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2015
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Workers on the Canterbury rebuild in New Zealand are being exposed to high levels of crystallised silica dust, says a new study.

The Massey University pilot study commission by WorkSafe New Zealand assessed 39 construction workers involved in the Canterbury rebuild for exposure to silica dust and the controls used to manage the exposure.

Inhalation of silica dust can cause the lung disease silicosis.

Among the study’s findings, 12 of the workers were exposed to dust samples that exceeded the New Zealand workplace exposure standard for respirable dust.

“The majority of samples exceeding these limits were collected from concrete polishers and grinders with average respirable dust concentrations of 15.2mg/m3 and 13.8mg/m3, respectively,” the study says.

“Drilling and Linea board cutting was also associated with higher dust levels, with one in four samples exceeding New Zealand (and international) standards.”

Also, many construction workers were not using respiratory protection, and those who were wearing it were not using it properly.

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Young workers’ presenteeism costs more than their absenteeism.

The finding is part of a Safe Work Australia study about 23-year-old workers, ‘Work Productivity Loss in Young Workers’.

According to the study, an average of 302 hours per worker, per year, is lost due to presenteeism. This costs $10,674 per worker, per year.

By comparison, the average hours lost per worker due to absenteeism from health-related causes is 53 hours per year. In addition, 175 hours per year is lost due to absenteeism attributed to any reasons other than ill health or vacations.

Absenteeism due to ill health costs an average of $1899 per worker, per year, while absenteeism due to any other reason costs $6198 per worker, per year.

The combined cost of presenteeism and absenteeism is estimated at $18,836 per worker, per year.

For more details, visit the report

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

A high proportion of employers are reacting to, rather than proactively looking for, failures, according to a new report.

The results are part of the recently released ‘Mindfulness of work health and safety in the workplace’ study conducted by Safe Work Australia.

The study says 87 per cent of employers agree that when something unexpected occurs in the workplace, they always try to work out why things didn’t go as planned. However, only 65 per cent of employers actively look for failures to understand them, the study adds.

When it comes to reporting bad news, only 37 per cent of employers go searching for it. Nevertheless, 87 per cent of employers agree that workers are encouraged to report significant mistakes. But only 35 per cent of employers agree that workers are rewarded for spotting potential problems, the study adds.

For more details, visit the study

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

The preliminary findings of a NSW Government workers compensation survey reveal a lack of support for workers.

The findings are part of a survey of injured workers’ experiences in the NSW workers compensation system.

A lack of case management support and access to quality information are the main problems, said NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet in a media statement.

“While some injured workers have had positive experiences, we can see many are concerned about better information and timely communication, financial support for medical services and retraining, and being supported by their employer and insurer,” Perrottet said.

The full results of the survey will be released in August.

For more details, visit the Minister’s statement and the government’s ‘what workers think’ video

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Another nine people have been killed at work, according to the latest Safe Work Australia notifiable fatalities report.

The nine people were all male workers, who died in April 2015. This is six fewer deaths than the 15 fatalities recorded in March.

Three of the fatalities were due to crushing and two involved a vehicle incident (not on a public road). The other four fatalities were due to drowning, being hit by an unattended vehicle (on a public road), explosion and electrocution.

The report notes that two fatalities each occurred in the following industries: agriculture, forestry and fishing; electricity, gas, water and waste services; and wholesale trade. One fatality each occurred in accommodation and food services; retail trade; and transport, postal and warehousing.

For more details, visit the report

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.


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