OHS Blog

Understanding the Child Safe Standards and Their Role in Our Community

Child safety is a non-negotiable human right that transcends individual contexts and permeates into every facet of our society. It’s a responsibility that is equally important for parents, educators, and the community at large. In recent years, especially since the implementation of the Child Safe Standards, the safeguarding of minors has been given a renewed emphasis by regulatory bodies and organisations. This article aims to explore the importance of these standards and how organisations, no matter their size, play a pivotal role in protecting our most vulnerable population.

Organisations that provide services for children and young people are required to comply with the Child Safe Standards as a proactive step to prevent future cases of abuse. With standards ranging from the empowerment of children to robust policies and ongoing training for staff, each standard serves as a building block towards creating a safer environment for children.

But what does it mean for your business or organisation? How do you ensure that you are compliant and, importantly, that your commitment to child safety is tangible and far-reaching? Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about these standards and how to implement them effectively.

The Evolution of Child Safe Standards

The inception of these standards was a response to the 2013 Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. The 11 Standards were carefully crafted to set out the minimum requirements for safeguarding children and detail the mandatory actions organisations must take.

The Victorian Child Safety and Wellbeing Act 2005 laid the foundation for these standards, with organisations legally bound to adhere to them. This legal framework instituted a new approach—one where the well-being of children is woven into the fabric of organisational culture and practice.

Implementing these standards signifies a paradigm shift—a move from reactive measures to an environment where child safety is proactively nurtured and protected. The ultimate goal is clear: an Australia where the right of every child to a safe and secure environment is upheld.

Who Must Comply and the Role of the Regulator

The applicability of these standards is far-reaching. Organisations and businesses that provide services to children, either exclusively or as part of their broader offerings, must adhere to the Child Safe Standards. This includes schools, sports clubs, faith-based organisations, and more.

The oversight of these standards lies with the Commission for Children and Young People, which plays a crucial role in ensuring that organisations are compliant. Through guidance, support services, and monitoring, the commission aids in the establishment of a robust child safety infrastructure.

The regulator’s role is not punitive but supportive. It is an ally in the realisation of a safe environment for our children, offering resources and expertise to guide organisations through their compliance journeys.

Implementing and Complying with the Child Safe Standards

Understanding the standards is the first step. Organisational leaders must fully grasp what each of the 11 standards entails and commit to embedding them within their organisation. This integration involves a cultural shift—an acknowledgment that prioritising child safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Training programmes, internal policies, and a network of communication channels are pivotal in achieving compliance. But beyond just ticking boxes, it’s about cultivating an environment where children feel safe, and their voices are not just heard but acted upon.

Creating a child safe organisation is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires ongoing review, adaptation, and a genuine commitment from the top down. Each standard is an opportunity for organisational growth—a demonstration of your commitment to the welfare of the young people you serve.

The Reportable Conduct Scheme

A significant component in the mosaic of child safety is the Reportable Conduct Scheme. This legislative provision holds organisations accountable for the response to and notification of allegations of child abuse committed by their employees and volunteers.

The scheme enables independent oversight of organisation responses, fostering an environment of transparency and accountability. By sharing information among key stakeholders, the scheme works to prevent abusers from moving between organisations undetected.

In navigating the Reportable Conduct Scheme, organisations need to understand not just the legalities but the essence of the scheme—its core purpose to protect children.

The Head of the Organisation’s Role

Under the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the leadership of the organisation holds distinct responsibilities that cannot be delegated. The head—usually the CEO—ensures that the organisation’s systems are working effectively to address allegations of abuse and that the appropriate supervisory authorities are notified.

These responsibilities underscore the critical role of leadership in institutionalising child safety. By championing the cause, CEOs set the standard for the rest of the organisation, signalling a commitment that is unyielding and inalienable.

Undertaking a Comprehensive Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is more than a compliance requirement; it’s an exercise in foresight and prevention. By identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities, organisations can tailor their child safety measures to mitigate these threats effectively.

Risk areas may include physical and emotional abuse, cultural safety, online environments, and more. Each of these risks requires a unique strategy, yet all must align with the broader child safe culture and practices.

Organisations cannot afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach to child safety. It demands nuanced understanding and deliberate, targeted interventions.

A Call to Action for All Organisations

The Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme form a robust framework for protecting children from harm. But compliance is only one part of the equation. The true testament lies in the actions and culture of the organisations.

Each organisation has the power to become an advocate for child safety, to lead by example, and to contribute to a community where all children can flourish. It starts with a commitment—a recognition of the value of every child’s life and the dedication to safeguard it.

Uniting under this common cause, we can create a network of organisations that are not just safe for children, but empowering and nurturing. It’s more than a regulatory box to check; it’s a profound opportunity to impact lives and shape a better future.

Author: Stuart West

Resources:

Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005

Commission for Children & Young People

Reportable Conduct Scheme

CCYP – Resources

CCYP – Child Safe Standards

CCYP – Creating a Child Safe Organisation. Resources

 

 

 

Prosecutions: 2023 summary for NSW and Victoria

Business leaders have a legislative duty to acquire and maintain up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters relevant to the nature of their operations.

 

But without any visibility of the health and safety prosecutions that have occurred, it can be hard to grasp what could go wrong within your operations.

 

With a little context, you have an opportunity to reflect on current practices. This can help to ensure that reasonably practicable controls have been established, and to ensure ‘like’ or ‘now foreseeable’ incidents are less likely to occur within the workplace.

 

‘Reasonably practicable’ means that you should consider the likelihood and degree of harm of a hazard or risk. Whilst there may not have previously been an incident at your workplace, if a significant incident has occurred across your industry, you should be aware of it.

 

Each year, since 2015 Action OHS Consulting has collated and reviewed the data available from both WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW. Used effectively, this information should support you to influence key stakeholders within your organisation, and assist your business to make informed decisions with respect to their health and safety program.

 

The prosecution data has been collated from:

 

 

This article provides an overview of the prosecutions from 2015 through to the 2023 Calendar Years (CY).

 

Prosecutions: Numbers and related legislation

The 2023 calendar year saw a total of 137 prosecutions against the Victorian health and safety legislation, whilst in NSW the number of prosecutions was 64.

 

Victoria: When compared to the previous year, there has been a 19% increase in Victoria. This is compared to a 20% increase in CY2022 when compared to CY2021. CY2023 has seen prosecutions returned to pre-COVID levels. With CY2018 and CY2019 reporting 132 and 137 prosecutions respectively.

 

NSW: When compared to the previous year, there has been an 5% increase in NSW. This is compared to a 14% reduction in CY2022 when compared to CY2021. Prosecutions have been relatively consistent since CY2020.

 

Within Victoria:

  • 116 prosecutions were recorded against the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 only
  • 18 prosecutions involved both the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • 1 prosecution involved the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2017 only
  • 1 prosecution involved the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 only
  • 1 prosecution involved the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and Dangerous Goods Act 1985

 

 

Consistent with previous years, zero prosecutions were against the 2007 version of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations which were updated in 2017.

 

Within NSW:

  • 62 prosecutions were recorded against the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 only
  • 2 prosecution was recorded against the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 only

 

 

Prosecution timeframes

The table below lists the timeframe for the prosecution’s outcomes from CY2023 when measured against the date of the offence.

 

Table 1: Timeframe between date of offence and the prosecution outcome, for the CY2023 prosecution outcomes reported by SafeWork NSW & WorkSafe Victoria. Bracketed numbers represent the increase / decrease when compared to 2022.

 

 

Health and safety fines

Year on year, the average fine in Victoria has more than doubled increased by 130% from $50,489 to $116,332. With respect to the median fine in Victoria this has increased by 25% from $20,000 to $25,000. This represents an increase in the value of the larger fines, and the number of larger fines. As a reference, in Victoria, during CY2022 the maximum fine was $600,000, in CY2023 there were four (4) fines greater than this [$2,900,000; $2,100,000; $1,500,000; and, $730,000] – see below.

With respect to NSW the average and median was consistent with CY2022.

Both the average and median fines were greater in NSW, when compared to Victoria. The average fine in NSW is more than double that of Victoria, whilst the median fine is more than 6x greater in NSW when compared to Victoria.

 

 

WorkSafe Victoria reported to issue five (5) Enforceable Undertakings during CY2023 which equates to 3.6% of prosecutions. This aligns with the percentage of prosecutions that resulted in Enforceable Undertaking issued in CY2022.

 

 

An ‘enforceable undertaking’  (EU) is a legally binding agreement between WorkSafe Victoria and the employer. The employer is obliged to carry out the specific activities outlined in the agreed undertaking. EUs will typically guide and direct the business being prosecuted to improve its health and safety program.

 

Health and safety fines: Maximum issued

The maximum fine in Victoria was circa 5x greater than in CY2022. In contrast, NSW’s maximum fine in CY2023 was consistent with CY2022.

 

 

The maximum fines issued to a business were associated with the following events:

 

Victoria: Bradbury Industrial Services Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (“the offender”) was a chemical waste recycling company based in Campbellfield, Victoria. In 2019, the offender operated several warehouses in the area, including locations at 16-18 Thornycroft Street, 9-11 Brooklyn Court, 20A Yellowbox Drive, 20B Yellowbox Drive, 12 Yellowbox Drive, and 1745 Sydney Road.

The offender, as an occupier of premises where dangerous goods were stored, failed to take all reasonable precautions at the Brooklyn Court, Yellowbox Drive, and Sydney Road locations, including inadequate storage methods and insufficient spill containment measures. Additionally, at the Thornycroft Street premises, the offender failed to provide necessary instruction, information, supervision, and training, leading to a serious incident.

On the morning of April 5, 2019, an employee was decanting toluene, a Class 3 Dangerous Good, when a large flash fire erupted, quickly spreading out of control. The fire destroyed the warehouse, requiring four days to extinguish and causing the closure of nearby schools. The employee sustained burns to his face and throat, requiring a three-day hospitalization.

In sentencing, the Court imposed fines totalling $2,900,000, considering the serious breaches and the guilty plea as mitigating factors.

 

NSW: A1 Arbor Tree Service Pty Ltd, The offender, on 7 September 2019, a 40-year-old worker, was fatally injured when he was drawn into a woodchipper whilst hand-feeding branches into the woodchipper at Lindfield.

After a SafeWork NSW investigation the defendant, A1 Arbor Tree Service Pty Ltd, was charged with a breach of section 31(1)/19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

On 14 July 2023, the defendant was convicted by the District Court and fined $2,025,000.

 

It is not just businesses being prosecuted in relation to health and safety breaches

Health and safety prosecutions are not limited to corporations. In 2023, 15% and 11% of prosecutions were issued to workers in Victoria and NSW, respectively – equating to 20 and 7 prosecutions, respectively.

 

 

The average fine issued to a worker in Victoria and NSW was $52,307 and $27,392 respectively.

 

Prosecutions: What is the cause and where are the gaps?

With respect to the criteria/codes that lead to the prosecution – of the 59 criteria that was referenced, 13 criteria associated with more than 10% of the prosecutions in 2023; note: “Guarding” and “Failure to prepare a SWMS” were included as they have been monitored consistently over the last editions of this review.

As defined by WorkSafe Victoria, these are outlined below.

 

 

These criteria whilst changing in distribution have been consistent since 2015.

“Failure to provide a safe working environment” and “Failure to provide a safe system of work”’ continues to places a clear duty on all workplaces to understand their operations, the hazards associated with their work, and ensure that the established controls are implemented.

Other noteworthy criteria includes:

  1. The introduction of “Traffic Management” to the list.
  2. Fatality was cited for 7% of prosecutions, or for 10 prosecutions.
  3. With psychosocial hazards and silica core regulator themes, it will be interesting to monitor the prosecutions in years to come that reference these criteria/codes. During CY2023: Silica = 1; Stress =1; Occupational violence and aggression = 2; Sexual Harassment = 2; Workplace bullying/harassment = 7.

 

 

Health check

Action OHS Consulting, in collaboration with its sister-company Safety Champion Software, has developed a self-assessment tool: Safety Champion Impact Assessment. This tool has been designed to support businesses to understand potential points of failure, allowing them to proactively improve their health and safety program.

We plan to make this tool accessible up until 31 April 2024.

 

START SAFETY CHAMPION IMPACT ASSESSMENT

 

Free consulting support

As part of the WorkSafe Victoria OHS Essentials Program, businesses with operations in Victoria, may be eligible for three (3) OHS Consulting Support sessions delivered over 12-months by an Action OHS Consulting consultant. These sessions are designed to guide businesses on how to deliver on the legal OHS duties and obligations.

