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A new study suggests that higher order hazard controls such as elimination and substitution are not being used as much as they should in the manufacturing sector.

“While over 70 per cent of manufacturing workers who reported exposure to noise were provided with a combination of PPE [personal protective equipment] and other types of controls, 20 per cent reported that they were only provided with PPE,” according to the Safe Work Australia report, ‘Work Health & Safety Perceptions: Manufacturing Industry’.

“For vibration, over 30 per cent reported being provided with only PPE and no other control measure.

“Fourteen per cent of manufacturing workers who reported exposure to airborne hazards reported that they were not provided with any control measure for this hazard.”

The study suggests one of two reasons for this: “… either that workers were not aware of higher order control measures in the workplace or that there was a considerable proportion of manufacturing workplaces where higher order control measures were not provided.”

For more details, visit the report.

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

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

Australia must undertake a new body-sizing survey if designers are to meet their obligations under the model work health and safety laws, says a recent report.

According to the report ‘Sizing up Australia – the next step’, “… whilst there is a regulatory thrust to embed work health and safety into the design process, designers do not have available to them key data about the population for which they are designing.”

The report says the gap in the data “can only be filled by a well-constructed and well-executed anthropometric measurement survey of a representative sample of Australian people”.

Australia must develop the scientific parameters to conduct this survey, which could then be used as a national resource, the report adds.

As the cost of such a survey would be significant, the report suggests two user-pay models to fund it. “They combine the allocation of a set number of measurements that would be determined by general consensus between all stakeholders, regardless of their level of funding contribution, with a second and larger allocation of measurements that survey sponsors can determine,” the report says.

“The number of measures that a funding stakeholder could determine would be directly proportional to their level of contribution.”

A third funding model would involve the Australian Government funding the “basic survey and a consortium of partners concurrently [contributing] funding to the user applications”, the report adds.

For more details visit the report.

Published on 16 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Financial support is on offer for research investigations into safety, compensation, recovery and neurotrauma.

The Institute of Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) is offering grants for small-scale research projects conducted over a 12-month period.

Individual grants of $20,000 and $50,000 will be awarded to projects aligned to ISCRR’s research programs, the Institute said in a media statement.

These programs include occupational health and safety, return to work and system design, health and disability services delivery, and neurotrauma.

A total of $400,000 is on offer.

“Now in its fourth year, the annual development grants program has awarded $1,092,189 to date for researchers to conduct 24 research projects across nine institutions,” the institute said.

“Three out of the four research projects completed from the first round of development grants already [demonstrate] impact,” the Institute’s CEO, Professor Niki Ellis, said.

One of the projects, for example, “developed a tool kit to improve knowledge and skills about work-related psycho-social factors present in musculoskeletal disorders”, she added.

Expressions of interest are open until Monday 14 October.

For more details, visit the grant application.

Published on 12 September 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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