the moving parts of machinery to remain operational when workers may have to make adjustments or perform maintenance,”

“Subsequent to this incident, the employer installed a safe system of work for this mincer that cost less than $3000 – far less than the total $11,548 the company ended up paying in a fine and costs.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/15313188/company-fined-10-000-after-mincing-accident/

OHS: Brimbank Paid Out $5 million in Half a Decade

ohs trainingIn excess of $5 million was paid to workers who suffered injuries at the hands of machinery or equipment in Brimbank workplaces in the last half of this decade.

Worksafe Victoria’s reports reveal that there were 274 injuries in the region  between June 2007 and June this year, adding up to appproximately $5.6 million in compensation to workers.

Brimbank  is currently ranked 13th in the state, only being surpassed by  neighbouring Wyndham, Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong local government areas.

Greater Dandenong  is number one in this exclusive group,with a startling  780 injuries as well as claims that add up to over $20 million.

According to Worksafe health and safety operations manager Lisa Sturzenegger ,Victorian workers lost 450 body parts as a result of  machinery accidents in the past five years.

She attributed the $220 million medical bill to  the amputations, cuts, crushing and other injuries to nearly 11,000 workers  as well as the subsequent treatment, rehabilitation and financial assistance

In under five years, nearly $2 million in fines were charged to employers following WorkSafe prosecutions  that revolved around guard rail safety measures as well as a multitude of unsafe machinery cases .

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source : http://brimbank-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/5m-for-work-injuries/ 

 

 

OHS: WorkSafe Pressured To Rush Inquiry

OHS TrainingWorksafe is refusing to prematurely release the details pertaining to a pearl diver death investigation.

Jarrod Hampton of Melbourne, died in April while he was diving off the coast of Broome for Paspaley Pearls. WorkSafe took statements from witnesses and has been looking into the safety record of the company.

Commissioner Lex McCulloch stated that the pressure has been put on in order to rush the outcome. He is however, confident that the result will remain thorough and accurate.

Commissioner Lex McCulloch says he has experienced enormous pressure to rush the outcome but maintains it will be thorough and accurate.

Since the investigation started, countless emails and printed letters have made their way through the ministry and some have even reached the premier’s office.

The letters are reportedly requests for updates on the current situation regarding the death. McCulloch said the process may take longer but the process will be thorough.

“If there’s been errors made or gaps in what we need to do, then the industry will assess those and try to meet them,” said Pearl Producers Association chief executive officer Brett McCallum

A Coroner’s report is being anticipated.

Despite the police report on  Hampton’s death already finalised, the Coroner is still awaiting the WorkSafe report to be complete, before it investigates.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-25/worksafe-pressured-to-rush-dive-death-investigation/4333874?section=wa

Brewery Workers Strike Amid Safety Concerns

Carlton and United Breweries are refusing to return to work until safety concerns at beer giant’s Abbotsford brewery are addressed.

The brewer has reassured customers that there is no immediate concern over the disruption of beer supplies.

Approximately 160 brewery workers decided to strike  over concerns at the plant. The union representing the workers at the brewery, United Voice, stated that new brewing processes suggested by the company last year was neither safe nor acceptable.

The union also expressed staff concerns that voluntary redundancies offered to staff at the brewery could be withdrawn or even used to get rid of staff.

United Voice and CUB’s parent company  engaged  Fair Work Australia in search of  an emergency hearing, in an effort to resolve the dispute.

CUB said in a statement that it had been going through an extensive consultation process with staff since 2011 over the changes.

It said that some operations were recommencing at  the site, that alcohol continued to be  delivered and that “no interruption is expected to beer supply”.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety Training
Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cub-workers-strike-over-brewery-safety-20120926-26le4.html#ixzz27tzQEyDU

OHS: Safety Review Underway At Newcastle Port

ohs trainingA sudden safety review is in operation after a man was crushed to death by 20 tonnes of aluminum at Newcastle Port.

This is the second workplace death to occur on the docks in 10 days Wharfie Greg Fitzgibbon was killed when the pallet of metal ingots collapsed on to him at the Eastern Basin Distribution Centre.The father of two was loading onto a 36,000- tonne cargo ship when the incident transpired. Maritime Union of Australia assistant secretary Warren Smith expressed regret over the loss of another member due to a workplace accident that could have potentially been avoided.

A 55-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest and died on board another cargo ship docked at the port. Union sources stated that he was discovered at the bottom of a stairwell with signs indicating he was injured before he died. Autopsies are being conducted on both men and a police investigation is underway.

WorkCover and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have commenced safety inquiries and the union is attempting to meet with Fitzgibbon’s employer, Newcastle Stevedores. According to the ATSB, the packets of ingots collapsed onto him as it was being transported onto the ship.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/newcastle-dock-death-second-in-10-days-20120924-26gim.html#ixzz27X9ES2F4

OHS:Worker’s Crushed Arm Leads to Company Fining

OHS Safety trainingA company has been fined $90,000 after a worker’s arm was severely injured in a machine.

Goodman Fielder Consumer Foods Pty Ltd was convicted and fined last week over an incident at its Pampas factory in West Footscray which left a worker with serious and permanent injuries to his arm.

The company admitted guilt in court to failing to provide a safe work environment and failing to provide proper training  under OHS regulations.

The injured employee worked for  labour hire company Skilled Group Ltd and had been working at the company’s Pampas factory for two years before the incident occurred  September 2009.

It was revealed in court that the worker was cleaning a dough extruder when it suddenly activated, catching the worker’s arm in the machine.

An investigation found the worker  received insufficient training in how to operate the machine’s controls, which led to him failing to properly de-activate the machine before cleaning it.Informal training was carried out while on the job by fellow workers but they did not meet the proper OHS approach.

The investigation also revealed that the machine was not properly guarded.Lisa Sturzenegger, WorkSafe’s General Manager for Health and Safety Operations, said

“Properly guarding machines is a fundamental safety requirement that employers must act on to avoid incidents like this from happening,” she said.

“Businesses have to make sure moving parts of a machine have proper guards or physical barriers fitted.

“As this incident has shown, inadequately training staff can have distressing consequences for all involved.”

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/star/footscray-yarraville/363/story/154106.html

Victorian OHS Lawbreakers Still Own Millions

An inquiry conducted by the Herald Sun has revealed that 45 firms and 13 individuals are avoiding fines they were charged with since 2007 over workplace deaths.

Since 2002 there has been approximately 269 workers killed.

The average lost life fines are typically around $170,000 and the median is $95,000. Interestingly, WorkSafe’s prosecution database revealed that some cases involving lost fingers have had higher fines imposed than those involving the death of a worker.

One such company was fined $145,000 when a worker lost a thumb.Another company was fined $25,000 when a worker had to have three fingers amputated.

Other results of the investigation concluded :

  • Some companies have been found to go into liquidation to avoid paying fines and then reopening shortly after.
  • Approximately every 17 days a worker is killed in the workplace in Victoria.
  • Since 2009-2010 the number of WorkSafe visits have dropped drastically.
  • Some families have had to wait up to seven years to see the company responsible for the death of a loved one, to be fined.
  • Individuals or companies charged can operate their businesses for years before charges are laid. Only approximately 40 per cent of
  • lawbreakers are charged within the first 12 months. The most courts can
  • Individuals charged can be jailed for up to five years, however no one has yet been imprisoned for any related charges.
  • The highest fine imposed for the death of a worker was $1.4 million. However the company, AAA Auscarts Imports Pty Ltd went into liquidation and the fine was never paid.
More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/families-demand-action-on-workplace-charges/story-e6frf7kx-1226463481904

AlertForce Awarded at E-Training Conference

AlertForce has successfully participated in the LearnX -Learning and Technology Impacts Awards . LearnX is  a non-profit organisation highlights the progress of learning and supporting technologies.  The August 30th conference in Mebourne will include various professionals throughout the corporate, education, and private sectors. More specifically, the conference targets learning professionals who operate and manage e-training solutions and services.

Alertforce has proudly accepted the  2nd place awards for Best Learning program- Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety training programs. Each participant was evaluated according to areas such as: Best Talent, Best Learning Program, Best New Initiative, and Best eLearning design. Within these categories, AlertForce was honoured in the Occupational Health and Safety  in partnership with client Port Stephens Council, Environmental in partnership with Carbon Training International, and Compliance (finalist) with client Daly International.

AlertForce has continuously excelled and innovated in a variety of areas relating to quality occupational training, and these awards only further support that notion.

AF company founder,Brendan Torazzi ( On the right in the image) stated that the ” diversity of our commendations signifies how prolific and diverse our OHS & E training and eLearning services are!”

More info on Occupational health and Safety training

 

OHS:Silence Is Perpetuating Safety Issues

OHS TrainingUnsafe practices within the construction industry has compelled General Simon Corbell to call for a safety probe.

This news come soon after the untimely death of 21-year -old concreter Ben Catanzarity who died when a concrete boom struck and killed him. These type of incidents have even be have garnered it a reputation as an industry that profits off the marginalization of worker’s safety. Usher has even gone to refer to the atmosphere of workers as “apathetic” throughout Canberra.

In addition to the accused breaches, the site representative has also fused requests for Worksafe to visit the site.

Eventually inspectors closed the site due to the large number of non-compliance infractions and a general lack of interest of the company to improve safety.  .

While these issues may have long gone undetected, that is no longer the case. Both WorkSafe ACT and the government  are working in conjunction to take on a a hardline approach that will leave no room for these practices to continue.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

OHS:Gas Rig Deaths Lead To Safety Recall

OHS TrainingWorkers have refused to return to work on a gas rig off the Victorian coast following the deaths of two workers. The  Australian Workers Union stated that they are seeking improved safety measures for the rig before workers return to work. The union argues that offshore rigs are some of the most dangerous professional environments on the planet. The ACTU stated that they have also called for the improvements because they had previously warned that the petroleum industry was accident waiting to occur.

AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem he had serious concerns the drilling union and they have subsequently cautioned workers not to return to work until they are satisfied with the investigations and methods implemented to improve the Occupational Health and Safety standards.

Origin and it’s subsidiary, Stena Drilling are currently investigating the deaths, as well as the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA). The AWU Victoria is attempting to position itself in a formal role within investigations.

ACTU assistan secretary Michael  Borowick is also asking for offshore workers to take on the same national workplace health and safety rights and protections as individuals on shore.

“We need to get to the bottom of this tragedy, but unfortunately, unions have been warning for some time that the offshore petroleum industry is an accident waiting to happen,” Mr Borowick said in a statement. Borowich desires a harmonised model OHS act that includes the entire offshore petroleum industry.

Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8523679/gas-rig-deaths-prompt-safety-review-call

OHS: Amputee Charged For False Claims

OHS TrainingThe court has discovered that the Melbourne amputee who received $112,000 for being confined to a wheelchair, was in fact coaching a basketball team and running a football club canteen.

Rita Mercuri’s left leg was amputated below the knee over two decades ago, after a workplace accident in 1985. Since the accident she has received weekly benefits but after 2008 she began claiming 24-hour assistance from carers. She also reportedly informed doctors that she was wheelchair-bound and required to endless care and was not able to maintain her hygiene or use the toilet independently.

Video surveillance surfaced that showed her both driving and walking.

