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/

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

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: 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

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:One Workplace Death Every 21 Days in WA

Occupational health and safetyApproximately 1 work-related fatality occurs in Western Australia, every 3-weeks according to recently released government figures.

WorkSafe WA conducted research for the 2011-2012 period and the results showed that 5,350 working people suffered serious very serious injuries from 2008-2013.

UnionsWA said the amount and frequency of very serious work injuries  (  resulting in 60 working days lost) – was higher at any time in the last half-decade.

“This is a cost to industry through workers’ compensation, but more importantly people are often left with life-long disability and a loss of livelihood,” said Meredith Hammat, Secretary of UnionsWA.

The report summary revealed that there were 18,562 lost time injuries and diseases of one or more days in WA in 2011-12, and an average, 4018 workers were being hurt in manner which requires 60 or more days off work.

Unions WA said the figures showed that stronger efforts need to be made both by the government and the employers

“Clearly more needs to be done, by governments, employers and everyone in WA workplaces,” Ms Hammat said.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/one-wa-workers-dies-every-21-days-safety-report/story-fnhocxo3-1226687313605#sthash.IcrlNVGo.dpuf

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>

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

 

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

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OHS:Subcontractors To Be Hit by Compensation Scheme Changes

Subcontractors are among those expected to lose access to the state’s workers’ compensation scheme under changes due to be introduced into Parliament this week.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the Government was moving to change the definition of a worker under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act.

“We’ve come up with a plan to do what they did at the federal level and have the definition of worker the same as the Australian Tax Office and PAYG definition,” Mr Bleijie said.

The move, which would repeal changes made by the Beattie government in 1999, comes less than four weeks before a parliamentary committee is due to report back with the findings of its review of the WorkCover scheme.

Unions are expected to object to the change, which will largely affect the construction and transport sectors.

But Mr Bleijie said he believed no worker would be worse off.

He said the change had been requested by the WorkCover board following a litany of complaints from businesses that had been audited and fined because they found the current definition confusing.

In one instance, Mr Bleijie said a business was left with a $600,000 bill following an audit, even though its employees were independent contractors.

“These poor guys never anticipated this because they never thought they were actually in the WorkCover scheme,” he said. “It is a genuine issue that’s impacting a lot of businesses.

“My view is if a tradie comes in with their own ute, all their own tools, their trailer … and they’ve got their own work insurance so they should be an independent contractor and not fall under the definition.

“But if you look at the technical nature of it, they do fall under the worker definition … which is hitting business hard in Queensland.”

He defended the move to introduce changes to the scheme before the parliamentary committee’s review of WorkCover had been finalised.

About 17 submissions to the review raised the definition as an issue needing investigation with the committee hearing arguments for and against such changes during public hearings.

Some raised fears employers could exploit the change by forcing workers to become independent contractors so they did not have to pay WorkCover premiums while other submitters said the change would benefit workers and business.

“We are going to amend that before the review is finished because we want to give some immediate certainty to business and to WorkCover and to workers that they are either in the WorkCover or they are not in the WorkCover scheme.”

If passed, the change will be in place by July 1.

“You are either a worker or you’re an independent contractor. Absolutely no one will be worse off,” Mr Bleijie said.

“The benefit will flow to both parties because people will be less confused and you may avoid a situation where a worker believes they are under WorkCover but the employer thinks they are an independent contractor.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

 Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/subcontractors-likely-to-be-hit-hard-by-changes-to-workers-compensation-scheme/story-e6freoof-1226631860536

 

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

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

DOCs Workers Compensation Claims Rise by Almost a Third

The NSW opposition stated that a big jump in the number of workers compensation claims being made by caseworkers from the Department of Family and Community Services should be a cause for alarm.

Recently released figures from the department’s annual report reveal that the amount of caseworkers lodging claims has increased by almost a third this year.

Psychological injury remains prime reason for workers seeking out compensations. Psychological injury accounts for approximately a third of all claims.

New figures from the department’s annual report show that the number of caseworkers lodging claims in the past year has increased by almost a third.

Spokesperson for the opposition Linda Burney, attributes the figures to coworkers being stressed by a system that has too many vacant positions.

She called on the Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, to take notice.

“Pru Goward refuses to reveal what the vacancy rates are. We know that vacancy rates are up to 40 per cent in the western parts of New South Wales and some parts of western Sydney,”  Burney said.

“If there are vacancy rates of 40 per cent that means caseworkers are under enormous stress, because they are trying to cover those vacancy rates.”

A spokesman for  Goward has disputed the accuracy of the Opposition’s vacancy rate figures, stating that there had been no reduction in the number of child protection workers since the Government came into power.

The Minister requested a full briefing on workers compensation from the head of the department.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-06/docs-workers-compensation-claims-leap/4412032?section=nsw

 

OHS Training: South Australia– Worst WorkCover Scheme in the Nation

SOUTH Australia’s WorkCover scheme has the worst performance record in the nation and needs to have amendments made in order to compel injured workers to return to work, a parliamentary committee says. 

After two years, the inquiry board comprised of Labor, Liberal, and Independent MP’s has found SA has the country’s lowest return to work rate at only 70 percent.

Tasmania’s the top of the list with 80 per cent.

The report calls on the State Government to develop a nationally recognized method of analyzing return-to-work rates because the current data is considered inadequate.

The report alleges that enforcing performance standards for worker’s rehabilitation providers which receive referrals through the WorkCover scheme and administering better reporting of their return-to-work stats would also help.

Other recommendations outlined include:

  • Ensuring weekly workers’ compensation payments do not fall below the minimum wage.
  • Identifying the claims which need some “intensive” early management.
  • Greater incentives for employers to take on costs through self-managed insurance.
Opposition Industrial Relations and Finance spokesperson Rob Lucas, criticized the current reporting for not being clear enough about which rehabilitation providers received contracts and under what criteria.

“Why wouldn’t you give more contracts to those providers that have got the best return-to-work outcomes?” Mr Lucas said.

He said MPs also  referred to the controversial changes to the WorkCover scheme in 2008  which were “intended to increase return-to-work rates and reduce levy rates and WorkCover’s unfunded liability (but) clearly there has been no evidence of those goals being achieved”.

The report advises that changes be made by July 2014

Worker’s Rehabilitation Minister  spokesman,Jack Snelling said: “Exactly as Rob Lucas acknowledges, the committee has noted it is still too early to measure the final impact of some of the 2008 changes”.

WorkCover’s unfunded liability rose from$437 million at the same time the previous year to $1.389 billion at June 30 this year.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/south-australias-workcover-scheme-is-the-worst-performing-in-the-nation/story-e6frea83-1226528478725

WorkSafe Zeros in Injury Hotspot

 

WorkSafe Victoria will launch an advertising campaign in the Greater Dandenong area following reports that the manufacturing region was one of ten hotspots in the state.

Greater Dandenong has a record high injury rate in Victoria, and a large billboard has already been put up on a local road to inform the public.

The area is home to approximately 40 per-cent of Victoria’s Manufacturing industry.  The industry has a total of 780 workplace injury claims from July 2007 to June 2012.

The Manufacturing industry was home to over half of the incidents to happened in the manufacturing industry.

The most occurring injury was Misculoskeletal at 232, with ‘open would’ injuries in second place with 185.

In addition there were 45 amputations.

WorkSafe health and safety operations general manager Lisa Sturzenegger called for a more hands-on approach from workers and employers alike.

“Employers must get on the front foot by taking a preventative approach to identifying and controlling the risk of dangerous machines at their workplace,” she said.

“Workers need to ask questions and not take anything for granted.”

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/worksafe-targets-manufacturing-injury-hotspot

Young Parent Campaigns For OHS After Serious Accident

A young mother of two, Tiffany Ward has been adamant campaigner for occupational health and safety since she almost lost her arm in a  a potato processing plant accident in 2008. The life changing accident has compelled her to become deeply committed to preventing others from suffering such debilitating injuries in the workplace.

Ward now appears in a recent government-backed film meant to educate workers about the importance of safety practices at work. In the video, Ward recounted the moment she realized how serious her injury was, after a workmate unwittingly pressed start on the potato slicer while she was cleaning it.

Ward recalls looking down and seeing torn flesh and bones instead of her arm. Her body was reportedly lifted off the ground because of how twisted her arm was in the machine.

Other employees had to hold Ward up for approximately 40 minutes until medics were able to free her. The injury has left her family mentally and financially wounded and her disability has limited her job prospects.

“I drop things all the time. All the cutlery and plates in our house are plastic because I have no strength in my right arm,” she said.

Ward is hopeful that the film will be seen as a warning to young people now entering the workforce.

“It can happen to anybody. It doesn’t only happen to middle-aged men,” she said.

Every year over 25 workers die as a result of occupational accidents in Queensland and over 5000 are left with detrimental injuries. The cost of workplace accidents is estimated at $6.2 billion of public funding annually.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/new-push-to-prevent-workplace-accidents/story-e6frf7kf-1226478898090

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: WorkSafe Goes After Dangerous Machines

ohs trainingTwo business in Victoria  were fined approximately 35,000 following an incident involving an unguarded machine that left a contractor with a crushed thumb.These prosecutions emerged just as WorkSafe Victoria begins a year-long campaign against dangerous machines in the workplace.

WorkSafe’s Regional Director Shane Gillard strongly desires for  businesses to regularly revisit safety measures around machinery. He noted that removing guarding from a machine (as happened in the above incident) is a potentially disastrous scenario.

“Guarding is there to protect workers from being seriously hurt or killed, yet we frequently come across incidents where someone has suffered a serious injury that could easily be prevented,” he said.

In order to protect workers, employers need to ensure that appropriate machine safety apparatus is provided.  WorkSafe recommends that employees who manage,maintain or own machinery should ensure that ”

  • all moving parts that can touch with any part of the body, deliberately or otherwise, are protected by a physical barrier or guard
  • all staff, especially those with little experience with machinery, are properly trained and consistently supervised; and
  • machinery usage follows manufacturer as recommended by the
More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.ferret.com.au/c/CPR-Safe-Ind/WorkSafe-Victoria-targets-dangerous-machines-What-can-you-do-to-ensure-employees-are-protected-n1831988

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

 

 

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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

Co-Workers Gather To Remember Fallen Workers

OHS TrainingCo-Workers  came together to remember workplace deaths and address safety standards;

 A significant amount of workers rally in response to the number of construction industry deaths in Queensland.
Thousands of workers in Queensland gathered the Roma Street Forum to remember their 15 colleagues, killed on duty.
Unions claim that standards have slipped, at the fault of Queensland’s workplace regulator.
Bill Shorten, the Federal Employment and Workplace Relations minister, addressed the crowd regarding the improvement of industry safety standards. “It is unacceptable that the same accidents that killed people 60 years ago are still happening today.”
He wants workers to feel comfortable in reporting safety issues to their manager or union, and for that to happen the culture of the industry must change.More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-27/colleagues-gather-to-remember-workplace-deaths/3976434?section=qld 

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: Timber Company Doubles Fine After Appeal

OHS TrainingA subsidiary  of a notable Australian forestry company received nearly double their initial fine on appeal for Occupational Health and Safety breaches . Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia Pty Ltd, now under BSG Holdings Pty Ltd, received a conviction and fine of $230,000 after originally receiving a $120,000 fine in November 2010. Michelle Cooper died in 2008 as a result of a collapsed timber pack which exceeded a tonne in weight. The timber pack hoist fell on her as she dislodged a piece of jammed material.

The Director of Public Prosecution stated that the original fine was inadequate which compelled the undertaking of the case. Judge Tinney acknowledged that the company does not openly disregard safety but neglected to ensure that a common hazard was given more attention considering the size and nature of the machine involved. WorkSafe’s Executive Director for Health and Safety, Ian Forsyth is pleased with the increase because of the high-risk nature of timber milling.

Forsyth believes that the highest standards of safety must be upheld for timber workers. Forsyth signified that they were disappointed that a company of such high regard in the industry were not leading the way with regards to health and safety. He believes there is now an opportunity for the industry to closely examine where safety improvements can be made to limit risks and costs.
Source: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/wsinternet/worksafe/sitetools/news/carter+holt+harvey+workplace+fatality+fine+nearly+doubled+after+appeal

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

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

Supreme Court’s Occupational Health and Safety Compliance, A Concern

OHS trainingLawyers claim that if the Supreme Court building were to be investigated by occupational health and safety inspectors, it would be condemned.The Law Society has requested that a 10-year plan be drafted that would layout plans to renovate and revamp the historic building. Premier Jay Weatherhill was the one explicitly called out in their request for these improvements on the building and on the entire Victoria Square precinct.

The president of the Society, Ralph Bonig stated that for over ten years, consecutive governments had ignored a desperate need for bigger courtrooms with disabled access, improved infrastructure (including modern audio/video equipment), and refurbished elevators that connect courtrooms to the basement cells.

Bonig stated that their Supreme Court is the worst of its kind in Australia, and continues to be embarrassment to the nation.The facilities throughout the building allegedly fail to comply with occupational health and safety regulations.  The Law Society stated their disappointment that some senior magistrates such as the Chief Justice are unable to attend proceedings at the court simply because they are confined to a wheel chair.

Chief Justice Doyle hopes that improvements of the facilities would make it possible to stream court hearings live across the internet

.Investigations will continue, and improvements are currently under consideration. Attorney General John Rau stated that he believes this to be an important issue since new facilities are required in order to meet current standards.

 Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/states-courts-are-worst-in-the-nation/story-e6frea6u-1226193925635

 

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

Melbourne Prositute Sues Brothel

Occupational Health and Safety TrainingA prostitute in Melbourne has sued the brothel she worked at after being assaulted and having a gun pulled on her. The event took place when the woman refused to have unprotected sex with a customer who then attacked her and attempted to rape her. The woman has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to the physical injuries she sustained.

The unidentified woman finally escaped but only after the customer threatened her life while wielding a gun. The man allegedly pointed at the woman’s head said he could do anything he’d like to her and there wasn’t anyone to stop him. The woman blames the lack of security and occupational health and safety precautions at the brothel she works at. According to the woman, the brothel allows customers to have unprotected sex with the workers. Despite winning a claim for the attack on her, she is now discussing the possibility of suing her former employer for the permanent harm she received working at the brothel.

Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8272220/prostitute-sues-brothel-after-beating-gun-attack

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

Contractor Breaks Occupational Health and Safety Codes

occupational health and safety actAfter failing to disconnect the electricity to a building that was being demolished, a contractor now faces a financial penalty of $5000.

The demolition contractor, Michele Antonio Galluccio is guilty of demolishing a site without following the occupational health and safety codes. He has since been fined at Perth Magistrates Court.

Gallucio did not ensure that all lines of electricity were cut when he began the demolishing of the building.

Not only did Gallucio cause great risk by not severing all sources of electricity of building, but he also potentially endangered the lives of civilians since the facility was still open to the public due to a fallen barrier.
A WorkSafe Executive stated that this sort of occurrence is a reminder of the importance of upholding safety standards when involved in a field such as demolition.

Not disconnecting the electricity to the building, created the possibility of electrocution for employees.

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/9785587/contractor-left-power-on-during-demolition/

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 investigation into death of worker

OHS investigates death of show workerA man working at the Townsville show is in critical condition after a large piece of steel fell onto him. The 24 year old was rushed to the local hospital at 9 pm where he was said to have been suffering from spinal cord  injuries.

This accident occurred only days prior to over 60 thousand patrons are expected to attend the show. It is a four day show and it is one of the largest events within the community.

Occupational Accidents Do Occur

The Townsville Show manager, Chris Condon, claims the accident came as a shock  and despite being in the industry for a long time, this is the first time he’s seen such a thing occur.

He inferred that the people working at the event are trained in the safety risks presented in this  type of work .The ride that caused the accident of the worker has since been under scrutiny and many safety inspections have taken place since the accident.

The manager stated that safety is the number one priorty of the Townsville show.

The  case is now being investigated by Occupational Health and Safety . The show boasts of having more than 30 rides to offer its patrons. Previously, more than 55 thousand people attended the Townsville show and despite the accident, the show will go on this year.

Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2011/07/01/244211_news.html

Manual handling certificate

For organizational heads, the training will enable you to meet legal requirements which among others, include the task of assessing risks associated with various related activities, to enable you to provide a secure working environment for those under you – something you cannot do without proper training. (more…)

Drug and alcohol training for high risk work OH&S

You must always be able to safely carry out your duties in a fit state and not cause increased risk to yourself or others.

This also includes being ‘in readiness for work’ if you are placed on an on-call roster. You must be able to demonstrate that you are fit for work. You must immediately notify a supervisor or manger if you have any concerns about your current or potential fitness to work safely.

It is important that you are aware of your legal requirement to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others and to co operate with your employers efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and to ensure you are not in a state which may endanger your own safety or the safety of any other person at work. (more…)

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