Expert Says Cuts To Travelling Safety Claims Would Hurt Workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why would you meddle with it?”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Occupational Health and Safety:Roofing Company Fined For Injured Worker

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

AG To Investigate Workplace Safety Fine Loophole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety  ( OHS )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Separate Workplace Accidents Result In Injury and Death

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

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

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

More info on Workplace Safety

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

Occupational Health and Safety: Workplace Injuries and Aggriculture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which has now resulted in a hefty pay rise.

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

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

Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info On Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS:Maritime Safety A Hot Topic Following Ship Fatality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smith says improvements to the system are especially needed.

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

Alertforce Becomes Diamond Sponsor For SIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-30-

OHS: 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: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: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

-30-

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.

Advertisement

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Rural Death Causes Plea For Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Plasterer Suffers Back Injury

A plasterer suffered a back injury at a construction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety Issues At Hospital Denied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing was adjourned to a date to be set.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

NSW Man Critical Condition After Forklift Traps Him in Freezer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Perth Company Fined for Grinder Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Wharfies Demand Safety Reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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: 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: Worker Struck by Ute At Mowbray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Perth Company Fined 10k for OHS injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

Compensation for Injured Public Servants Almost $1 Billion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:WorkSafe Investigating Death of Roma Worker

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

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

Police are also preparing a report for the coroner.

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

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

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

Two people were admitted.

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: 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: 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

OHS: Amputee Charged For False Claims

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

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

Video surveillance surfaced that showed her both driving and walking.

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

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

 

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:Commonwealth Contractor Fined $50k

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Cafe Owner Fined For Abusing WorkSafe Inspector

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

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

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

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

 

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

OHS:Comcare Appeals Public Servant’s Compensation Claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational health and safety

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

OHS: Yarra cleared of Safety Breaches

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

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

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

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

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

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS: Worker Devastated After Courts Deny Him Comp

Petition May Reignite Debate over WorkCover Overhaul

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

 

OHS: Compensation Amendments Marginalize Workers

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

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

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

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

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

More on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Injuries Costing Moonee Valley $41.2 million

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

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 

Supermarket’s Hit Back At Unsubstantiated Claims

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Tribute To Honour Fallen Rail Workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Worker Crushed in Lift Accident

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

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

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

This is the fifth workplace death in Victoria this year.

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

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

OHS:Pearl Producers Shocked By Diver’s Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:Cruise Ship Crocodile Attack Probed By WorkSafe

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety 

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

WorkSafe Lose Cyclone Appeal Case

ohs trainingWorkSafe lost an appeal in WA Supreme Court over charges against Fortescue Metals Group that resulted in the injury of workers during a 2007 cyclone.  FMG and its subsidiary company, Pilbara Infrastructure, had 17 charges against them for failing to maintain a safe work environment during Cyclone George. However, all charges were dismissed by the Magstrate’s Court in 2011.

Since then, WorkSafe attempted to appeal the decision but the Supreme Court again dismissed the claim.  Despite the deaths of Debra till and Craig Raabe and the injuries, both courts reviewed the evidence and dismissed the charges.  FMG is allegedly pleased with the decision from the courts.  Four other companies connected with the rail camp with WorkSafe charges against them have had them dismissed or have had successful appeals.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-23/worksafe-loses-fmg-appeal/3908856?section=wa

OHS:Truck Driver Charged For Two Deaths

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

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

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

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

He will appear in court on May 8.

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS:WorkCover May Receive Cuts and Reforms

OHSFollowing statements to Parliament from Finance Minister Greg Pearce, it appears that NSW Government is discussing serious cuts to WorkCover. Pearce appeared before parliament where he declared that Workcover’s deficit had increased by $1 billion in six months.

Pearce stressed the importance of the Government implementing new ways of enticing the claimants to return to work. Thus, the Government is attempting to improve the rehabilitation practices and return to work schemes. Pearce believes it is imperative that the government reduces the deficit by reforming the current scheme.

