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2014
Archive for: November

Work health and safety (WHS) was in the spotlight at the Labour 20 (L20) Summit in the lead-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane last weekend.

Kicking off the L20 Summit, federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz pointed to the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Declaration made in Melbourne in September.

“[It] includes the G20 Statement on Safer and Healthier Workplaces – the result of some challenging and thoughtful work by a sub-group of the Taskforce on Employment,” Abetz said in his speech to the Summit.

“The issue of safer workplaces was put on the agenda in response to the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. This tragedy, of course, is only part of a bigger issue.

“Poor health and safety practices result in an estimated 2.3 million deaths every year.”

The statement commits G20 members to develop robust WHS legal frameworks, and effective WHS enforcement, compliance, safety management and data collection in their own countries.

It also encourages countries to consider their international obligations, including ratifying relevant ILO conventions and using UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.

For more details, visit the Minister and the L20 Declaration

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Unsafe design accounts for 36 per cent of work-related fatalities, says a new study.

The Safe Work Australia study found that 188 of 523 fatal incidents that occurred between 2006 and 2011 involved design problems with machinery, plant and powered tools.

Inadequate guarding was one of the most common problems, accounting for 21 per cent of fatalities. Lack of rollover protection accounted for 15 per cent of fatalities, lack of residual current devices accounted for 12 per cent, lack of interlocks accounted for 8 per cent, and driver-obstructed vision accounted for 8 per cent.

“A number of the incidents highlighted in this report involved old machinery and plant, some of which may remain in use for many years,” the study says.

“This is a recognised issue and has been the subject of an intervention campaign carried out among selected manufacturing groups by Australian WHS jurisdictions under the administration of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities.”

For more details, visit the study

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

With many Australians continuing to rate the workplace as a source of stress, maybe the answer is to go home on time?

Over the past four years, about 44 per cent of Australian workers have rated workplace issues as a source of stress, says the ‘Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2014’ conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

When it comes to job stress, “working Australians reported similar levels of job stress to those reported in 2013, but significantly higher when compared with findings in 2012 and 2011”, the survey says.

Overall workplace wellbeing measures have also remained much the same for the past two years. “Working Australians reported similar levels of overall workplace wellbeing to those reported in 2013, but significantly lower when compared with findings in 2012 and 2011,” the survey states.

One of the interesting findings of the survey notes that “… support from work colleagues (less than two in five Australians) and support from community groups or organisations (just over one in three Australians) were reported the least by Australians as helpful strategies for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

One way to combat stress may be to go home from work on time each day. Wednesday was Go Home On Time Day. “On any given day, 2.8 million Australians have little certainty around what time they will finish work …” says The Australia Institute.

“That’s the equivalent of one in four workers regularly having to juggle their other commitments, such as child care, social activities or important appointments, because of the unpredictability of their job.”

“Many Australians continue to struggle with the idea of saying no to last-minute meetings at the end of a working day, or turning their smartphone to silent when they get home, and numerous studies have shown that workers are more productive if they take scheduled breaks and annual leave,” says Dr Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute’s executive director.

For more details, visit the APS survey and Go Home On Time Day

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin

Another 28 people have died in work-related incidents this year, says the latest notifiable fatalities report from Safe Work Australia.

The deaths occurred in August and included 20 workers and eight bystanders.

Vehicle incidents continued to figure prominently in work-related fatalities, with 13 people dying in vehicle crashes on public roads.

In the other incidents, four people were hit by a falling object, three were hit by a moving object other than a vehicle, two were trapped in machinery, and the remaining six fatalities were due to different types of incidents, including an air crash.

Some industry sectors continue to figure more prominently in workplace deaths than others. Transport, postal and warehousing recorded seven fatalities, followed by construction (six fatalities); electricity, gas, water and waste services (five); agriculture, forestry and fishing (three); manufacturing (two); arts and recreation services (two); administrative and support services (two); and public administration and safety services (one).

For more details, visit the report

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Western Australian (WA) Government is seeking to consolidate its state resources safety laws and have one government body regulate the laws.

The government wants mining, petroleum and Major Hazard Facilities (MHF) safety laws regulated by one Act and the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), or two Acts and the DMP.

Currently, six Acts cover resources safety, and WorkSafe and DMP regulate safety at MHFs, with WorkSafe regulating general work health and safety (WHS), and DMP regulating process safety.

A consultation paper discussing the government’s proposal plus other options for administering the laws has been released for public comment.

Other options in the paper include partially consolidating the laws into separate safety-specific Acts, as well as retaining the status quo of six separate Acts and two regulators.

Changing the content of the laws is not a consideration of this consultation paper.

Public comment closes on Friday, 19 December 2014.

For more details, visit the consultation paper

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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