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE OHS ESSENTIALS PROGRAM

 

Free webinar support

If your initial preference is for online guidance, Action OHS Consulting developed and delivered a four-part webinar series providing direction on how businesses can best manage their legal obligations associated with health and safety.

The good news is that it is free for you to download.

 

DOWNLOAD THE WAR ON SAFETY WEBINAR SERIES

 

Key takeaways

To allow better and more informed decisions to be made, businesses must have established processes to understand how effectively their health and safety program has been implemented.

 

The Health and Safety Legislation adopts a self-regulated risk-based approach. This means businesses and their leaders are required to understand what could foreseeably go wrong within their operations and then establish reasonably practicable controls to minimise the likelihood or severity of such events occurring. The intention; is to protect workers, contractors, customers and visitors from harm.

This require leaders to be real. It requires them to appreciate that safety as documented by your policy and procedure manual, may not reflect work as completed operationally.

Put simply, this leads to a requirement for workplaces to actively:

 

  • Ensure that your safety program is easy to access and understand, and importantly relevant to your operations. Strongly consider implementing safety software, such as Safety Champion, to help ensure that scheduled tasks are completed and that workers can easily report incidents and/or hazards. Ensuring that you have visibility and read access to this information, will assist you to proactively prevent incidents from occurring in the future.
  • List all the ways your workers could get hurt, and document what you have put in place to stop this from happening. Start by listing the “Top 5” hazards – focusing on those which could cause the most serious harm. Do this in consultation with a selection of workers who hold different roles within your business. If you identify things that you could improve and/or do better, this is not bad, in fact, it is the point of the exercise. The good news is that Safety Champion has a Risk Module that helps guide the process, whilst allowing you to document the conversation.
  • Continue to consult. Have regular structured and unstructured conversations with your team regarding the controls you have established.
  • Build competency. Ensure that you have an induction program that includes an overview of your safety program and the operational activities that the worker will undertake. Consider assigning a buddy to new and/or young workers.
  • Ensure your safety program is sustainable. Don’t rely on just one person. Spreadsheets and folders can be effective if you are organised, however, are difficult to maintain visibility when tasks are due – or more importantly, when tasks are missed. This is where software programs like Safety Champion Software will support your organisation, providing visibility of your health and safety program in real-time, remind you when deadlines and key milestones approach, and provide you with access to data to make data-based decisions via its Module Set.
  • Consider safety as part of your procurement process. Before you buy anything, consider the safety implications. Don’t limit this to equipment, machinery, computers – extended this to services as well. Don’t make safety an afterthought.

 

We would be interested to hear your thoughts, questions, or concerns.

 

If like us, you would like to interrogate data, we would be more than happy to share an unlocked copy of the data with you

 

We would be interested to hear your thoughts, questions or concerns.

 

If like us, you would like to interrogate data, we would be more than happy to share an unlocked copy of the data with you – simply Contact Us.

 

Author: Craig Salter & Marcela Medina.

Client Spotlight – April 2024

HSY Autoparts

Our supplier HSY – Melbourne EuroThe Action OHS Consulting team have been assisting HSY Autoparts, who are Australia’s leading national independent importer and distributor of automotive parts, servicing passenger and light commercial vehicles across BMW, Mercedes, VAG, Volvo, and the French makes.  The AOHS team have supported the operations teams at their Victoria and NSW sites to develop and implement a health and safety system and site review of their warehouse at Campbellfield and HSY Branches.

 

Grampians Health

Research Assistant - Ballarat - Job in Ballarat & Central Highlands - Grampians Health BallaratAt Grampians Health, a dedicated team works tirelessly to serve communities throughout the Grampians region. Their integrated care model prioritises personalised and compassionate service, putting people at the forefront of everything they do. Action OHS Consulting has partnered with Grampians Health’s Support Services team to conduct a comprehensive review of their health and safety management system. This collaboration comes after several health services across western Victoria were amalgamated, underscoring Grampians Health’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its staff and patients across all campuses.
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Abey Australia

Abey Appliances | Winning Appliances

Abey Australia is a prominent family-owned business that has specialised in kitchen, bathroom, and laundry designs for over 67 years. Built on a foundation of quality, trust, and extensive expertise, it has cultivated a legacy in the industry. Its commitment to innovation drives it to continuously push design boundaries, offering an exceptional range of designer products. Action OHS has supported them in building a safer workplace by delivering Due Diligence Training and working directly with the team to improve their safety processes.

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Eastern Freeway Burke to Tram Alliance

File:Victoria State Government logo.svg - Wikipedia

The Eastern Freeway – Burke to Tram project will be managed by the Eastern Freeway – Burke to Tram Alliance, consisting of Major Road Projects Victoria, Laing O’Rourke, Symal, Arcadis, and WSP. The scope of work includes a 6.5km upgrade of the existing Eastern Freeway, Bulleen and Doncaster Interchanges, a new dedicated busway, noise walls, shared user paths, pedestrian bridges, and utilities relocation. The team at Action OHS has supported this project by delivering an OHS Desktop management plan and implementation audits to ensure everyone contributing to the project can do their job in an environment that prioritises safety.

New health and safety codes and legislation – April 2024

A summary of the latest WHS news and updates from across Australia 1sources: National, State and Territory Regulatory websites.

Codes and Legislation

Safe Work Australia

Model Code of Practice- uncontrolled processing of engineered stone products amendment

In November, Safe Work Australia published a model code of practice on how to manage the risks of breathing respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone at work. This code has been updated to reflect the model amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations (Engineered Stone) Amendment 2023. In the amendment, the uncontrolled processing of engineered stone products was expressly prohibited, and a definition of engineered stone was provided.

 

Engineered stone ban

Safe Work Australia is drafting regulations to prohibit the use of engineered stone nationally. This ban won’t apply to existing engineered stone already installed. Repairs, minor modifications, removal, and disposal of existing stone are still allowed. Implementation: Each state and territory will need to adopt these regulations individually. Safety for Existing Stone: Safe Work Australia will create a national framework to ensure safe handling of existing engineered stone.

 

Duties in construction

The construction industry has been provided with a tool developed by Safe Work Australia. An interactive tool in which you can learn about WHS duties, common hazards, and how to manage risks in construction. This is an excellent tool for people who work in the construction industry. The site provides simple and clear information on duties such as incident reporting, emergency plans, first aid, personal protective equipment, labour hire, and safe design.

Explore the tool at Know your duties.

Clean Air. Clear Lungs – Be Silica Smart

Industries that may expose workers to silica dust, such as construction, manufacturing, tunnelling, demolition, mining, quarrying, and stonemasonry, Safe Work Australia shot a campaign to target workers and PCBUs. Besides English, the campaign website is also available in five other languages – Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, and Hazaragi, which is in accordance with demographic data about workers in these industries.

Learn more: Clean Air. Clear Lungs. – Be Silica Smart campaign

New Welding Fume Safety Standards Implemented

The workplace exposure standard (WES) for welding fumes has been reduced from 5 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) to 1 mg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour workday. This change is mandatory under national WHS/OHS laws. PCBUs (employers) must minimise worker exposure to welding fumes as much as possible.

Model Code of Practice: Welding processes.

Labor hire

Employers who use Labor hire workers have a responsibility for their health and safety under Australia’s WHS laws. This applies if you hire, control, or influence their activities on the job.

Safe Work Australia offers a “Know Your Duties” tool to clarify these responsibilities for both host businesses and workers involved in Labor hire arrangements.

You can find the tool here: Know your duties – a tool for working safely

New Interactive Guide Makes SWMS Easier for Construction

Confusion and a lack of understanding have hampered the effectiveness of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) in construction. Many see them as a burden rather than a safety tool.

Safe Work Australia has launched a new interactive SWMS guide to address this issue. The guide explains the purpose of SWMS, when they’re required, and how to use them effectively.

Interactive SWMS tool

Safe Work Australia Updates Family Violence Resources

Safe Work Australia has updated its information sheet on family and domestic violence (FDV) in the workplace. This update reflects recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 regarding paid FDV leave entitlements. FDV can become a workplace safety risk if the perpetrator targets the victim at their workplace, including home offices. Threats, intimidation, or actual violence can occur in these situations. By following these guidelines, employers can play a crucial role in protecting workers from FDV.

Family and domestic violence at work – information sheet

 

Code of managing risks of plant in the workplace

Safe Work Australia updated their code on managing workplace plant risks to include preventing vehicle roll-aways. Unsecured vehicles rolling away is a danger, so the update offers control measures like parking on flat surfaces and using wheel chocks.

Model Code of Practice: Managing risks of plant in the workplace

Updated preliminary fatalities data now available.

Safe Work Australia revamped their dashboard to show work-related fatality estimates in Australia. This new dashboard includes:

  • Industry breakdowns: Shows which industries have the highest number of fatalities. (e.g., transport, construction, agriculture)
  • Cause of death breakdowns: Provides insights into how these fatalities occur (e.g., vehicle accidents)
  • Year-over-year comparisons: Allows for easier tracking of fatality trends.

They’ve also released preliminary data for 2024, which is updated regularly. It’s important to note that this data might change as more information becomes available.

Preliminaries fatalities 2024

 

New South Wales

SafeWork NSW to be transformed into a standalone WHS regulator

The NSW Government will transform SafeWork into a standalone regulator following a 12-month inquiry by former judge The Hon. Robert McDougall KC. The independent report’s recommendations have been endorsed with further work now underway to determine specific implementation details.

Visit: NSW Government to transform SafeWork NSW into standalone work, health and safety regulator | SafeWork NSW to learn more.

New Course stay safe from asbestos.

SafeWork NSW, along with several other NSW government organizations, launched an online Asbestos Awareness and Safety Course. This free course is aimed at educating tradies and other workers on how to safely handle asbestos-containing materials. The course covers various topics including identification of asbestos, safe handling procedures, health risks of exposure, and control measures. It is especially important for workers in construction, renovation, plumbing, and electrical trades to take this course, as they are more likely to encounter asbestos during their work.  This course is also a legal requirement for employers to provide to their workers who may encounter asbestos.

Learn more: Asbestos awareness and safety – store.training.tafensw.edu.au

National WHS Agriculture Day (17 Nov 2023)

SafeWork NSW recognised National WHS Agriculture Day, urging farmers in New South Wales to prioritize creating a safe work environment. The focus of National Agriculture Day, 17 Nov 2023 was on promoting the importance of minimizing psychosocial hazards and ensuring safety for seasonal workers, especially around moving machinery and at heights.

Farm work can be dangerous, with tractors and other equipment causing many fatalities.  SafeWork is offering resources and inspections to help farmers improve safety, including a rebate program and mental health workshops for women in agriculture.

Learn more: Farmers urged to make it home safe this ‘National Agriculture Day’

New injured workers

A group representing injured workers and their families in NSW, FIWSAG, participated in a safety conference to advocate for improved workplace safety and share their experiences.

FIWSAG advises the NSW government and offers resources to those impacted by workplace incidents. Members include those directly injured or the family of those killed in work-related accidents.

At the conference, FIWSAG shared perspectives on how injured workers and their families can contribute to creating safer workplaces. This included discussions on how various stakeholders can have a say in improving workplace safety practices.

FIWSAG also recently published online stories about those who were impacted by workplace deaths and injuries.

Learn more: Injured families and workers speak to regulators on a world stage.

NSW Cracks Down on Silica Dust Exposure in Construction

NSW SafeWork launches a campaign to tackle silica dust risks in construction and tunnelling.

While a manufactured stone ban is coming, the campaign addresses dust exposure from other sources like bricks, concrete, and tiles during cutting, grinding, and drilling. SafeWork inspectors will target construction and tunnelling sites to ensure compliance with dust control regulations and educate workers on risks. Silicosis is a serious lung disease caused by silica dust exposure. SafeWork NSW prioritizes worker safety and has zero tolerance for practices that endanger workers.

Stop-work notices can be issued for sites with excessive dust or inadequate control measures. Non-compliance can lead to fines up to $130,000 for employers. Overall, NSW is taking a proactive approach to protect construction and tunnelling workers from the dangers of silica dust exposure.