Mercuri pleaded guilty to eight charges when she appeared before magistrate Suzanne Camero’s Court. Camero has adjourned Mercuri’s case which awaits an additional psychiatric report. Sentencing will take place on December 3.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/amputee-claimed-false-payout-20120829-2514w.html#ixzz25AXDNrV8

 

OHS:Commonwealth Contractor Fined $50k

OHS TrainingWorkSafe hopes that a recently imposed fine on a Commonwealth contractor will send a strong message to other companies who consider sending inadequately trained and equipped workers into Goldfields desert.

MAX Network was fined $50,000 following a guilty plea for sending two female employees in a car to the remote community of Tjuntjuntjara.

The women were lost in the desert all night and spent the night their until coming across a roadhouse the following day.

WorkSafe commissioner Lex McCulloch stated that employers and staff need to understand the risks of travelling in remote areas.

McCulloch said this case highlights the need to be very vigilant for the many workers who traverse great distances in their daily professions.  He added that it is fortunate that the incident did not result in a tragedy. He stated that the situation could have easily ended in a much worse result.

McCulloch said that companies need to assess the risks for remote area work, and develop strategies and manage whatever risks for their adequately trained staff.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-16/contractor-fined-50k-over-lost-workers/4202984?section=wa

OHS:Cafe Owner Fined For Abusing WorkSafe Inspector

OHS TrainingA cafe owner was subject to a conviction and a $500 fine when he attacked a WorkSafe inspector who was visiting his premises.

The inspector was visiting the cafe in Gungahlin as part of  an ongoing cafe and takeaway outlet inspection project when the assault occurred.

Prior to the July 2011 incident, the inspector had identified occupational health and safety issues that needed attending to in the business. She returned in July 2011 to see if previously noted issues were addressed. According to WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe, the man became physical and physically removed the woman from the cafe preventing her from conducting her duties.

ACT Magistrates Court concluded that the man had also been verbally abusive towards the woman. He was convicted at the start of June. McCabe said that this recent court case should stand as a reminder that inspectors were public officials and should be allowed to work without any hindrance. McCabe added that WorkSafe’s inspectors should have the right to be safe while conducting their professional duties.

 

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/cafe-owner-fined-for-abusing-official-20120803-23kgr.html#ixzz22efPtvQL

The Opposition Condemns NSW Government’s Worker Comp Changes

OHS TrainingThe NSW Opposition has condemned O’Farrell Government’s Timetable for announcing changes to worker’s compensation.

An injured individual New South Wales who sustained their injury at the beginning of October will fall within the new scheme. However those already accessing benefits won’t make the conversion until January.

NSW Shadow Treasurer Michael Daly has criticized the sudden changes because they do not allow enough time for injured workers to adjust to the new scheme.

Daley stated that workers who were injured, “through no fault of their own”, and unable to return to work; would not receive weekly benefits.In the coming days NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, will inspect the multi-million dollar Cancer centre located in Armidale.

The tender is expected to be announced before the end of the week. Richard Torbay of the National Tablelands, will accompany the minister.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-08/nsw-worker27s-comp-change/4184474?section=nsw

 

AlertForce Approved For HSR Training Course

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

July 27, 2012

POTTS POINT, NSW– Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and environmental training company, AlertForce (AF), was approved by Comcare for the 5-day Health and Safety Representative (HSR) training course.

In order to be approved and subsequently offer the HSR course, the applicant must represent a training organisation, company or sole trader.  A Comcare assessor analyzed the quality of AlertForce’s face to face training program and subsequently approved them for the HSR course until 22 July, 2017. Throughout this time period AlertForce will be frequently be assessed based on the approval criteria, which will further ensure that their OHS training program remains one of high quality. AlertForce completed application was processed and approved according to the criteria set by the following:

  • How to become an approved provider of Health & Safety Representative (HSR) training for the Commonwealth jurisdiction, 1 January 2012 (Guidance 1); and
  • HSR Training Course Requirements, 1 January 2012 (Guidance 2)

According to the application process, each applicant’s course content must be relative to the functions and powers of an HSR. Furthermore, the applicant must be found offering high quality content and high quality training. In addition, each applicant’s course must be within the applicant’s capability and capacity and must be administered by an individual with relevant experience and knowledge. AlertForce’s approval indicates that the company has fulfilled the aforementioned requirements and will soon include the HSR course in their catalogue of various other award-winning training courses.

“AlertForce’s course will certify that prospective HSR’s will have ability to ensure that fellow employees are involved in the dialogue and decisions affecting their occupational health and safety” says Brendan Torazzi, AlertForce company founder.The HSR course will teach individuals how to be a central part of the partnership between employer and employee. A HSR’s duty includes tasks such as inspecting the workplace for safety lapses, accompanying an investigator during an inquiry, investigate OHS complaints, and initiate safety protocols.

AlertForce (http://alertforce.com.au) specialises in delivering fast, competency-based, interactive short online and face to face OHS & E courses to mitigate risk and health and safety & environmental hazards in Australian workplaces. Contact: Brendan Torazzi – CEO AlertForce. Ph: 1300 627 246

 

More information on HSR can be found at the  ComCare Website

 

 

-30-

OHS:Comcare Appeals Public Servant’s Compensation Claims

OHS TrainingA public servant is at risk of having money taken away after having to fight for compensation for injuries sustained while having sex in a motel. The Commonwealth have appealed to the full bench of the Federal court to strip the public servant of compensation.

The unnamed public servant was sent by her government employer to a country town for a departmental meeting where she stayed in a hotel.

A night prior to the meeting the women suffered facial and other physical injuries when a glass light fitting came away from the wall while she was having intercourse with a male friend.

Originally the Commonwealth workers compensation agency Comcare, rejected her request for compensation, a decision which was supported by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

However, this year Justice John Nicholas of the Federal Court reversed the previous rejection of compensation on the grounds that the woman was “in the course of her employment” when she sustained the injuries.

Comcare has subsequently appealed the decision citing that sexual intercourse was not an activity “expressly or impliedly induced or encouraged”  by the woman’s employer.

More information on Occupational health and safety

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/twist-in-sex-on-the-job-payout-case-20120719-22biv.html#ixzz21DRsCpFK

OHS: Yarra cleared of Safety Breaches

OHS TrainingWorkSafe has cleared Yarra Trams of charges accusing the company of breaching occupational health and safety regulations. The company was initially accused of breaking OHS laws for keeping its fleet of C-class low-floor trams despite the fact that some conditions result in the failure of  rear-view cameras.

The workplace safety watchdog, WorkSafe issued Yarra Trams with a notice last month stating that the company was found to be in breach of occupational health and safety regulations by running the aforementioned fleet of trams.

It is alleged that the rear-view camera of these trams fail in wet, dark or glary conditions. Drivers have previously expressed their concerns that the trams had visibility problems with the back end of the trams which also resulted in a difficulty in seeing if passengers had safety boarder or vacated the tram.

WorkSafe ruled that it was dangerous because someone could potentially get caught in the doors and subsequently dragged by the moving tram. However, following a thorough investigation it became clear that the doors were actually not dangerous due to sensitive edges on them.  New Cameras are currently being trialed to see if they can function regardless of the conditions present. C-Class trams run only on route 109 in the area between  Box Hill and Port Melbourne

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/yarra-trams-cleared-in-safety-check-20120717-228hv.html 

Wife of Slain BHP Worker Searching for Answers

OHS TrainingThe wife of a man killed at BHP Billiton’s Port Hedland site has revealed that she was two months pregnant upon the death of her husband.

A year has passed since the untimely accident in which Fenner Dunlop trainee Jordan Marriott-Statham was killed by a loaded crane. His wife Kelly stated that she is still currently unsure the reason for his death. The Department of Mines and Petroleum stated recently that they are still currently investigating the incident.

Mrs.Marriott-Statham could not emphasize in words how hard the past year has been for her and her family since her husband’s death.

Since returning home following the incident, she has grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of accountability and answers surrounding the death of her husband. She stated however, that a final report would not provide closure but it would provide some answers.

Since the accident, Marriott-Statham stated WA-based leg-acy scheme Miners’ Promise had been a significant help.

More information can be found  on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/14190919/widow-still-waiting-for-answers/ 

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

A Hobart man is  deOHS Trainingvastated after a court judgement denied him workers’ compensation

28 year old Anthony Young lost his leg after it was crushed by a machine at K&D Brickworks while on the job in September 2010.

Despite working at the New Town plant for 2 years, the Supreme Court has decided that Young is not eligible for workers compensation as he was hired under a contracting agency, therefore making him an independent contractor. Young was a contractor employed by Tasmanian Contracting Services when the accident occurred.

Young reportedly devastated by judgement, which was upheld by the Full Court of Appeal. He is said to be struggling to pay medical bills and make ends meet.

“It’s coming to the stage now that I can’t even afford to pay for things I need, so I just go without it. I guess there must be some legal side of things but I don’t know how you can find out someone is not a worker when you pay your taxes, you pay your super just like every other person does.” said Young.

K&D was fined $60,000 as a result of the accident. A case for damages for personal injuries was also lodged by Young against the company but it has not yet concluded

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-04/amputee-loses-compo-case/4109032?section=tas

 

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

Petition May Reignite Debate over WorkCover Overhaul

OHS TrainingThe NSW opposition launched a petition recently against the O’Farrell government’s WorkCover overhaul. It is believed by some, that the petition will reignite the debate about workers’compensation.

Some of the cuts to WorkCover compensation payments are to public service staff, and those who have injured themselves on the way to and from the job. Despite the successful action of Firefighters going against the cuts, nurses and other hospital staff were not as fortunate as they will feel the effects of the cuts. Police will also be exempt along with the firefighters.

The Opposition’s John Robertson indicated his hope and intentions to get 10,000 signatures on the petition to compel the government to put discussions about the law back on the table. Robertson stated that even though the legislation has passed, the fight is not yet over. Dozens of nurses gathered to hear Robertson speak about the petition.

Robertson feels that there needs to be proper justification for the changes put forth by the O’Farrell government. Thus, he believes there is a need for a debate regarding the issue. Robertson’s hopes will be achieved if they are able to get 10,000 since the government promised last year to debate any issue raised in a petition with 10k signatures.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/breaking-news/workcover-petition-aims-to-reopen-debate/story-e6freuz0-1226417897655

 

 

OHS: Compensation Amendments Marginalize Workers

OHS Lawyers have warned that all injured workers will soon have to pay their legal costs under new workers compensation laws which could potentially leave many unrepresented victims or unreported claims.

Richard Brennan, a Sydney solicitor who represents injured workers claims, warned that Christian Democrats MP Fred Nile had mistakably made it increasingly difficult for injured workers to have their claims heard.

Nile has come under fire for amendments made to workers compensation laws which were allegedly aimed at helping eliminate costs.

Brennan stated that Nile’s attempt to save one out 1000 workers from paying insurance company costs, has instead insured that all 1000 workers will have to pay the fees.He warned that this could potentially lead to insurance companies paying lawyers any fee they desire.

The Labor MP Adam Searle and the Greens MP David Shoebridge fruitlessly attempted to explain the consequences of the changes to Nile but the government has defended the amendments that they believe will rein in on the $4 billion WorkCover deficit.

More on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/changes-to-compo-laws-leave-workers-worse-off–lawyers-20120624-20whh.html#ixzz1yyVotkJM

OHS: Injuries Costing Moonee Valley $41.2 million

Moonee Valley businesses have spent $41.2 million in the last five years to treat the injuries of workers.WorkSafe Victoria released statistics that show that musculoskeletal injuries such as broken bones and sprains caused from slipping or tripping is one of the leading causes of compensation claims.

