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: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: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: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

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

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: 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

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:Safety Top Priority in Maitland

WorkCover NSW is strongly encouraging Maitland businesses put safety above all else in 2013.

Thousands of young workers will enter Hunter workplaces for the first time, therefore safety should be ensured to limit any injuries.

WorkCover’s acting Maitland district co-ordinator Greg Saunders said young workers suffered a greater risk of workplace injury than most other workers because of a lack of significant experience

He also cautioned that complacency could be a risk for older workers returning from holidays.

“Starting a new job can be an exciting experience for a young person entering the workforce or a new workplace,” Mr Saunders said.  “Many young workers are also keen to impress and take risks that more experienced workers may not.

“Unfortunately, 12 per cent of all injuries in NSW workplaces occur among the state’s young workers with 2767 workplace injuries and one fatality in the Hunter during 2011/12.”

Mr Saunders said the return to the work period at the end of the school holidays required extra caution on the part of more ­experienced workers.

“Complacency is a major factor in many workplace incidents and workers should be reminded that safety is the top priority when returning from holidays,” he said.

Hunter Valley business MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees provides a comprehensive induction process to ensure all employees understand their workplace safety rights and responsibilities.

“The safety and well-being of our staff and our apprentices and trainees is our first priority,” CEO David Brown said.

“We strongly believe that all injuries are preventable and every person should go home in the shape they came in, if not in a better frame of mind.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/1249321/push-to-make-work-safety-a-priority/?cs=171

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: 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

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

 

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: WorkSafe Hopes For Safer November and December

WorkSafe Victoria is hopeful that the end of 2012 will be safer as compared to the “catastrophic” level of incidents last Christmas.

Leading up to last Christmas, seven people died in less than two weeks, fortunately this year’s results have been better.

This year approximately 14 people have died in the workplace, two less fatal incidents than the same time last year.

In the lead up to Christmas last year seven people died at work in less than a fortnight, but so far 2012 results have been better.

So far this year 14 people have died at work, two less than the same time last year, according to Fairfax Media

November and December are notorious for their typically higher level of workplace fatalities with over 26 deaths in the last 5 years within these two months.

SafeWork executive director health and safety Ian Foryth attributes the deadly two months to a number of factors.

“Organisations rushing to finish jobs before their summer break and peak periods for the farming sector can mean that corners are cut and safety becomes less of a priority,” he said.

“It can be a lethal combination and it only takes a moment’s inattention for tragedy to strike … Everyone should return home safe at the end of the day and when this doesn’t happen, it’s a tragedy for all involved.”

Forsyth indicated that most of the workplace deaths in 2012 involved people carrying out regular duties, and it wasn’t just workers with dangerous jobs that risked injury or death.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

 

 

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/ 

 

 

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

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: 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: 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: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

OHS: Another Dam Work Delay

OHS trainingWorkSafe ACT has once again issued a stop work order for part of Caberra’ Cotter Dam construction site because of concerns with safety.Over 20 serious safety issues have been cited since work commenced on the Cotter Dam enlargement project.

Canberra’s water authority ACTEW is enlarging the capacity of the reservoir by 74 gigalitres.

Throughout the week other issues have occurred such as when workers drilling near a crane mistakenly severed the cable while the power was on. These incidents have prompted a prohibition notice.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe stated that the workers are luckily the accidents were not fatal as the incidents posed serious risks.McCabe stated that he requested investigators to advise him on whether there has been a breach of Work Health and Safety Law that should be referred to the DPP.

Another incident occurred that involved a bolt coming off of the lower section of a crane, compromising its entire structure. Dean Hall from The CFMEU stated that the incident could have seriously and realistically lead to the crane falling down. Hall claims that inadequate bolts are being used to hold the cranes together and thus need investigation.

McCabe stated that he does not believe the incidents were isolated.

Hall stated that there have also been serious issues with communication on the site. Safety concerns raised by workers on the ground have apparently been lost in middle management on their way to upper management.

More Info on Occupational Health And Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-02/act-cotter-dam-stop-work/3806484?section=act 

OHS: Fire Brigade Officer Concerned With Company’s Safety Practices

OHSBoth the ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Workcover had previously cited concerns with inadequate equipment and poor work safety practices by a Mitchell hazardous waste treatment company prior to last year’s explosive chemical fire, according to documents released through Freedom of Information

The aforementioned documents reveal that highly toxic nerve gas phosgene was detected in the fire’s smoke plume but emergency response crews were unable to test for a large exposure to chemicals.

Last September, an explosive chemical fire  occurred at the Energy Services Environmental waste treatment plant in Dacre Street. The fire launched fireballs up to 200m above the engulfed building and sent acrid black smoke billowing across Canbera’s skyline.

Amidst the hundreds of pages of confidential government documents released, there are reports of “paint stripping off vehicles” and over 500,000 to 600,000 litres of highly flammable liquids stored in indoor tanks. Eight pallets of fire suppressant foam were ordered from Sydney in order to contain the blaze.

Government emails reveal that a senior ACT Fire Brigade officer cited concerns in 2006 regarding the company’s safety measures. The officer claims that they have attended several incidents at the company grounds throughout the years and when one considers the level of toxic substances present at the facility, concerns do arise.

The officer stated that the issue may be a dangerous goods issue or an occupational health and safety issue. He hopes that someone in these sectors can make a difference in the level of safety at the company. The officer has also complained that the company manager tends to bend the rules regarding safety.

The fire is said to have occurred in an oil separator unit that was left unattended or still running over for the weekend.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

OHS: Main Roads Demand Cattle Trailers Be Modified

OHS Owners of the two largest cattle transportation businesses in West Australia have demanded that inquiry be launched into why Main Roads tried to compel the company to put modified, unsafe semitrailers on the road.

The appeal judgement handled by the District court  ruled that the result could have been “catastrophic”.

Operating the fully loaded semitrailers could cause the driver to lose control, crash and subsequently cause injury or death to the driver and people in other vehicles according to Comissioner Michael Gething.

This ruling commences a three and half yearlong battle between managing director John Mitchell and Main Roads and the director-general of the Department of Transport.

Mitchell stated that the costs have not simply been monetary since his reputation and credibility have been severely damaged.

Mitchell wants the Minister for Transport to investigate wh Main Roads tried to force the company into doing this and why heavy vehicle appears to be put last in what appears to be a campaign against them.

Mitchelles 70-year-old family run company operates over 20 combinations of trailers and boasts an “impeccable” safety record.

The issue at hand was involving B-doubles, which are two trailers that weigh about 70.5 tonnes when fully loaded with cattle.

Prior to 2002, Mitchelle built eight B-doubles at a length of about 20m of internal deck space.

The rules were then changed which subsequently restricted B-doubles to 18.8m but Main Roads approved permits to the company to continue running the units.

Each unit costs approximately $280,000 each, and Mitchelle intended to run his B-doubles until June 2017, however in 2008 Main Roads insisted that Mitchell modified his B-doubles by building a partition in the front unit. This is intended to restrict the overall length of the unit to 18.5 m deck space.

Mitchell denied their demands since he alleges that it would render the rigs unsafe because of the way the load would be distributed.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/12714398/main-roads-pushed-for-unsafe-cattle-trailers/

Occupational Health And Safety: Court Reduces Fine for Crane Death

OHS TrainingWestern Australia’s Supreme Court has reduced a company and its directors’ fines by fifty-percent. The fines were in response to the death of a 22-year-old worker. Luke Murrie was an employee for D&G Hoists when he died as a result of a section of a crane fell upon him in October 2007. The company and its directors were found culpable in the charge of failing to uphold a safe workplace.

The company received a fine of $ 90,000 while the directors were each charged $45,000. Today a Supreme Court threw out the appeals against the convictions but decided that the fines should be reduced.

The company was subsequently ordered to pay a $70,000 fine while each director was ordered to pay $ 10,000. Despite the reduced fines, Janice ( Murrie’s mother) stated that she is pleased that the guilty verdicts were upheld. Janice stated that the case has taken a toll on the family with them focussing on his death, and the circumstances around his death for four years can make people angry and it can wear people out.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety training

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-13/workplace-death-fines-reduced/3771966?section=wa

OHS Courses that Benefit Specific Industries

ohs courses for studsentsThe National OHS Strategy of 2002 – 2012 outlines specific goals to achieve by 2012. In research, they have found that there are certain industries that file more Worker Compensation claims than others. These include building and construction, transport and storage, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fisheries and health and community services. Through awareness and OHS courses, the percentage of accidents and illnesses has steadily decreased since 2002.

OHS Courses Help with Company Safety

Understanding the types of safety that are most important in your industry can help you determine what form of OHS Courses will be most beneficial to your employees. For example, manual handling tasks account for more than 35% of the reported injuries in Australian workplaces. This course could apply to each of the industries listed above and many others, placing employees at risk. The Manual Handling Training Shift Materials Safely Using Manual Handling Methods – TLID107C is an excellent course that addresses skills in shifting loads, compliance according the legislative rules and certain control measures that should be put into place.

OHS Courses on Hazardous Substances

OHS Courses on Hazardous Substances is another training class that can help reduce injury from chemical burns, identifying substances and proper packaging. Those in the transport, warehousing, distribution and storage industries can gain knowledge into why handling of dangerous goods is critical to health. Material safety data sheets, labeling, placards and classes of substances will also be learned. Emergency equipment and processes should an accident occur if paramount in this type of exposure and a Hazardous Substances Course covers this as well.

OHS Courses Online

There are many companies that now offer OHS Courses online, through the mail or making visits to industries for hands on learning and demonstrations. Accredited certification can be obtained at the end of each course and quality employees to teach new hires. More basic programs are also available for learning the most recent changes of the OHS rules and regulations or basic first aid for certain types of injuries. These can be added as your employees become trained on OHS Courses as ongoing classes.

Select Your OHS Course Provider Carefully

Make sure that the company that you choose to provide materials for OHS Courses have been degreed and licensed in your particular trade. For instance, the team of PeopleSafe Australia has all worked previously for the Master Builders Association, making them a perfect match for the construction industry. Ongoing workshops are a way to keep your employees sharp and always aware of accidents if certain procedures are not performed.

Start by finding the course that yo u are looking for online.  Next, select a respected training company that has the background and credentials to get you started. Building a safer workplace is the ultimate goal and with everyone joining in, the National OHS Strategy will be a success by 2012.

Make an Enquiry: