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2015
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A large proportion of workers and employers may report following safety procedures at work, but it’s the 2 to 20 per cent who don’t that can cause havoc.

A new Safe Work Australia report titled ‘Work Health & Safety Perceptions: Construction Industry’ has drawn on six existing Safe Work Australia data sources and one Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data source to examine work health and safety (WHS) in the construction industry.

“The 2009 MAPS survey measured how consistently specific safety practices were undertaken in the workplace,” the report says.

“Almost 90 per cent of workers in the construction industry reported that particular safety practices were followed in their workplace most of the time or always.

“These included removing hazards as much as possible (93 per cent), making work practices safe (92 per cent), using PPE (90 per cent) and identifying health and safety risks (89 per cent).”

However, the WHS Perceptions survey 2012 report revealed a different outcome. “The results were somewhat different, particularly for the use of PPE (90 per cent in MAPS compared to 79 per cent in WHS Perceptions), removing hazards as much as possible (93 per cent in MAPS compared to 85 per cent in WHS Perceptions) and making work practices safe (92 per cent in MAPS compared to 84 per cent in WHS Perceptions),” the report says.

According to the report, the WHS Perceptions survey showed that construction employers were more likely than workers to report that safe work practices were followed most of the time or always.

“Almost all employers indicated that PPE is used most of the time or always in their workplace, as well as making work practices safe (98 per cent each),” the report says.

“Over 90 per cent of employers indicated that, in their workplace, hazards are removed as much as possible, health and safety risks are identified and health and safety concerns are discussed either most of the time or always.”

But even if 98 per cent of people are following safe practices, it only takes the few who don’t to create a risk for themselves and everyone else.

For more details, visit the report

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

In a new Safe Work Australia study, 62 per cent of workers reported being exposed to multiple types of hazards.

“On average, workers reported that they were exposed to 2.6 (out of nine examined) hazards,” according to the study titled ‘Exposure to multiple hazards among Australian workers’.

In addition, 20 per cent of workers said they were exposed to at least five hazards.

The nine hazards examined in the study included sun exposure, wet work, high biomechanical demands, high job demands, noise, vibration, biological materials, chemical (dermal) contact and airborne hazards.

“The most common self-reported exposure was to high job demands, followed by exposure to airborne hazards and exposure to chemicals,” says the study.

Workers also noted a lack of access to control measures for the hazards they reported.

The study says working longer hours, being young, working as a labourer, technician or tradesperson, and working in agriculture, forestry and fishing were associated with exposure to multiple hazards.

For more details, visit the report

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

Hungry Jack’s has been fined $90,000 after one of its South Australian employees was severely burned and it failed to call an ambulance.

The young worker had been asked by his supervisor to filter cooking oil from deep-fryers using a mobile filter.

“During the process, the worker slipped and fell into the open top of the mobile filtration unit, which resulted in hot oil splashing onto him,” said SafeWork SA in a media statement.

“An ambulance was not called, despite the worker sustaining third-degree burns to more than 10 per cent of his body, including his right hand, forearm and right-side torso, requiring skin grafts.”

SafeWork SA prosecuted Hungry Jack’s in the Industrial Relations Court of SA under the former Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The charges included failing to provide safe plant, failing to maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide a procedure which ensured that employees received proper medical treatment.

Hungry Jack’s was fined $150,000, which was reduced to $90,000 plus costs following the company’s early guilty plea and contrition.

Hungry Jack’s had been prosecuted for a similar incident that occurred in July 2003.

“Since these incidents, Hungry Jack’s has reviewed its policies and procedures for oil filtering and will now install self-filtering deep-fryers in SA,” said SafeWork SA.

“The company has also committed to spend more than $5 million replacing existing fryers with self-filtering fryers nationally.”

For more details, visit SafeWork SA

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

Any individual or business in NSW that appoints an unlicensed asbestos removalist will now face an on-the-spot fine.

The new laws came into effect on 13 February under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

They cover Class A asbestos removal licences for the removal of friable asbestos and Class B licences for the removal of bonded asbestos.

Individuals face fines of $720, while businesses face fines of $3600.

“Asbestos can be found in any property built or renovated before 1987, and one in three Australian homes is believed to contain asbestos,” said Peter Dunphy, executive director of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, in a media release.

To find a licenced asbestos removalist, visit Asbestos Demolition Licence Holders

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

A New Zealand company director has been sentenced to home detention after sheep and dogs were electrocuted and people were put at risk from live electrical wires.

Britton Housemovers Limited was moving a house along Herbertville Road in Herbertville when it crashed into powerlines.

The powerlines fell onto the roof of the house and then an employee of Britton Housemovers Limited used a stick to move them into a ditch on the side of the road, according to a WorkSafe New Zealand media release.

Several sheep walked into the ditch, followed by two sheepdogs, and all were electrocuted. “The shepherd reached out to grab the dead sheep but was pulled back at the last moment by the farmer, narrowly avoiding electrocution,” WorkSafe said.

The house movers continued on their way but were chased down by the farmer and the shepherd. “Following a verbal dispute, a Britton Housemovers employee returned to the scene to put cones down,” WorkSafe said.

“Even after this argument, no Britton Housemovers employee called the appropriate authorities – they were called by the farmer.”

Arthur Britton and his company, Britton Housemovers Limited, were prosecuted in the Hastings District Court for breaching New Zealand’s Electricity Act 1992 and Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Britton was sentenced to four months’ home detention and his company was fined $60,000.

“Electricity is unforgiving. Leaving a live line on the side of the road and not notifying anyone is unacceptable – the shepherd and others in the vicinity could have been killed,” said Brett Murray, general manager of High Hazards and Specialist Services, WorkSafe.

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin


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