Annually there are over 15,000 new cases of seriously injured workers who were injured while conducting routine tasks. In the past five years 1515 claims were musculoskeletal injuries in Moonee Valley. Over 29,000 serious injuries occur in Victoria every year, and over half of those were musculoskeletal injuries.

Moonee Valley focuses on their manufacturing, industrial and construction based industries which are home to many of the claims.WorkSafe’s Ian Forsyth stressed the importance of a properly trained and supervised staff that is knowledgeable in the required equipment needed to lift and move loads, and how one should react in a variety of circumstances.

An annual cost of $55,000 is averaged for the treatment and rehabilitation of all musculoskeletal injuries.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.mooneevalleyweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/slips-trips-cost-moonee-valley-412m/2593476.aspx 

AlertForce Awarded At LearnX eLearning Technology Conference

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 16, 2012

 

POTTS POINT, NSW– Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and environmental training company, AlertForce (AF), were successful in various areas of the Learning &Technology Impact Awards.

The annual conference is organised by LearnX, a non-profit organisation that supports the progress of learning and supporting technologies. The conference includes various professionals throughout the corporate, education, and private sectors. More specifically, the conference targets learning professionals who operate and manage e-training solutions and services.

The deadline to enter into this conference was June 1, 2012. At this point each participant was evaluated in a variety of key areas such as: Best Talent, Best Learning Program, Best New Initiative, and Best eLearning design. Within these categories, AlertForce was honoured in the Occupational Health and Safety (second place winner) in partnership with client Port Stephens Council, Environmental (second place winner) in partnership with Carbon Training International, and Compliance (finalist) with client Daly International.

The purpose of the awards is to honour the progress and development of learning technologies. In addition to this, the awards are meant to showcase the effectiveness and impact that learning has on the success of an organisation. AlertForce has provided quality online training and education that has continually promoted the success and growth of businesses.

“It is a great honour to have been successful in a variety of areas in the LearnX awards. I think the diversity of our commendations signifies how prolific and diverse our OHS & E training and eLearning services are!” says Brendan Torazzi, AlertForce company founder.

Alertforce.com.au offers over 70 online training programs that can typically be completed at the convenience of the participant.

 

AlertForce (http://alertforce.com.au) specialises in delivering fast, competency-
based, interactive short online OHS & E courses to mitigate risk and health and safety & environmental hazards in Australian workplaces.

 

Contact: Brendan Torazzi – CEO AlertForce. Ph: 1300 627 246

 

-30-

Thousands March Against WorkCover Changes

OHS TrainingApproximately 5,000 workers in the New South Wales public sector rallied in the pouring rain in protest of the state’s proposed changes to the occupational health and safety compensation scheme.

Some of the participants included firefighters and nurses and thousands of other public sector workers.

During the rally workers laid flowers at the gates of parliament in honour of fallen workers. A band comprised of teenage brothers performed songs in remembrance of their father who was killed on the job.

Upper House Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak will reveal the findings of the inquiry into the compensation scheme. Reports have indicated that Premier Barry O’Farrell has not been swayed by the impact of the rally.O’Farrell is determined that changes to WorkCover will go forward. He believes that nothing will hinder the State Government’s to make a financially stable compensation scheme.

Last year reports surfaced stating that the deficit was $4 billion. In response to the deficit, Workers benefits are allegedly going to be slashed in order to reform the scheme. Mark Lennon, secretary for Unions NSW believes O’Farrell is attacking workers when his aim should instead be the insurance industry.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-13/unions-to-rally-over-nsw-workcover-shake-up/4067864?section=nsw 

OHS: Police Operation Reveals 1300 Truckie offences

OHS TrainingA POLICE operation targeting truck drivers has uncovered more than 1300 offences in South Australia, including drug use and tampering with speed limiters.

A police operation aimed at truck drivers revealed over 1300 offences in South Australia such as drug use and speed limiter tampering.

Police are now trying to determine whether trucking companies were  privy to the offenses after over 2300 truckers were stopped last month.

Traffic Support Branch Inspector Andrew Thiele made it clear that despite these discoveries, the majority of operators were respectful towards the law.  Thiele said the focus is going to shifted towards the small demographic of truckers who continue to disobey and disregard the law.

Of the 2374 trucks that were stopped randomly, 97 of the drivers were reported for speeding or driving recklessly.25 other individuals were discovered to be in possession of drugs while 11 were driving while disqualified.

Polie have also reportedly defected 497 vehicles. Thiele said they will be working in conjunction with interstate colleagues to try and solve this national problem.

More on Occupational Health and Safety

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/truckie-blitz-identifies-1300-offences-in-south-australia/story-e6frea83-1226387745563 

OHS: ACTU Condemns BHP for Safety Practices

OHS TrainingThe ACTU congress has criticized the safety record of energy resource company BHP Billiton.  This condemnation comes after BHP’s company chairman Jac Nasser made disparaging comments regarding Australia’s labour laws. Nasser made comments eluding to the so-called inflexible regulations on labour laws, which he believes are the cause of “never ending” strife within the industry at BHP’s coal mines.

However, ACTU congress in Sydney passed a resolution indicating their support for the 4000 BHP mineworkers who have been involved in stand-off with the company for over a year over enterprise bargaining. ACTU believes BHP desires to weaken safety in Queensland, which ACTU believes lead to the deaths of 29 coal workers at the Pike River Coal mine in 2010.

The resolution passed by ACTU also criticizes the BHP for their lack of cooperation with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten addressed the ACTU conference and stated that the cause of industrial strife is simply BHP’s refusal of negotiating with staff. Shorten stated that since the company struggles to persuade its workforce of the need for change, then the problem must not simply be the law but also the method in which the case is being put forth and the involvement of the workforce in question.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/actu-congress-slams-bhp-on-safety-record/story-fn3dxity-1226359189466

OHS: Manufacturing Workers Suffer From Health Issues

New research has indicated that the health of manufacturing workers has reached a problematic level. While desk-workers have typically been known as the “stressed out and overweight”, some  manufacturing workers have slowly adopted this stereotype.

Traditionally workers in this industry avoided this tag since their work seemed to involve physical labour which kept them fit. However, a study by WorkSafe Victoria has revealed that things have drastically changed.

The study has revealed that 32 per cent of manufacturing workers are at a high risk of type-two diabetes. The sample of individuals involved in the study was of 40,919 volunteers. Subjects such as cholesterol, bloodpressure and lifestyle were analyzed. The study further revealed that 6.1 per cent of the manufacturing workers suffer from a high risk of heart disease. These figures contrast the 3.1 per cent of white collar workers who suffer the same risk. 25.2 percent of these individuals were also revealed to be smokers.

WorkHealth Ambassador Wayne Kayler-Thomson believes the turnaround is related to the constant changes in the manufacturing industry in which many jobs have become sedentary due to new technology.

White collar workers and their employers have taken steps to improve their health such as the adoption of healthier food options in their cafeterias, and the encouragement physical activity.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/breaking-news/manufacturing-workers-unhealthy-report/story-e6frg90f-1226368854665

OHS:Gran Awarded $270k for Team-Building Injury

Successful Hardware company BunningsOHS  Training was fined approximately $270,000 after a woman broker her leg during a team-building exercise.

Leanne Grace Bagiante 50, appeared in court recently over the 2008 accident that left her with a broken leg.

The customer service officer broke her leg during a game of ‘tunnel-ball’. The game in question, involves players racing to a roll a ball through a tunnel of their teammate’s legs until each player has participated. Bagiante alleges that the polished concrete floor of the store caused her to slip and crash to ground while she was running with the ball.

The worker,a grandmother; had to wait for a significant amount time prior to being taken to the doctor. The doctor then misdiagnosed Bagiante’s injuries as a simple sprain. The next day the grandmother was back at work but fell sick with pain.

In response to this, Bagiante eventually got an X-ray which displayed that she in fact had a fractured bone in the lower part of her leg.

Bagiante claims the injury has left her with ongoing pain.

The South Port District Court ruled in favour of Bagiante’s claims and handed a $269,644.70 bill to Bunnings for damages.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8476481

OHS: Xstrata Orders Study On Workers Health

OHS TrainingMining company Xstrata ordered a study that will examine the health of its Northern Queensland workers.

The study will include approximately 100 of the company’s past and present employees.

Spokesman for the company, Steve de Kruijff stated that employers desire to learn how certain work patterns adversely affect their worker’s health.

Kruijff elaborated by stating that companies aspire to learn about the health and well-being of their workforce and their overall quality of life.

The company has reportedly altered its shift system which now includes blocks of four 12-hour work days.

According to Kruijff, miners spend majority of their day sitting down. This revelation has concerned the company,causing them to determine the best method of promoting regular exercise, and healthy living.

Xstrata’s study is expected to last about 3-years.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-30/xstrata-studies-workers-health/4041222

OHS:Poor Investments to Blame for WorkCover Woes

OHS Safety trainingAccountants have determined that half of the $4 billion deficit in the finances of the NSW WorkCover scheme is a result of poor return on investments.

The NSW government has however argued that rorting of the worker’s compensation scheme is a significant cause of the problems plaguing the organisation. A report released by the government included a recommendation for slashing benefits to injured workers in order to reduce the deficit.

Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner made recent statements calling for the need of WorkCover to be a scheme that is without any loopholes, thus preventing rorts while remaining affordable.

Stoner stated that some cases involve part-time workers who have been receiving worker’s compensation for many years despite questionable claims.

WorkCover’s annual report for 2010-2011 revealed that nine people were prosecuted for defrauding the system.

Michael Playford of PricewaterhouseCoopers actuary, stated that an increase in damages claims can be attributed to an emerging “lump sum culture”.However an evaluation from the very same actuary revealed that 50% of the deficit is due to “external influences impacting investment returns achieved”.

The other half of the deficit is attributed to a deterioration in claims management over the past four years. Finance Minister Greg Pearce believes that the investment returns are probably set to further deteriorate. He added that the efforts to improve systems to compel people to return to work earlier, would require a change in benefits.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/workcover-woes-blamed-on-poor-investments-and-rorters-20120521-1z1ew.html#ixzz1veNsbCMa

OHS:Two Companies Fined $140,000 For 2 Deaths

ohs trainingA pair of companies have been fined an aggregate amount of $140,000 for the deaths of two workers at a Broome depot in 2008.

Baker Hughes Australia Ltd and Oilfields Transport Services Pty Ltd appeared in the Magistrates Court for the charge of failing to provide and maintain a safe work setting which resulted in the deaths of two workers.

BH was fined $80,000 while OT received a fine of $60,000 when both companies pleaded guilty

Leon Mobbs, a tanker operator, and Geoff Lucas, manager of BH Broom depot were killed when a tanker burst and exploded while they were trying to release all of the barite powder.

The court discovered that the tanker was not kept in a safe working condition, and it had not been registered nor inspected by WorkSafe or a competent position.

Lex McCulloch believes the incident was an unfortunate example of proper safety systems  being in place.McCulloch stated that safety procedures and adequate training had been neglected which could have contributed to the loss of life that occurred that day. Both companies were found to have been culpable for the incident that resulted in the deaths of both of the middle-age workers.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/companies-fined-140k-for-worker-deaths-20120515-1yom3.html#ixzz1uzFzGnGI

Supermarket’s Hit Back At Unsubstantiated Claims

OHS TRAININGThe Chairman of Woolworths has defended the company’s reputation for using trucks to move goods throughout the country.