Jana Gumbert from the Australian Lawyers Association is concerned that the changes will affect seriously injured workers.

Gumbert fears that seriously injured workers will lose their right to sue for limited benefits and have to rely simply on the limited support provided by insurance companies.

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety 

OHS:Transport Workers Union Calls For Accountability

ohs trainingThe Transport Workers Union (TWU) says retailers such as Coles and Woolworths need to be held accountable for trucks detected speeding on the nation’s roads. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) alleges that retailers like Coles and Woolworths need to be held responsible for the speeding trucks on the nation’s roads. Police determined that a B-double truck was doing 142 kilometres an hour on the Hume Highway in NSW.

The truck belonged to the transport company, Scotts Transport. TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the company has received safety complaints in the past. Sheldon alleges that road authorities and the Fair Work Ombudsman should be investigating why trucks are speeding. Sheldon says that the cost pressures and deadlines of companies like Coles are having a detrimental effect on the trucking industry in order to make increased profits. Officers are planning to inspect an additional 32 of Scott’s trucks because of past safety complaints.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-08/twu-wants-major-retailers-accountable-for-speeding-truckies/3877384

More info on Occupational Health and Safety 

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Glass Panels Endanger Workers At ASIO Site

OHS TrainingConcerns have arisen regarding the safety of workers at a recently established ASIO site in Canberra. These concerns have emerged after approximately 19 panels of glass cracked and crashed to the ground at the sites main entrance.

Workers were immediately vacated from the area when the danger became known however no injuries have occurred. The construction union said the responsibility lies with the builders to ensure that no future incidents occur.

The Construction,Forestry, Mining and Energy Union claims that it was not informed of the incident  for several days  and the secrecy and tight security surrounding the project have hindered the unions ability to protect the workers.

The secrecy and tight security at the site has only succeeding in hindering the unions abilities to protect the workers.

ACT secretary Dean Hall claims that the builder, Lend Lease was piggybacking on ASIO’s reputation to deny the union efficient access to the site. Hall says that they have issues because the builder has restricted the right of entry wherever possible, and they are hiding behind their client.

The Half-Billion dollar headquarters in Caberra came under serious scrutiny and controversy when a teenager was found unconscious for up to 36 hours after falling nine metres into the basement of the site.

A spokeswoman for the Department said the panels from the façade of the main entry “progressively failed” from approximately midday.  The panels remain unfixed to the building. Investigation into the Occupational Health and Safety incident continues but WorkSafe commissioner Mark McCabe has stated his satisfaction with how the incident was handled.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/fears-for-asio-site-workers-20120305-1uels.html#ixzz1oNqi2jFJ

OHS: Worker Loses Fingers To WoodChipper

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

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

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Cleaners Seek Apology for Contaminated Water From Mining Company

OHS trainingAn assembly of cleaners in Mount Isa is seeking an explanation and recompense from the mining company Xstrata after they allegedly consumed contaminated water while at work.

Laurie Costa and two fellow workers suffered from a serious illness after they drank from a water cooler at the mining site. The water is said to have contained elevated levels of iron and microbial load, however no E.coli was detected during the initial tests. Costa says that the company has refused to compensate the group for lost income. She believes it “comes down to principle” and they should thus be compensated for time they were forced to take off to recover. The workers were required to take a month off of work where they  dealt with constant phone calls, and the dismissal of their Occupational Health and Safety concerns by others.

The workers are frustrated and disappointed with the company for refusing to accept responsibility or even apologize. The workers are discussing their options through WorkCover Queensland.

Contaminated water can potentially be very dangerous and can lead to dehydration, diarrhoea to more serious conditions that can potentially lead to disease or even death.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-28/cleaners-demand-contaminated-water-compo/3856368?section=qld

OHS: Victorian Workers Fear WorkSafe Cuts

OHSVictorian worker’s safety and compensation are at risk because of a declaration of the Victorian Government to strip almost half a billion dollars over four years from the WorkCover Authority, WorkSafe. State Government spokesmen have stated that the decision was made to balance the budget of the government.

Various individuals such as Maurice Blackburn, have commenced an online campaign that features a petition and other social media devices in order to compel the Victoria Government to stop their proposed cuts. Workplace Law expert John Cain stated that the plan of the Victorian Government is seriously flawed. He believes it will negatively effect the employer WorkCover contributions which could drive up premiums and threaten compensation entitlements for the injured. Individuals concerned with the cuts have cited that the decision is “unfair” and marginalizes the injured.

Victoria has over two and half million  workers and this year approximately eight out of ever thousand workers will be injured at work, will require time off and will need to receive benefits.

Cain stated that more money needs to be invested in preventing workplace injuries as opposed to putting more pressure on premiums and compensation for injured workers.

“It’s a short-sighted plan that leaves little buffer to keep premiums affordable for business. “This is a back door tax that is bad for business, bad for workers and bad for Victorians. “No one should let the State Government jeopardise workers’ safety and entitlements – and Victoria’s future”

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety
Source : http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/599288#ixzz1nXSfgCiY

Truck Driver Charged For Fatal Hume Highway Accident

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: WorkSafe Profile Report Reveals High Risk of Diabetes

Occupational health and safety trainingA recent study conducted by WorkSafe Victoria and Monash University revealed that one quarter of employees in Victoria are at a serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. The study was conducted with the involvement of 400,000 employees throughout Victoria.

The study also revealed that 90 per cent of employees neglect to ingest sufficient amounts of fruit or vegetables. Approximately 70 percent of the sample are said to be receiving insufficient amounts of exercise.

Diabetes occurs when there is an overabundance of glucose found in the blood.The chronic disease is the sixth highest cause of death by disease in Australia as it can result in instances of heart disease, stroke and renal failure.

The risks of developing Type 2 disease is significantly increased when coupled with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, lack of physical activity, and poor diet.

Despite the lack of an existing cure for type 2 diabetes, it can be effectively managed by adopting a healthy eating system and regular physical activity.

Considering the average person spends a third of their day at work, WorkSafe has recommended to approximately 4,000 employees to see their doctors immediately because of high blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

WorkHealth ambassador Wayne Kayler-Thomson said business owners should take the responsible action of ensuring that measures are undertaken to improve the health of their workforce, for the benefit of both employee and for the business’ bottom lines.

According to Thomson, improved health can help reduce absenteeism, boot productivity, and attract motivated, committed staff to deliver strong results for the business.

Thomson recommended workplace initiatives such as health checks, encouraging exercise and supplying fruit and vegetable boxes, to help encourage a healthy workforce.

More Info on Occupational Health and Safety

Source: http://www.monash.edu.au/ohs/wellbeing/work-health-check-peninsula.pdf

OHS: Over 100 Road Accidents Involve MPs and Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

OHS: Building Officials Change Their Stories Regarding Assault

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

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

 

OHS: Miner Gets Million Dollar Compensation

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

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

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

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

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

More Info On Occupational Health and Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

OHS: Main Roads Demand Cattle Trailers Be Modified

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on Occupational Health and Safety

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

Occupational Health and Safety: WorkSafe Chief Exec Announces Resignation

OHSIt has been a month since the Baillieu government declared that it would cut $471 million out of  WorkSafe throughout the next four years in order to keep the state’s budget in a surplus.Greg Tweedly,WorkSafe chief executive for the past nine years,  announced recently that he would not be seeking a  new contract when his current one had expired.

This announcement was made a month after it was declared that almost half of a billion dollars would be cut from Victoria’s occupational health and safety insurance and subsequently funnelled into general revenue.A spokeswoman for the state government stated the resignation was not linked to the budget cuts– rather, it was  a personal choice by Mr.Tweedly.

The budget changes are expected to cut thousands of state public sector jobs, while also charging all motorists with a 35$ increase in registration fees.