Six-month silica safety blitz to protect workers’ health

NSW Bans Engineered Stone to Protect Workers from Silicosis

A national ban on engineered stone was agreed upon at a work health and safety ministers’ meeting. This follows a Safe Work Australia report highlighting the dangers of silica dust exposure in engineered stone, a known cause of silicosis, a serious lung disease. The ban on use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone will come into effect in NSW on July 1, 2024. A separate national framework for handling existing engineered stone products (removal, modification, etc.) will be developed by SafeWork Australia by February 2024. Individual states will manage the implementation. Overall, this decision prioritizes worker health by eliminating a major source of silica dust exposure.

SafeWork NSW welcomes prohibition on engineered stone products in NSW from 1 July 2024

Working at Heights Campaign

SafeWork NSW’s year-long campaign against falls from height in construction reached its halfway point. The campaign follows a rise in fall-related deaths (17 fatalities between 2018-2022). 65% of the industry prioritizes using the highest safety measures (fall prevention like guardrails and scaffolding) over fall arrest systems (harnesses). SafeWork NSW remains committed to worker safety in 2024 with ongoing inspections. January 2024 blitz focuses on safe rooftop solar panel installation. SafeWork NSW is actively addressing falls from height in construction to prevent serious injuries and deaths.

Find more information: Working at heights.

 

Victoria

Asbestos danger is still present despite ban

Asbestos, banned nationally two decades ago, remains a hazard in pre-1990 buildings.

WorkSafe is conducting inspections to ensure safe handling and removal of asbestos during construction and demolition. Asbestos exposure can cause deadly diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Employers are legally responsible for identifying, managing, and safely removing asbestos. Despite the risks, some employers fail to comply with regulations.

Asbestos still a risk to workers 20 years on from ban

A bully boss was fined $60,000 for terrorizing apprentices.

Steven Yousif, director of Melbourne Glass Solutions Pty Ltd., was fined for bullying two apprentices. Charges: Failing to provide a safe work environment due to workplace bullying (Magistrates’ Court, March 2023). Penalty: $60,000 fine and $6,000 court costs. Yousif subjected the apprentices to verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and even physical violence between 2019 and 2021.

One apprentice endured constant insults and dismissal threats and was stopped from attending training courses. He also suffered physical harm, including a humiliating incident at a company party.

The other apprentice was subjected to similar verbal abuse and threats and was prevented from attending training, leading to fear and intimidation. As a result of the bullying, both apprentices experienced significant mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The case highlights the importance of having clear anti-bullying policies and procedures in workplaces. Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, free from harassment and intimidation.

Bully boss fined

The new welding fume safety standard

Welding fumes pose serious health risks to workers, including respiratory problems, lung cancer, and even death. Three Victorian worker deaths since 2019 highlight the dangers.

Stricter Exposure Limits: effective 18 January 2024, the workplace exposure standard for welding fumes has been reduced from 5mg/m3 to 1mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday. This standard represents the maximum safe airborne concentration to avoid adverse health effects.

Employer Responsibilities: employers must prioritize minimizing worker exposure to welding fumes. This can be achieved by eliminating or modifying the welding process if possible.

Implementing ventilation controls like fume extraction systems. Using respiratory protection as a last resort.

Monitoring and Health Checks: employers are responsible for monitoring airborne contaminant levels to ensure compliance with the standard. Additional health monitoring may be required for workers exposed to specific harmful substances.

Importance of Safe Work Practices: these new standards emphasize the importance of prioritizing worker safety in welding environments. Following these guidelines can significantly reduce the risk of serious health problems for welders.

Controlling exposure to welding fumes

New Training Options for Non-Slewing Telehandler Operators in Victoria

As of July 1st, 2024, Victoria is introducing a new licensing system for non-slewing telehandlers. This aims to improve safety and provide operators with training that is more relevant to their specific job duties.

A new “Telehandler Licence” (TV Licence) will be available for operators of non-slewing telehandlers exceeding 3 tonnes. This licence offers an alternative to the existing “Non-Slewing Mobile Crane Licence” (CN Licence). Operators won’t need both. The TV Licence focuses on training specific to non-slewing telehandlers and their various attachments (buckets, hay forks, etc.), which are particularly relevant in agriculture. Existing Mobile Crane HRWL classes may still be valid for telehandlers if training covers the specific machine and attachment. This change comes after safety assessments and consultations to address the increasing use of telehandlers in agriculture. The goal is to ensure operators receive proper training to minimize accidents. Tragically, two telehandler-related fatalities have occurred in the past three years. 

For more information: non-slewing telehandler licence.

WorkSafe Victoria Targets Falls from Height in Construction Blitz

WorkSafe Victoria is launching a statewide inspection blitz on construction sites. The blitz targets unsafe practices like incomplete scaffolds, improper ladder use, and working at heights without proper protection. In 2023, nine Victorian workers died from falls, four in construction alone. Construction workers fall injuries from heights are rising (441 claims in 2023). Inspectors will be actively searching for fall hazards and taking enforcement measures against non-compliant employers.

A public awareness campaign will run alongside the blitz.

Fall prevention

Victoria Bans Engineered Stone to Protect Workers from Silicosis

Effective July 1, 2024, Victoria enforces a complete ban on the use of engineered stone in workplaces.

This is the strictest engineered stone regulation in Australia. The ban aims to prevent silicosis, a serious lung disease caused by silica dust exposure. Existing regulations, including a ban on dry-cutting and licensing requirements, are still in effect until the full ban. WorkSafe emphasizes worker safety during this transitional period. Public awareness campaign launched to inform employers and workers about the Ban. Partnership with The Alfred for comprehensive health assessments for potentially affected workers. Overall, Victoria takes a strong stance against engineered stone to protect workers’ health and well-being.

More information: Crystalline silica

The financial position of WorkSafe remains challenging.

For the six months to December 2023, Performance from Insurance Operations (PFIO) incurred a deficit of $1.1 billion. For the six months to December 2023, Performance from Insurance Operations (PFIO) incurred a deficit of $1.1 billion. Despite strong investment returns of 3.7 per cent and greater premium collection, WorkSafe reported a net loss after tax of $726 million because of continued claims growth and an increase of $587 million in expected future claims liabilities. WorkSafe’s insurance funding ratio is 101.8%, which is within the preferred funding range.

WorkSafe half-year results

Farm Safety in Focus During Peak Seasons

With March and November being high-risk months for farm fatalities in Australia, a Victorian farmer highlights the dangers of fatigue. Jack, a farmer from Yalla-Y-Poora, shares his experience of how fatigue can contribute to accidents. WorkSafe Victoria’s campaign, “It’s never you, until it is,” is being relaunched to raise awareness and encourage safety conversations among farmers. Farm fatalities are already at two in 2024, adding to the 34 deaths since 2020. Serious injuries often lead to long-term recovery and can permanently impact a farmer’s ability to work.

More information: It’s never you, until it is

 

South Australia

South Australia Introduces Laws for Industrial Manslaughter

South Australia enacts legislation making industrial manslaughter a criminal offence.

Individuals face up to 20 years of imprisonment, and companies face up to $18 million in fines.

These penalties apply for reckless or grossly negligent breaches of work health and safety duties leading to worker deaths. This aligns South Australia with other Australian jurisdictions that have already implemented similar laws. The legislation clarifies that existing work health and safety duties remain in place, but with tougher penalties for severe breaches resulting in fatalities.

Minister Kyam Maher emphasizes the importance of worker safety and holding those responsible accountable. He acknowledges the efforts of families who campaigned for these laws and highlights the difference between accidental and criminal workplace deaths.

Industrial manslaughter.

Safety Blitz Targets Automotive Workshops

SafeWork SA issued stop-work notices to 11 workshops for operating faulty vehicle hoists and pressure vessels. This comes during a six-month campaign focusing on high-risk equipment in the automotive industry. Ensuring vehicle hoists, which require workers to be under lifted vehicles, are properly maintained and function safely. Inspections aim to prevent tragedies like the 2011 workshop death caused by a faulty hoist. SafeWork SA offers advice and information to workshop owners on the safe operation of equipment. The focus is on creating a safety culture, especially for small and family-owned businesses.

Hazardous hoists under the spotlight

South Australia Seeks Feedback on Work Health and Safety Reforms

The South Australian Government is seeking public input on proposed changes to workplace safety laws. This follows an independent review of SafeWork SA’s practices and a public consultation process.

Background:

  • Enhance overall workplace safety.
  • Ensure faster response to safety concerns.
  • Support worker well-being (physical & mental).
  • Empower workers in complaint and resolution processes.

Draft Work Health and Safety (Review Recommendations) Amendment Bill 2024 is available for review. The draft bill proposes reforms in areas like:

  • Dispute resolution for work health and safety matters.
  • Access rights for inspectors (right of entry).
  • Fairness measures for victims and families in serious workplace incidents.

The government will consider all feedback before finalizing the bill for parliamentary introduction.

Work Health and Safety (Review Recommendations) Amendment Bill 2024

SafeWork SA Targets Retail Sector to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls

SafeWork SA launches a new campaign to improve safety in retail workplaces. The campaign targets preventing slips, trips, falls, and injuries from heavy lifting. Unannounced inspections at metropolitan retail businesses starting in March 2024.Inspectors will assess housekeeping practices and management of hazardous manual tasks. Additionally, inspectors will issue statutory notices for non-compliance identified during an audit. Overall, this campaign aims to raise awareness and improve safety practices in the retail sector to prevent injuries from common workplace hazards.

Retail work hazards under the microscope

 

Queensland

Engineering Stone Ban, effective 1 July 2024

Builders, renovators, fabricators, and those working in the construction industry are being reminded of the upcoming national ban on the use, supply, manufacture, and installation of engineered stone which will come into effect in Queensland on 1 July 2024.

Learn more at: Engineered stone ban in effect from 1 July 2024 | WorkSafe.qld.gov.au

Independent review of WHSQ announced

The Queensland Government has commissioned an independent review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). The intent of the review is to ensure the state’s regulator meets contemporary standards and community expectations around WHS.

Independent review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland announced – Ministerial Media Statements

Queensland Proposes Stronger Electrical Safety Laws

Advancements in technology have outpaced existing electrical safety regulations in Queensland’s Electrical Safety Act 2002. The Queensland Government has outlined their proposed improvements to electrical safety laws following a review of the Electrical Safety Act. Proposed Improvements include:

  • Expanding the definition of “electrical equipment” to include high-risk low-voltage items like solar panels and lithium-ion batteries.
  • Updating the definition of “electrical installation” to encompass modern energy generation systems and new technologies like battery storage.
  • Establishing a working group to maintain clear and adaptable legal definitions for “electrical work” considering future technological advancements.

The government’s response considers feedback from industry, unions, and the community gathered through a review and public discussion paper. A separate roundtable addresses electrical safety specifically for electric vehicle workers, with national recommendations expected later in 2024. The government seeks to take proactive steps to modernize its electrical safety framework and adapt to evolving technologies to ensure public and worker safety.

Read more: Stronger electrical safety laws are proposed for Queensland.

Queensland Strengthens Worker Protections with New Safety Laws

Queensland introduces legislative reforms to enhance worker safety and representation. The reforms implement recommendations from a recent independent review of the state’s Work Health and Safety Act. Focus areas of proposed reforms include empowering Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) through:

  • Choice of training provider.
  • Improved consultation rights on workplace safety matters.
  • Streamlined election processes.
  • Extending rights of entry permit holders to better assist workers with safety concerns.
  • Expanding the most serious offence category to include negligent conduct.
  • Introducing a streamlined dispute resolution process for workplace safety issues.
  • Clarifying rules on worker representation in safety matters.

Health and safety reforms aim to strengthen worker protection and representation.

 

ACT 

New Managing Psychosocial Risks at work Code of Practice

A new Code of Practice for Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work is being launched to improve workplace safety in the ACT. This code outlines how businesses must identify and minimize psychosocial hazards, such as stress or violence, for their employees. The code follows a hierarchy of controls, requiring businesses to eliminate hazards first, then minimize risks through various steps. Failure to comply may lead to penalties.

Find more information: Psychosocial hazards 

Bonded asbestos contamination confirmed in ACT Mulch

Bonded asbestos contamination was found in some “cottage mulch” products sold in the ACT between March 2023 and February 2024. Here’s what you need to know:

Affected mulch: “cottage mulch” from specific businesses (listed by WorkSafe ACT).

Risk: There is a low risk of exposure if undisturbed, but it can be dangerous if broken or moved.

What to do:

Don’t touch the mulch; insolate it if possible. Contact WorkSafe ACT if you suspect you have contaminated mulch.

