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Archive for: July
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The Victorian WorkCover Authority is investigating the death of a worker who was crushed when a wall collapsed during strong winds in Brighton East last week.

It is believed the man was standing next to the brick wall, which was under construction, when it collapsed on him. The man died at the scene.

WorkCover’s executive director of health and safety, Len Neist, described the incident as “tragic”.

In a media statement following the incident, Neist urged builders to take precautions during windy days, saying builders must ensure “partially completed buildings and structures are well supported. Brick, block and concrete walls should be adequately braced until work is completed.”

He also noted the dangers of flying debris.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the deaths of two workers on the Stena Clyde mobile offshore drilling unit on 27 August 2012 has been handed to Commonwealth prosecutors.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has been investigating the deaths.

In mid-June, NOPSEMA announced it had submitted a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) in April. The CDPP is deciding whether to prosecute.

For more details visit WorkCover and NOPSEMA.

Published on 3 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Contractors must commit to managing drug and alcohol risks to win bids for Victorian Government construction projects.

The new guidelines came into effect this week.

For construction projects over $10 million, tenderers must include an outline of their drug and alcohol management plans and commit to providing a project-specific work health and safety (WHS) plan when bidding for projects.

In outlining the management of drugs and alcohol, tenderers must include the medical tests and thresholds that the contractor will use to test for drugs and alcohol. People selected for testing and the frequency of testing are among other criteria that must also be included.

The head contractor must submit the WHS management plan before the project begins.

For construction projects under $10 million, contractors still have to ensure drug and alcohol and WHS policies are in place. Contractors will also be audited for compliance.

For more details see the guidelines.

Published on 3 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

WorkCover NSW should apologise and accept that it has a problem with institutional bullying, says a state parliamentary committee.

In late June, the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1 handed down the findings of its inquiry into allegations of bullying in WorkCover NSW.

The inquiry was undertaken in response to a NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) finding that the dismissal of WorkCover employee Wayne Butler was “harsh, unreasonable and unjust” and had the “characterisation of institutional bullying”, the parliamentary committee said.

“The IRC described the investigation of Mr Butler as a ‘witch-hunt’ and speculated that it was motivated by ‘malicious intent’.”

The parliamentary committee’s findings describe the content of submissions made to the inquiry as “very disturbing, highlighting the profound impact that workplace bullying has on people’s mental health, self-worth and job performance”.

The committee gives a damning summation of WorkCover’s poor management practices: “The committee was deeply concerned by evidence [of] alleged widespread use of punitive processes, poor management practices, authoritarianism among senior managers, and denial by senior management that a significant problem of bullying exists within the organisation. The lack of trust between management and staff was very apparent to the committee.”

The committee has recommended that the WorkCover NSW executive team “sincerely apologise” to Mr Butler.

It would also like to see the WorkCover NSW executive team and Safety, Return to Work and Support Board do the following.

“[M]ake a public statement that genuinely: accepts that WorkCover, as an organisation, has a significant problem with workplace bullying; apologises to employees for past wrongs, including in respect of Mr Wayne Butler; accepts the findings of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in respect of Mr Butler; and commits to addressing, at an organisational level, the problem of bullying.”

The committee has made a number of other recommendations as well.

For more details go to the parliamentary report.

Published on 3 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Deadline to submit your entry has been extended to Friday 11 July.

With not long to go before the National Safety Awards of Excellence close, NOW is the time to enter and be recognised for your innovative safety achievements. Open an account and submit an entry today.It’s free and easy to enter!

“I have been involved as a judge for the NSCA awards for the past 16 years and every year I am enthused by the good work organisations and employers are undertaking in keeping their workers and colleagues safe.

These awards, in my opinion, are truly national and are open to any individual, organisation or employer who feels they are making improvements in keeping us all safe.

Every year I feel honoured to be a part of this activity.”

Paul Baulch, Chairman, National Safety Awards of Excellence

If you require any assistance in opening an account, submitting an entry or have any questions, email or call 1800 655 510.


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