SafetyNet 629

Welcome to the 23 June, 2022 edition of SafetyNet.

It’s being reported a man died yesterday after a quarry truck tipped while reversing at a rail project site in Northern Victoria.

WorkSafe also report they’re investigating the death of a 50-year-old who fell at a Carrum Downs hotel, June 12. The man apparently walked through an aluminium screen, fell 60 centimetres to the concrete below, striking his head. He was taken to hospital but died on Saturday.

We await details and confirmation from WorkSafe but send our sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the two deceased. "Mourn the dead, fight like hell for the living."

We hope you find this week's edition useful and interesting. Feel free to share it and please encourage others in your workplaces to subscribe.

For OHS news and helpful information visit We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page, or for advice, our Ask Renata facility on OHS Network Facebook or via email: [email protected]

Prosecutions

VICTORIAN DAIRY COMPANY FINED $50,000 AFTER AMPUTATIONS

Australian Dairy Packaging Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in Heidelberg Magistrates' Court on Friday to two charges of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.

In March 2019, a worker reached inside the blender's discharge chute to clear a blockage when the revolving blades amputated one of his fingers and severely injured another.

He spent two months in hospital and underwent three operations to reattach the fingers.

Following the incident, the company complied with an improvement notice ensuring appropriate guarding was used to prevent access to the ribbon blender's danger area.

Two months later, another worker lost multiple fingers when she reached inside the discharge chute opening while the blender was running after the new guarding had been removed so the machine could be cleaned.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Health and Safety Adam Watson said in both incidents, much more should have been done to control the risks posed by the machine.

To manage risks when working with machinery employers should:

  • Identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative.
  • Ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and always fixed to machines
  • Regularly service and inspect machines and equipment.
  • Train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker's first language.
  • Develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives.
  • Place signs on or near a machine to alert employees of the dangers of operating it.

Source: WorkSafe News, 21 June 2022

PCBU FINED OVER ELECTRIC SHOCKS IN NSW

One of three PCBUs charged over an incident where a crane came into contact with overhead powerlines, and two workers suffered serious electric shocks, has been convicted and fined $150,000, plus $102,000 in prosecution costs.

In sentencing the PCBU, Judge David Russell said it could have prevented the electric shocks through "simple and well-known steps", and found its level of culpability was in the "mid range".

The incident occurred in October 2018 at Wingecarribee Shire Council's Moss Vale sewerage treatment plant.

A worker who delivered the crane operated the vehicle despite not being licensed to do so. The crane's boom then touched or nearly touched overhead powerlines, causing two Arkwood workers to suffer electric shocks and serious burns.

Source: OHS Alert, Friday, 17 June, SafeWork NSW v Arkwood (Gloucester) Pty Limited (No. 2) [2022] NSWDC 201 (10 June 2022)

 

 

 


Research

REMOTE-WORK PAIN

Australian researchers have found employers need to look beyond workstation set-ups to prevent multi-site musculoskeletal pain (MSP) for remote workers.

A study, involving 488 participants, and led by Associate Professor Jodi Oakman, from La Trobe University, identified four distinct trajectories that lead to the development of MSP amongst employees working from home, with data collected over three time points between October 2020 and November 2021.

Musculoskeletal discomfort was recorded separately for five body regions and was scored using a Likert scale.

The four identified distinct trajectories of multisite MSP included:

  1. a high-stable group (36.5% of respondents), characterised by a high number of pain sites that remained constant throughout the study
  2. a mid-decrease group (29.7%), characterised by a number of pain sites which dipped during the first follow-up survey and then slowly rose
  3. a low-stable group (22.3%), characterised by a low number of pain sites with minimal change throughout the study
  4. a rapid-increase group (11.5%), characterised by a low number of pain sites that subsequently increased

Researchers looked at a variety of potential contributing variables including work-family conflict, demographics (age, gender etc), workstation location, workstation comfort, psycho-social factors (quantitative demands), and job satisfaction.

They found that decreased workstation comfort, quantitative demands such as large workloads and time pressures, and having a low level of influence at work were associated with being in the high-stable (constant pain) group compared to low-stable.

Workstation location, specifically having to work "wherever is free", such as at the kitchen table, and quantitative demands were associated with being in the rapid-increase group.

As the study found quantitative factors to be important predictors for both the high-stable and rapid-increase groups (nearly 50% of workers), it highlights the importance of:

  1. setting realistic workload expectations
  2. a collaborative approach between employers and employees when setting workloads and deadlines

Source: OHS Alert, 16 June 2022, Musculoskeletal pain trajectories of employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jodi Oakman, et al, Australia, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, published online June 2022, doi: 10.1007/s00420-022-01885-1.


International News

OHS RECOGNIZED AS FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE AND RIGHT

On the 10th of June 2022, following the proposition by the General Affairs Committee, the delegates attending the International Labour Conference have adopted a resolution  to add the principle of a safe and healthy working environment to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Occupational Health and Safety becomes the fifth category of Fundamental Principles and Rights at work, completing the existing four categories: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Source: HesaMail, etui, June 2022, read more here

EUROPEAN ALERT FOR DEFECTIVE 3M ASBESTOS MASKS

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) recently passed on a French-initiated alert to all its European affiliates regarding defective Proflow asbestos masks manufactured by the US 3M corporation. These protective masks are the most widely used masks on asbestos removal sites throughout Europe. In France alone, they are regularly worn by more than 25,000 workers.

The motor pulsing asbestos-contaminated air through the mask’s filter system could present rpm fluctuations during use. As the 160-litre per minute airflow required by the legislation and necessary for the proper functioning of the device is not constantly ensured, workers wearing this mask are no longer effectively protected against inhaling asbestos fibres.

Source: HesaMail, etui, June 2022, read more here

US: TRENCH COLLAPSE

Authorities in Denver, Colorado received a 911 call about the collapse. Work was being done on a sewer line when the trench collapsed, according to the fire department. Trench rescue experts from several agencies attempted to free the 35-year-old worker. At about 5:15 p.m., his body was recovered. Police and firefighters are working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the investigation. Multiple fire departments in the north metro area responded. “Our hearts are with the victim’s family,” police said on Twitter.

Source: Confined Space, Weekly Toll: Killed on the Job, 20 June 2022

WORKER DIES IN MINNESOTA GRAIN BIN

An employee died in a grain bin incident located in Steele County, Minnesota. Emergency personnel responded and immediately began rescue efforts. Reports indicate the employee became fully engulfed in a grain bin while loading a train. First responders removed the man, 36-year-old Paul Jasper Frantum of Pemberton, from the grain bin. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation into the man's death is ongoing, the sheriff's office said. Historically, Minnesota ranks third in the US in documented agricultural-confined space-related accidents, which include grain entrapment cases. According to Purdue University, there were 212 Minnesota cases from 1962-2020.

Source: Confined Space, Weekly Toll: Killed on the Job, 20 June 2022


Events

WORK-RELATED GENDERED VIOLENCE (INCLUDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT)

Refresher Training Course for HSRs
Elected HSRs and Deputy HSRs are entitled to at least one refresher course each year, and may choose which course, in consultation with their employer.

VTHC’s WorkSafe-approved Work-Related Gendered Violence course provides HSRs with skills and knowledge to raise and resolve issues arising from work-related gendered violence - a serious occupational health and safety issue.

Our course covers:

  • Consultation, communication and representation
  • Gendered violence, definitions, impacts and injury
  • Identifying risks, risk assessment, prevention and the hierarchy of control
  • Issue Resolution

Course hours are 9am to 5pm and cost $330 or $350 regionally. Please contact Natalie Wood at [email protected] for more information.

HSR INITIAL & REFRESHER TRAINING

Trained HSRs are more effective HSRs - have you just been elected and haven't organised your training yet? Do it now! And if you completed your initial five day training then organise your annual refresher now. There are things happening in the OHS space you need to be aware of.  

Remember: under Section 67 of the OHS Act 2004 all HSRs and DHSRs are entitled to attend at least 1 one-day refresher course every year, yet many just don't get around to it. If this is you, then check out the courses scheduled for next year, and enrol now, before they fill up.  It's important to attend in order to keep up your knowledge of OHS law and practice up-to-date. In the past year we have had significant amendments to the OHS Act, new regulations (for crystalline silica) and new codes. Trained health and safety reps make a real difference in their workplaces, and it's great to meet with others and share experiences!

Initial Course Dates :  

  • 18 - 22 July - Narre Warren
  • 26, 27, 28 July & 10, 11 August - Carlton

Course hours: 9am - 5pm
Course length: All initial OHS training courses are 5 days.
Course fee: $870.00 incl. GST Regional: $895.00 incl. GST

Refresher course Dates:  

  • 1 July - Narre Warren
  • 7 July - Carlton
  • 14 July - Work Related Gendered Violence - Carlton
  • 3 August - Work Related Gendered Violence (Education Sector) -  AEU, Abbotsford

Go to this link to enrol in any of the five-day initial or refresher courses. Remember to then notify your employer at least 14 days before the course. 


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