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2015
Archive for: November
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Workplace audits to check compliance with new drug and alcohol requirements in the building industry will begin in February.

The new requirements are contained in the Building Code (Fitness for Work/Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace) Amendment Instrument 2015, which started on 16 October.

The new rule applies to building contractors covered by the Building Code 2013, including contractors working on large Commonwealth-funded building projects.

Contractors will be required to implement a policy that tests for alcohol and other drugs, including opiates, THC, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and methamphetamines.

A comprehensive policy setting out how the testing will be conducted and the procedures to be followed in the case of a positive test are also mandatory.

In the first two stages of implementation, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC), who is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Building Code, will educate industry about the change and conduct audits with the view of providing feedback to help contractors comply.

In the third stage, FWBC will conduct compliance audits. These will start after 1 February.

For more details, visit FWBC

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

A company has been fined $120,000 after a worker’s skull was pierced with a steel bar.

The 18-year-old worker was operating an excavator on a demolition job in August 2013 when the incident occurred. As he filled the excavator’s sifting bucket with concrete and steel, a steel bar flew into the cabin of the excavator, pieced his skull and penetrated 10cm into his brain.

SafeWork NSW investigated and found that the excavator was operated with the glass front screen open—and that the supervisor had observed the worker operating the excavator with it open prior to the incident but failed to instruct the operator to close it.

The company, NMK Pty Ltd, was prosecuted in the District Court of New South Wales (NSW), found guilty and fined $120,000 for breaching the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

“The risk of an excavator operator being struck by a flying object and the need to shut the front safety screen during excavation is widely known and understood within the demolition and excavation industry,” executive director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said in a media statement.

“Fortunately the worker did not suffer a significant brain injury as a result of the incident but the outcome could have been very different.”

For more details, visit SafeWork NSW

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Work-related incidents have claimed another 15 lives, including 12 male workers, two male bystanders, and one female bystander, according to the latest Safe Work Australia data.

A total of 87 people have been killed in work-related incidents in the first half of 2015, says the Notifiable Fatalities June 2015 Monthly Report.

Of the 15 incidents in June, three workers each died in vehicle incidents on a public road, vehicle accident in another context, and by being hit by a falling object. Two were killed in crushing incidents. Other individuals were killed due to falling from a height, an air crash, being trapped in machinery, and as a pedestrian hit by vehicle on a public road.

Six of these fatalities occurred in transport, postal and warehousing workplaces and five in agriculture, forestry and fishing. The other fatalities occurred in construction, manufacturing, and electricity, gas, water and waste services workplaces.

For more details, visit the report

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

More research on how fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) work affects mental health has been recommended by a Queensland parliamentary report.

“While the exact prevalence of mental health conditions in FIFO workers is currently unknown, there is a clear recognition that there are a range of general workplace stress factors and specific aspects of the FIFO role that may put workers, their families and communities at risk for mental health problems,” the report stated.

According to the report, some of these factors and aspects include the following: separation from family and friends, transitioning between home and work life and the disruption to family life, maintaining regular meaningful communication with family and friends, and fatigue.

The report recommends the Queensland Minister for State Development, in consultation with the Office of Industrial Relations and Queensland Mental Health Commission, undertake additional mental health research.

Among the issues to be researched, the report suggests examining the resilience of FIFO workers, workplace programs or external programs to prevent mental health injuries in FIFO workers, family support programs, and suicide risk and protective factors.

Meanwhile the Western Australian (WA) Government has responded to the findings of a WA parliamentary report into the impact of FIFO work on the mental health of workers in the resources industry.

“We will now work with the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) and the Mental Health Commission to address the report’s recommendations,” WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Marmion said in a media statement.

The WA Government welcomed the report’s recommended focus on improving the understanding of the complex factors that contribute to mental illness and suicide risk among workers.

The WA Government is also looking at changing existing codes of practice in response, and addressing some of the recommendations in the WA Work Health and Safety (Resources) Bill.

For more details, visit the Queensland parliamentary report and the WA response

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Agribusiness Elders has won the pinnacle award at this year’s NSCA Foundation/GIO Workers Compensation National Safety Awards of Excellence.

Held in the Grand Ballroom at the Shangri-La Hotel in the Rocks in Sydney on 15 October, the awards showcased each award nominee’s innovative safety plans and programs.

Elders took out the top award for their “Stand Up and Speak Up” safety communications strategy, which reinforces that nothing is so important that it cannot be done safely. Earlier in the proceedings Elders won the award for Best Communication of a Safety Message, which put them in contention for the top award.

As Master of Ceremonies, Channel Seven Sunrise journalist Edwina “Eddie” Bartholomew took charge of the smooth running of this year’s proceedings.

Dylan Alcott, gold and silver medallist in wheelchair basketball at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympics respectively, gave the keynote address.

All the winners on the day included:

  • SA Water Corporation, Best Continuous Improvement of a WHS Management System;
  • Adams Heavy Haulage, Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Small Business);
  • Adelaide Cemeteries, Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Medium to Large Business);
  • Elders, Best Communication of a Safety Message;
  • Employers Mutual, Best WHS Training Program;
  • Stephen Shield from BOC, Ian Chisholm Award for the Best Individual WHS Achievement;
  • Metropolitan Express Transport Services, Best Safety Leadership Program/ Initiative;
  • Kimberly-Clark Australia, Best Health and Wellbeing Program; and
  • Sparke Helmore Lawyers, NSCA Foundation Member of the Year.

For more detail, visit the awards.

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.


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