WorkSafe is funded by employers via premiums to insure people against accidents. As per the changes announced in December, half of the organisations profits will be handed over to the Treasury until at least 2014/2015.The Opposition has probed what the effects of Mr.Tweedly’s parting would mean for WorkSafe.

Opposition finance spokesman,Robin Scott stated that Tweedly’s departure would result in an even greater difficulty in recovery of the half-billion dollars being stripped from WorkSafe.Tweedly stated that he will endeavour to spend time overseas with his family and friends and eventually seek new challenges later in the year.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/resignation-adds-to-worksafe-woes-20120111-1pvgu.html

Occupational Health And Safety : 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

 

 

SafeWork Releases OHS Harmonisation FAQ Page for Volunteers

OHS lawsSafeWork Australia has released a FAQ page that answers some questions one might have regarding volunteers and the OHS Harmonisation laws.

Firstly, the page  explains what constitutes as a “volunteer” under the WHS act. More specifically, the faq page explains the manner in which volunteers must comply with the WHS act and subsequently, the duties owed to the volunteer under the act.For those who are unsure whether or not the harmonised laws apply to their volunteer organisation; the FAQ page states that: “A volunteer organisation owes duties to its volunteers under the WHS Act, where it conducts a ‘business or undertaking’ (whether for profit or not), and is not a ‘volunteer association’ as defined by the WHS Act.”

Are You Liable?

The page  further states that volunteers can indeed be held liable if they are found to have acted in a manner that caused injury to themselves or others in the workplace. However, if a volunteer decides to be an “officer” (which has duties), the volunteer would not be prosecuted under the WHS act for failing to uphold his/her duties. This immunity from prosecution is intended to prevent discouragement of volunteers from becoming officers. However, A volunteer worker, who has breached his duties in a working capacity, can still be prosecuted.

Lastly, the page states that all businesses are required to provide their volunteers with the proper PPE (personal protective equipment), if the job requires the use of such.

Source: http://safeworkaustralia.gov.au/Legislation/FAQ/Pages/FAQ.aspx

 

WorkSafe Releases Data On Occupational Health and Safety Claims

ohs trainingWorkSafe Victoria has disclosed that the average expenditure on rehabilitation for injury cases in Bayule, exceeds $10,000.

WorkSafe Vic. data for the past financial year, displayed that over $5 million was claimed as workers compensation by businesses. 490 people were reportedly injured and needed rehab in Banyule, and the average cost was $10,205 each. Within this same financial year, businesses in Nillumbik Shire Council claimed compensation payments in excess of $1 million. 133 people were said to have received compensation, at an average cost of $8627 each.

This data was released as part of the WorkSafe campaign “Any day now” , that aims to remind workers that inspection can happen at any point which means that employers and employees should work to maintain the safety standards of their company prior to inspection.WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety head, Ian Forsyth stated that unsafe practices were still being discovered, such as missing guards on machinery,and other types of breaches that can potentially cause injuries.

WorkSafe had also recorded a greater volume of prosecutions in the new financial year, charging 45 workplaces in the past four months .Forsyth stated that WorkSafe has been inspecting, investigating and prosecuting occupational health and safety breaches.

Source: http://www.banyuleandnillumbikweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/millions-claimed-by-injured-staff-worksafe/2357238.aspx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Schools Under Pressure Over Occupational Health and Safety Laws

OHS trainingVictorian  schools are lowering monkey bars and banning students from bringing their own sunscreen and liquid paper to class because of “absurd” safety regulations.

Schools in Victoria are currently in the process of removing monkey bars and prohibiting students from bringing their own sunscreen lotion and liquid paper as per safety regulations.Heads of the scholastic institutions have been critical of the severe occupational health and safety rules that they believe are taking the “fun out of schools”.

Reports have indicated that staff are feeling over-burdened with the increasing level of safety-related demands.Some complaints stem from teachers now being required to wear masks and surgical gloves when applying band aids.

Principals have been forced to keep track of common glue sticks, and inspecting the chemicals found in clay. These types of demands have forced them to fill out hundreds of pages of OHS forms and spend hours of time researching chemicals.

Smaller schools have reportedly suffered from  the list of demands,since many of them lack the resources in order to make the changes. Many members of staff believe that the regulations have gone too far, since staff are working significantly longer hours of work because of the OHS demands.

 Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/safety-gone-mad-in-our-schools/story-fn7x8me2-1226193570176

 

Occupational Health and Safety: Youth Falls of Ride

A youth has allegedly suffered a broken arm after she was thrown from a carnival ride at an art and agriculture show.

occupational health and safety trainingThe teen who also received a cut on her head is currently recovering at the Royal Children’s Hospital. The incident occurred at a ride that was contracted for the Lilydale Show. It is alleged that another girl fell from the carriage as well, and is being treated for her injuries.

The ride has since been shut down by WorkSafe investigators, who are currently looking into the matter.The Lilydale Agricultural and Horticultural Society secretary, Jodie Nagel, has stated that said the conditions surrounding the occupational health and safety incident are being looked into since numerous possibilities exist.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/children-hurt-in-fall-from-ride-at-lilydale-show/story-fn7x8me2-1226200424963

Union Leader’s Permit Remains Revoked

occupational health and safety trainingUnion frontrunner  Joe McDonald has received a rejection on his permit to enter work areas. The decision was put forth by the WA Industrial Relations Commission.  Mcdonald is the head of the Construction,Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and was seeking the reassignment of his work permit.

Mcdonald relinquished his permit in 5 years ago when he was found guilty of criminal assault regarding an incident that occurred in 2002.

WAIRC declared that Mcdonald’s conduct since the incident has indicated that if he was granted permission for entry, that he would likely act improper manner that would hinder an employee or employer during their workday.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the State Government and Master Builders association pressed for the refusal of Mcdonald’s permit.

The CCI was pleased with the decision, as they believe that workplaces should be free of heavy-handed union tactics.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/mcdonald-denied-worksite-entry-permit/story-e6frg13u-1226198286268

More information on Occupational Health and Safety

Top Union Says WA Endangering Workers Over OHS Laws

occupational health and safety trainingA prominent union body has criticised WA government for declining to approve the new countrywide occupational health and safety (OHS)  laws. The Australian Council of Trade Unions stated their belief that the Liberal government was jeopardising workers by neglecting nationwide safety standards. All states except WA and Victoria will be adopting it. ACTU stressed the national importance of safety standards and the assurance that every worker and their family feel safe.

It is alleged that the governments decision poses a risk to worker’s lives since 21 workers are killed each year in WA on average and someone is injured at work approximately every 30-minutes.The president of ACTU believes that the government is sending the wrong message to company heads.A government spokesperson stated that the government had not received adequate time and information by the federal government. They refused to make a decision until they had analyzed the full impact of the regulations, particularly on its affects on small businesses.

There is some concern that the laws might have a weaker outcome for WA workers.

Queensland has also allegedly indicated that they will not sign up for the mining section of the laws.Union secretary Simone Mcgurk stated that all workplace ministers had a meeting and discussed and agreed to harmonise the OHS laws in 2009, thus giving the government ample time.All states have been given 12 months to implement the laws. Meanwhile Mcgurk and ACTU have participated in a large petition to get WA to sign off on the laws.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/unions-claim-workers-safety-endangered/story-e6frg14c-1226191590298

Two People Injured at Cattle Stations

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

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

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

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

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

More information on Occupational Health And Safety Training

Problems Companies Face When They Don’t Take OHS Regulations Seriously

The poor economy has many companies trying to find ways to cut expenses and save money in the daily operation of their businesses. Unfortunately, some of these companies decide to save money by refusing to follow OHS safety regulations, thinking they can save money on training and other safety aspects. The reality however is that companies who fail to take the OHS regulations seriously may be opening themselves to a whole host of problems that could leave the company in financial turmoil and embroiled in court battles.

Safety in the workplace is the right of every employee who works for your company and OHS is the entity that was established by the Australian government to see that every workplace is as safe as reasonably possible. Ignoring the guidelines and regulations will create more problems for a company than many companies can handle. Here are just some of the problems a company may face when they don’t take OHS guidelines seriously.

OHS Regulations & Work Stoppages

If you are not complying with OHS regulations then OHS has the right to close down your business until you do comply with those regulations. If you consider how much losing a day of production or work may cost your company it is easy to see that the money you think you are saving is just a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money you will be losing if your business is shut down for a week or even a day.

In addition, to losing production and the money that it generates you can also lose clients or customers. Your customers are not going to want to work with a company that can’t deliver their orders due to avoidable work stoppages.

No OHS Training Equals Devastating Fines

If you think work stoppages will be expensive that is nothing compared to the fines your company may face if a worker gets seriously injured and it is determined the reason was because your company failed to provide adequate safety training or failed to have the correct safety procedures in place. In a recent court decision made just this week (August 10) a mining company was fined $90,000 dollars for failing to provide proper training or follow proper safety procedures and these fines are sure to get larger the more companies who ignore the OHS regulations.

Such high fines could well result in your company failing to make a profit or worse having to close their doors because they can no longer afford to keep producing. And these fines don’t include individual law suits that may be filed by workers who are injured or families of workers who died due to your failure to take the OHS regulations seriously.

There really is no need for any company to go through any of these problems. OHS guidelines are clearly laid out and there are a variety of OHS safety training courses available to both you and the employees to help ensure that everyone understands what safety procedures need to be followed in order to make the work place safe for everyone.

In the long run following those OHS regulations will save you money, time, and help keep your employees safe and your business productive. So isn’t it time you started taking those regulations seriously?

Riot At Training Centre Causes Injuries

occupational health and safetyA worker who works with youth at the Magill Training Centre has reportedly suffered from a gash four inches deep at the backside of his head. This occupational health and safety injury was sustained during a riot at the centre.

The secretary for the Public Service Association said that the most seriously injured worker is fortunate not to have suffered more fatal injures.

The youth worker was purportedly hit in the ribs and upon falling to the ground, was then struck on the back of his head with a chair. The worker was then supposedly punched in the face until other staff members intervened.

Not only are several staff members injured, but also approximately $100,000 in damage was caused by the hours of violence.
The youth accused of the riot are all 15-years-old and have since appeared in the Adelaide Youth court. They are each being charged for three counts of aggravated assault causing bodily harm, among other charges.

Source : http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/staff-threatened-action-over-riot-at-magill-training-centre/story-e6frea83-1226092535980

Non-Profit Organization to be prosecuted by WorkSafe

occupational health and safetyA non-profit organization named Community Connections will be the first NGO to be charged by WorkSafe following allegations of wrongful dismissal after an employee raised occupational health and safety concerns.

The Department of Human Services is also investigating the charitable organization, which could result in the organization’s closure. A spokesperson from DHS has confirmed that a review is being orchestrated.

Community Connections is a non-profit organization that allegedly aims to cater to thousands of people in the southwest.

This will mark the first time a non-profit organization has been prosecuted for breaching section 76 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. Section 76 regards the offense of dismissing, injuring or negatively modifying a worker’s position solely because the worker expressed safety concerns.

The maximum fine for breaching this section is $305,350.

The matter is now being addressed within court.

Source: http://www.standard.net.au/news/local/news/general/community-connections-to-be-prosecuted-by-worksafe/2222962.aspx

 

Confined Spaces -Queensland mineworker killed at Pike River

confined spaces training,A Queensland mineworker was working in New Zealand’s Pike River when he died from an explosion within the confined space that trapped and killed 29 other men.

Kim Joynson’s husband,Willie was killed after previously expressing safety concerns at the mining facility that he worked at. The Pike River Royal Commission has revealed that the facility had major safety issues that were not attended to. Willie was in fact in discussion with mine operators regarding his concerns when he died.

Willie’s wife hopes that the Royal Commission will bring to light, the issues with the Pike River mine. Although a section of the mine has been declared safe to reenter, Joynson may not have her husband’s body returned to her for years. An investigation has begun that will observe and report the possible causes of the explosions at the mine and the subsequent loss of life. The investigation will also examine the occupational health and safety regulations in place for mining in confined spaces .

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/pike-mine-victim-willie-joynsons-widow-says-her-husband-had-safety-fears-before-disaster/story-e6freoof-1226083806360

Worker at BHP Dies in Crane Accident

occupational health and safety training A 23 year-old-worker was crushed  to death by a BHP Billiton crane.  BHP has since halted its Port Hedland (where the accident occurred) port and rail operations following the death of the worker.

The incident which occurred at an iron ore loading facility  is currently being examined by the Department of Mines and Petroleum to ensure that it is adhering to the proper occupational health and safety codes.

According to Gary Wood from the CFMEU,  BHP’s safety record has not been impressive until this year. Between 2008 and 2009, five logging deaths were recorded.

Apparently, hazard plans have been in development and the results were promising but numerous incidents continued to occur.

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/port-hedland-bhp-worker-crushed-in-crane-crash-20110707-1h3ef.html#ixzz1RO7nCv6L

4 Ways OHS Training Can Save You Money

ohs training saves moneyWhile most business owners would agree that safety in the workplace is desirable and necessary they sometimes allow concern for the bottom line to overcome their better judgment when it comes to safety. However, it is necessary to look at the bigger picture and in doing so, owners and managers will have a clearer picture how OHS training can actually improve profits by saving the company huge amounts of money.

Here are 4 ways that OHS training can save your company money:

  1. Reduces the number of accidents and worker accident claims. When a worker is injured on the job due to unsafe work conditions, the company often ends up paying huge amounts for that workers medical care and continues to pay in huge insurance premiums. OHS training programs helps both business owners and managers and workers to understand how and where they can institute safer worker conditions. The safer the work place is, the fewer accidents, the lower the number of accident claims filed by employees. Over time, this can lead to lower accident insurance premiums saving your company big money and resulting in larger profits over the long term.
  2. OHS training is mandatory. Having that training for every member of your work force will result in less fines for noncompliance and less costly shut downs. A company that is forced to pay huge fines and is shut down until they get proper OHS training can suffer thousands of pounds in lost revenue each day. Having the proper OHS training is one way to eliminate these unnecessary and costly fines.
  3. OHS training can lead to reduced worker stress and less missed work time. An unsafe work environment is much more stressful to work in than one where workers feel they can do their job without risking life and limb. When OHS training is applied across the board, workers feel safe in the work environment and less stressed when doing their jobs. Lowering the stress levels for employees results in less missed work and more consistent work team that the company can depend on.
  4. OHS Training actually increases production. Believe it or not, OHS training actually can increase production. When everyone knows the right and safe way to do a job, they can accomplish that job more efficiently with fewer accidents. Accidents or the fear of accidents can halt production and interferes with the workflow that is being done. When everyone feels that work environment is safe, they can concentrate on the work at hand which in turn improves production levels making the company more money.

Safety in the workplace not only benefits employees but employers as well and that can be seen in the bottom line. When a company is paying out less money in medical compensations and fines and has fewer work stoppages, their profit margins go up and companies find they can make more money with less production required.

 

 

Company breaks Occupational health and Safety act

trucking company breaks actA truck driver almost perished after being crushed while working for a skip bin hire company, in Engadine.

Investigations have determined that the man was working in an unsafe environment and the accident could have been foreseen and thwarted.

The company SAE Investments and its director have plead guilty to breaking the Occupational Health Safety act 2000, and have since been subject to fines exceeding  $80 000. SAE Investments have also been ordered to pay the legal costs of the worker.

The incident that injured the employee occurred when a vehicle’s hydraulic breaks released causing the truck to roll down a hill and crush the worker.

The accident has left the worker with a severed nerve, injured liver, fractured ribs, pulmonary contusions and a fractured knee.  He also sustained serious cuts and lacerations to the face, arms, abdomen and legs.

The worker is not going to be able to return to work for up to eight months.

Steps are being taken to improve safety.

Source: http://www.theleader.com.au/news/local/news/general/skip-bin-accident-was-preventable/2213466.aspx

WorkSafe gets Kudos for Occupational Health and Safety Ruling.

A committee that deals with the death of prisoners while in police custody, are embracing the charges WorkSafe set for the death of  Mr. Ward.

Mr. Ward is the elder Aboriginal who died from a heat stroke due to sweltering temperatures from within the prison van.

According to the coroner, the two drivers of the van, the driver’s employer, and the Department of Corrective Services are responsible for the death of Mr. Ward. Despite the coroner’s statement, the Direction of Public Prosecutions refused to pursue the case because he didn’t believe there was a chance of conviction.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee spokesperson gave a kudos to WorkSafe for their decision to prosecute and to carry out their duties in the support of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The WorkSafe WA commissioner stated that the case is a prime example of how far the occupational safety and health legislation extends.

The Attorney General has stated that he intends to follow the WorkSafe case very carefully to see if they provided a safe work environment. The Department of Crrective services  face a fine of $285,000 and $15,000 in legal costs. The potential fine was $400,000.
Source : http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/19/3116507.htm

Occupational Health and Safety investigation into death of worker

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

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

Occupational Accidents Do Occur

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

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

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

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

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

Occupational Health And Safety: Big Brother Is Watching Out For You

If you are an employer or an employee, you can almost feel the subtle shift in the room’s temperature when an OHS inspector sets foot on the premises. In some cases, everyone becomes overly busy, in others nervous, some give a put upon sigh, while in other work places it is business as usual. Why does one person produce so many effects upon so many people? Because this inspector is a Representative for Occupation Health and Safety a government agency that oversees that each business is abiding by guidelines and rules that are set to protect the health and safety of the employee, employer and the public at large.

For some employers the rules set down by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) seem to be little more than interference in their business practices that cost them money and sometimes time. It sometimes seems every move they make is watched over by Big Brother (the government).

The truth is that Big Brother is watching.

But he is watching out for you. Keep in mind that the job of Occupational Health and Safety guidelines and training is to reduce the number of injuries, deaths, property damage, legal liabilities, illness, worker’s claims against employers and missed time at work due to accident and health risks in business that could affect the lives of not only the employers and the employees but also the public at large.

More than a century ago before Occupational Health and Safety became a government agency and today in countries that lack government guidelines. Workers were expected to work in environments that lacked ventilation and proper lightening for long grueling days given little time for food or water and sometimes locked in during working hours to prevent them from leaving. Work related injuries were rife and those who were injured or became ill due to the working conditions were fired with no benefits and no recourse of action.

Death on many jobs was simply a part of earning the money to live and safety measures were not undertaken because of the bottom line. When workers had enough, riots would issue damaging or completely destroying the business and resulting in harm or death to employers and managers of these businesses.

As times changed, more and more employers began trying to offer better working conditions for their employees by establishing rules, cleaning up, better working environments and through training. However, accidents and illness still occurred due to the lack of knowledge on the part of many employers on how to properly evaluate risks and minimize them and the unwillingness of employees to adhere to the guidelines for safety that were set down. This resulted in good employers going broke trying to see to the needs of employees who became ill or injured on the job. Insurance helped to alleviate some of the financial burden on employers but did little to make workplaces safer.

Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines

Then along came Occupational Health and Safety, they set down minimum guidelines to help protect health and Safety. Individualizing these guidelines to fit the needs and the risks in various fields of work. They offered training to help make Employers aware of health and safety risks and to teach employees how to do their jobs in a manner that would pose less danger of injury or illness to them.

Today, Because Of OHS, businesses are thriving, the workplace is become safer and the public is protected to a greater degree than ever before. This has ended up saving employers money and giving employees a safer, better place to work.

 

 

Make an Enquiry: