On 29 October 2009, WorkSafe Victoria held its WorkSafe Awards event at the Palladium Room at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. SafetyAtWorkBlog attended as a guest. All the winners were deserved and there are short profiles of some of the winners below.
The first award was for the Health & Safety Representative of the Year, won by Phyl Hilton. Hilton was clearly honoured by the award and in his acceptance speech acknowledged that good OHS laws are “socially progressive” – a position that is rarely heard outside of the union movement or from non-blue-collar workers. It is an element missing from many of the submission currently being received by Australian Government in its OHS law review.
Hilton presented as genuine and his commitment to the safety of his colleagues was undeniable. Significantly, he thanked several WorkSafe inspectors for their support and assistance. WorkSafe would have been chuffed but the comment which reinforced safety as a partnership.
The Best Solution to a Health and Safety Risk was given to Bendigo TAFE for a machine guarding solution. Guards have become an unfashionable hazard control solution and often now seem to rely on new technology. The chuck key guard was as hi-tech as an interlock device but one that the users of the lathes, almost all young workers, would not need any involvement with. If chuck key remains in the place, the guard is out of position and the machine cannot start. Simple is always the best.
The combination of beer and safety is a heady mix for Australians so the keg handler had a cultural edge on the other award finalists in the category, Best Solution to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries. The keg mover and the keg stacker seemed to be two different devices and it would have been great to have a single device but the stacking option was particularly interesting. Many pub cellars are cramped and being able to stack beer kegs in a stable fashion is attractive, and sensible. The cross-support that is placed on top of each keg was, perhaps, the standout feature. One can almost see the staring at the top of the keg by the designers and the creative cogs turning. The best solutions always seem to be those where one asks “why didn’t I think of that?”
WorkSafe has placed a lot of attention on safety in the horse racing industry, particularly, as injuries received by jockeys and the killing of injured racehorses are in public view and therefore are highly newsworthy.
The attraction of this winner of Best Design for Workplace Safety is that the inventor has looked beyond PPE for jockeys to what a jockey is likely to hit when falling of a racehorse at speed.
The OHS law drafters should take note that this innovation has come from looking at “eliminating a hazard, at the source”, an important terminology omitted from the last Australia OHS law draft. Would there have been the same level of innovation if the racing industry had done what was “reasonably practicable”? It is very doubtful.
This post has focussed on individual achievement and physical solutions to hazards. The awards for OHS committee and safety management systems are not detailed here as they are more difficult to quantify but for completeness, the Safety Committee of the Year went to RMIT – School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Bundoora East, the Best Strategy for Health and Safety Management went to the Youth Justice Custodial Services – Department of Human Services, Parkville for its program in Clinical Group Supervision.
Some of these solutions need to be viewed to fully understand their merit and it is hoped that SafetyAtWorkBlog will be able to post the videos of the winners and, more importantly, the other finalists, shortly. Certainly the other finalists in the solutions categories deserve almost as much recognition.
Health and Safety Representative of the Year
Recipient: Phyl Hilton – Toyota Motor Corporation, Altona
Phyl, who works as a toolmaker at Toyota’s Altona Plant, has been a health and safety representative for 10 years. Representing 27 members in the trades department within the Press shop, he takes a leading role in identifying opportunities for safety improvements in his workplace. Using a practical and collaborative approach, Phyl has played an integral part in many initiatives, including the design and construction of weld bay facilities, the procurement of portable fume extractors and the development of press plant policies in English and Japanese. Phyl was also part of the Traffic Management Control Working Party and the Working at Heights and Trades Hazard Mapping projects. He is committed to developing and driving safety knowledge among Toyota apprentices and actively mentors and coaches fellow health and safety representatives.
Best Design for Workplace Safety
Recipient: Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE, Bendigo
Initiative: Lathe Chuck Guard
Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE works with students and apprentices to prepare them for the workforce. An incident highlighted the risk of an operator forgetting to remove a key from the chuck on a lathe before turning it on. Working on lathes is a normal part of work in many businesses within the manufacturing industry. The chuck can spin at 1000rpm or more and this could cause the key to fly out from the machine with high force, creating a projectile that could result in serious injury to the operator or others close to the lathe. The Lathe Chuck Guard protects the operator by refusing to close if the key is left in the chuck. The guard is interlocked to ensure the lathe can only be started with the guard closed. Having a guard assists with providing a safe work environment within the TAFE workshop. The Lathe Chuck Guard is a simple, cheap, yet effective, way of reducing the risk of projectile keys. It is adaptable for a range of lathes across industries and will benefit other educational facilities and the wider manufacturing industry.
Best Solution for Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries
Recipient: Cherry Constructions and Workright Safety Solutions, Seaford
Initiative: Keg Handling System
The Keg Handling System is a mechanical aid system to assist the hospitality industry. It consists of a keg lifter, trolley, ramp and stack safe crosses and is used for handling beer kegs. Keg handling has been a major issue in hospitality for several decades and is traditionally done by hand without the use of mechanical aids. The Keg Handling System seeks to improve the way kegs, which can weigh up to 67kg, are handled and reduce the risk of injury. The keg lifter can lift a keg, manoeuvre it into position and lower it to the floor or on top of another keg with minimal effort from the operator. The trolley can pick up a keg from any position so that it doesn’t have to be moved to meet the trolley. It has a locking device so the keg is fixed to the trolley. The stack safe crosses allow the kegs to ’nest‘ into each other, stopping them from toppling. The major risks associated with handling beer kegs are musculoskeletal injuries to the back, shoulders and arms, and crushing injuries. The automated and easy-to-manoeuvre system is readily used in small spaces and by a range of staff. This design can also be adapted for other industries to aid in lifting and transporting many items including gas bottles, oil drums and even large pot plants in nurseries.
Best Design for Workplace Safety
Recipient: Racing Victoria (Flemington), Dan Mawby and Delta-V Experts (North Fitzroy)
Initiative: Running Rails
Running rails have been a safety issue in the racing industry for many years, causing serious injuries to jockeys and horses involved in collisions. Track staff have also been hurt due to the manual handling required to set up and move rails. Designed and invented by Dan Mawby, tested by Delta-V Experts and used by Racing Victoria, this new lightweight durable UV-rated plastic running rail is a welcome replacement for the solid aluminium rails currently in use. The major improvement is that the horizontal rail doesn’t break from the impact of weight-bearing objects – instead, it elevates, springs and bends on impact. The design and flexibility of this rail system also has the ability to steer a horse back on track should light contact be made, therefore avoiding injury. The new Running Rail is in place at Flemington and Caulfield Racecourse and some training facilities.