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News Articles and Updates

A senior support worker has been issued with a suspended jail sentence after a woman with a severe disability died.

Tracey Gilboy, a senior support worker from Leeds in the UK allowed Alison Evers to be given a lolly on 20 April 2012, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported in a media statement last week.

Evers was unable to ground down the lolly in her mouth enough to swallow it safely. She choked and later died in hospital.

Following an investigation, the HSE noted in a media statement that “Gilboy failed to take reasonable care for the safety of Alison Evers in a way that almost immediately set in motion a chain of events that directly led to her death”.

Gilboy pleaded guilty in the Leeds Crown Court to breaching Section 7(a) of the UK’s Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. She was sentenced to 80 days jail, suspended for twelve months.

For more details, visit the HSE

A new chemical information service has been established to help the transition to a new global chemical classification system that will come into effect in Australia in January 2017.

The Hazardous Chemical Information System (HCIS) includes 4500 chemicals classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

On announcing the new service, Safe Work Australia said the adoption of the GHS in Australia will advance the internationally consistent classification and communication of chemical hazards information on chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets. The 3rd revised edition of the GHS is referred to in the model work health and safety laws.

However, Safe Work Australia issued the following warning to those using the database to identify chemicals: “Please be aware that HCIS is not a comprehensive database of all chemicals. It is the responsibility of the Australian manufacturer/importer to determine if their product is a hazardous chemical and if so, to correctly classify their product. If you are unsure about the classification of a chemical not included in this database you should contact your chemical supplier or the manufacturer/importer for more information.”

For more details, visit HCIS.

Victorian construction sites are in the frame throughout July as safety inspectors target fall prevention.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors will visit 1000 construction sites during the prevention campaign, examining fall-prevention measures and providing information to builders and sub-contractors.

WorkSafe statistics indicate more than 3400 construction workers have lodged compensation claims following a fall and 21 workers have fallen to their death since 2005.

“The most recent fatality occurred on a high-rise building site in Carlton in February, when a worker fell 20m down a service shaft after the platform he was working on collapsed,” according to WorkSafe.

“You don’t have to fall from a great height to be killed or suffer permanent injuries, so if inspectors visit a site and find that there is an immediate risk of a fall, work will stop and not be allowed to restart until the site is compliant,” said WorkSafe Construction Program Manager Dermot Moody in a media statement.

Moody said: “Don’t assume that because you have never had a fall, your site is working safely. It may just mean you have been lucky – but safety can never be left to chance.”

For more details, visit the fall campaign.

Queensland coal workers’ respiratory health screening requires a major overhaul, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources ordered a review of the respiratory component of the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme after the scheme failed to identify coal workers with early signs of black lung disease (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis).

The review’s final report identifies a number of screening failures, including a lack of clinical guidelines to inform the diagnosis and management of coal dust lung disease and a lack of industry-wide health surveillance data to help inform coal mine dust exposure control measures.

The final report notes that correctly identifying and treating miners with respiratory diseases is vital, but coal dust control and respiratory disease prevention must be the first line of defence.

Black lung disease was thought to have been eradicated decades ago. But 11 cases of the disease have been identified in the Queensland coal industry since May 2015, and the review suspects 18 more long-term coal miners may have the disease.

For more details, visit the review and Queensland Department of Natural Resources

WorkSafe inspectors will visit pubs, taverns and bars across Perth and regional Western Australia (WA) looking for anything but a drink in the 2016/17 financial year.

WorkSafe statistics for this industry sector indicate that an average of 131 lost-time injuries are recorded annually, with 99 requiring workers to be off work for five or more days. Of these, 27 require workers to be off work for 60 days or more. Workers aged 25-34 sustain the most injuries in this sector, followed by workers aged 20-24.

Inspectors will be on the look out for a number of potential risks during their visits to WA watering holes, including: forklifts; electricity; falls from height; hazardous substances; machinery guarding; slips, trips and falls; manual handling; cuts; burns; violence and aggression; beverage gas; safe movement of vehicles through drive-throughs; communicable diseases; and first aid for burn injuries.

For more details, visit the inspection campaign.

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