WorkSafe VIC Issued $4 Million in Fines This Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Expert Says Cuts To Travelling Safety Claims Would Hurt Workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why would you meddle with it?”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

WorkSafe VIC Issued $4 Million in Fines This Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Union Warns Oval Construction Deadline Risks Worker Safety

occupational health and safety trainingSouth Australia’s Labor has been accused of risking the safety of workers by rushing a redevelopment project on the Adelaide Oval for a March state election deadline.

The construction union have warned of the implications of the government’s plan to give  the main contractor a $5 million bonus if the election deadline is met.

The government has denied any reports of the project being rushed, but emphasised that it must be finished in time for the AFL season.

“It’s certainly not worth the price of one of our workers on that site getting killed,”  said Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union state secretary, Aaron Cartledge.

Concerns have arisen following the death of a construction worker at the $1.8 billion desalination plant.

The court found 35-year-old steel rigger Brett Fritsch was killed as a result of the unsafe workplace practices of his employer, Ferro Con.

A parliamentary inquiry in 2011 indicated that the desalination project was rushed and production took precedence over safety.

Opposition frontbencher Iain Evans said “We cannot afford a repeat of the tragic circumstances that marred the construction of the desalination plant “.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety or OHS

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/oval-deadline-a-risk-to-safety/story-e6frgczx-1226717219393

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS Training: Unions Go After Labour Party For Safety Changes

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training

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

Two Separate Workplace Accidents Result In Injury and Death

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

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

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

More info on Workplace Safety

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

Occupational Health and Safety: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

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: Worker Lucky To Have Survived Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

OHS:Maritime Safety A Hot Topic Following Ship Fatality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smith says improvements to the system are especially needed.

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superintendent Koutsoufis says the driver is very distressed.

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

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

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

The project is expected to take until atleast 2023.

More info on Occupational health and safety

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

Alertforce Becomes Diamond Sponsor For SIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OHS: Birkenhead Man Crushed By Fence, Dies

A Man was crushed by a steel fence earlier this month, and has since died as a result of the industrial accident.

The man was critically injured while unloading the fence panels from a shipping container during the second week of may.

He died recently as a result of his injuries.

Safe Work SA is currently reviewing the incident, and investigating whether  there were any breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act.

SafeWork SA executive director Bryan Russel stated that the incident was a tragedy for the man, his family, and everyone else involved. “Work health and safety is a shared responsibility and we must all remain vigilant in eliminating and minimising risks,” Russell said.
 More info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/man-crushed-by-steel-fence-panels-at-birkenhead-dies/story-e6frea83-1226652512638
 

OHS:Company Fined for Burned Chef

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHS:Ten Queensland Rides Given Prohibition Notices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS:Worker’s Arm Caught in Olive Crushing Machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHS:WorkSafe Crackdowns on Apprentice Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

SA Lost Over 1.5K Years Of Productivity Due To OHS Claims

WorkCover recently revealed that SA businesses lost over one and a half thousand years worth of productivity during the 2011/12 period due to compensation claims.

According to the safety watchdog, the loss of productivity resulted in a loss of $208 million to businesses.

Statistics from the WorkCover SA website report that the workers compensation claims amounted to over 560,000 days of lost productivity which is equivalent to 1536 years of work.

On top of the days lost, almost 30,000 claims for workers compo for workplace injuries and illnesses incurred in the 2011/12 period have so far cost the SA Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme approx. $208 million (an average daily cost in excess of $7800).

Chief Executive Officer of WorkCoverSA, Greg McCarthy, stated the reducing the cost of workers compo in SA is in everyone’s best interest and prevention is more efficient than the cure. McCarthy added that in cases where an injury has occurred, employers should be supportive of the injured workers and help them return to work swiftly and safely.

WorkCoverSA’s Experience Rating System, introduced in July 2012, rewards medium and large employers with lower workers’ compensation premiums for good claims performance.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.in-business.com.au/news/story/2013-5-24/15918

Poultry Worker Hospitalised After Machine Pulled His Arm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Farms did not respond to a request for comment.

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Alertforce Wins Gold With LexisNexis- WHS-Modules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

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

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

The following modules were offered:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OHS:Mine Worker Measles Leads to Statewide Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS: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: 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.

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Plasterer Suffers Back Injury

A plasterer suffered a back injury at a construction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety Issues At Hospital Denied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing was adjourned to a date to be set.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Site of Killed Man Had Safety Issues

A union had raised concerns regarding a Sydney work site two weeks prior to the death of a young man.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said work had stopped on the site where a 22-year-old man was killed on Saturday.

