SAFETY AT CHRISTMAS - TAKE CARE OR RISK BECOMING A CHRISTMAS STATISTIC
More workers die in the weeks leading up to Christmas than at any other time of year, according to WorkSafe Victoria statistics, which found that over the past decade, almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities occurred in November and December.
There was only one fatality in the November-December period last year – on 30 November – but in previous years the death toll had been horrendous, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director health and safety, Marnie Williams.
“While there was only one fatality in this period last year, in 2015 there were nine workplace deaths, and the year before that there were seven,” Williams said.
There were a number of reasons why this period was a dangerous time of year for workers.
“With Christmas just around the corner we know many employers and employees are rushing to meet deadlines and complete projects,” Williams said.
“In agriculture, the grain and hay harvests are in full swing, the construction sector is hard at work as builders, contractors and tradies push to complete projects before the Christmas shutdown, and the manufacturing sector is busy finalising last minute orders.
“We also know that many people are eagerly looking forward to their upcoming holidays and Christmas celebrations, so maybe they are getting distracted from the tasks at hand.
“That is why it is so important for everyone to put safety first, to take care and stay safe at work.”
It was important that employers and employees took the time to think about what needed to be done, and how it could be done as safely as possible, said Williams.
“For employers, this may mean factoring in a little extra time to do the job, or paying for extra resources and staff to get the job done safely,” she said.
“For workers, it may mean spending a little more time assessing each task before starting.
Self Assessment Tool - using Angle Grinders
In February 2016, a worker was killed while operating a 9 inch (230 mm) angle grinder when part of a broken disc struck his chest. It appears that the high impact of the projectile caused fatal internal injuries.
This is just one example of many where workers have been seriously injured when angle grinders have not been used correctly.
As a response to increasing injuries occurring from the unsafe operation of angle grinders, the Manufacturing and Logistics team (with assistance from the Engineering Unit and senior inspectors) have developed an easy to follow self-assessment checklist that can be used by anyone working with an angle grinder.
Please share this tool with anyone you feel may benefit from it. It can be found online or downloaded as a PDF with the following link-
Is your workplace ready for summer?
With UV levels strong enough on a summer’s day for Victorians to be sunburnt in just 11 minutes, it’s essential to have UV safety on your agenda.
At this time of year, it's a good idea to reinforce this via a toolbox talk or similar avenue.
While the sunburn fades, the permanent damage to DNA doesn’t. It adds up with each exposure, increasing the risk of developing skin cancer. The skin cancer risk is even higher for people who work outdoors; receiving up to 10 times more UV damage over their lifetime than an indoor worker. Despite these alarming numbers, a recent Australian Workplace Exposure Study found just 7% of workers in the construction industry have adequate protection from UV damage.
Don’t put your workers at risk - ensure appropriate protective clothing is worn; provide shade and cool water; and provide sunscreen for your workers.
Not only is UV a hazard so too is heat.
People in control of the workplace, such as managers and supervisors, and workers all have duties under work health and safety laws to manage risks to worker health and safety, such as those associated with working in heat.
Safe Work Australia has published a new guide for managing the risks of working in heat. Click here to view the guide or you can download the document below.
NSW Work at Height Blitz
Falls from heights are the leading killer on NSW construction sites, so SafeWork will be visiting construction sites across NSW over the next 12 months, to ensure compliance and raise awareness about the risks when working at heights.
This has been prompted by a tripling of falls incidents reported over the last five years, with the majority occurring in the construction industry. So far this year, eight workers in NSW have been killed, and many more suffered catastrophic injuries.
An additional and alarming statistic reported by SafeWork Australia is that nearly half of all fatalities in construction last year occurred between October and the end-of-year.
The blitz coincides with the introduction of tough new laws, where employers can be fined up to $3600 for failing to control the risk of falls adequately.
Work at Height is high risk - Ensure your workers are protected.
Check the lnk below for WorkSafe Victoria's Safety Alert re Glass in Childcare Centres
Check here for WorkCover Queensland's Health and Safety Alerts