Time to ban synthetic stone

Professor Malcolm Sim of Monash University spoke at the 2019 National Work Health and Safety Colloquium on an issue that he never imagined he would be speaking of, at his age, silicosis.

As it is in several countries, the emergence of silicosis related to synthetic stone is gradually getting the attention of governments as more, and younger, workers are starting to die from this aggressive occupational disease. Professor Sim outlined the risk of handling this new type of stone by asking:

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Podcast on WHS colloquium

Free Access

Yesterday the Centre for Work Heath and Safety held its first colloquium of occupational health and safety researchers. It comprised of 15 research presentations, a keynote speaker and a workshop about the 2023 World Congress for Safety and Health at Work to be held in Sydney, Australia.

SafetyAtWorkBlog was lucky to attend and will be writing at least one article about the event for subscribers soon, but I was also able to speak with the Centre’s Director, Skye Buatava, about the event. The audio is available through the links below

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-52min-bb8123

https://soundcloud.com/safetyatworkblog/safety-at-work-talks-episode-15

Kevin Jones

What’s the fuss? Stay focused on safety

The debate about quad bike safety has gone global with the United States telling the World Trade Organisation that the imposition of operator protection devices (OPDs) on general quad bikes (those not used for recreation or sport) may be a trade barrier. To some this would appear silly, and the argument has little to do with worker safety, but this action by the US impedes progress on safety.

Recently the Victorian Coroner made findings into the quad bike-related death of 69-year-old farmer Gustaav Walta in September 2017. The finding is not yet publicly available but the story of Walta’s death sounds very familiar.

One evening around 6pm Walta advised his friend that he was putting the sheep away. His friend did not receive the regular phone call the next morning and drove to the property finding a quad bike that had rolled over and Walta’s body in an adjacent paddock. It was determined that Walta had died from severe chest injuries caused by the quad bike incident, that he had been ejected from the bike, the bike rolled over him and he then had tried walking to a neighbour’s property before he collapsed and died.

The chronology in the Findings is not very clear on Walta received his chest injuries but what is clear is that, like so many before, the quad bike had not been fitted with an OPD and that Walta had not been wearing a helmet.

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Burnout – OHS regulators clarify their positions

The prominence of Burnout as an occupational health and safety (OHS) matter has gained renewed prominence since the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised it as an “occupational phenomenon“. But WHO equally stressed that Burnout

“… is not classified as a medical condition.”

SafetyAtWorkBlog asked several OHS and workplace experts in Australia and overseas about how to prevent Burnout. Below is the first of a series of articles in which Australian OHS Regulators provide their take on the issue. The next part will look at some overseas and non-regulatory perspectives.

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Conspiracy accusations over rail construction project

On March 17 2019, a community radio program and podcast “The Concrete Gang” broadcast some comments about occupational health and safety (OHS) on a rail construction site in Victoria, Australia, believed to be the Aviation Rd, Laverton site. SafetyAtWorkBlog attempted to factcheck the accusations.

Construction company McConnell Dowell is providing construction services on various sites for the Level Crossing Removal Project. According to The Concrete Gang:

“… McConnell Dowell level crossing removal have had a few dramas out there what we’ve got is we’ve a live train and they’re trying to put a level crossing in while there’s a live train going.  They normally do what we call a shutdown which is an occupation where they shut down the line and they’re lifting concrete beams and build a bridge.  Well McConnell Dowell in their wisdom are trying to do it between 10-minute stops…”

“….the workers on the job have got issues because they’re obviously lifting precast elements over trains and there’s obviously no safety…”

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