Not related to: Loose asbestos in Mr Fluffy homes (which is much more dangerous).

WorkSafe ACT: Investigating the extent of contamination. Contacting potentially affected buyers. Issuing warnings to not disturb the mulch.

Stay informed: WorkSafe ACT will provide updates as they investigate

A small quantity of friable asbestos was identified on the residential site.

A small amount of friable asbestos (more dangerous than bonded asbestos) was found in mulch at a residential complex in Denman Prospect. It’s a low risk because:

Only a tiny amount (0.2g) was found despite extensive testing. It was only found in one out of sixteen samples. Here’s what to do: don’t touch the mulch. If you have Cottage Mulch, contact WorkSafe ACT.

Be aware that asbestos contamination is a possibility in the ACT and report any suspicious materials to WorkSafe ACT.

 

Northern Territory  

Workplace Exposure Standard Lowered for Welding Fumes

The new workplace exposure standard for welding fumes (not otherwise classified) takes effect in the Northern Territory from 18 January 2024.

Workplace exposure standard lowered for welding fumes | NT WorkSafe

Guide to fatigue management for heavy vehicle drivers.

Northern Territory WorkSafe released a new guide to help heavy vehicle businesses manage driver fatigue. The guide includes Information on developing and implementing fatigue management systems. Tools like a sample fatigue management plan, risk assessment guide, and driver record. This will help the industry reduce fatigue-related risks and improve overall safety.

Find more information: Here

Latest amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations

New rules aim to protect workers from silica dust exposure when working with engineered stone. These changes to the Work Health and Safety Regulations:

  • Ban uncontrolled processing of engineered stone: It’s now illegal to work with engineered stone without proper controls.
  • Provide guidance on controls: The amendment outlines what appropriate controls look like to minimize dust exposure.
  • Update reference standards: The regulations reference the latest versions of Australian Standards.

Further information:

Workplaces urged to be vigilant of melioidosis

A landscaping worker in Darwin was diagnosed with melioidosis, a bacterial disease found in soil. NT WorkSafe is urging all workplaces to:

  • Be aware of melioidosis and its risks.
  • Take steps to protect workers, especially those who work outdoors during wet seasons.
  • The exact location where the worker contracted the disease is unknown.

Melioidosis is a serious bacterial infection found in tropical soils and water, especially during the wet season in the Northern Territory (October to April). It can enter the body through cuts, sores, or inhalation of dust/droplets. Landscaping workers are at high risk due to their outdoor work environment. NT WorkSafe advises employers to take steps to protect workers.

Melioidosis in the workplace

 

Western Australia  

Working Safely in Remote Areas of Western Australia

WorkSafe has highlighted the importance of workplace safety precautions for employers and workers in remote regions of Western Australia. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Who is affected? This applies to various professions, including tour guides, miners, truck drivers, and some farmers whose jobs involve travelling to remote locations.
  • Shared responsibility: Both employers and workers have legal obligations to ensure workplace safety in remote areas.
  • Risk assessment: Employers must assess potential risks and provide the necessary equipment to minimize them.
  • Reliable communication: Essential equipment includes a satellite phone, GPS tracker, or personal locator beacon, along with a clear communication plan for regular check-ins.
  • Vehicle preparedness: Vehicles should be suitable for the task, well-maintained, and equipped with spare parts and recovery gear.
  • Worker training: Workers need proper training on potential hazards, risks, and control measures.
  • Weather awareness: Regularly monitor current weather conditions, including fire risks, before and during travel (if possible).

By following these precautions, employers and workers can significantly reduce risks associated with working in remote areas of Western Australia

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/worksafe-calls-safe-procedures-when-working-remote-areas

Extension of Certification Deadline for Statutory Positions in WA Mines

Good news for miners seeking statutory positions! WorkSafe has extended the deadline to obtain the required certifications by one year.

What are statutory positions?

These are specific roles in mine operations that require certain qualifications and experience. Examples include site senior executives, managers (exploration, underground, quarry), and various supervisors.

What changed?

Previously, workers with experience from prior mine safety regulations could qualify for a statutory position during a 3-year transition period ending March 30, 2025.

This deadline has been extended to March 30, 2026.

What does this mean for miners?

More time to take and pass any required exams for certification.

Surveyors in statutory positions now need certification in work health and safety risk management (aligned with other positions).

What to expect next?

WorkSafe will announce details on additional locations for certification exams.

Find more information: Mining statutory positions and certificates

 

Tasmania

Consultation’s role in safer workplaces

Consultation between employers and workers is crucial for creating a safe and healthy workplace. It fosters a culture of shared responsibility for safety and allows workers to contribute their knowledge and experience to identifying hazards and developing solutions.  The law requires consultation on specific matters like identifying risks and choosing safety measures. By working together, everyone can contribute to a safer work environment.

Code of practice

For the latest update from WorkSafe Tasmania, check out their monthly safety spotlight Monthly safety spotlight (worksafe.tas.gov.au) 

Comcare

New Life Tables – Redemption arrangements Section 137 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released new life tables (2020-2022) which are relevant for calculating lump sum compensation payments to former employees under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (SRC) Act. This applies to former employees who:

  • Receive weekly incapacity payments of $138.09 or less (indexed annually)
  • Retired before the commencement of the SRC Act on December 1, 1988

The life tables are used to determine the appropriate lump sum amount based on the former employee’s Life expectancy.

New scheme guidance for claims managers

A new guide has been released by Comcare to help claims managers assess liability for worsening pre-existing injuries under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (SRC Act) 1988.

https://www.comcare.gov.au/scheme-legislation/src-act/guidance

Standards

Standards Australia adopts AS ISO/ISO 42001:2023 – Information Technology – Artificial Intelligence – Management System.

This standard is the first of its kind globally. It addresses the unique challenges AI poses, such as ethical considerations, transparency, and continual learning. The standard has been developed to support organisations to leverage the benefits of AI for their business while operating in a responsible way.

Learn more: Standards Australia adopts the international standard for AI Management System, AS ISO/IEC 42001:2023 – Standards Australia

New Mobile App Launched

Standards Australia has launched a new mobile app, offering a low-case solution to access and subscribe to Australian Standards through an annual subscription.

Learn more: here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People Update – April 2024

We’re thrilled to kick off 2024 with some exciting updates from the People team at Action OHS Consulting and Safety Champion Software.

New Arrivals

Please join us in welcoming our newest team members:

Caitlin Peterson – Marketing & Communications Manager
Action OHS/Safety Champion
Caitlin has joined us to lead our marketing strategy across both Action OHS Consulting and Safety Champion Software. Her creative insights will undoubtedly elevate our brand presence.

Jason Miller – Senior Consultant
Action OHS
Jason brings valuable experience to Action OHS’s Melbourne team, contributing to our commitment to delivering exceptional consulting services.

Rachel Campbell – OHS Consultant
Action OHS
Rachel will join our consulting team and use her array of safety experience to support our trusted clients in improving their safety practices.

Kaihla Wadsworth – OHS Consultant 
Action OHS
Kaihla brings invaluable OHS expertise and experience to our team in the QLD market.

Joel Hick – Senior Sales & BD Consultant
Safety Champion
Joel is a fantastic addition to our Safety Champion team, focusing on sales and business development. His expertise will help us reach new heights in client relationships.

Marcela Medina – OHS Graduate
Marcela is our inaugural OHS Graduate, completing our 6-month program. Her journey with us will conclude in May, and she is ready to secure an in-house safety role. Marcela has a broad set of skills spanning safety consulting and software. If you’re in the market for a junior consultant to support your in-house needs, reach out for a chat.

People Programs

Find Balance 

Our commitment to work-life balance remains a top priority. Many of our team members found their balance by taking extended holidays over the Christmas period. Additionally, some chose to swap Australia Day for a day of personal significance using our Public Holiday Swap program, promoting individual well-being and fulfilment.

Stay Healthy

With everyone back in the office, we’re staying healthy with our delightful snacks range. A big shout-out to the delicious products from our clients and customers that we support!

Our staff continue to reap the benefits of a nutritious and satisfying work environment.

 

Join Our Team

If you’re passionate about safety consulting and ready for a change, we want to hear from you! We’re always on the lookout for exceptional individuals who share our start-up mindset. If you’re a soon to be or recent OHS graduate keep an eye on our socials for news about our June Graduate Program intake! Reach out to me via LinkedIn or email at megan.drysdale@actionohs.com.au for a chat.

 

Upcoming: Annual Conference in May

Watch this space for our next newsletter or keep an eye out on our socials for reflections on our Annual Conference in May. It’s set to be an inspiring and collaborative event.

Thank you for being an integral part of our Journey. Here’s to a year filled with growth, success, and meaningful connections!

Megan Drysdale

Head of People

Connect with me via LinkedIn

Empowering Female Talents in Business and Safety Sectors

This year’s International Women’s Day continues the critical conversation about inspiring inclusion and empowering women in various sectors. It’s a theme that’s not just about spotlighting the achievements but also about the systemic changes needed for progress. In this post, we’re looking at the multifaceted approach to support women in business and their safety pursuits, as we must be participatory in lifting the structural barriers that hinder equitable representation and impact.

Opening Pathways: Recruit, Retain, and Develop

Regarding workplace equity, a foundational approach for businesses is in how they recruit, retain, and develop their female talent. Companies making phenomenal strides tend to start by setting recruitment criteria that are neutral and transparent. Implementing processes that hide identifying details at the initial review stages ensures that the focus is purely on qualifications, a great levelling field for all candidates.
“Crucial initiatives for promoting gender equality and inclusion at Action OHS Consulting include our flexible working policy, open feedback program, gender-neutral mentoring, and buddy programs. These efforts create an open and inclusive culture aligned with our values, where we’re truly better together.”
Tim Callinan, General Manager – Action OHS Consulting

Leadership and Decision-Making Roles: Guiding the Future

In safety, representation at all levels is critical for women’s leadership journeys. There must be clear paths for advancement, but more than that, there must be active mentorship and sponsorship for women aspiring to lead. Visibility and recognition of contributions form an integral part of this approach.
This approach is even more crucial in areas such as workplace health and safety, which are often male-dominated. Recognising the unique challenges women in safety positions face and providing tailored support is not just about fairness; it’s about creating environments that produce the best safety outcomes. Programmes that focus on mentorship, support networks, and providing a platform for knowledge sharing can catalyse the success of women in these roles.

Bridging the STEM Divide

In male-dominated sectors like STEM, careers in these fields can feel out of reach for many young girls. Yet, fostering their interests through education and mentorship can change that dynamic completely.
At Action OHS Consulting, we’re proud to say that 68% of our team are women, with many in leadership positions and even more vital to delivering safety outcomes for our clients. We understand the importance of diversity in perspectives and ideas, which is why we actively encourage and support women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.
We believe educational initiatives and partnerships with schools that bring STEM subjects into the spotlight for young girls are invaluable. These experiences can shape their academic and career trajectories, opening up paths that previously seemed impassable due to societal stigmas.
In the corporate world, supporting female entrepreneurs is vital for driving growth and innovation. Barriers to finance, mentorship, and networking are challenges faced almost ubiquitously; supports tailored to meet these needs can catalyse female-driven projects. Collaboration between companies and organisations to bolster female entrepreneurship can create a more significant, lasting, and broader support system.

Unleashing Economic Empowerment

Creating economic systems empowering women is a complex challenge but fundamental for broader and sustained progress. It involves removing legislative and cultural barriers and, equally crucial, providing affirmative support.
Equal opportunity is a pursuit that all workplaces should be committed to achieving. This includes promoting women into roles of authority and ensuring pay equity. Access to educational resources and mentorship must be facilitated, providing continual development that meets the pace of economic evolution.
At Action OHS Consulting, we pride ourselves on paying equal wages for equal work and providing equal opportunity. However, for us, support for women’s empowerment goes beyond just pay and opportunity equality. Our culturally embedded People Programs make work and economic participation easier for everyone – including women. Programs like, WFH, Hybrid and remote working policies; Flexible Hours; Profit Sharing; Healthy Lifestyle Allowance; Active Mentorship, the list goes on.
International Women’s Day serves as a global reminder of women’s pivotal role in steering the course of safety and humanity. By fostering supportive environments, removing barriers, and advocating for equal treatment and representation, we build a fairer and safer society that thrives on diverse talent and thought leadership. Today, we unite to celebrate women, but tomorrow, we continue the work of our collective empowerment, for a day of celebration should be the start of every other day wherein we live the change we aspire to see.

Navigating the Changing Tides of Safety Management: A Post-Global Safety Summit Reflection

The 2024 Global Safety Innovation Summit, recently held in Wollongong, NSW, was more than just an event; it was a crucible of ground-breaking ideas and a unique opportunity to explore modern philosophies and research in safety management and practice. Reflecting on the tide of insights that swept through the conference, we are clearly at a defining moment in reimagining our relationship and approach to workplace safety.

Some Action OHS Consulting staff attended the three-day conference – these are some of the highlights.

Highlighting Human and Organisational Performance

A standout theme at the summit was the exploration of Human and Organisational Performance (HOP), a conversation steered by respected Australian and international thought leaders.

Delving into the five principles of HOP:

  • People make mistakes: Humans are imperfect, and errors are inevitable.
  • Blame fixes nothing: Casting blame resolves nothing and impedes learning and progress.
  • Learning is vital: Continuous learning is vital to the success of an organisation.
  • Context drives behaviour: The context in which people operate heavily influences and drives their behaviour.
  • Leadership response matters: How management responds can significantly shape outcomes and the capacity to learn and improve.

 

Whilst exploring the opportunities businesses, leaders, and teams have in:

  • Refining safety: Having the capacity to prevent and respond to potential dangers and threats.
  • Understanding normal: Studying what normal work looks like and reflecting that in safety practice.
  • Asking and listening: Asking better questions works to help ensure better outcomes.
  • Respectfully engaging frontline workers: asking what controls need to be present to do work safely
  • Understanding that mistakes happen: Becoming less surprised by human error and failure and a lot more interested in (and a lot better at) operational learning

 

This refreshing perspective challenges us to abandon outmoded practices of assigning individual blame for workplace mishaps. It invites us to consider a more nuanced understanding of the complex web of factors moulding behaviours and decisions at work. By nurturing a culture rooted in leading and improvement, we can support operational excellence and create safe and reliable work environments.

The Imperative of Evidence-Based Safety Management

We live in times where technological advancements redefine how we interact with our surroundings, making the grounding of safety efforts in scientific evidence-based methodology non-negotiable.

Figures like Dr. David Provan and his contemporaries remind us that innovation must be anchored in solid, empirical research. Such a foundation is the bedrock of initiatives that deliver real-world impact and steer progressive change within the field. For example:

  • For changes and innovations to have intended impact/success, they must be supported by safety science.
  • Seemingly impossible goals can be effective – with the right conditions and resources to support experimentation.
  • Be wary of the trap of inspirational innovation.
  • What matters is how we change daily, getting apt at applying and learning from research and evidence.
  • People design artefacts when they want patterns of action.
  • The trap of managing management system artefacts and surface-level controls instead of gathering operational insights and ensuring all is working as intended.

Recognising the “Wicked Problem” of Safety

Despite the excitement surrounding novel frameworks and systems, we must not lose sight of the inherent complexities and paradoxes that safety presents. It’s an intricate puzzle — a “wicked problem” that demands keen vigilance and perpetual inquiry.

New views and contemporary safety management approaches are equally open to assumptions and corruption as traditional safety.

  • What has corrupted health and safety in the past has the same potential with a new view of contemporary approaches to safety.
  • Does the event demonstrate a one-off departure or systematic failure?
  • Metric-based board reports need the same caution around them, as they don’t provide true insight.
  • Safety frameworks designed in the context of the organisation, based on legislation and
  • Being relentlessly curious and getting good at asking good questions is still key.

An Optimistic Horizon with Realistic Undertones

Looking ahead, a mix of optimism and measured realism colours our vision for the future of safety management. The horizon before us offers daunting challenges matched by equally potent prospects for innovation and improvement. Through fostering collaboration, valuing diversity, and encouraging a relentless drive for improvement, we can steer our course through the fluctuating waves of safety management with resolve and clarity.

If any of the ideas above have got you thinking, reach out to one of our consultants.

Let’s build a safer workplace together.

Navigating Tomorrow: The Future of Workplace Safety

As we stand on the brink of a new era, the future of workplace safety is poised for a revolutionary transformation. At Action OHS, we ensure our finger is on the pulse when it comes to the latest safety trends, and we recognise the pivotal role of innovation in reshaping the safety landscape. Join us on an exploration of cutting-edge trends and innovations that are not only defining but redefining the future of workplace safety.

1. Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning:

One of the most profound shifts in workplace safety is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. Discover how smart algorithms are revolutionising risk assessments, incident predictions, and preventive measures, offering a proactive approach to safety management.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) for Real-time Monitoring:

Explore the game-changing impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on workplace safety. Learn how connected devices and sensors are enabling real-time monitoring of environmental conditions, equipment health, and even employee well-being, fostering a safer and more responsive work environment.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Training:

Step into the future of employee training with Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). Dive into immersive simulations that replicate real-world scenarios, providing hands-on experience in a safe virtual environment. Understand how this innovative approach enhances training effectiveness and reduces on-the-job risks.

4. Wearable Technology for Personalised Safety:

Wearable technology is not just a trend; it’s a transformative force in workplace safety. Explore how smart helmets, vests, and other wearables are empowering workers with real-time data, personalised safety alerts, and health monitoring, fostering a culture of individualised safety.

5. Predictive Analytics for Injury Prevention:

Delve into the power of predictive analytics in anticipating and preventing workplace injuries. Discover how data-driven insights are helping organisations identify potential risks, allowing for targeted interventions and creating safer work environments.

6. Emphasis on Mental Health and Well-being:

In the evolving landscape of workplace safety, mental health is taking centre stage. Uncover the initiatives and innovations that prioritise employee well-being, from stress-monitoring applications to supportive workplace cultures that acknowledge and address mental health concerns.

Looking into the future of workplace safety, it’s evident that innovation is the driving force behind a safer, healthier, and more resilient work environment. At Action OHS, we embrace these cutting-edge trends and innovations, leading the way toward a future where safety is not just a compliance requirement but a dynamic, integral part of organisational culture.

People Update – November 2023

Since my last update, the People space has been a hive of activity. We have welcomed new starters across both Action OHS Consulting and Safety Champion in line with our growth strategy, welcomed back [with great delight] one of our team members who had been on extended leave, and found time to establish programs and deliver on initiatives that underpin our core values and people strategy. 

It hasn’t been all work work work… we’ve supported events that have facilitated social engagements, celebrated some birthday milestones, heard all about the sun-filled 3, 6 and 12 week overseas travels adventures embarked on through Europe and South America, and seen several of our remote teams collaborate onsite together. 

 

Wellness 

Wellness Program 

Complementing our healthy office snacks initiative was the launch of our “Wellness Reimbursement Program”.

(Yes, we know [very well] that “wellness programs” are more than snacks and yoga. That said, one insight we’re seeing at our “snack corners” is more of those water cooler conversations – that were happening per-hybrid work. So we’re viewing it as a win-win).

With a large number of our team based in Melbourne, we know first-hand that winter hibernation…

 

IS.

A.

THING.

 

Our wellness reimbursement initiative was designed to motivate and encourage our teams to band together to support each other in taking a positive step towards a physical or wellbeing goal via a $$$ reimbursement. We’re delighted to see gym memberships, new shoes [including red ones that took on the Melbourne half-marathon], rock climbing memberships and massages procured, all supporting our value of life-work balance. 

 

 

 

RU Ok? Day 

As part of our Wellness Program, we celebrated RU OK? Day with a wellness webinar. To bring things to life, we “sponsored” in-person catch-ups at our “local” coffee van in Cremorne, and coordinated several virtual coffee catch-ups to include our out-of-Melbourne team. Better Together is one of our core values, it was great to see staff connecting with each other outside their “typical-day” during September. 

 

Growth 

We’re excited to introduce Renee Dawson to the Action OHS Consulting team in Brisbane, Queensland. Renee’s arrival marks a celebratory step in our Australian strategic growth plans, becoming the first consultant in this vibrant city. With an extensive background in health and safety, Renee brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team. I encourage you to reach out and connect with Renee Dawson via LinkedIn. 

 

Our Pathways 

We are [absolutely] thrilled to launch our inaugural Graduate Program, and pleased to announce that our first graduate will be starting with us during November as part of our Career Pathways Program. This structured program provides graduates with exposure to both our consultant and software businesses, whilst supporting them to deliver on a capstone project that they can be proud of. Over the duration of the program, the graduate will get first hand experience working with our clients and customers by supporting: auditing and system development projects, delivering training via Action OHS Consulting and supporting customer onboarding with Safety Champion. They will be mentored by one of our Principal OHS Consultants and supported by our Customer Success Manager. 

Whilst we’re on Career Pathways, we are currently in market with a Melbourne-based Marketing and Communications Manager role that will be working across both Action OHS Consulting and Safety Champion Software. If you know someone who is excited by the start-up mindset, with a desire to lead, shape and “roll up their sleeves” to implement *their* Marketing and Communications strategy, please encourage them to apply today (or tomorrow) here: Marketing and Communications Manager. 

Our growth strategy continues to support expansion of our consulting services in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. If you’re a Safety Consultant or Manager across all levels looking for change with a focus on meaningful and purposeful work, contact me directly for more information. I’d love to see if we can create the right opportunity for us both. 

Better Together 

Our Social Club recently organised a ten-pin bowling night. Yes, the competitive spirit was there – with high-10’s aplenty!

We followed this with a new starter catch-up in Hanoi, more team members catching up in Manilla and a “special-birthday” celebration the week following.

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing our teams together and achieve deep work. So it was fantastic to see our Customer Success team come together in our Melbourne office recently [travelling from Adelaide, Gundagai, Boort and Melbourne] for a two-day intensive planning and collaboration session. Across the two-days, some “strategically-placed” end-of-session customer products made the photo library – nice! 

 


 

Our People 

6-months back we said we wanted to provide some transparency of the People Metrics we monitor. Find these below: 

  • People Engagement: Consistently rated 8.6/10 following weekly pulse checks with our most important asset, our people 
  • Employees: 44 in total 
  • Gender: 55% males vs. 45% females 
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Nearly 1/3 of our employees work part-time 
  • Flexibility: 100% of our people work flexibly! 

 

I know it’s sometimes hard to find granular information like this. So, if you would like to explore any other metrics, learn more about what we are doing, or share what you are doing [we’re only getting started]; I’d be interested in discussing further. The best way to contact me would be via LinkedIn or megan.drysdale@actionohs.com.au.

 

Megan Drysdale

Head of People

Connect with me via LinkedIn

 

 

Looking for our previous People Program updates? 👇

 

Client Spotlight – November 2023

 

Logo of Malec transport who are a valued Action OHS Client

Malec Terminal Logistics. The Action OHS Consulting team have been assisting Malec Terminal Logistics who are national one-stop transport & logistics company, with multi state operations and partner with some of Australia’s leading importers and retailers. The Team have supported the operations teams at their Queensland, Victorian and South Australian sites to revise traffic management plans and chemical storage. Along with review and update of key procedures and training.

 

 

CMP Consulting. Action OHS Consulting has been working with the CMP Consulting Group, who are an Australian owned and operated consulting engineering organisation with a specific focus on the water industry. CMP partner with public and private sector clients to provide engineering solutions for a broad range of water related infrastructure. Action OHS have been supporting CMP to undertake a significant review and update of their Integrated Management system (IMS) with a particular focus on the management of site works and subcontractors undertaking high risk work.

 

 

Itech Minerals. Action OHS Consulting has been supporting iTech Minerals (ITM), a mining exploration company based in South Australia and listed on the ASX: ITM. iTech Minerals are involved in several exploration projects focussed on sources of Graphite, Kaolin and Rare Earth Elements (REE) to feed the growing renewable energy and battery market. Our Action OHS Consultant team have been supporting ITM with the review, updating and build out of health and safety documentation. Currently, Action OHS Consulting are supporting ITM to implement Safety Champion software which will make management and delivery of health and safety outcomes easier and more effective.
It has been great to see the commitment from the Managing Director at iTech Minerals to create and improve health, safety and wellbeing for employees, contractors, members and the local community. We are looking forward to providing the team ongoing support in their safety journey.

 

 

Schott Minifab. Action OHS Consulting has also been supporting Schott Minifab, who partner with clients to create and manufacture ground-breaking diagnostic and life science products that are changing the world. Action OHS have partnered with FCW Lawyers to facilitate a second round of Leadership OHS Due Diligence training for a group of senior leaders within the business. These co-facilitated sessions aim to address both legal obligations, but also build leaders capability in the safety space.

New health and safety codes and legislation – November 2023

A summary of the latest WHS news and updates from across Australia

1Sources: OHS Alert; National, State and Territory Regulatory websites.

 

National Safe Work Month

October 2023 marked National Safe Work Month, led by Safe Work Australia and promoted by regulators across Australia. Held every October, National Safe Work Month seeks to promote and raise awareness of the importance of work health and safety and prevention of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

A number of resources were available and published throughout the month, centred on the following four themes:

  • Week 1: Working together to manage risks at work
  • Week 2: Working together to protect workers’ mental health
  • Week 3: Working together to support all workers
  • Week 4: Working together to ensure a safe and healthy workplace

Learn more here – National Safe Work Month 2023 | Safe Work Australia .

 

 

Codes and legislation

Safe Work Australia

Amendments to the model WHS laws

The national model WHS laws have been amended to significantly increase the maximum available fines and jail times, and to clarify the operation of the category-1 offence in a way that is likely to give regulators and prosecutors more confidence to pursue company officers for recklessness or gross negligence. The amendments do not automatically apply in a jurisdiction. For the model WHS Act and model WHS Regulations to have effect in a jurisdiction they must be enacted in that jurisdiction. Learn more here: Amendments to the model WHS laws | Safe Work Australia

 

Information-gathering powers added to Safe Work Australia Act 2008

The Commonwealth Safe Work Australia Act 2008 has been updated to incorporate Safe Work Australia’s new powers to obtain information from WHS regulators and other persons. The powers allow SWA’s CEO to apply to a person for information that is relevant to the performance of SWA’s functions of collecting data and undertaking research that informs the development and evaluation of WHS and workers’ comp policies and strategies, if the CEO reasonably believes the person has such information.

 

Working from home WHS Guidance

Safe Work Australia published new resources on managing WHS risks when workers are doing computer-based work from home.  The resources include information sheets for PCBUs and workers, a checklist to help identify common hazards which may be present when working from home, and a workstation set up infographic. Download the resources for practical information on meeting your WHS duties when working from home here –  Working from home – Resources | Safe Work Australia

 

Consultation Checklist

Safe Work Australia has published an updated WHS consultation checklist to comprehensively reflect WHS duties and better support duty holders’ understanding of the requirements. If you’re a PCBU, you must consult with workers (and any health and safety representatives) and other duty holders to manage WHS risks. This checklist is intended to help you to ensure you have arrangements in place that support effective consultation. The checklist is available: Consultation checklist | Safe Work Australia and included in the Model Code of Practice: Work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination.

 

Asbestos registers at the workplace – new guide now published

Where buildings, structures or plant equipment at your workplace built or installed before 2004, or if in Queensland before 1990. The person with management or control of the workplace, for example the owner,  must ensure an asbestos register is prepared, maintained and readily accessible to other persons at your workplace. The guide seeks to assist you:

  • understand what an asbestos register is and if your workplace needs one;
  • develop and maintain a comprehensive asbestos register that identifies asbestos at your workplace; and
  • understand who are considered “competent persons” in relation to identifying asbestos and collecting information for asbestos registers.

A copy of the guide is available here: Asbestos registers at the workplace.

 

Safe Work Australia – New Interactive Data Website

Safe Work Australia released a new interactive data website allowing users to explore national WHS and workers’ compensation data in an intuitive and user-friendly way. The new website provides a wide array of WHS data through dashboards, data collections and reports not previously available to the public. Website users can now explore and create their own charts and tables to explore insights into WHS data by industry, occupation, year, and mechanism of injury. Explore Safe Work Australia Data at Our Data. Your Stories. | dataswa (safeworkaustralia.gov.au).

 

 

New South Wales

New WHS Laws bring tougher penalties in NSW

The NSW Government has introduced WHS amendments:

  • tripling the maximum penalties for category-1 breaches,
  • clarifying that officers can be prosecuted for recklessness,
  • introducing “prohibited asbestos notices” with hefty non-compliance fines,
  • giving police certain enforcement powers under WHS laws.

Learn more: New laws bring tougher penalties, longer imprisonment and better protections for dust diseases | SafeWork NSW

 

SafeWork NSW Respect at Work Strategy: preventing sexual harassment

SafeWork NSW has launched its first four-year Strategy (2023-2027) to support NSW businesses in preventing workplace sexual harassment and other gender-based harmful workplace behaviours. Through the Strategy, SafeWork NSW will educate NSW businesses on their duties to prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment before it occurs and take appropriate enforcement action to protect NSW workers. Learn more via: SafeWork NSW releases strategy to help prevent sexual harassment at work | SafeWork NSW

 

SafeWork NSW new SeasonalSAFE tool

NSW Government is rolling out a new easy-to-use online, interactive SeasonalSAFE planning tool. The SeasonalSAFE Plan seeks to helps businesses prepare and manage the risks summer weather can pose to their workers and patrons. All businesses are urged to complete a SeasonalSAFE Plan. Including businesses in Sydney’s CBD where bushfire related dangers can often be neglected. While the flames themselves may not be a threat to these businesses, smoke from these fires can often travel thousands of kilometres, polluting the lungs of those in the city. The SeasonalSAFE Plan form can be accessed on the SeasonalSAFE page.

 

 

Victoria

New national dangerous goods Code taking effect in Vic.

The latest version of the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, Edition 7.8, will come into force in Victoria on 1 October 2023, under changes made to the State’s dangerous goods legislation. Through transitional arrangements, duty holders can elect to continue complying with the previous version until 1 April 2024. The National Transport Commission, which administers the Code, intended that it be used from 1 April 2023, and mandatory from April next year, but acknowledged that some states would apply different commencement dates. Lear more via: Australian Dangerous Goods Code | National Transport Commission (ntc.gov.au) .

 

Tougher spotter and guarding rules made for EWPs

WorkSafe Victoria has alerted duty holders to recent changes to its “Industry Standard for the safe use of elevating work platforms” (EWPs), which includes additional guidance on emergency procedures and the requirements for a safety observer during operation. Elevating Work Platforms industry standard – Key changes | WorkSafe Victoria

 

Lithium-ion battery fires

WorkSafe Victoria have issued a reminder about the risks of using, storing and charging equipment that has lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are found in many products. These products may be used, stored or charged in a workplace or an area under the management and control of an organisation. When overheated, lithium-ion batteries of all sizes can catch fire. The fire is often hard to put out and the smoke from the fire can be toxic. There was a tragic fatality recently where a person was quickly overcome by the fumes of a lithium battery fire.

There are a number of recommended ways to control risks associate with lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire. Access the latest WorkSafe Victoria safety alert via Lithium-ion battery fires | WorkSafe Victoria to learn more, including your legal duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

 

Consider if there are old batteries that can be disposed to reduce the risk of fires in your workplace and remember batteries should never be placed in general waste.

 

See link for safe battery recycling  https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/batteries/

 

 

South Australia

Engineered stone regulations now in effect

Strict new regulations on the processing of engineered stone products came into effect from 1 September 2023 in a bid to reduce the risk of dust diseases and bring SA in line with other Regulators. All workers involved in cutting, grinding, trimming, sanding, or drilling engineered stone products must be provided with respiratory protective equipment, and use a dust control system such as a water suppressant or exhaust ventilation.

Under the regulations, it is an offence for an employer or contractor to direct or allow a worker to process engineered stone without specific control measures in place to minimise the risk of silica dust inhalation.

The regulations carry penalties of up to $6,000 for an individual or $30,000 for a body corporate, in addition to existing criminal offences under the WHS Act which provide for up to 5 years imprisonment and fines of up to $3 million for reckless conduct which exposes a person to the risk of death or serious injury or illness.

SafeWork SA will enforce the new regulations, which will bring SA in line with recent changes by Safe Work Australia to the model work health and safety laws. Learn more here: Engineered stone regulations kick in | SafeWork SA

 

New regulations to manage risks of psychological harm

New regulations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 will help provide better guidance to workers and employers on how to manage the risk of psychological injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Psychological illnesses have a significant effect on workers’ health, as well as business productivity. There has been a growing recognition of the need for the WHS framework to better deal with risks of psychological harm.

The new regulations reflect the outcomes of an independent review of Australia’s model WHS laws in 2018, which recommended more specific guidance how to identify and manage psychosocial risks.

Psychosocial hazards are hazards that may cause psychological harm. Examples range from excessive workload demands, to exposure to traumatic events and material, to issues such as bullying, harassment and sexual discrimination in the workplace.

The new regulations will come into effect in December 2023. When the regulations come into effect they will be supported by a Code of Practice on Managing psychosocial hazards at work which will provide practical guidance on how to manage risks to psychological health, developed in consultation with workers and businesses. Learn more here: New regulations to manage risks of psychological harm | SafeWork SA

 

 

Queensland

Amusement Devices Code of Practice 2023

Amusement Devices Code of Practice 2023 commences 1 February 2024. The 92-page Code includes practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with amusement devices at a workplace.

In late 2018, the State Government drafted new WHS Regulations for amusement devices and flagged developing the Code to support the new provisions. The new provisions were prompted by the October 2016 deaths of four patrons on a ride at the Dreamworld theme park.

The Code has been developed in Queensland and is not a national model code of practice. However, guidance material about amusement devices developed by Safe Work Australia has been adapted and included in the Code.

The Code complements requirements in the WHS Act and WHS Regulation regarding plant and amusement devices at workplaces. The Code also replaces the WHSQ publication Amusement device major inspections interim guidance. To learn more visit:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/laws-and-compliance/codes-of-practice/amusement-devices-code-of-practice-2023

 

 

Australian Capital Territory

WHS Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination Code of Practice amendments

The ACT Government has reviewed  its WHS Code of Practice, Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination, to align with recent amendments made to the national model version of the Code. Commencing 23 October 2023, the revised amendment includes a more comprehensive consultation checklist; and clarifies that the duty to consult workers on WHS risks “can occur in different ways depending on what suits the workplace” and the workers, and be conducted through health and safety representatives, health and safety committees, team meetings, toolbox talks, staff meetings, or discussions with individuals or small groups. A copy of the revised code is available: Work Health and Safety (Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination Code of Practice) Approval 2023 | Notifiable instruments

  

WHS Sex Work Code of Practice

ACT has developed the WHS Code of Practice, Sex Work, which “provides practical guidance to PCBUs and sex workers on how to manage health and safety risks associated with sexual services in their workplace”.

Unique to the Capital Territory, the Code will take effect on 4 February 2024 and replace the “Sexual Services Industry” safety Code, which was made under the ACT’s old Work Safety Act 2008 and retained after the ACT transitioned to the harmonised WHS regime at the start of 2012.

The new Code “aims to foster a culture of safe work practices and promote the welfare and occupational safety of sex workers in the Territory”. “It is recognised that sex workers can be exposed to hazards in the workplace that other workers may not be exposed to, so this Code aims to provide practical guidance on how to control these identified hazards and promote a safe environment for both sex workers and clients.” it says. Access a copy of the approved code: Work Health and Safety (Sex Work Code of Practice) Approval 2023 | Notifiable instruments

 

NEW Codes of Practice coming into effect in November

The ACT Government has notified two new Codes of Practice:

  • Managing the Risks of Airborne Crystalline Silica (Silica Dust) in the Workplace Code of Practice; and
  • Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice for managing the risks of silica dust commences on 15 November 2023 and supports the WHS regulations introduced in 2022. It aims to provide better protection to ACT workers who modify engineered stone and other materials containing silica.

The Code of Practice for managing psychosocial hazards commences on 27 November 2023 and supports the new regulations for psychosocial hazards introduced in the WHS Amendment Regulation 2023. This Code aims to provide more information to duty holders about what psychosocial hazards are, how to prevent harm and what control measures can be used in workplaces. Click here to learn more: NEW Codes of Practice coming into effect in November – WorkSafe ACT

 

Reminder: Workplace Sexual Assault is now a notifiable incident

Under the ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011, workplace sexual assault is a notifiable incident. This means that as soon as becoming aware of an incident of suspected or actual sexual assault that occurs in their workplace, PCBUs have a duty to notify WorkSafe ACT.

If the notifiable incident is a result of more than one business or undertaking, then all businesses must notify WorkSafe ACT.

Everyone has a right to a safe and healthy workplace and PCBUs are required to fulfil all of their obligations relating to notifiable incidents. Visit WorkSafeACT website to learn more: Reminder: Workplace Sexual Assault is now a notifiable incident – WorkSafe ACT

 

 

Northern Territory

New and varied Codes of Practice published

A new Code of Practice has been approved in the Northern Territory under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011.

The Tower Cranes Code of Practice provides practical guidance on managing the risks of working with tower cranes. In addition, the following 11 Codes of Practice have been varied to reflect technical updates made at the national level and improve duty holders’ understanding of their WHS duties:

Visit NT WorkSafe to learn more: https://worksafe.nt.gov.au/forms-and-resources/news-and-events/news/2023/new-and-varied-codes-of-practice-published.

 

Installation requirements for RCD’s after 1 May 2023

The Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) has issued an advisory note regarding the use of ‘Type AC’ Residual Current Devices (RCD’s). ‘Type AC’ RCDs must not be installed in the following circumstances:

  • New electrical installations as required by AS/NZS 3000
  • New final sub-circuits
  • Alterations or additions to an existing final sub-circuit that requires an RCD to now be installed.
  • Existing equipment containing RCDs that are connected by fixed or “hard” wiring and energised for the first time at a new location; including
    • building and construction sites;
    • demolition sites;
    • shows, carnivals and similar events; and
    • transportable structures.

For more information, Download the ERAC Advisory note – Type AC RCD or visit NT WorkSafe at: https://worksafe.nt.gov.au/forms-and-resources/news-and-events/technical-updates/2023/installation-requirements-for-rcds-after-1-may-2023

 

 

Western Australia 

Regulation amendments come into effect

The Work Health and Safety Regulations Amendment Regulation (no.2) 2023 came into effect on 10 August 2023 and provide for minor corrections and technical refinements. Amendments include: removing the requirement to have a high-risk work licence for earthmoving machinery used as a crane where the machinery has a safe rated working load of three tonnes or less; and creating a new licensing regime for larger earthmoving machinery used as a crane.

Amendments to Work Health and Safety (Mining) Regulations were also made. Visit Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to learn more at:

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/regulation-amendments-come-effect

 

 

Tasmania

For the latest update from WorkSafe Tasmania, check out their edition.

Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2023

An amendment to the Tasmanian WHS Act is currently sitting with parliament. The proposed changes bring the Tasmanian Act in line with other Regulators by introducing Gross Negligence, adjustments to consultation arrangements, powers or Inspectors and clarification of privilege against self-incrimination. Learn more by visiting:

 

 

Comcare

September 2023 – Latest changes to WHS laws

Changes to Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011, passed in March 2023

came into effect on 21 September 2023. They include: prohibiting insurance against WHS penalties; adding negligence as a fault element to the category-1 reckless conduct offence; allowing HSRs to choose their own Comcare-approved training courses; enhancing Comcare’s powers around acquiring and sharing information; and extending the deadline for a person to make a request for Comcare to bring a category 1 or 2 prosecution from 12 to 18 months.

This follows changes to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 in April 2023 which prescribe how employers must identify and manage hazards and risks to workers’ psychological health and safety.

Learn more here: WHS laws are changing | Comcare

 

 

Standards Australia

We work with workplaces to improve facilities and traffic management and found this change and opportunity for public comment interesting.

A proposal to increase the size of parking bays across Australia could accommodate the trend of larger vehicles on Australian roads.  The revision to standard AS/NZS 2890.1:2004 – Parking Facilities – Part 1: Off-street car parking, recommends an increase in the length of off-street car parking spaces from 5.4 m to 5.6 m.

Standards Australia advised: “The last revision to the standard happened 18 years ago. The experts that we work with to put that in place looked at the average car that we drove back in 2004. We have changed our national fleet significantly over the last quarter. Back in 2004 when we last reviewed the standard, about 13% of our national vehicle fleet was an SUV. It’s now about 40%. As our cars have changed, we also need to consider our car parks.”

State and local authorities may have their own requirements in town and area planning regulations and Development Control Plans. However, courts normally consider Australian Standards as prevailing documents. The proposed changes to the standard AS/NZS 2890.1:2004 – Parking Facilities – Part 1: Off-street car parking are open for public comment until November 9, 2023, at https://comment.standards.org.au/. The revised standard is expected to be finalised in approximately six months.

Visit: Revised standard recommends larger parking bays across the country – Standards Australia

 

Standards Australia continues to focus on community safety during warmer months 

September marked National Fire Protection Month. A timely reminder for Australians to be aware of fire prevention and safety measures.

In recognition of Standards Australia work to shape fire safety practices, the following new standards have been introduced to supplement and hence improve existing home fire safety standards.

Source: Standards Australia continues to focus on community safety during warmer months  – Standards Australia

Injured at work, a personal journey…

As a much younger person, I hurt my back at work. I did not think much of it at the time, and I did not report it. Over the following weeks and months, the pain and discomfort increased, back spasms started to become a regular occurrence and I was forced to stop doing the things I loved – exercise, rock climbing, running and basketball.

 

It turned out I had a ruptured a disc in my lumbar spine and for the next 18 months I dealt with chronic pain, frustration, and mental health issues, mostly stemming from not being able to do the things I loved.

 

In the lead up to the birth of my first daughter, I had moments where I was genuinely fearful, that I would not be able to hold her.

 

Cutting a long, long story short – I went through extensive rehab, Pilates, core strengthening, osteo, physio, chiro, the occasional witch doctor, and all manner of other therapists. Not to mention the dollars I spent, to eventually get back to a point where life felt normal again. I have been fitter and stronger than that, ever since.

 

Not long after my recovery, however, I had one of the worst days of my professional career. I was working on a construction project when I got a call that a worker, Will (not real name), had fallen into a trench. After chatting with colleagues, we decided that I would go to the hospital to meet the injured worker and his family and provide whatever support I could. I will never forget sitting with Will and his family; Him in a neck brace and in severe pain; the family in shock and obviously distressed. And me, completely at a loss for what to say or do. Will would never come back to work or regain the full use of his limbs after sustaining serious nerve damage. The impact on him and his family was profound. The impact on me and first responders to his accident, was also long-lasting.

 

 

What did I learn? Why do I mention these stories?

Because I could have been Will! You could be Will! Any of us could be Will!

My injury was not because of a fall. And although I work in construction, I do not work in trenches. But the potential impacts on my life could certainly have been similar. I got just a small taste of what it is like to suffer a debilitating injury in the workplace. But I am fortunate enough, and extraordinarily grateful, to now be fit, happy and healthy. I did get to hold my baby daughter. And wrestle, play and jump on the trampoline with her. I also ride bikes, swim in the ocean and will hopefully have many more adventures with my family in future.

It is likely that Will will not have that ever again. Or at least not unhindered or unencumbered by his injury.

I am sure many of our readers will have comparable stories and firsthand experiences along these lines. For my Safety Professional network, it is why we do what we do. We have seen the “bad” side of workplace injuries and will do whatever we can to prevent similar occurrences.

For the non-safety folk out there, there are few lessons we can take from these stories.

 

 

1. Do the simple things – like hazard identification and reporting – well.

While vastly different circumstances, both Will’s and my incidents had clear warning signs of where things might go wrong. We missed them, and so did our team.

 

 

2. Focus on training and competency

I made a mistake when I injured myself. I made that mistake because I did not know any better at the time. As Employers, the training and competency of our people should be one of the most critical elements or our business.

 

 

3. Foster Discomfort Reporting

If you are injured at work, however minor you feel it is, report it. Firstly, it will mean you are supported through your recovery if needed by Workcover and secondly, it provides us with chance to investigate and address the cause of the injury before it hurts someone else.

 

 

4. Workplace injuries have wide-ranging consequences

Workplace injuries impact individuals physically, mentally, and economically, this is extended more broadly when you consider the impact on their colleagues and families. Offer debriefing to first responders and the family members of those who have been impacted by injuries and illnesses.

 

 

5. Complete Risk Assessments

Plan works with risk management at the forefront. Provide proper support to workers. Especially those who are injured at work.
We must all work together to prioritise safety. By doing all these things, we can create safer, more supportive workplaces. And hold onto our skilled staff, because they want to work for Employers and Colleagues who care about one-another.

We might never be able to prevent all serious incidents. But if these stories do nothing else, I hope they serve as a reminder of the impacts of workplace injuries on our colleagues, families, and friends.

 

 

I am reminded every day how lucky I am, Phil.

Secondments: Your in-house safety support

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, ensuring a safe and secure work environment is paramount. At Action OHS Consulting, we understand that maintaining safety standards can be challenging without expert guidance. That’s why we offer a secondment service, providing your business with invaluable resources to enhance workplace safety.

 

Understanding secondments

 

Secondments are a specialised service offered that allows your company to integrate qualified occupational health and safety (OHS) consultants into your team. Whether you require short-term support or ongoing assistance, our experts are here to collaborate with you and guide you through the process.

 

The benefits to your business

 

  1. Access to expertise: By engaging our seconded safety consultants, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge and experience in workplace health and safety (WHS). Our experts stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and best practices, ensuring that your business remains compliant and at the forefront of safety standards.
  2. Tailored solutions for your unique challenges: We understand that each business faces distinct safety challenges. Through a comprehensive assessment, our consultants identify your specific needs and create customised safety solutions that align with your organisation’s goals and values.
  3. Project launch excellence: Starting a new project is an exciting venture, but it also comes with inherent risks. With our consultants on board, you can confidently navigate safety protocols, mitigating potential hazards, and ensuring a successful project launch.
  4. Seamless compliance management: Adapting to ever-changing safety regulations can be overwhelming. Our consultants take the guesswork out of compliance by providing clear guidance and proactive strategies, enabling your company to remain compliant effortlessly.
  5. Empowering your workforce: Employees are your most valuable asset, and their safety is of utmost importance. Our secondment service includes tailored safety training sessions, empowering your workforce with the knowledge and skills to maintain a safe work environment.
  6. Addressing persistent safety concerns: If your business faces recurring safety challenges, our consultants excel at investigating root causes and analysis, and implementing effective solutions. Their expertise helps reduce accidents and fosters a safer work culture.
  7. Uninterrupted safety operations: During periods of staff shortages or employee turnover, our seconded consultants step in seamlessly to maintain safety operations, ensuring continuity and safeguarding the wellbeing of your workforce.

 

At Action OHS Consulting, we believe that safety is a shared responsibility. Through our secondments service, we forge a powerful partnership with your business, working collaboratively to create a proactive safety culture that extends beyond compliance. With our qualified safety experts on-demand, you can be confident in the safety and well-being of your employees, allowing your business to thrive in a secure work environment.

 

Contact us today to explore how our secondments service can elevate your workplace safety and propel your business toward a safer and more successful future.

 

People Update – August 2023

The People Programs at Action OHS Consulting and Safety Champion Software continue to provide impactful benefit for our team. As we transition from ‘start up’ to ‘scale up’ we are in a unique position where we have a clear people strategy that focusses on: (1) retaining our talent, (2) attracting top performers, (3) building our learning culture; and, (4) nurturing our values. Our people initiatives underpin our values and our guiding philosophy of ‘care over compliance’.

 

Our Pathways

We recognise the importance of investing in talent development and fostering a culture of growth within our business. We were delighted to introduce our new Career Pathway Program, designed to help our people navigate their professional journey and cultivate their skills. This program offers career planning, mentorship opportunities, and clear progression paths to empower our people and drive their career advancement. Four of our talented team members have been promoted through the program:

 

 

  • Safety Champion Software has promoted Tom O’Hehir to Senior Sales Consultant & Business Development Lead

 

 

 

Our commitment to cultivating a supportive and empowering environment allows us to attract, retain, and promote top talent like Tom, Phil, Janelle and Christine. We are incredibly proud of their accomplishments and look forward to witnessing their continued success.

 

Effective leadership plays a pivotal role in driving our success. In response to this growing demand for managerial development, we were thrilled to launch our Manager Coaching Toolkit to our existing and new managers. This toolkit focuses on providing our leaders with the tools to effectively equip their team members to succeed in their roles, whether it be via our Feedback Loop, Stay Conversations or our ability to appreciate each other’s differences.

 

Bringing our People Together

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to everyone who participated in our recent highly successful Annual Conference. It was an incredible event filled with insightful discussions, inspiring panels, exciting updates, collaborative activities, and the launch of our latest innovative People Programs. Let’s recap some of the the highlights.

 

We kicked off with our Keynote Speaker, James ‘Woody’ Wood from CNB Safe. James was pivotal in setting the scene for the conference, sharing his story about how one ‘choice’ changed his life forever.  Through his emotive message Woody connected our people with what they do each day and our greater ‘vision’; “We want to see a world in which no one is hurt at work ever”.

 

Business Updates

Our leadership team shared important updates on our company’s progress, growth, and strategic initiatives. We celebrated significant milestones, highlighted successful projects, and outlined our vision for the future. These updates served as a reminder of our collective achievements and energised us to continue raising the bar in our industry.

 

Clients and Customer Panels and Interviews

We had the privilege of hosting esteemed clients and industry experts as panelists and interviewees. A shout out to Jayde Nicholson (T2), Richard Prust (Arup Group), Daniel Waixel (Patterson Cheney), Robbie El-Hayek and Moe El-Asmar (WIT Protection Services), Chris Samartzis (Master Pool Builders Association), Julia Whitford (CEO of the AIHS) and Stephen Russell (Barrister) for your insights.

 

 

Your invaluable insights and experiences provided our people with a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the occupational health and safety landscape. The engaging discussions further strengthened our commitment to delivering exceptional services and solutions tailored to our clients’ needs.

 

Design Jam

The Design Jam session was a fun and interactive experience where our people came together to brainstorm and develop innovative ideas for enhancing our product, processes, and customer experiences. The creativity and enthusiasm displayed during this session were truly remarkable, setting the stage for exciting future developments at Safety Champion.

 

 

The Future of Safety Champion Software

During the conference, we offered an exclusive preview of the future enhancements and advancements planned for Safety Champion Software. Our people witnessed how these upcoming features will empower our customers to further streamline their safety management practices, improve efficiency, and create even safer work environments. The future of Safety Champion Software looks incredibly promising.

 

Launching Our New People Programs

One of my highlights of the conference was the official launch of new additions to the People Programs. These initiatives are designed to foster a supportive, inclusive, and growth-oriented environment for our people. Through our Mentoring Program, Career Pathways Program, Public Holiday Swap and Parental Leave Program; we aim to unleash the full potential of our talented team.  Keep an eye out for a spotlight on our New Parent Hamper and the proud recipients!

 

As we reflect on the conference, we carry forward the insights gained, the connections made, and the inspiration received. Together, we will continue driving excellence, innovation, and positive change in the occupational health and safety industry.

 

I’m always available to have a chat about what makes us unique, our growth strategy and People Programs – don’t hesitate to get in touch at megan.drysdale@actionohs.com.au.

 

Megan Drysdale

Head of People

Connect with me via LinkedIn

 

 

 

Looking for our previous People Program updates? 👇

 

Prosecutions: 2022 summary for NSW and Victoria #2

Business leaders have a legislative duty to acquire and maintain up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters relevant to the nature of their operations.

 

But without any visibility of the health and safety prosecutions that have occurred, it can be hard to grasp what could go wrong within your operations.

 

With a little context, you have an opportunity to reflect on current practices. This can help to ensure that reasonably practicable controls have been established, and to ensure ‘like’ or ‘now foreseeable’ incidents are less likely to occur within the workplace.

 

‘Reasonably practicable’ means that you should consider the likelihood and degree of harm of a hazard or risk. Whilst there may not have previously been an incident at your workplace, if a significant incident has occurred across your industry, you should be aware of it.

 

Each year, Action OHS Consulting collates and reviews the data available from both WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW. Used effectively, this information should support you to influence key stakeholders within your organisation, and assist your business to make informed decisions with respect to their health and safety program.

 

The prosecution data has been collated from:

 

 

This article provides an overview of the prosecutions from 2015 through to the 2022 calendar years.

 

Prosecutions: Numbers and related legislation

The 2022 calendar year saw a total of 115 prosecutions against the Victorian health and safety legislation, whilst in NSW the number of prosecutions was 59.

 

When compared to the previous year, there has been a 20% increase in Victoria. This is compared to a 54% increase in Victoria the CY2021 when compared to CY2020. Whilst the CY2020 reduction may be attributed to resourcing during COVID along with lockdown restrictions, this is not reflected in NSW with prosecutions reducing over the last two (2) calendar years.

 

 

Within Victoria:

  • 96 prosecutions were recorded against the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 only
  • 18 prosecutions involved both the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • 1 prosecution involved the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004; Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017; Dangerous Goods Act 1985

 

 

Consistent with previous years, zero prosecutions were against the 2007 version of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations which were updated in 2017.

 

Within NSW up to May 2022:

  • 51 prosecutions were recorded against the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 only
  • 5 prosecution was recorded against the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 only
  • 3 prosecution involved both Work Health and Safety Act 2011 & Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017

 

 

 

 

Prosecution timeframes

The table below lists the timeframe for the prosecution’s outcomes from 2022 when measured against the date of the offence.

 

Table 1: Timeframe between date of offence and the prosecution outcome, for the 2022 prosecution outcomes reported by SafeWork NSW & WorkSafe Victoria. Bracketed numbers represent the increase / decrease when compared to 2021.

 

 

Health and safety fines

Year on year, the average fine and median fine in Victoria remained consistent with previous years. This is not reflective in NSW. The last calendar year saw an increase in both the average fine and median fine.

The average and median fines were greater in NSW, when compared to Victoria.

 

 

WorkSafe Victoria issued five Enforceable Undertakings in 2022 which equates to 4% of prosecutions. This aligns with the percentage of prosecutions that resulted in Enforceable Undertaking issued in 2021.

 

 

An ‘enforceable undertaking’  (EU) is a legally binding agreement between WorkSafe Victoria and the employer. The employer is obliged to carry out the specific activities outlined in the agreed undertaking. EUs will typically guide and direct the business being prosecuted to improve its health and safety program.

 

Health and safety fines: Maximum issued

With respect to fines, the maximum fines for Victoria was slightly above 2021. In NSW there was a large increase in the maximum fine, when compared to the previous calendar years.

 

 

The maximum fines issued to a business were associated with the following events:

 

Victoria: The offender manufacture and supply liquid and dry bulk road tankers and employ approximately 40 – 50 workers on the factory floor. Australian Industry Group Training Services Pty Ltd (AIGTS) employed an engineering fabrication apprentice.

An external Safety Consultant completed an audit on a new workplace environment during August 2018, whilst production had commenced the setup of the new factory was still not complete. The audit identified several opportunities for improvement.

On 24 September 2018, the apprentice attended at the workplace for work for the first time. The apprentice was 20 years of age, a trainee welder and did not have a trade qualification.

On 4 October 2018, the apprentice was asked to perform a ‘cleaning out task’ inside a tanker. The previous day an employee of the offender had left a Welder and a Wire Feeder inside the tanker. It remained there overnight. The Wire Feeder had fallen into a state of disrepair. As a result of that defect, over which the offender had management and control, Argon gas was able to flow into the tanker overnight, reducing oxygen in it. The apprentice died from asphyxiation after entering the tanker to perform the cleaning out work.

Workers at the workplace extracted the apprentice from the tanker and performed CPR. Emergency Services arrived within about five minutes after the apprentice was extracted. The apprentice died at the scene.

The offender pleaded guilty and was with conviction sentenced to pay a fine of $600,000. The Court indicated that but for its guilty plea, the offender would have been convicted and fined $800,000.

 

NSW: On 1 April 2019, a worker was fatally injured, and another worker sustained serious injury when a large section of scaffold collapsed on top of them at a construction project in Macquarie Park.

After a SafeWork NSW investigation, the defendant, was charged with a breach of section 31/19(2) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

On 25 November 2022, the defendant was convicted by the District Court and fined $2,000,000.

 

It is not just businesses being prosecuted in relation to health and safety breaches

Health and safety prosecutions are not limited to corporations. In 2022, 10% and 15% of prosecutions were issued to workers in Victoria and NSW respectively – equating to 12 and 9 prosecutions respectively

 

 

The maximum fine issued to workers in Victoria and NSW in 2021 was $70,000 and $60,000 (x2) respectively. Whilst the average fine in Victoria and NSW was $15,875 and $36,667 respectively.

 

Prosecutions: What is the cause and where are the gaps?

With respect to the criteria/codes that lead to the prosecution – of the 48 criteria that was referenced, with 13 criteria associated with more than 10% of the prosecutions in 2022. As defined by WorkSafe Victoria, these are outlined below.

 

 

These criteria are relatively consistent since 2015.

 

‘Failure to provide a safe system of work”’ continues to places a clear duty on all workplaces to understand their operations, the hazards associated with their work, and ensure that the established controls are implemented.

 

Other noteworthy criteria includes:

  1. The re-introduction of “Failure to provide and maintain a passive fall protection device” to the list. Whilst “Falls/Work at height offences” have been consistent, this new addition explicitly calls out the expectation the regulator is placing on organisations who conduct work at heights.
  2. Slight increase in prosecutions related to failure to conduct risk/hazard identification or risk assessment following a drop off in CY2019 to CY2021:

 

 

Health check

Action OHS Consulting, in collaboration with its sister-company Safety Champion Software, has developed a self-assessment tool: Safety Champion Impact Assessment. This tool has been designed to support businesses to understand potential points of failure, allowing them to proactively improve their health and safety program.

We plan to make this tool accessible up until 30 September 2023.

 

START SAFETY CHAMPION IMPACT ASSESSMENT

 

Free consulting support

As part of the WorkSafe Victoria OHS Essentials Program, businesses with operations in Victoria, may be eligible for three (3) OHS Consulting Support sessions delivered over 12 months by an Action OHS Consulting consultant. These sessions are designed to guide businesses on how to deliver on the legal OHS duties and obligations.

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE OHS ESSENTIALS PROGRAM

 

Free webinar support

Action OHS Consulting developed and delivered a four-part webinar series providing direction on how businesses can best manage their legal obligations associated with health and safety.

The good news is that it is free for you to download.

 

DOWNLOAD THE WAR ON SAFETY WEBINAR SERIES

 

Key takeaways

To allow better and more informed decisions to be made, businesses must have established processes to understand how effectively their health and safety program has been implemented.

The Health and Safety Legislation adopts a self-regulated risk-based approach. This means businesses and their leaders are required to understand what could foreseeably go wrong within their operations, and then establish reasonably practicable controls to minimise the likelihood or severity of such events occurring. The intention; is to protect workers, contractors, customers and visitors from harm.

This require leaders to be real. It requires them to appreciate that safety as documented by your policy and procedure manual, may not reflect work as completed operationally.

Put simply, this leads to a requirement for workplaces to actively:

 

  • Ensure that your safety program is easy to access and understand, and importantly relevant to your operations. Strongly consider implementing safety software such as Safety Champion, to help ensure that scheduled tasks are completed, and that workers can easily report incidents and/or hazards. Ensuring that you have visibility and read access to this information, will assist you to proactively prevent incidents from occurring in the future.
  • List all the ways your workers could get hurt, and document what you have put in place to stop this from happening. Start by listing the “Top 5” hazards – focusing on those which could cause the most serious harm. Do this in consultation with a selection of workers who hold different roles within your business. If you identify things that you could improve and/or do better, this is not bad, in fact, it is the point of the exercise.
  • Continue to consult. Have regular structured and unstructured conversations with your team regarding the controls you have established.
  • Build competency. Ensure that you have an induction program that includes an overview of your safety program and the operational activities that the worker will undertake. Consider assigning a buddy to new and/or young workers.
  • Ensure your safety program is sustainable. Don’t rely on just one person. Spreadsheets and folders can be effective if you are organised, however, are difficult to maintain visibility when tasks are due – or more importantly, when tasks are missed. Again, this is where software programs like Safety Champion Software will support your organisation, providing visibility of your health and safety program in real-time, remind you when deadlines and key milestones approach, and provide you with access to data to make data-based decisions.
  • Consider safety as part of your procurement process. Before you buy anything, consider the safety implications. Don’t limit this to equipment, machinery, computers – extended this to services as well. Don’t make safety an afterthought.

 

We would be interested to hear your thoughts, questions or concerns.

 

If like us, you would like to interrogate data, we would be more than happy to share an unlocked copy of the data with you

 

We would be interested to hear your thoughts, questions or concerns.

 

If like us, you would like to interrogate data, we would be more than happy to share an unlocked copy of the data with you – simply Contact Us.

 

Author: Craig Salter.