The Canadian backpacker succumbed to head and chest injuries which were a result of being hit by a number of metal beams during the demolition of a building in Australia Street in Camperdown.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said union organiser Tony Sloane had stopped work on the site around Easter following raised concerns  about how the demolition work was being carried out.

“While the full circumstances of the death are still not known, we fear there have been shortcuts taken to demolish the building faster,” Mr Parker said.

“If that is the case and this young Canadian has lost his life to help boost some builder’s bottom line then it just magnifies the tragedy.

“What was meant to be the trip of a lifetime has instead cost this young man his life.

“We will do all we can to ensure the truth of what happened today is exposed.”

Mr Parker said more deaths were likely as WorkCover was sacking inspectors and closing branches across Sydney and regional NSW.

WorkCover is investigating and police will prepare a report for the coroner.

More Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-dies-at-inner-sydney-worksite/story-fn3dxiwe-1226619731891

OHS: Unions Raise Concerns Over WorkCover Closures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Wharfies Demand Safety Reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Young Workers Face Higher OHS Risk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Crushing Conveyor Belt Incident To Be Investigated

A 27-year old worker was rushed to the hospital following a serious incident that resulted in his leg becoming lodged in a conveyor belt.

According to a spokesperson for Ambulance Victoria revealed that the paramedics were called to Thorton Engineering early in the morning.

Upon arrival they discovered the man had serious crush injuries to his leg. He was rushed to Geelong Hospital and was said to be in stable albeit, serious condition.

WorkSafe Spokseperson Rosanna Bonacurrso stated that the watchdog organisation was notified of the incident at the Corior workplace. Bonacurso stated

“It’s believed a 27-year-old worker suffered injuries to his right leg after it was caught between a roller and steel product.

“A WorkSafe inspector visited the workplace this morning and is making inquiries.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2013/03/08/360778_news.html

OHS:UK Pie Manufacturer Employee Death Hits Close To Home

Andrew Jones Pies, a Yorkshire based pie manufacturer which is now facing bankruptcy , has been ordered to pay  £375,000 following a gas explosion which killed a man an injured another.

The manufacturer has been found in breach of health and safety laws, with a judge claiming it had “failed dismally”.

According to reports, the judge acknowledged that while the business is not in a financial position to pay the fines, the charges  expose the manufacturer’s failings.The explosion occured in 2009 when baker David Cole, repeatedly attempted to light a 3-decade old oven, unaware that gas was building up inside the baking chamber. Eventually the door blew off the oven and hit Cole, who was trapped when a section of the roof collapsed. Cole died and another worker at the scene was seriously injured.

The case is similar to a local case involving the directors of the  Pokolbin’s Drayton’s Family Wines. The winery was charged with failing to ensure the  safety of their workers which resulted in a  2008 explosion which killed two people.

Workcover NSW launched a criminal investigation against the winery almost two years after a coroner revealed that poor safety measures was a key cause of the blast which killed two employees.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/uk-pie-manufacturer-fined-375-000-for-safety-brea

OHS:Spinal Injury Results in 60k Fine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHS: Air Collision Narrowly Avoided Due to Faulty Radio Switch

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Unions Left Out of WorkCover Pamphlets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WorkCover could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

More on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Fatal Fall Prompts WorkSafe Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and safety

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

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.

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

Smelter Accident Prompts Investigation

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

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

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

Both men were treated at  Royal Adelaide Hospital.

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:WorkSafe Investigating Death of Roma Worker

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

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

Police are also preparing a report for the coroner.

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

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

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

Two people were admitted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The incident is currently under investigation.”

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Whyalla First To Launch Statewide Safety Initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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OHS: Christmas Season Bad For Bosses

 Australian employees are expected to take approximately one million sick days this holiday season, costing employers $350 million.Absenteeism will be especially high this season with data suggesting that 1,069,889 working days will be lost mainly because Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve both fall Mondays.

This means that anyone who decides to fake sickness on December 24 will be subject to a five-day break. In addition, those who decide to avoid work on December 31 will get a four day break. Approximately 570,000 ‘sickies’ are expected on these two days.

Surveys conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Morgan and Banks and Direct Health Solutions on workplace absenteeism, revealed that 67 per cent of workers admit to taking a sick day on a Monday.Reports indicate that employees who have become more privy since they are now 50 per cent more likely to ask for a certificate before or after a public holiday.

Many workplaces that stay open during the Christmas- New Year period suffer from higher levels of absenteeism.According to Paul Dunden, chief executive of Direct Health Solutions, service and production roles going full throttle during the Christmas period.”As a result these industries are at risk of high levels of absenteeism either side of public holidays over the festive season,” he said.

Retailers are  especially susceptible to absenteeism.

“Retail tends to increase shifts during the Christmas and Boxing Day sales period because it is the busiest shopping period in the year,” said Margy Osmond chief executive of the Australian National Retailers Association.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://tools.themercury.com.au/stories/53873245-business-news.php

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

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

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.

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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

OHS: A Significant Decline in Work Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Builder and Union Clash Using Ads

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Perth Company Pays Out for Injured Labourer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

 

OHS: WorkSafe Pressured To Rush Inquiry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Coroner’s report is being anticipated.

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Brewery Workers Strike Amid Safety Concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Safety Review Underway At Newcastle Port

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Worker’s Crushed Arm Leads to Company Fining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Victorian OHS Lawbreakers Still Own Millions

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

Since 2002 there has been approximately 269 workers killed.

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

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

Other results of the investigation concluded :

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

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

AlertForce Awarded at E-Training Conference

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

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

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

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

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OHS:Silence Is Perpetuating Safety Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Workers Union Launches Investigation Into Two Rig Deaths

OHS TrainingThe Australian Workers Union (AWU) revealed their intentions to launch an investigation into the two deaths of offshore drilling rig workers in Victoria. The two men were killed in an operational incident approximately 50 km off the coast of Port Campbell.

The Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit recently returned to land and the AWU stated that they have been briefed on the incident. Reports indicate that something malfunctioned with the equipment and it struck either one of both of the workers which lead to their unfortunate deaths. More details are expected to emerge, however, for now all work has been suspended, and the well has been secured.  Police flew to the rig following the accident.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) launched an investigation into the deaths. Origin (the company in charge of the drilling Unit) stated that there were no environmental issues as a result of the incident and the gas production will not be adversely affected.

The Union intends to investigate the incident further in order to avoid similar accidents from occurring in the future. The oil and gas industry offshore has reputable and good quality occupational health and safety standards, but the work is inherently dangerous.

A full investigation with the company and the safety authority will be launched.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-28/awu-launches-probe-into-drill-rig-deaths/4226664?section=vic

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

OHS:Cafe Owner Fined For Abusing WorkSafe Inspector

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Opposition Condemns NSW Government’s Worker Comp Changes

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS: Yarra cleared of Safety Breaches

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

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

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

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

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

Wife of Slain BHP Worker Searching for Answers

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

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

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

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

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

More information can be found  on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

Petition May Reignite Debate over WorkCover Overhaul

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

 

OHS: Injuries Costing Moonee Valley $41.2 million

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

AlertForce Awarded At LearnX eLearning Technology Conference

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 16, 2012

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Thousands March Against WorkCover Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHS: Police Operation Reveals 1300 Truckie offences

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: ACTU Condemns BHP for Safety Practices

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Manufacturing Workers Suffer From Health Issues

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bagiante claims the injury has left her with ongoing pain.

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Xstrata Orders Study On Workers Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Poor Investments to Blame for WorkCover Woes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Supermarket’s Hit Back At Unsubstantiated Claims

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Tribute To Honour Fallen Rail Workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Worker Crushed in Lift Accident

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

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

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

This is the fifth workplace death in Victoria this year.

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

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

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: Mechanic Apprentice Suffers Head Injuries

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:WorkCover Scheme To Receive Serious Cuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 is expected to be implemented later this year.

Source: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/AboutSafeWorkAustralia/WhatWeDo/PublicConsultation/Pages/WHSStrategyPC.aspx

Tasmanian Company fined $60k for OHS Accident

ohs trainingTasmanian building supply company Kemp and Denning was ordered to pay an approximately $60,000 file because of an occupational health and safety incident in which a worker lost his leg.

In 2010, Anthony Young was pinned in a crusher at the company’s New Town brickworks which resulted in him having his leg amputated.

The company pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to failing to ensure safety from injury and health risks. A spokesperson from Workplace Standards has maintained that K and D have since made changes to their safety measures at the site.

Roy Omerod of Workplace Standards says that the incident is testament to the need to keep workers safe because of the cost to the person and the industry.The company has yet to comment on the fine. K and D will be closing the brickworks next month because of the cost of environmental regulations.Young is currently appealing against the Supreme court decision to halt his workers compensation.

Despite Young’s working at the plant for two years, he was a contractor for Tasmanian Contracting Services and is thus not eligible for workers compensation.

Young has commenced a civil action seeking damages.The Full Court has not yet laid its decision on the matters.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-28/brickworks-fined-after-worker-crushed/3918222?section=tas

OHS: NSW Premier Seeks to Change Workcover Scheme

ohs trainingNew South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrel emphasised the need for change in the state’s WorkCover compensation system because of massive expenditures.

O’Farrell says that the reforms will not be revealed for another month.

O’Farrell has received criticism for not being bold enough in his first year in office.  Since then, O’Farrell has announced his plans to take his time to respond to questions regarding a new audit for the WorkCover system.

He said that they have received the report regarding the financial situation with WorkCovers scheme, and they are planning to discuss their plans within a month. O’Farrell also made reference to the audit’s warning that the scheme will be $4 billion in deficit by year’s end.

The government will look into making the scheme more sustainable since the deficit currently amounts to $9 million a day.Premiums are twice the cost in NSW than in other states, said O’Farrell

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-26/o27farrell-to-slash-costs-of-compensation-scheme/3913224?section=nsw 

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.

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-22/teenager-killed-by-falling-excavator-bucket/3906916?section=nsw

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

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Occupational Health and Safety Compensation Schemes May Merge

ohs trainingVictoria’s two worker’s accident compensation panels face a possible merger as the government attempts to reduce its deficit and fix its budget surplus.

Since the state’s finances are under heavy scrutiny, the government has inconspicuously asked the Essential Services Commission to conduct a thorough review of the WorkCover Authority and the Transport Accident Commission.

It is believed the review, which has yet to be publicly announced, is discussing combining the two entities, since both deal with accident prevention and compensation. The idea is that the merger could potentially save several millions of dollars.A spokesperson for Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said that currently there was no concrete plans to merge the two authorities, however the government could not pre-empt what might  be concluded in the review.

These discussions come after the government’s plans to strip WorkCover of almost $500 million to help keep the budget from falling into deficit. Opposition finance spokesperson Robin Scott spoke on the possibility of a merger as  “fundamental threat  to the integrity of both organisations”

Maurice Blackburn senior Lawyer John Cain said that merging the two agencies might not be a possible since both entities are governed by separate legislation. Cain said that the risk of merging them is that the quality of both schemes will suffer.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/tac-workcover-review-20120312-1uwkv.html#ixzz1p2l2pguf

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OHS:Truck Driver Charged For Two Deaths

ohs trainingA truck driver has been charged for dangerous driving that resulted in the deaths of two individuals.

An aspiring student Sarah Frazer and a respected tow truck driver Geoff Clark were killed when a table-top truck hit them on the side of the Hume Highway.

Mr Clark pulled over to assist Frazer, whose car had shut down.  The 23-year old student was about to excitedly embark on her dream of going to school for photography. Clark, a father of four, was helping Frazer prepare her vehicle for towing prior to the incident.

Both Clark and Frazer died instantly and the truck’s driver was hospitalized for shock. The driver has assisted police in their investigation. The 24-year old driver received three charges; including two counts of dangerous driving resulting in death, and negligent driving resulting in death.

He will appear in court on May 8.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/truck-driver-responsible-for-two-deaths-charged-20120312-1uucs.html 

OHS: Transport Company Fined $45k For Worker’s Injuries

ohs trainingA Transport Company was fined $45,000 for failing to ensure the safety of an employee which resulted in injury at a Burnie port site.

The company, Toll pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that truck driver Gary Oliver was safe at work. Oliver suffered life threatening injuries when he was struck by a B-double truck in September 2010. The incident left Oliver hospitalized for a significant amount of time; as he only got out of the hospital recently.

Magistrate Don Jones recognised that the company had expressed remorse and had spent approximately $40,000 on travel costs for Oliver’s family to be by his side in Melbourne.

Changes to the site have been implemented to ensure that it is safer but the magistrate believes the changes should have been made prior to the injury of an employee.

Jones said that there were clear measures that could have been undertaken to ensure the safety of Oliver.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-07/company-fined-over-work-injury/3873802?section=tas 

OHS: Worker Loses Fingers To WoodChipper

OHS trainingA supplier of woodchipping machines based out of Australia was subject to a $30,000 fine following a workplace incident that resulted in a worker losing several fingers. A Perth Magistrate determined that CJD Equipment was guilty of neglecting to ensure the manufacturing of the machine was safe. The worker’s employer has already been fined for the incident. According to WorkSafe WA, CJD Equipment supplied the machine to Softwood Logging but it lacked a guard on a section of the machine. The man was operating the woodchipper when the “oversprout” which is a piece of machinery that is supposed to eject waste from the chipper. At some point, the chipper became blocked which compelled the worker to attempt to clear the blockage. The workers right hang was struck by the chipper which resulted in him losing his index, middle and ring fingers.

WorkSafe WA director stated that the guarding of the moving parts of machinery is one of the simplest and obvious ways of limiting the risk of injury to machinery operators. The responsibility of the supplier, according to the director, is to ensure that the machine is safe to operate. Following the incident the employer installed a guard on the overspout.

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Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/woodchipper-supplier-fined-30000-over-lost-fingers-20120228-1u0p8.html#ixzz1njeQXFNs

Truck Driver Charged For Fatal Hume Highway Accident

ohs trainingA truck driver from Sydney has been charged over a collision that resulted in the death of three people on the Hume Highway in January. Investigators have commenced what has been described as an “unprecedented” operation on the company the trucker works for. Vincent George of Lennons Transport Services, was charged with three counts of dangerous driving that resulted in death . The B-double truck traversed an embankment before crashing through a guard rail and smashing head on into another vehicle. The fatalities of the accident are, Calyyn, and his ageing parents Donald and Patricia Logan. The family had just finished visiting a newborn addition to the Family. George has since had his licensed suspended and will face a court in May.

Police indicated that impending charges are possible upon the release of toxicology results. A Sydney truck driver has been charged over a horrific crash that killed three people on the Hume Highway last month. Road Safety authorities and the police are reviewing Lennon’s line of trucks. Each driver will be tested for illicit substances, and trucks will be searched. Drug detection dogs will also be present at various inspections. Police Assistant Commissioner, John Hartley is confident that the operation will act as as a warning to the trucking industry. Hartley said “charges will be laid” to any trucking company that decides to neglect their safety measures.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-22/truckie-charged-over-fatal-hume-highway-crash/3843984?section=nsw

OHS: Over 100 Road Accidents Involve MPs and Staff

OHS TrainingOver 100 road accidents in just over a year have involved Federal parliamentarians and their staff. As a consequence of this, over 400 fines were dished out.

Despite these findings, the government has denied the occurrence of a significant increase in traffic-law breaches

All MP’s and senator’s office is granted a taxpayer-funded car, which the politician or their family and staff, can use for any lawful reason. Some parliamentarians who reside in rural areas, have received two vehicles.

The Finance Department has revealed that between August, 2010 and December, 2011, these taxpayer-funded cars were involved in 104 accidents.

Reports have indicated that the drivers have neglected to pay tolls at almost 200 occasions, been subject to 98 speeding tickets, 76 parking tickets, and 9 fines for running red lights. It is important to note that these amounts are only a portion of the number of breaches since the department does not receive every single infringement notice.

Special Minister of State, Gary Gray stated that his office had looked into the infringements throughout previous years and he believe there has not been a “significant change”.

The Finance Department has yet to release the names of parliamentarians that are alleged to have been involved in any of the reported road incidents.

Citizens would be pleased to know that taxpayers do not pay the fines, as the drivers at the time of the offences are the ones held liable for the infringements.

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Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/mps-staff-in-100-road-accidents/2455707.aspx

OHS: Building Officials Change Their Stories Regarding Assault

Two building industry inspectors have allegedly evidence after initially signing off on statements that accused a “militant” union official of head-butting one of them at a building site. Shortly after the alleged assault, both inspectors Mathew Keene and Shaun Hardwick signed off on “de-briefing” statements that alleged that Keene had been head-butted by John Setka, state secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. The signed statements were then given to their employer, the Australian Building and Construction Commission. A committee hearing revealed that the police were originally informed by a senior building executive that Setka had allegedly head-butted the inspector. However, later signed statements alleged that another CFMEU official Matt Hudson, was responsible for the head-butt.

The hearing will make a decision on whether the unionist should stand trial. Keene has since admitted to destroying original notes from the case, while Hardwick stated that a vital digital recording he had had malfunctioned and erased.  Keen has denied any allegations that he had changed his story, stating that he had always stated that Hudson was the one had head-butted him. He recalled signing the de-briefing that cited Setka as the guilty party, yet he claims he told them it was Hudson.  Despite admitting to not witnessing the assault, Hardwick’s original statement states that Setka was the one responsible for the head –butting.

The  Federal  government is  currently aiming to abolish the Building and Construction Commission.

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Source:  http://www.theage.com.au/national/building-officials-changed-evidence-20120207-1r5j6.html#ixzz1mJRjCtoD

 

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.

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

OHS: Miner Gets Million Dollar Compensation

OHS TrainingA Miner who had a 56-tonne rock land on his dump truck was awarded $1.5 million in compensation. The former professional footballer James L. Geary was successful in his claims against employer Rejv Services Pty Ltd and three associated companies in the Townsville Supreme Court. Geary is alleged to have suffered back injuries when he was significantly jolted by the fallen rock. The incident in question occurred in August of 2005, while Geary was driving a truck that was being loaded with dirt and rock from a digger.

Geary claims to have backed his truck out which could carry 400 tonnes. The digger operator told Geary to brace himself for a big rock which landed on his truck and caused things “to get really violent in the cab”.Geary claims to have been winded by jolt and said he felt a sharp pain in his lower back.

The result was a lumbar spine injury which forced Geary to conduct light duties for a few days until he took sick leave for two weeks.

Geary still had injuries when he returned to work which lead to him quitting his job in 2006. After working a few jobs after with various companies, Geary left the industry. The plaintiff claimed that the reasoning for Geary leaving each subsequent job was because he could “not cope because of his back pain”.

It was determined that Geary was simply too proud of his past as a footballer and strong man that he hid his physical and emotional stresses.Geary was eventually granted $1.5 million for medical bills, past economic loss, future wages and superannuation. His boss was ordered to pay an additional $360 thousand

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Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2012/02/01/302061_news.html 

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Occupational Health and Safety: Owners of Exploded Factory Request Reduced Penalties

OHS TrainingThe owners of an exploded factory that resulted in the death of three men, have requested  their penalties for breaching occupational health and safety practices to be reduced since they have shown good faith in paying out compensation and admitted to the breaches .

Michael Roder SC appeared before a full bench of the South Australian Industrial Relations Court and stated that, while Quin Investments and Nikolai Kazub had accepted they had been in breach of workplace laws, those breaches were not indicative that they caused the explosion.

The explosion resulted in the deaths of Damian Harris, Matt Keeley and Darren Millington and the injuries Cameron Edson and Damian John.Last year, the company and the accountable officer faced a fine of $95,000 for two counts of occupational health and safety breaches; as well as defective equipment that resulted in the explosion.

The parties sought appeal in the Industrial Relations Court in July and it was determined that the evidence was not proof that the defective factory equipment had led to the explosion.But on appeal to the Industrial Relations Court in July, it was decided the evidence did not prove the defective factory equipment had caused the explosion.

The Prosecution stated that while the licenses for explosive manufacturing were surrendered by Quin Investments, Kazub was responsible for the operation of another explosives manufacturing factory in Norther Territory. Prosecutors have alleged that a displaced shaft in ribbon blender had rubbed against another metal surface, which triggered a chemical reaction which led to an explosion.

Ms. Chapman of the Prosecution stated that the company had botched its responsibility of maintaining the safety of its employees on the day of the explosion, and the accused parties’ safety practices were a “potentially catastrophic risk”.

Chapman has expressed concerns for a lack of record for any item in the factory. The ribbon in question had not been monitored in over two decades.Michael Roder SC for Quin Investments and Kazub stated that $20,000 of the fine had already been paid out which should be seen as a good sign of penitence for the unfortunate deaths of the three individuals and the injured parties.

Chapman has requested that the compensation order be upheld and that the same penalty be applied to Quin investments and Kazub.

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Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/owners-of-explosives-factory-want-fines-reduced/story-e6frg6nf-1226227911705 

Fitness For Duty Training: Mining Union Supports Possible Drug Testing Rules

OHS TrainingUnions are confident that changes to drug testing regulation for miners will ensure that recreational drug users are not marginalized.

The Fitness for Duty changes as supported by Safe Work Australia and the National Mine Safety Framework, will necessitate consent from the majority of the workforce prior to introducing urine testing for drugs.

Currently, urine testing for drugs is allowed at the discretion of the employer.

Industry group, the Australian Metals and Mining Association, is concerned that mining safety throughout the country will be jeopardized if the changes are passed.Andrew Vickary, from the CFMEU, believes the move is a didactic one for employers.Vicary asserted that getting very inebriated on a Friday evening would not affect Monday’s productivity if the employee was sober on the Monday. Furthermore, it would not be a safety risk.

He expanded  by stating that an employee would not be a safety risk if they smoked marijuana weeks earlier on a long service leave, since the substance would not be present enough in the system as to warrant impairment.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201112/s3395529.htm 

Occupational Health and Safety: Mining Company’s Actions Prompts Water Quality Concerns

OHSIllwarra Community members gathered together in Waratah Rivulet to inspect a cracked riverbed. It is believed that the cracking was a consequence of long wall mining in the area.

Some of the inspectors included environmental lobby group Friends of the Stonefly, and NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.The community members were concerned with the water quality of the rivulet which acts as a source of drinking water for southern Sydney and northern Illawarra residents.

There are also concerns that the beauty of the area has been damaged by cracks being filled with polyurethane. The community have cited concerns with the continuous trend of mining companies entering communities, leaving massive damage, and then attempting to fix the damage they’ve caused.

The rivulet has been unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years, but now large slabs of stone are eroding and falling off.

Jennifer Morgans from Peabody Energy Australia (the Mining company in Waratah Rivulet), stated that the damage can be observed from areas where the company has not mined.Morgans stated that the polyurethane is a proven method of dealing with these types of issues without affecting the water quality.

Source : http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/12/15/3391612.htm?site=illawarra

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Occupational Health And Safety : Fallen Stone Slab Kills Worker

OHSA man has died after being crushed at a kitchen bench manufacturer in Perth. The man died when a slab of stone fell on him at Bayswater factory.WorkSafe investigations indicated that it appeared that the slab had fallen from a pallet when the pallet was shaken by a forklift bumping into it.The accident joins a set of numerous  occupational health and safety accidents that have occurred at industrial sites in Australia this month.

WorkSafe Victoria stated that two workers had died in the last 24 hours, one had been reported missing and another was in the hospital with critical injuries. 21 deaths have occurred thus far in Victoria; a fifth of which have occurred in the past 21 days.Victoria has moved for a postponement of OHS Harmonisation legislation.

Other Victoria workplace deaths have involved a 26 year old worker who died when a heavy piece of machinery dropped from an overhead crane. The man has since succumbed to his injuries. Another worker suffered critical injuries when he was crushed while working on a dock leveller. He remains in treatment at the hospital.

WorSafe director Ian Forsyth stated that the recent events were a reminder over the importance of workplace safety.  He added by stating that the worst consequences of a workplace incident are not only felt by the individual but by the family and loved ones— these affects can last a lifetime.

 Source: http://www.myfen.com.au/news/worker-crushed-to-death-by-stone-slab-at-kitchen-m

Occupational Health And Safety: WorkSafe Investigates Sweet Sweeper Death

ohs trainingWorkSafe is currently investigating the death of a road worker who was struck by a street sweeper in Melbourne.

The worker was conducting road maintenance at a work site on Canterbury Road in Bayswater when he was run over by a reversing street sweeper. Despite attempts of another road worker to raise the alarm, the man had already died when paramedics arrived. The street sweeper  was taken a hold of by WorkSafe until they are finished investigating the occupational health and safety issue.

Worksafe spokesperson Michael Birt stated that this month is the busiest month of the year which is causing many workers to feel pressure to meet tight deadlines.

Birt emphasised that these accidents are not freak accidents but rather the result of routine jobs. Thus it is not a matter of luck or just “occupational hazards”/

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/worker-dead-in-street-sweeper-tragedy-20111201-1o7m4.html#ixzz1fu9IWeaz

Occupational Health And Safety : Man Dies in Sewage Tank

ohsA man has died following his attempt to collect samples in a sewage tank. The middle-age lab technician disappeared after he was last seen carrying out the routine sampling.  Melbourne Water went to the site and spent hours  draining the tank, where they eventually discovered the man’s body. It is believed he fell in to the tank and subsequently died. Most of his equipment was found nearby.

His dead is the sixth occupational health and safety death in the last 11 days. Worksafe visited the scene while divers searched for the man’s body.Earlier this week a young man from Craigiburn died at the hands of a 150-kg piece of machinery struck him while he was at a boat manufacturing business.

WorkSafe executive director stated that the deaths indicated the need to remember how important occupational health and safety was  for many industries at this time —their busiest time of the year. Other workplace incidents that have occurred was the killing of a 73-year old farmer when gored by a bull, the  death of a man from a  fallen cherry picker, and the death of another man caused by a crushed vehicle at a factory.

21 workplace deaths are said to have occurred this year.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/water-worker-dies-after-falling-into-sewage-tank-20111201-1o978.html

 

 

Hobson’s Bay Pays Out the Most In Occupational Health and Safety Claims

ohs trainingSince 2006, Hobsons Bay has accumulated the second highest number of occupational health and safety cases in the Western region. It was a close second to Wyndham.

Currently WorkSafe is at work to ensure that safety improvements be met prior to inspection. This comes following news that Victoria was home to the safest workplaces in all of Australia.The new WorkSafe campaign “Any Day Now” commenced last night and has arrived following the Government’s yearly report regarding work-safety incidents.In Hobsons Bay, 4681 claims were made, with the total payout from July 2006 to June 2011 exceeding $100 million.

Despite having more WorkSafe claims, Wyndham has paid out approximately $96 million in compensation.The only injuries recorded in these statistics are injuries that required the worker to be off work for 10 or more days, or those who had treatment which costs more than $580.Overall, there were 17,720 claims in Western Australia, and a total payout in excess of $366 million.

The most common issues are those pertaining to dangerous manual handing practices, damaged storage racking, unguarded machinery, unsafe scaffolding, unsafe dangerous goods storage, and inadequate forklift safety.

According to the report, Victoria boasts the lowest number of injuries per-thousand workers out of every state.

Source:http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/star/williamstown-altona-laverton/322/story/144648.html

Son Sues Parents Over Workplace Accident

occupational health and safety trainingAfter successfully suing his own parents following a workplace injury, a man claims there aren’t any ill-feelings between him and his parents.

The mid-thirties man was granted $844,000 when he sued his family in the Supreme Court after he suffered devastating back injury. The incident occurred while he was operating a harvesting machine on their tobacco farm.

The court found that the  individual had contributed to his injury and thus he received reduced compensation. He received 70% less compensation, which left him $400,000 for his pain and suffering and almost four hundred and fifty thousand dollars for loss of income

Despite finding that his parents had in fact not been negligent, they had indeed breached occupational health and safety regulations.The man had previously been directed by doctors to cease his work on the farm when he suffered a back injury in a car accident eight years ago. The accident required him to receive spinal surgery.

Despite claiming there is no ill will between the parties, he intends on appealing the reduced compensation decision.

 Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8369415/son-sues-parents-for-workplace-injury

Two People Injured at Cattle Stations

OHS trainingTwo separate incidents on isolated cattle stations have led to the hospitalization of a man and a woman. A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson claims that the woman was injured upon falling off her motorbike while gathering cattle.

The woman was not wearing safety apparatus and subsequently suffered a fractured collarbone and elbow as well as several abrasions and cuts. The woman was taken to the hospital where her injuries were treated.

The man who was injured around the same time, was discovered in an ‘altered state of consciousness’ after he was knocked out at a cattle stationIt is unclear if the man was knocked out unconscious by a cow or by an opening gate.

He will be airlifted to another medical facility where he will have his head injuries treated.

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/two-injured-on-remote-qld-cattle-stations-near-burketown-and-llanarth/story-e6freoof-1226178977803

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5 Ways To Tell If OHS Training Is Working For Your Business

ohs-for-businessOHS requires Safety and Health Training in almost every occupation from office workers to hazard waste. They have rules and regulations for land and sea and it is up to each company to ensure that they and their employees have the necessary training and competence to get jobs done in the safest healthiest manner possible.

While most businesses want a safe and healthy work environment for their employees they often find themselves wondering if all these OHS training programs are really doing any good. So, here are 5 ways to tell if that OHS training program is working for your business.

1. Are workers demonstrating skills and competency with using machine and adhering to safety procedures they learned in the OHS training? Is someone in management dedicated to making sure OHS guidelines and regulations are met? After all, no training program is going to be successful unless implemented and followed.

2. Do workers feel free to report any safety or heath concerns and are those concerns addressed by your company to further reduce the risk to the employee? If your OHS training program is working, your employees should be more aware of safety or health risks on the jobs and feel free to talk to you about those risks and suggest ways to minimize those risks.

3. Has there been a reduction in accidents, worker compensation claims, and overall absenteeism? One of the best ways of knowing if the OHS training is effective is when there is a noticeable reduction in accident and worker claims regarding various on the job health problems. When the work place is safer, workers tend to take less time off work.

4. Has the general atmosphere in the work place lightened? Do your workers look and act more comfortable when performing tasks? Is there less complaining? Overall, do workers seem less stressed and seem to enjoy their jobs a little more? The safer a worker feels on the job, the more job satisfaction they experience and the less need the feel to complain. It may take some time but eventually, if your OHS training is working, there will be an overall general improvement in workers attitude.

5. Is productivity improving? The safer the workplace, the healthier the work environment the more productive your business will become. When workers are allowed to concentrate on their jobs rather than spending time worrying about their safety or their health, the more they can accomplish during regular working hours. This cuts down on the need for overtime and overall increases the businesses bottom line.

One of the main goals of OHS training to help employers and their employees understand that safety and health is something that everyone needs to be aware of and want to improve. While it is the employers job to minimized health and safety risks as much as possible, the employees mush make effective use of the equipment supplied, the training they are given, and the procedures they learn in order to help keep themselves and the workers around them safe and healthy. If everyone from that warehouse clerk to upper management understands their role in keeping your business and each other safe and healthy then OHS training does indeed work.

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.

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