The Transport Workers Union alleges that Woolworths has an unreasonable delivery schedule that transport companies struggle to live up to. The schedules being imposed are allegedly resulting in reckless driving and road deaths, according to the union.

The union held a protest at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets throughout the country.Coles spokesperson stated that the union’s claims are unconfirmed, while Woolworths Chairman James Strong, calls the allegations as “unfair”.

Strong believes that the problem could be dealt in a different manner and asserts that the TWU’s use of sensationalist terms is common.He is hopeful that the public can decipher between the truth and conjecture . He maintains that a rational discussion is needed between the TWU and the supermarket chains.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-10/woolworth-chairman-defends-truck-transport–policy/4003768?section=nt 

OHS:Tribute To Honour Fallen Rail Workers

OHS TrainingA tribute has been erected to honour fallen rail workers.

Charles Firmin was operating one of Perths original batch of diesel-powered trains when he was hit by a truck and killed 60 years ago.

His daughter Gillian O’Callaghan, who was 7 at the time of the accident, remembers the day well.Police officers showed up at her door, breaking the news to her mother.

At school other students would discuss the horrific nature of her father’s death and that is how she found out the circumstances surrounding his accident. She said one student even claimed to have seen the wreckage.

Since Perth was so small, many people in town were talking about the death of her father.O’Callaghan’s father was a train operator her whole life, driving steam trains before a new batch of trains emerged with cleaner diesel engines.Her father’s name was recently posted to the Australian Railway Monument in NSW.

The Australian Rail Journey Museum is entreating the public to help in the gathering of an estimated 10,000 other railway workers who have died on duty in Australia.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13587549/tribute-for-rail-workers-killed-on-duty/

Worker Crushed in Lift Accident

ohs trainingA man died when he was caught between two lifts in an Occupational Health and Safety accident that occurred in Melbourne early this week. It is alleged that the man was delivering a scissor-lift and a forklift to a Masters Home Improvement store in Preston when he was crushed between the two. Workers discovered the man early in the morning and called emergency services, but unfortunately he had already succumbed to his injuries prior to their arrival.

Worksafe spokesperson Michael Bert indicated that the time of death was undetermined and that the victim could have been trapped for quite some time.

According to Birt, Investigators were at the store, trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the untimely death. The man was said to have been carrying out a routine job.He revealed that all that they know is that the man was crushed by two lifts but the time and how it happened is undetermined. Police are also at the scene preparing a coroner’s report.

This is the fifth workplace death in Victoria this year.

Birt stated the need for workers to consider the various dangers and risks that accompany every-day routine jobs. He urges workers to take heed of the dangers and not neglect the risks so that serious injury or death can be avoided.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/man-crushed-in-scissorlift-tragedy-20120502-1xxwc.html#ixzz1tlnRnOfB

OHS: Mechanic Apprentice Suffers Head Injuries

ohs trainingA mechanic from worth is being forced to shell out $3200 for a workplace accident that resulted in serious head injuries on a 16-year old.  The mechanic, Paul Egerton has pleaded guilty for charges alleging that he failed to take reasonable care to avoid negatively affecting the safety and health of another individual. The injuries of the young occurred when a bus fell on top of him.

Egerton was employed as a heavy duty mechanic for Path Transit when the incident happened.

Despite the company’s written procedure prohibiting employees from working beneath a bus when it was jacked up, Egerton permitted his two apprentices to do so.The bus was allegedly being jacked up using two wooden blocks while the apprentices were underneath it conducting their work.The bus rolled onto the apprentice causing injuries to his head and chest when they were pinned below it.

WorkSafe’s Lex McCulloch stated that Egerton should have known better considering his ample experience in the field.

According to McCulloch, the incident should serve as a caution for anyone who considers wilfully disregarding safety measures in the workplace. McCulloch hopes the incident will cause employees to be constantly mindful of the safety of employees in the workplace.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/small-fine-for-work-accident-where-bus-fell-on-boys-head-20120423-1xgi1.html#ixzz1t1B7IOWL

OHS:WorkCover Scheme To Receive Serious Cuts

ohs trainingThe O’Farrell government plans to make significant cuts to workers compensation which would result in a slashing of lump-sum payments for injured workers and eliminating weekly benefits for long-term recipients from the scheme after a specified time. Workplace lawyers have cited concerns that the changes would designate NSW into “the meanest system in the country”

The government has stated in the past that it intends to re-evaluate the $13 billion WorkCover scheme which encompasses a deficit of approximately $5 billion. An announcement regarding these changes is expected by Tuesday.

Various lawyers and union representatives are concerned that 50% of the 28,000 workers who receive benefits and medical expenses; will be abandoned because of the proposed changes to the scheme.

Barrister Bruce McManamey stated his concern that the coming changes may result in injured workers losing their homes.

Currently, injured workers receive their normal, full salary for the first 26 weeks off work. A scaffolder without children or a partner would receive $1100-1500 a week for the 26-weeks. If the worker is off for longer the payout would drop to $432 a week.The proposed changes would make it so that an injured worker could receive only 90 per cent of their salary, but not exceeding that amount.

Some Lawyers have alleged that the cuts to WorkCover are to ensure that NSW does not lose its AAA credit rating.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/injured-workers-face-savage-compo-cut-20120421-1xdq0.html#ixzz1spnIf1bi

OHS:Pearl Producers Shocked By Diver’s Death

OHS TrainingWestern Australia’s Pearl Producers Association says the industry has been shocked by the death of a 22-year-old pearl diver in the Kimberley, the first death of its kind for more than 20 years.

WA Pearl Producers Association stated that the industry is shaken by the death of a 22-year old pearl diver. The association stated that a death of this cause has not occurred in over two decades.

The diver was a member of a six-person driving team that was diving from a boat at a Paspaley wild shell harvest close to Eighty Mile Beach.

According to police, the diver was found in a distressed state but died shortly after. Association chief executive Brett McCallum says the cause of death is currently undetermined.McCallum assured that the association will do everything in its power to determine what the cause of death is and how it can be prevented through improvements in any area. He added that the industry has worked diligently to improve safety standards.

According to the association, all divers must undergo arduous health and swimming tests before being permitted to enter the water.

WorkSafe and Water Police are investigating the scene in order to prepare a report for the coroner.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-16/industry-shocked-by-pearl-divers-death/3951608?section=wa 

OHS:Cruise Ship Crocodile Attack Probed By WorkSafe

OHS TrainingWorkSafe has stated the possibility that they will investigate a crocodile attack that happened in Kimberly because the victim was at work at the time of the attack.

Tara Hawkes 23, was exiting a fresh-water pool at Talbot Bay, when she was attacked and bitten on the leg by an approximately two-metre crocodile.

Hawkes is an employee at True North, a cruise ship owned by North Cruises. The boat’s owner is currently preparing an accident report to be handed over to Worksafe.

Worksafe Commissioner Lex McCulloch says the report will assist in determining whether or not charges are to be laid.Worksafe says it will most likely investigate a crocodile attack in the Kimberley because the victim was at work at the time.

McCulloch indicated that the investigation may indeed lead to charges if the company is not able to show them that they have measured the risks and provided training for their employees so that they know what to do in similar situations.He added that they have been in contact with the company and will be gathering more information regarding the accident and then they will make a decision on how to proceed next.

Hawkes suffered lacerations to her leg and is currently receiving treatment in Perth where she was flown to following the incident.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety 

Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-03/worksafe-considering-croc-incident/3930384

OHS:Ten year Work Health and Safety Strategy Open For Comment

OHS TrainingThe draft Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy for 2012-2022 is now available for public comment.

Safe Work Australia has made a list of frequently asked questions pertaining to the draft commenting process. Comments can be sent to AustralianStrategy@SafeWorkAustralia.gov.au. If it is not possible for you to email your comments then you can use post to mail the comments in.

The public comment period will be stopped at 5:00 pm on May 21, 2012. No extensions will be given for public comment.  The draft strategy can be accessed from the Safe Work website where the public will be able to download a PDF and Word Format draft.

The purpose of the comment period is to utilize a wide range of expertise and experience in ensuring that the highest standards are met in implementing the safety strategy. Any area of the draft can be commenting on by anyone interested in the occupational health and safety legislation process.

SafeWork has supplied a template for participants to comment on the draft. In this template they have provided a cover sheet and a public comment response form.  The cover sheet is important because it gives Safe Work Australia your permission to publish your comments on their website. All comments will be accepted and considered when pertaining to the Work Health and Safety Strategy draft. There is no amount of detail that must be included in your comment since all feedback and comments will be welcomed and will assist in a comprehensive safety strategy.

It is important to note that even if you submitted comments on the Model Work Health and Safety Act/Regulations/Codes of Practice then you should still comment on this draft since it is a separate body of work to the work health and safety legislation.

This legislation will be implemented in planned improvements to occupational health and safety in the next decade.

All comments are expected to be carefully considered and used in order to determine what aspects of the strategy can be improved. Following the comment period, the strategy will be revised with consideration of all the public comments.  Considering the influence this strategy could have on you or your employees throughout the next ten years, the public should serious consider commenting on the strategy in order to ensure that the views, needs, and opinions of the public are considered.

The new Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 is expected to be implemented later this year.

Source: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/AboutSafeWorkAustralia/WhatWeDo/PublicConsultation/Pages/WHSStrategyPC.aspx

Tasmanian Company fined $60k for OHS Accident

ohs trainingTasmanian building supply company Kemp and Denning was ordered to pay an approximately $60,000 file because of an occupational health and safety incident in which a worker lost his leg.

In 2010, Anthony Young was pinned in a crusher at the company’s New Town brickworks which resulted in him having his leg amputated.

The company pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to failing to ensure safety from injury and health risks. A spokesperson from Workplace Standards has maintained that K and D have since made changes to their safety measures at the site.

Roy Omerod of Workplace Standards says that the incident is testament to the need to keep workers safe because of the cost to the person and the industry.The company has yet to comment on the fine. K and D will be closing the brickworks next month because of the cost of environmental regulations.Young is currently appealing against the Supreme court decision to halt his workers compensation.

Despite Young’s working at the plant for two years, he was a contractor for Tasmanian Contracting Services and is thus not eligible for workers compensation.

Young has commenced a civil action seeking damages.The Full Court has not yet laid its decision on the matters.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-28/brickworks-fined-after-worker-crushed/3918222?section=tas

OHS: Overloaded Scaffolding Luckily Spares Lives

OHS TrainingWorkSafe stated that it is fortunate that no one died as a result of  scaffolding that collapsed on to a busy Prahran street.

Three people received injuries from the scaffolding that was overloaded with bricks and modified.The construction company, Asian Pacific Building Corporation receive a fine of $170,000 because of the accident.WorkSafe director Allan Beacom stated that the incident could have had much more serious ramifications.

Beacom said that due to the busy nature of the street it is lucky that no one was killed because it could have resulted in multiple fatalities.He believes that the amount of the fine is significant in that it reflects how serious the offense is.

OHS: Fallen Excavator Kills Teen

OHS TrainingA teenager succumbed to severe head injuries that he received as a result of an excavator bucket that collapsed on his head.Emergency services were informed that the bucket came off an excavator and landed on the teen’s head in Edmondson Park.

He was admitted to Liverpool Hospital where he was said to be in critical condition. He suffered cardiac arrest and eventually passed away.WorkCover representatives made their way to the excavation site in order to commence an investigation.

Recently, a man in his 30s also died in Sydney at a housing demolition site.The accident involving the bucket occurred because the pin that was supposed to keep the bucket on the excavator was out of place.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-22/teenager-killed-by-falling-excavator-bucket/3906916?section=nsw

OHS: Union Officials Denied Entry To WorkSites

OHS legislationThree union officials have been prohibited from gaining entry to worksites because a federal workplace umpire denied the issuing of a right-of-entry permit to them.

All three members are of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, and all three of them were found to be unfit and not “proper persons” to enter worksites.

The officials are Gareth Stephenson, who was part of a conflict in 2009 on the West Gate Bridge; Michael Powell, who was declared by Fair Work Australia to be responsible for “disregarding various aspects of industrial law”; and Shaun Reardon, who was found to have broken building laws in five incidents; such as the Melbourne closure in 2009.

Commissioner Leigh Johns is not confident that three officials will be able properly carry out their jobs because of the lack of permit.

CFMEU state secretary Bill Oliver said the union is considering an appeal.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/union-officials-banned-20120320-1vi2p.html#ixzz1piWxCgWn

OHS:Memorial Set Up To Honour Fallen Workers

A year from now, a national memorial will be erected in the nation’s capital to honour fallen workers. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten stressed on the importance of recognising the contribution of Australian workers in building the nation.

The memorial will also act as a focal point for Workers Memorial Day, every 28th of April each year.The design of the memorial will feature a set of slnder columns which will represent the contributions and sacrifices made by nationwide workers on a daily basis.

NSW Senator Doug Cameron said the memorial will serve as an important reminder of the importance of occupational health and safety and the need for a concerted effort by all to prevent workplace accidents.

According to Shorten in his statements to Parliament; the average age of workers who are killed is 37.The most recent Safe Work Australia report released by the government revealed that 216 Australians died in 2009-10, and the cost of compensation claims has exceeded $60 billion.

However, Shorten said  “ the human cost and the emotional cost was immeasurable.” Thus, Shorten believes it is important for Parliament to recognise where they have failed in respect to workplace safety.

The federal government has granted $3 million for the construction of the memorial which is expected to be completed in March 2013.


Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8435247

 

 

OHS: School shutdown for structural repairs

ohs trainingA Canberra south elementary school has been closed until Easter after major structural risks were discovered in two of the school’s buildings.

The Taylor Primary school buildings are approximately 40 years old and they are believed to have eroded due to water damage.

Over 220 students and staff will be immediately evacuated to a recently constructed school–Namadgi Primary ,approximately 2 kilometres away.

ACT Education and Training director general Jim Watterson says the problems at the primary school are being taken seriously.

Watterson said there is significant damage to the sub-frame.The ACT will continue to monitor the buildings and ensure that the buildings is safe.

Namadgi Primary will be holding a meeting to explain arrangemens pertaining to future classes and transport arrangements.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-14/taylor-primary-school-to-close-until-easter/3889698?section=act

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety Compensation Schemes May Merge

ohs trainingVictoria’s two worker’s accident compensation panels face a possible merger as the government attempts to reduce its deficit and fix its budget surplus.

Since the state’s finances are under heavy scrutiny, the government has inconspicuously asked the Essential Services Commission to conduct a thorough review of the WorkCover Authority and the Transport Accident Commission.

It is believed the review, which has yet to be publicly announced, is discussing combining the two entities, since both deal with accident prevention and compensation. The idea is that the merger could potentially save several millions of dollars.A spokesperson for Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said that currently there was no concrete plans to merge the two authorities, however the government could not pre-empt what might  be concluded in the review.

These discussions come after the government’s plans to strip WorkCover of almost $500 million to help keep the budget from falling into deficit. Opposition finance spokesperson Robin Scott spoke on the possibility of a merger as  “fundamental threat  to the integrity of both organisations”

Maurice Blackburn senior Lawyer John Cain said that merging the two agencies might not be a possible since both entities are governed by separate legislation. Cain said that the risk of merging them is that the quality of both schemes will suffer.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/tac-workcover-review-20120312-1uwkv.html#ixzz1p2l2pguf

More info on Occupational Health and Safety 

OHS:Truck Driver Charged For Two Deaths

ohs trainingA truck driver has been charged for dangerous driving that resulted in the deaths of two individuals.

An aspiring student Sarah Frazer and a respected tow truck driver Geoff Clark were killed when a table-top truck hit them on the side of the Hume Highway.

Mr Clark pulled over to assist Frazer, whose car had shut down.  The 23-year old student was about to excitedly embark on her dream of going to school for photography. Clark, a father of four, was helping Frazer prepare her vehicle for towing prior to the incident.

Both Clark and Frazer died instantly and the truck’s driver was hospitalized for shock. The driver has assisted police in their investigation. The 24-year old driver received three charges; including two counts of dangerous driving resulting in death, and negligent driving resulting in death.

He will appear in court on May 8.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/truck-driver-responsible-for-two-deaths-charged-20120312-1uucs.html 

OHS:WorkCover May Receive Cuts and Reforms

OHSFollowing statements to Parliament from Finance Minister Greg Pearce, it appears that NSW Government is discussing serious cuts to WorkCover. Pearce appeared before parliament where he declared that Workcover’s deficit had increased by $1 billion in six months.

Pearce stressed the importance of the Government implementing new ways of enticing the claimants to return to work. Thus, the Government is attempting to improve the rehabilitation practices and return to work schemes. Pearce believes it is imperative that the government reduces the deficit by reforming the current scheme.

Jana Gumbert from the Australian Lawyers Association is concerned that the changes will affect seriously injured workers.

Gumbert fears that seriously injured workers will lose their right to sue for limited benefits and have to rely simply on the limited support provided by insurance companies.

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety 

OHS:Transport Workers Union Calls For Accountability

ohs trainingThe Transport Workers Union (TWU) says retailers such as Coles and Woolworths need to be held accountable for trucks detected speeding on the nation’s roads. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) alleges that retailers like Coles and Woolworths need to be held responsible for the speeding trucks on the nation’s roads. Police determined that a B-double truck was doing 142 kilometres an hour on the Hume Highway in NSW.

The truck belonged to the transport company, Scotts Transport. TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the company has received safety complaints in the past. Sheldon alleges that road authorities and the Fair Work Ombudsman should be investigating why trucks are speeding. Sheldon says that the cost pressures and deadlines of companies like Coles are having a detrimental effect on the trucking industry in order to make increased profits. Officers are planning to inspect an additional 32 of Scott’s trucks because of past safety complaints.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-08/twu-wants-major-retailers-accountable-for-speeding-truckies/3877384

More info on Occupational Health and Safety 

OHS: Transport Company Fined $45k For Worker’s Injuries

ohs trainingA Transport Company was fined $45,000 for failing to ensure the safety of an employee which resulted in injury at a Burnie port site.

The company, Toll pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that truck driver Gary Oliver was safe at work. Oliver suffered life threatening injuries when he was struck by a B-double truck in September 2010. The incident left Oliver hospitalized for a significant amount of time; as he only got out of the hospital recently.

Magistrate Don Jones recognised that the company had expressed remorse and had spent approximately $40,000 on travel costs for Oliver’s family to be by his side in Melbourne.

Changes to the site have been implemented to ensure that it is safer but the magistrate believes the changes should have been made prior to the injury of an employee.

Jones said that there were clear measures that could have been undertaken to ensure the safety of Oliver.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-07/company-fined-over-work-injury/3873802?section=tas 

OHS: Glass Panels Endanger Workers At ASIO Site

OHS TrainingConcerns have arisen regarding the safety of workers at a recently established ASIO site in Canberra. These concerns have emerged after approximately 19 panels of glass cracked and crashed to the ground at the sites main entrance.

Workers were immediately vacated from the area when the danger became known however no injuries have occurred. The construction union said the responsibility lies with the builders to ensure that no future incidents occur.

The Construction,Forestry, Mining and Energy Union claims that it was not informed of the incident  for several days  and the secrecy and tight security surrounding the project have hindered the unions ability to protect the workers.

The secrecy and tight security at the site has only succeeding in hindering the unions abilities to protect the workers.

ACT secretary Dean Hall claims that the builder, Lend Lease was piggybacking on ASIO’s reputation to deny the union efficient access to the site. Hall says that they have issues because the builder has restricted the right of entry wherever possible, and they are hiding behind their client.

The Half-Billion dollar headquarters in Caberra came under serious scrutiny and controversy when a teenager was found unconscious for up to 36 hours after falling nine metres into the basement of the site.

A spokeswoman for the Department said the panels from the façade of the main entry “progressively failed” from approximately midday.  The panels remain unfixed to the building. Investigation into the Occupational Health and Safety incident continues but WorkSafe commissioner Mark McCabe has stated his satisfaction with how the incident was handled.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/fears-for-asio-site-workers-20120305-1uels.html#ixzz1oNqi2jFJ

OHS: Worker Loses Fingers To WoodChipper

OHS trainingA supplier of woodchipping machines based out of Australia was subject to a $30,000 fine following a workplace incident that resulted in a worker losing several fingers. A Perth Magistrate determined that CJD Equipment was guilty of neglecting to ensure the manufacturing of the machine was safe. The worker’s employer has already been fined for the incident. According to WorkSafe WA, CJD Equipment supplied the machine to Softwood Logging but it lacked a guard on a section of the machine. The man was operating the woodchipper when the “oversprout” which is a piece of machinery that is supposed to eject waste from the chipper. At some point, the chipper became blocked which compelled the worker to attempt to clear the blockage. The workers right hang was struck by the chipper which resulted in him losing his index, middle and ring fingers.

WorkSafe WA director stated that the guarding of the moving parts of machinery is one of the simplest and obvious ways of limiting the risk of injury to machinery operators. The responsibility of the supplier, according to the director, is to ensure that the machine is safe to operate. Following the incident the employer installed a guard on the overspout.

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/woodchipper-supplier-fined-30000-over-lost-fingers-20120228-1u0p8.html#ixzz1njeQXFNs

OHS: Cleaners Seek Apology for Contaminated Water From Mining Company

OHS trainingAn assembly of cleaners in Mount Isa is seeking an explanation and recompense from the mining company Xstrata after they allegedly consumed contaminated water while at work.

Laurie Costa and two fellow workers suffered from a serious illness after they drank from a water cooler at the mining site. The water is said to have contained elevated levels of iron and microbial load, however no E.coli was detected during the initial tests. Costa says that the company has refused to compensate the group for lost income. She believes it “comes down to principle” and they should thus be compensated for time they were forced to take off to recover. The workers were required to take a month off of work where they  dealt with constant phone calls, and the dismissal of their Occupational Health and Safety concerns by others.

The workers are frustrated and disappointed with the company for refusing to accept responsibility or even apologize. The workers are discussing their options through WorkCover Queensland.

Contaminated water can potentially be very dangerous and can lead to dehydration, diarrhoea to more serious conditions that can potentially lead to disease or even death.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-28/cleaners-demand-contaminated-water-compo/3856368?section=qld

OHS: Victorian Workers Fear WorkSafe Cuts

OHSVictorian worker’s safety and compensation are at risk because of a declaration of the Victorian Government to strip almost half a billion dollars over four years from the WorkCover Authority, WorkSafe. State Government spokesmen have stated that the decision was made to balance the budget of the government.

Various individuals such as Maurice Blackburn, have commenced an online campaign that features a petition and other social media devices in order to compel the Victoria Government to stop their proposed cuts. Workplace Law expert John Cain stated that the plan of the Victorian Government is seriously flawed. He believes it will negatively effect the employer WorkCover contributions which could drive up premiums and threaten compensation entitlements for the injured. Individuals concerned with the cuts have cited that the decision is “unfair” and marginalizes the injured.

Victoria has over two and half million  workers and this year approximately eight out of ever thousand workers will be injured at work, will require time off and will need to receive benefits.

Cain stated that more money needs to be invested in preventing workplace injuries as opposed to putting more pressure on premiums and compensation for injured workers.

“It’s a short-sighted plan that leaves little buffer to keep premiums affordable for business. “This is a back door tax that is bad for business, bad for workers and bad for Victorians. “No one should let the State Government jeopardise workers’ safety and entitlements – and Victoria’s future”

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source : http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/599288#ixzz1nXSfgCiY

Truck Driver Charged For Fatal Hume Highway Accident

ohs trainingA truck driver from Sydney has been charged over a collision that resulted in the death of three people on the Hume Highway in January. Investigators have commenced what has been described as an “unprecedented” operation on the company the trucker works for. Vincent George of Lennons Transport Services, was charged with three counts of dangerous driving that resulted in death . The B-double truck traversed an embankment before crashing through a guard rail and smashing head on into another vehicle. The fatalities of the accident are, Calyyn, and his ageing parents Donald and Patricia Logan. The family had just finished visiting a newborn addition to the Family. George has since had his licensed suspended and will face a court in May.

Police indicated that impending charges are possible upon the release of toxicology results. A Sydney truck driver has been charged over a horrific crash that killed three people on the Hume Highway last month. Road Safety authorities and the police are reviewing Lennon’s line of trucks. Each driver will be tested for illicit substances, and trucks will be searched. Drug detection dogs will also be present at various inspections. Police Assistant Commissioner, John Hartley is confident that the operation will act as as a warning to the trucking industry. Hartley said “charges will be laid” to any trucking company that decides to neglect their safety measures.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-22/truckie-charged-over-fatal-hume-highway-crash/3843984?section=nsw

OHS: WorkSafe Profile Report Reveals High Risk of Diabetes

Occupational health and safety trainingA recent study conducted by WorkSafe Victoria and Monash University revealed that one quarter of employees in Victoria are at a serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. The study was conducted with the involvement of 400,000 employees throughout Victoria.

The study also revealed that 90 per cent of employees neglect to ingest sufficient amounts of fruit or vegetables. Approximately 70 percent of the sample are said to be receiving insufficient amounts of exercise.

Diabetes occurs when there is an overabundance of glucose found in the blood.The chronic disease is the sixth highest cause of death by disease in Australia as it can result in instances of heart disease, stroke and renal failure.

The risks of developing Type 2 disease is significantly increased when coupled with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, lack of physical activity, and poor diet.

Despite the lack of an existing cure for type 2 diabetes, it can be effectively managed by adopting a healthy eating system and regular physical activity.

Considering the average person spends a third of their day at work, WorkSafe has recommended to approximately 4,000 employees to see their doctors immediately because of high blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

WorkHealth ambassador Wayne Kayler-Thomson said business owners should take the responsible action of ensuring that measures are undertaken to improve the health of their workforce, for the benefit of both employee and for the business’ bottom lines.

According to Thomson, improved health can help reduce absenteeism, boot productivity, and attract motivated, committed staff to deliver strong results for the business.

Thomson recommended workplace initiatives such as health checks, encouraging exercise and supplying fruit and vegetable boxes, to help encourage a healthy workforce.

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.monash.edu.au/ohs/wellbeing/work-health-check-peninsula.pdf

OHS: Over 100 Road Accidents Involve MPs and Staff

OHS TrainingOver 100 road accidents in just over a year have involved Federal parliamentarians and their staff. As a consequence of this, over 400 fines were dished out.

Despite these findings, the government has denied the occurrence of a significant increase in traffic-law breaches

All MP’s and senator’s office is granted a taxpayer-funded car, which the politician or their family and staff, can use for any lawful reason. Some parliamentarians who reside in rural areas, have received two vehicles.

The Finance Department has revealed that between August, 2010 and December, 2011, these taxpayer-funded cars were involved in 104 accidents.

Reports have indicated that the drivers have neglected to pay tolls at almost 200 occasions, been subject to 98 speeding tickets, 76 parking tickets, and 9 fines for running red lights. It is important to note that these amounts are only a portion of the number of breaches since the department does not receive every single infringement notice.

Special Minister of State, Gary Gray stated that his office had looked into the infringements throughout previous years and he believe there has not been a “significant change”.

The Finance Department has yet to release the names of parliamentarians that are alleged to have been involved in any of the reported road incidents.

Citizens would be pleased to know that taxpayers do not pay the fines, as the drivers at the time of the offences are the ones held liable for the infringements.

More Information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/mps-staff-in-100-road-accidents/2455707.aspx

OHS: Building Officials Change Their Stories Regarding Assault

Two building industry inspectors have allegedly evidence after initially signing off on statements that accused a “militant” union official of head-butting one of them at a building site. Shortly after the alleged assault, both inspectors Mathew Keene and Shaun Hardwick signed off on “de-briefing” statements that alleged that Keene had been head-butted by John Setka, state secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. The signed statements were then given to their employer, the Australian Building and Construction Commission. A committee hearing revealed that the police were originally informed by a senior building executive that Setka had allegedly head-butted the inspector. However, later signed statements alleged that another CFMEU official Matt Hudson, was responsible for the head-butt.

The hearing will make a decision on whether the unionist should stand trial. Keene has since admitted to destroying original notes from the case, while Hardwick stated that a vital digital recording he had had malfunctioned and erased.  Keen has denied any allegations that he had changed his story, stating that he had always stated that Hudson was the one had head-butted him. He recalled signing the de-briefing that cited Setka as the guilty party, yet he claims he told them it was Hudson.  Despite admitting to not witnessing the assault, Hardwick’s original statement states that Setka was the one responsible for the head –butting.

The  Federal  government is  currently aiming to abolish the Building and Construction Commission.

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:  http://www.theage.com.au/national/building-officials-changed-evidence-20120207-1r5j6.html#ixzz1mJRjCtoD

 

OHS: Miner Gets Million Dollar Compensation

OHS TrainingA Miner who had a 56-tonne rock land on his dump truck was awarded $1.5 million in compensation. The former professional footballer James L. Geary was successful in his claims against employer Rejv Services Pty Ltd and three associated companies in the Townsville Supreme Court. Geary is alleged to have suffered back injuries when he was significantly jolted by the fallen rock. The incident in question occurred in August of 2005, while Geary was driving a truck that was being loaded with dirt and rock from a digger.

Geary claims to have backed his truck out which could carry 400 tonnes. The digger operator told Geary to brace himself for a big rock which landed on his truck and caused things “to get really violent in the cab”.Geary claims to have been winded by jolt and said he felt a sharp pain in his lower back.

The result was a lumbar spine injury which forced Geary to conduct light duties for a few days until he took sick leave for two weeks.

Geary still had injuries when he returned to work which lead to him quitting his job in 2006. After working a few jobs after with various companies, Geary left the industry. The plaintiff claimed that the reasoning for Geary leaving each subsequent job was because he could “not cope because of his back pain”.

It was determined that Geary was simply too proud of his past as a footballer and strong man that he hid his physical and emotional stresses.Geary was eventually granted $1.5 million for medical bills, past economic loss, future wages and superannuation. His boss was ordered to pay an additional $360 thousand

More Info On Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2012/02/01/302061_news.html 

Occupational Health and Safety: WorkSafe Chief Exec Announces Resignation

OHSIt has been a month since the Baillieu government declared that it would cut $471 million out of  WorkSafe throughout the next four years in order to keep the state’s budget in a surplus.Greg Tweedly,WorkSafe chief executive for the past nine years,  announced recently that he would not be seeking a  new contract when his current one had expired.

This announcement was made a month after it was declared that almost half of a billion dollars would be cut from Victoria’s occupational health and safety insurance and subsequently funnelled into general revenue.A spokeswoman for the state government stated the resignation was not linked to the budget cuts– rather, it was  a personal choice by Mr.Tweedly.

The budget changes are expected to cut thousands of state public sector jobs, while also charging all motorists with a 35$ increase in registration fees.

WorkSafe is funded by employers via premiums to insure people against accidents. As per the changes announced in December, half of the organisations profits will be handed over to the Treasury until at least 2014/2015.The Opposition has probed what the effects of Mr.Tweedly’s parting would mean for WorkSafe.

Opposition finance spokesman,Robin Scott stated that Tweedly’s departure would result in an even greater difficulty in recovery of the half-billion dollars being stripped from WorkSafe.Tweedly stated that he will endeavour to spend time overseas with his family and friends and eventually seek new challenges later in the year.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/resignation-adds-to-worksafe-woes-20120111-1pvgu.html

Occupational Health and Safety: Owners of Exploded Factory Request Reduced Penalties

OHS TrainingThe owners of an exploded factory that resulted in the death of three men, have requested  their penalties for breaching occupational health and safety practices to be reduced since they have shown good faith in paying out compensation and admitted to the breaches .

Michael Roder SC appeared before a full bench of the South Australian Industrial Relations Court and stated that, while Quin Investments and Nikolai Kazub had accepted they had been in breach of workplace laws, those breaches were not indicative that they caused the explosion.

The explosion resulted in the deaths of Damian Harris, Matt Keeley and Darren Millington and the injuries Cameron Edson and Damian John.Last year, the company and the accountable officer faced a fine of $95,000 for two counts of occupational health and safety breaches; as well as defective equipment that resulted in the explosion.

The parties sought appeal in the Industrial Relations Court in July and it was determined that the evidence was not proof that the defective factory equipment had led to the explosion.But on appeal to the Industrial Relations Court in July, it was decided the evidence did not prove the defective factory equipment had caused the explosion.

The Prosecution stated that while the licenses for explosive manufacturing were surrendered by Quin Investments, Kazub was responsible for the operation of another explosives manufacturing factory in Norther Territory. Prosecutors have alleged that a displaced shaft in ribbon blender had rubbed against another metal surface, which triggered a chemical reaction which led to an explosion.

Ms. Chapman of the Prosecution stated that the company had botched its responsibility of maintaining the safety of its employees on the day of the explosion, and the accused parties’ safety practices were a “potentially catastrophic risk”.

Chapman has expressed concerns for a lack of record for any item in the factory. The ribbon in question had not been monitored in over two decades.Michael Roder SC for Quin Investments and Kazub stated that $20,000 of the fine had already been paid out which should be seen as a good sign of penitence for the unfortunate deaths of the three individuals and the injured parties.

Chapman has requested that the compensation order be upheld and that the same penalty be applied to Quin investments and Kazub.

More information of Occupation Health and Safety

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/owners-of-explosives-factory-want-fines-reduced/story-e6frg6nf-1226227911705 

Occupational Health and Safety: Mining Company’s Actions Prompts Water Quality Concerns

OHSIllwarra Community members gathered together in Waratah Rivulet to inspect a cracked riverbed. It is believed that the cracking was a consequence of long wall mining in the area.

Some of the inspectors included environmental lobby group Friends of the Stonefly, and NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.The community members were concerned with the water quality of the rivulet which acts as a source of drinking water for southern Sydney and northern Illawarra residents.

There are also concerns that the beauty of the area has been damaged by cracks being filled with polyurethane. The community have cited concerns with the continuous trend of mining companies entering communities, leaving massive damage, and then attempting to fix the damage they’ve caused.

The rivulet has been unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years, but now large slabs of stone are eroding and falling off.

Jennifer Morgans from Peabody Energy Australia (the Mining company in Waratah Rivulet), stated that the damage can be observed from areas where the company has not mined.Morgans stated that the polyurethane is a proven method of dealing with these types of issues without affecting the water quality.

Source : http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/12/15/3391612.htm?site=illawarra

More information on Occupational Health and Safety 

Occupational Health and Safety: Lumber Worker Dies From Fallen Tree

ohs trainingA Lumber industry worker died as a result of a falling tree yesterday. Paramedics reached notified of the incident but the man had died at the scene.  Police allege that the man had  just chopped one tree when another fell on top of him. The killing tree fell when it was hit by a reversing bulldozer.

WorkSafe has sent three inspectors from Geelong to investigate the site.Colac Otwar Shire deputy mayor Lyn Russel has indicated that the death of the forestry worker would have an impact on the community.

She believes that the small town will pull together in reaction to the incident since the people tend to work hard and support each other. Only about 100 to 150 people live in the small Gellibrand community with many of the residents employed by the logging industry.

According to Russel, the incident could have occurred when they were felling or loading, but it remains uncertain.

Currently, details are still being pieced together in order to determine who, and what, was involved.

This is the ninth occupational health and safety death in approximately three weeks and the 25th for the entire year. Many of the incidents are still under investigation and have mostly occurred during regular, routine jobs. WorkSafe officials have warned of the pressures of working during this busy and pressure filled time of the year

Source : http://www.standard.net.au/news/local/news/general/falling-tree-kills-worker/2393616.aspx

Occupational Health And Safety: WorkSafe Investigates Sweet Sweeper Death

ohs trainingWorkSafe is currently investigating the death of a road worker who was struck by a street sweeper in Melbourne.

The worker was conducting road maintenance at a work site on Canterbury Road in Bayswater when he was run over by a reversing street sweeper. Despite attempts of another road worker to raise the alarm, the man had already died when paramedics arrived. The street sweeper  was taken a hold of by WorkSafe until they are finished investigating the occupational health and safety issue.

Worksafe spokesperson Michael Birt stated that this month is the busiest month of the year which is causing many workers to feel pressure to meet tight deadlines.

Birt emphasised that these accidents are not freak accidents but rather the result of routine jobs. Thus it is not a matter of luck or just “occupational hazards”/

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/worker-dead-in-street-sweeper-tragedy-20111201-1o7m4.html#ixzz1fu9IWeaz

Occupational Health And Safety : Man Dies in Sewage Tank

ohsA man has died following his attempt to collect samples in a sewage tank. The middle-age lab technician disappeared after he was last seen carrying out the routine sampling.  Melbourne Water went to the site and spent hours  draining the tank, where they eventually discovered the man’s body. It is believed he fell in to the tank and subsequently died. Most of his equipment was found nearby.

His dead is the sixth occupational health and safety death in the last 11 days. Worksafe visited the scene while divers searched for the man’s body.Earlier this week a young man from Craigiburn died at the hands of a 150-kg piece of machinery struck him while he was at a boat manufacturing business.

WorkSafe executive director stated that the deaths indicated the need to remember how important occupational health and safety was  for many industries at this time —their busiest time of the year. Other workplace incidents that have occurred was the killing of a 73-year old farmer when gored by a bull, the  death of a man from a  fallen cherry picker, and the death of another man caused by a crushed vehicle at a factory.

21 workplace deaths are said to have occurred this year.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/water-worker-dies-after-falling-into-sewage-tank-20111201-1o978.html

 

 

WorkSafe Releases Data On Occupational Health and Safety Claims

ohs trainingWorkSafe Victoria has disclosed that the average expenditure on rehabilitation for injury cases in Bayule, exceeds $10,000.

WorkSafe Vic. data for the past financial year, displayed that over $5 million was claimed as workers compensation by businesses. 490 people were reportedly injured and needed rehab in Banyule, and the average cost was $10,205 each. Within this same financial year, businesses in Nillumbik Shire Council claimed compensation payments in excess of $1 million. 133 people were said to have received compensation, at an average cost of $8627 each.

This data was released as part of the WorkSafe campaign “Any day now” , that aims to remind workers that inspection can happen at any point which means that employers and employees should work to maintain the safety standards of their company prior to inspection.WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety head, Ian Forsyth stated that unsafe practices were still being discovered, such as missing guards on machinery,and other types of breaches that can potentially cause injuries.

WorkSafe had also recorded a greater volume of prosecutions in the new financial year, charging 45 workplaces in the past four months .Forsyth stated that WorkSafe has been inspecting, investigating and prosecuting occupational health and safety breaches.

Source: http://www.banyuleandnillumbikweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/millions-claimed-by-injured-staff-worksafe/2357238.aspx

Hobson’s Bay Pays Out the Most In Occupational Health and Safety Claims

ohs trainingSince 2006, Hobsons Bay has accumulated the second highest number of occupational health and safety cases in the Western region. It was a close second to Wyndham.

Currently WorkSafe is at work to ensure that safety improvements be met prior to inspection. This comes following news that Victoria was home to the safest workplaces in all of Australia.The new WorkSafe campaign “Any Day Now” commenced last night and has arrived following the Government’s yearly report regarding work-safety incidents.In Hobsons Bay, 4681 claims were made, with the total payout from July 2006 to June 2011 exceeding $100 million.

Despite having more WorkSafe claims, Wyndham has paid out approximately $96 million in compensation.The only injuries recorded in these statistics are injuries that required the worker to be off work for 10 or more days, or those who had treatment which costs more than $580.Overall, there were 17,720 claims in Western Australia, and a total payout in excess of $366 million.

The most common issues are those pertaining to dangerous manual handing practices, damaged storage racking, unguarded machinery, unsafe scaffolding, unsafe dangerous goods storage, and inadequate forklift safety.

According to the report, Victoria boasts the lowest number of injuries per-thousand workers out of every state.

Source:http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/star/williamstown-altona-laverton/322/story/144648.html

Occupational Health and Safety: Youth Falls of Ride

A youth has allegedly suffered a broken arm after she was thrown from a carnival ride at an art and agriculture show.

occupational health and safety trainingThe teen who also received a cut on her head is currently recovering at the Royal Children’s Hospital. The incident occurred at a ride that was contracted for the Lilydale Show. It is alleged that another girl fell from the carriage as well, and is being treated for her injuries.

The ride has since been shut down by WorkSafe investigators, who are currently looking into the matter.The Lilydale Agricultural and Horticultural Society secretary, Jodie Nagel, has stated that said the conditions surrounding the occupational health and safety incident are being looked into since numerous possibilities exist.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/children-hurt-in-fall-from-ride-at-lilydale-show/story-fn7x8me2-1226200424963

Union Leader’s Permit Remains Revoked

occupational health and safety trainingUnion frontrunner  Joe McDonald has received a rejection on his permit to enter work areas. The decision was put forth by the WA Industrial Relations Commission.  Mcdonald is the head of the Construction,Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and was seeking the reassignment of his work permit.

Mcdonald relinquished his permit in 5 years ago when he was found guilty of criminal assault regarding an incident that occurred in 2002.

WAIRC declared that Mcdonald’s conduct since the incident has indicated that if he was granted permission for entry, that he would likely act improper manner that would hinder an employee or employer during their workday.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the State Government and Master Builders association pressed for the refusal of Mcdonald’s permit.

The CCI was pleased with the decision, as they believe that workplaces should be free of heavy-handed union tactics.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/mcdonald-denied-worksite-entry-permit/story-e6frg13u-1226198286268

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Some Businesses Get Extension On OHS Regulations

occupational health and safety trainingBusinesses will be able to postpone implanting new occupational health and safety regulations, if the changes they have to make require a long period of time.  The extension will grant businesses 12 months until they have to implement.

Federal Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans will declare publicly that Safe Work Australia has arrangements to assist businesses in the transition into the new system on January 1. Evans said the extension would be granted to businesses that have to fulfil the model regulations which subsequently would require the completion of several duties

Western Australia and Victoria are the only two states that haven’t yet signed off on the new OHS regulations which ultimately means they are at danger of not receiving several millions of dollars in Federal payments.

The federal government have promised up to 450 million dollars in rewards  to all states that agreed to the OHS laws and meet requirements on time.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/firms-get-grace-on-ohs-laws/story-fn59noo3-1226190694160

Top Union Says WA Endangering Workers Over OHS Laws

occupational health and safety trainingA prominent union body has criticised WA government for declining to approve the new countrywide occupational health and safety (OHS)  laws. The Australian Council of Trade Unions stated their belief that the Liberal government was jeopardising workers by neglecting nationwide safety standards. All states except WA and Victoria will be adopting it. ACTU stressed the national importance of safety standards and the assurance that every worker and their family feel safe.

It is alleged that the governments decision poses a risk to worker’s lives since 21 workers are killed each year in WA on average and someone is injured at work approximately every 30-minutes.The president of ACTU believes that the government is sending the wrong message to company heads.A government spokesperson stated that the government had not received adequate time and information by the federal government. They refused to make a decision until they had analyzed the full impact of the regulations, particularly on its affects on small businesses.

There is some concern that the laws might have a weaker outcome for WA workers.

Queensland has also allegedly indicated that they will not sign up for the mining section of the laws.Union secretary Simone Mcgurk stated that all workplace ministers had a meeting and discussed and agreed to harmonise the OHS laws in 2009, thus giving the government ample time.All states have been given 12 months to implement the laws. Meanwhile Mcgurk and ACTU have participated in a large petition to get WA to sign off on the laws.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/unions-claim-workers-safety-endangered/story-e6frg14c-1226191590298

Son Sues Parents Over Workplace Accident

occupational health and safety trainingAfter successfully suing his own parents following a workplace injury, a man claims there aren’t any ill-feelings between him and his parents.

The mid-thirties man was granted $844,000 when he sued his family in the Supreme Court after he suffered devastating back injury. The incident occurred while he was operating a harvesting machine on their tobacco farm.

The court found that the  individual had contributed to his injury and thus he received reduced compensation. He received 70% less compensation, which left him $400,000 for his pain and suffering and almost four hundred and fifty thousand dollars for loss of income

Despite finding that his parents had in fact not been negligent, they had indeed breached occupational health and safety regulations.The man had previously been directed by doctors to cease his work on the farm when he suffered a back injury in a car accident eight years ago. The accident required him to receive spinal surgery.

Despite claiming there is no ill will between the parties, he intends on appealing the reduced compensation decision.

 Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8369415/son-sues-parents-for-workplace-injury

Locals Call for Tighter Restrictions on Coal Seam Gas

occupational health and safety trainingThe speedily developing coal seam gas industry has the capability to revitalise elements of countryside Australia, but if feebly supervised will lead to ”environmental and social disaster”, the National Party’s new gas guideline says.

The party, which has been deplored by some farmers for being too intimately connected to mining corporations, will encourage  more regulation and tighter ecological security, principally on farmland.

Almost sixty percent of the nation’s existing and proposed coal seam gas operations exist within federal electorates held by National MPs.

The party adopted five philosophies that it says will administer its policy towards the industry, which aims to drill up to 40,000 gas wells through Queensland and NSW in the next decade.  The party assured the public that no drilling would progress without validation that it would not damage the surroundings, and key rural land would be categorized  as “no-drilling” zones. Landholders should receive monetary restitution based on gas extracted from their land, and the territories that are known as gas paddocks should observe a ”fair share” of the profits speculated back into their communities.

The policy stated that seam gas must not be developed near residential areas. In an assembly, it was decided that if these conditions are met, the industry could prove to be beneficial to Australia.The federal independent MP Tony Windsor is discussing stronger national regulation of the industry, and has made his backing for the government’s mineral resources rent tax conditional.

The National Farmers Federation is not backing Mr.Windsor’s stance saying that while several farmers are concerned about the impact of the industry on water, they have no desire for national oversight. They believe higher regulation would lead to ”a huge army of environmental police who are going to be tramping over farms all over the place, imposing their will on operations other than coal seam gas”.

Source : http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/nationals-want-tighter-controls-on-coal-seam-gas-20111106-1n1z0.html

More information on Occupational Health and Safety Training

Two People Injured at Cattle Stations

OHS trainingTwo separate incidents on isolated cattle stations have led to the hospitalization of a man and a woman. A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson claims that the woman was injured upon falling off her motorbike while gathering cattle.

The woman was not wearing safety apparatus and subsequently suffered a fractured collarbone and elbow as well as several abrasions and cuts. The woman was taken to the hospital where her injuries were treated.

The man who was injured around the same time, was discovered in an ‘altered state of consciousness’ after he was knocked out at a cattle stationIt is unclear if the man was knocked out unconscious by a cow or by an opening gate.

He will be airlifted to another medical facility where he will have his head injuries treated.

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/two-injured-on-remote-qld-cattle-stations-near-burketown-and-llanarth/story-e6freoof-1226178977803

More information on Occupational Health And Safety Training

Investigations to Commence into Helicopter Crash

Occupational health and safety trainingAn investigation by The Australian Transport Safety Bureau  is currently being conducted into the helicopter crash that resulted into the death of a worker.

A survivor of the crash has since been rushed to the hospital after sustaining multiple injuries.

While no one is certain as to the causes of the crash, the helicopter was commissioned to carry out a geological survey over Collier National Park Range.

Investigators are on  currently on their way Perth to do an occupational health and safety assessment of the incident.

The investigative time will also speak to the lone survivor in order to gather more information about the accident.

Oil and Gas Company Fined

Occupational health and safety trainingAn oil and gas company, Santos has been subjected to fines for breaching occupational health and safety laws. These fines are the result of a  2004 gas leak that injured a worker. At the time of the explosion, 13 employees were said to be working within the vicinity.

The workers fled for their lives upon seeing a gas cloud and they eventually shut down production of oil and gas. Luckily all workers avoided any serious injuries despite the potential dangers.

The company appeared in the Industrial Court where they pleaded guilty to one count of unsuccessfully maintaining a safe work environment. Santos was subsequently fined over $80 thousand dollars in addition to legal costs.Since the explosion, Santos has spent over $ 40 million dollars to fix the plant and improve safety precautions.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-22/santos-fined-moomba-explosion/2850122

Union Concerned about Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and SafetySince the assaults on workers in Darwin, The Miscellaneous Workers Union has stated that it is very concerned about the occupational health and  safety of detention workers. The union does not believe that the centre for detention workers, Serco, has the appropriate safety precautions in place for its staff members.

Two inmates will face charges in court for assault for assaulting numerous workers.The union has since stated that the incident is one, in a growing group of assaults that have been occurring to workers.The site is a safety concern for the union because of it risks the safety of not only workers but clients as well. Miscellaneous Workers Union continues to struggle to make light of the issue in order to prevent future assaults.

Workers were said to have sustained cuts and bruises after one of the detainees wielded a knife. The union wants to see an end to the assaults on the Serco employees and for safety to be a priority.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-14/detention-workers-union-calls-for-great-safety-for-workers/2838436

Sydney Nurse Stabbed With Butter Knife

Occupational Health and Safety TrainingA Sydney nurse has been hospitalized after being stabbed numerous times with a butter knife. It was 4:30am and the nurse was purportedly working at a computer when she was stabbed. This occupational health and safety case occurred when the nurse was punched in the face,then stabbed numerous times in the breast, arm, and back area. A fellow nurse then got involved and secured the patient with knife.

The injuries the nurse sustained were reported as not being fatal and the nurse has since been released from the hospital.

The patient faces charges of wounding a person with the intention to cause serious bodily harm as well as the charge of recklessly causing serious bodily harm.

Non-Profit Organization to be prosecuted by WorkSafe

occupational health and safetyA non-profit organization named Community Connections will be the first NGO to be charged by WorkSafe following allegations of wrongful dismissal after an employee raised occupational health and safety concerns.

The Department of Human Services is also investigating the charitable organization, which could result in the organization’s closure. A spokesperson from DHS has confirmed that a review is being orchestrated.

Community Connections is a non-profit organization that allegedly aims to cater to thousands of people in the southwest.

This will mark the first time a non-profit organization has been prosecuted for breaching section 76 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. Section 76 regards the offense of dismissing, injuring or negatively modifying a worker’s position solely because the worker expressed safety concerns.

The maximum fine for breaching this section is $305,350.

The matter is now being addressed within court.

Source: http://www.standard.net.au/news/local/news/general/community-connections-to-be-prosecuted-by-worksafe/2222962.aspx

 

Man loses leg in mining accident

miner loses leg in accidentA man has allegedly lost one of his legs and had the other one crushed following a mining accident  at Fortescue Metals Port facility in Port Hedland.

A spokesperson from the company has confirmed that there was indeed an accident at the facility and the man is seriously injured. The spokesperson said that the facility was on maintenance shutdown during the accident. The man was subsequently rushed  by helicopter to a hospital in Perth.

It is believed that a Hydraulic ram failed and subsequently caused the accident. This is the second case like this, after the death of a worker at BHP Billiton,

The State Secretary of the   Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union ,Kevin Reynolds , stated that this is the most serious type of accident but less serious accidents also occur every day.

Reynolds claims these accidents are the result of the government did not provide Occupational Health and Safety inspectors or union officers.
Reynolds also claimed the workers would complain had they not been in fear of losing their jobs.

The man in the accident is currently in stable condition.

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/mans-legs-crushed-on-fortescue-worksite-20110710-1h8ic.html

WorkSafe gets Kudos for Occupational Health and Safety Ruling.

A committee that deals with the death of prisoners while in police custody, are embracing the charges WorkSafe set for the death of  Mr. Ward.

Mr. Ward is the elder Aboriginal who died from a heat stroke due to sweltering temperatures from within the prison van.

According to the coroner, the two drivers of the van, the driver’s employer, and the Department of Corrective Services are responsible for the death of Mr. Ward. Despite the coroner’s statement, the Direction of Public Prosecutions refused to pursue the case because he didn’t believe there was a chance of conviction.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee spokesperson gave a kudos to WorkSafe for their decision to prosecute and to carry out their duties in the support of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The WorkSafe WA commissioner stated that the case is a prime example of how far the occupational safety and health legislation extends.

The Attorney General has stated that he intends to follow the WorkSafe case very carefully to see if they provided a safe work environment. The Department of Crrective services  face a fine of $285,000 and $15,000 in legal costs. The potential fine was $400,000.
Source : http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/19/3116507.htm

Occupational Health And Safety: Big Brother Is Watching Out For You

If you are an employer or an employee, you can almost feel the subtle shift in the room’s temperature when an OHS inspector sets foot on the premises. In some cases, everyone becomes overly busy, in others nervous, some give a put upon sigh, while in other work places it is business as usual. Why does one person produce so many effects upon so many people? Because this inspector is a Representative for Occupation Health and Safety a government agency that oversees that each business is abiding by guidelines and rules that are set to protect the health and safety of the employee, employer and the public at large.

For some employers the rules set down by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) seem to be little more than interference in their business practices that cost them money and sometimes time. It sometimes seems every move they make is watched over by Big Brother (the government).

The truth is that Big Brother is watching.

But he is watching out for you. Keep in mind that the job of Occupational Health and Safety guidelines and training is to reduce the number of injuries, deaths, property damage, legal liabilities, illness, worker’s claims against employers and missed time at work due to accident and health risks in business that could affect the lives of not only the employers and the employees but also the public at large.

More than a century ago before Occupational Health and Safety became a government agency and today in countries that lack government guidelines. Workers were expected to work in environments that lacked ventilation and proper lightening for long grueling days given little time for food or water and sometimes locked in during working hours to prevent them from leaving. Work related injuries were rife and those who were injured or became ill due to the working conditions were fired with no benefits and no recourse of action.

Death on many jobs was simply a part of earning the money to live and safety measures were not undertaken because of the bottom line. When workers had enough, riots would issue damaging or completely destroying the business and resulting in harm or death to employers and managers of these businesses.

As times changed, more and more employers began trying to offer better working conditions for their employees by establishing rules, cleaning up, better working environments and through training. However, accidents and illness still occurred due to the lack of knowledge on the part of many employers on how to properly evaluate risks and minimize them and the unwillingness of employees to adhere to the guidelines for safety that were set down. This resulted in good employers going broke trying to see to the needs of employees who became ill or injured on the job. Insurance helped to alleviate some of the financial burden on employers but did little to make workplaces safer.

Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines

Then along came Occupational Health and Safety, they set down minimum guidelines to help protect health and Safety. Individualizing these guidelines to fit the needs and the risks in various fields of work. They offered training to help make Employers aware of health and safety risks and to teach employees how to do their jobs in a manner that would pose less danger of injury or illness to them.

Today, Because Of OHS, businesses are thriving, the workplace is become safer and the public is protected to a greater degree than ever before. This has ended up saving employers money and giving employees a safer, better place to work.

 

 

Thanks to OHS Training, Workplace Deaths Have Fallen

OHS trainingAustralia’s workplace deaths have dropped by more than 25 percent in the past year. In the last year the number of workplace deaths have dropped from 111 from its previous number, 151.

The number of injuries or illnesses have also dropped slightly from six percent to five percent .

Occupational Health and Safety

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has indicated that the decrease can be attributed to a stronger focus by both the government and employers in ensuring that employees enrolled in occupational health and safety training courses.

This trend of decreasing rates of fatalities and injuries must continue in order to adhere to the reduction targets in place.

According to the ABS, most of the fatalities at work were of people between the ages 35 and 54. 80 percent of the deaths were in industries such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, and mining. The ABS has singled out transport workers, tradespersons or labourers as the professions in which a majority (over 75 percent) of the accidents occur.

Interestingly, the most common causes of fatalities were cases involving transport accidents, falling from heights, or being struck by falling or moving objects.

The Report also indicated that men between the ages of 45 and 54 were more likely than women to suffer an injury.

Source:  http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/workplace-deaths-down-by-a-quarter-abs-20110629-1gqi4.html

 

Make an Enquiry: