NZ releases new guidelines on quad bike safety

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Any new OHS guidelines from regulators important to read and consider when implementing safety interventions.   New Zealand’s Department of Labour (DoL) has released new guidelines for the use of quad bikes in workplaces, predominantly, farms.

Quad bike manufacturers are strong advocates of “active riding” techniques as an important safety practice. The new guidelines support this position.

Regular readers will be aware that there are engineering controls for rollovers of quad bikes where “active riding” is an administrative control of rollovers. The engineering control is primarily a rollover protective structure (ROPS). The difference between the two control measures is significant as the engineering controls are considered to be a higher order, or more effective, control in the hierarchy of controls advocated by OHS regulators and professionals around the world.

The NZ DoL guidelines make reference to ROPS but only as a text box because the evidence on ROPS remains contentious. Continue reading “NZ releases new guidelines on quad bike safety”

A new safety professional association for Australia

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It looks like the safety profession in Australia is to become lively with competition coming from a new starter.  SIWA Limited became a reality this week.  SIWA describes itself as :

“…a new professional association and Australia’s first truly National ‘Member’ Organisation dedicated to providing professional support for, and service to, persons and corporate entities engaged across the Australian Safety and Health industry.”

Those in the safety industry in Australia would perceive some “digs” at the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) in the quote above and this is not surprising as some the SIWA’s leadership comes from former SIA members in Western Australia.  However, safety professionals should embrace the chance for diversity and choice in their professional membership options. Continue reading “A new safety professional association for Australia”

The Asphyxiation of OHS

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Good OHS thinking and practice are being slowly asphyxiated.  By far most suggestions by workers, unions or good consultants for Health & Safety improvements are ‘choked’ by management naysayers and bureaucrats more in touch with their current minister’s moods than workplace reality.  Not choked immediately or blatantly.   In fact, that person may be patted on the back and encouraged to raise more OHS matters, “Yes, mate, good!  Tell us what else we’re doing wrong, very very helpful.  You just keep on telling us”……..  And slowly any significant discussion about OHS problems is suppressed and killed.

The majority of workers in Australia work in small workplaces where (typically) practical OHS programs are regarded by managers as a nuisance, a bit of ‘over-the-top’ nonsense that slows down productivity.  It’s regarded as an irritant of fashion that will pass, like the fashion-related, politically correct things to say. Continue reading “The Asphyxiation of OHS”

Important OHS and legal issues in findings of South Australian Coroner into young man’s death

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The debate on OHS laws will be passionate in the pre-election frenzy of New South Wales but the OHS law reform is a national strategy and the safety debate is not asleep in the other States.

On 11 February 2011, AAP ran an article about the long-lasting familial and social effects a horrible workplace incident in South Australia in 2004.  Diemould Tooling Services (fined in 2009) took its appeal against prosecution to the High Court of Australia in 2008 and on 10 February 2011, almost six years after the death of 18-year-old Daniel Madeley, South Australian Coroner Mark Johns has said, at Madeley’s inquest:

“A horizontal boring machine had been operated at Diemould for years in a condition which could only be described as deplorably unsafe. It could have been guarded, but was not. It could have had a braking system, but did not. It could have had an automated lubrication system, but did not.

“Many other things could have been done, but any one of these would have been sufficient to save Mr Madeley’s life….”

Coroner Johns was very critical of SafeWorkSA about its actions following the 2004 death.  The coroner’s findings make for disturbing reading on several issues. Continue reading “Important OHS and legal issues in findings of South Australian Coroner into young man’s death”

Business jumps the gun on OHS, unions hope for the best

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As the Australian State of New South Wales approaches its March 2011 election day, the lobbying is becoming more fierce.  In fact,  conservation opposition leader, Barry O’Farrell will need to rein in some of his business colleagues if the lobbying becomes too fierce.

It is widely tipped that O’Farrell will win the election and people are already planning for his ascension.  If the business pressure becomes too overt, it may reduce the size of the landslide win that is being predicted.

For example, prior to the Council of Australian Governments meeting organised by the federal (Labor) government, the New South Wales Minerals Council provides an example of the issue they will be running on through to the election.  CEO Dr Nikki Williams has said in a media release this afternoon: Continue reading “Business jumps the gun on OHS, unions hope for the best”