Eye injury campaign evidence clarified

A 19 May 2010 SafetyAtWorkBlog article commented on a new eye safety campaign by the  Optometrists Association Australia.  The eye safety brochure included several statistical references upon which clarification was sought.

Shirley Loh, OAA’s National Professional Services Manager has provided references, and we thank her for her efforts.

A couple of quotes in question were:

“60% of all eye injuries happen in the workplace and about 95% of eye injuries are the result of carelessness and lack of attention.”

“Up to 48% of office workers suffer from computer-related eye fatigue and this rate appears to be increasing.   Excessive computer use can cause eye strain and reduce productivity.” Continue reading “Eye injury campaign evidence clarified”

In ROPS we trust

Roll Over Protective Structures (ROPS) are a standard safety design feature on many items of agricultural equipment from tractors to quad bikes.  But ROPS do not prevent a rollover, only minimise the risk of injury from a rollover.

The Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has issued a safety alert over a tractor ROPS that failed.  The background for the safety alert is:

“A 180 hp tractor towing a 7.8 tonne trailer was travelling at approximately 20 km/h along a single lane bitumen road.  To enable a vehicle to pass, the tractor was driven to the side of the road which was corrugated with a sharp drop off and steep drain nearby.  When driven back onto the road, the attached trailer slipped down the steep incline into the drain pulling the rear of the tractor sideways.  This caused the tractor to roll over, which resulted in the failure of the ROPS fitted to the tractor.  The driver suffered fatal injuries.”

Kevin Jones

New OHS Codes and Regulations for Australia

On 20 May 2010, SafetyAtWorkBlog mentioned the “challenge” of harmonising OHS approaches to bullying and harassment.  This morning Safe Work Australia provided a list of the Code of Practice and Regulations that are being developed as part of the OHS harmonisation process:

Model Regulations

  • “Licences – general e.g. asbestos and high risk.
  • Workplaces –first aid, personal protection equipment and emergency management.
  • Plant – general.
  • Chemicals – inorganic lead, asbestos, labelling, safety data sheets and major hazard facilities.
  • Other hazards – manual tasks, Continue reading “New OHS Codes and Regulations for Australia”

Harmonising bullying terminology extends well beyond OHS

In May 2010, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland uploaded a Workplace Harassment Assessment Tool.  The curious element to the information is that Queensland does not mention the word “bullying” even though the assessment criteria cover this hazard.

As Australia moves to harmonised legislation on workplace safety issues, the harmonisation of terminology is going to be important and probably subject to lively discussion.   Continue reading “Harmonising bullying terminology extends well beyond OHS”

All exposure standards must consider hours of work

The last sixty years’ of research into the effects of hours of work, shiftwork, associated workload, fatigue and affects on social life and families has produced many findings, but no general detailed agreements.  There are interesting debates about who and what to research, what methods to use, what to measure and how to interpret results.  In the meantime workers and managers continue to work in difficult circumstances that research suggests has an impact on hormone secretion patterns, and, for example, on cardiac health, gastrointestinal health and breast cancer.

Here are a number of specific statements about hours of work, fatigue and fitness for work.  Total agreement on these statements can’t be achieved but they would generally be supported.   Continue reading “All exposure standards must consider hours of work”

Lack of separation of pedestrians and forklifts results in $A24k fine

SafeWorkSA has released details of a successful OHS prosecution concerning forklifts, yet again.  But the full judgement has more management information than is usual and deserves to be read in full.

The circumstances, according to a media release (not yet available online) are

“…an incident… in August 2007 in which a 56 year old delivery driver tripped over the tines of a forklift which was about to exit the curtained doorway of a cold-room.”

The judgement in the South Australian Industrial Court expands upon the charge:

“… that Kerafi, being the occupier of a workplace, had failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable that means of access to and egress from the workplace was safe.   Continue reading “Lack of separation of pedestrians and forklifts results in $A24k fine”

The Astonished Manager: Not in my wildest dreams

Dr Yossi Berger of the Australian Workers Union has been reading some of the debate in SafetyAtWorkBlog and offered the article below for publication.  He said to SafetyAtWorkBlog

“…in relation to BP’s OHS catastrophes and comments about their management style, their managers and this aspirational, easily-bandied-about notion of workplace culture.  Two things stimulated me to put together this comment below: first, on the back of some 2000 workplace inspections across Australia and some internationally I have not detected this thing called ‘workplace culture’ other than as a cheap metaphor and ploy to manipulate; even if you chose to think of this phenomenon as ‘shared values and how we do things here’.   Secondly, there’s terrible and dangerous bullshit going on in relation to ‘personality cult’, ‘disconnect’ (‘no one told me’), and ‘it couldn’t happen here because we care’.”

Yossi Berger in Beaconsfield Mine

Continue reading “The Astonished Manager: Not in my wildest dreams”

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