In 2015, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) took legal action against the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and one of that union’s organisers, Pomare Auimatagi, over the organiser’s actions seemed to breach one of John Holland’s personal protective equipment (PPE) policies. The CFMEU and Auimatagi were found guilty of breaching the Fair Work Act and finedover A$58,000 by the Federal Circuit Court on 9 March 2018. The case raises a couple of occupational health and safety management issues.
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There is an increasing call for the mandatory wearing of high-visibility clothing for motorcycle riders around the world. The reason is to make motorcyclist more visible to car drivers and other road users. This sounds logical and sensible and is, in some way, based on the prominence of high-visibility clothing in the industrial sectors of manufacturing, construction and others. But is this a matter of policy based on evidence or a broad application of logic or a “common sense”?
As the requirement for high visibility clothing has been in workplaces longer than on motorcyclists it is worth looking for evidence of the effectiveness of high visibility clothing in workplaces. A brief survey of some of the research literature has been unsuccessful in locating much research into this issue. (We always welcome input from readers on this). Wikipedia traces high-visibility clothing back to Scottish railways in the early 1960s, where
“Train drivers operating in these areas were asked their opinion as to the effectiveness of the jackets.”
It would seem the choice of high visibility clothing has stemmed from assessing a workplace, determining the dominant colour of that workplace or environment and then examining the colour wheel (above) to choose a colour of the greatest contrast, thereby providing a high visibility. Continue reading “Reliance on PPE impedes safety progress”
“Unfortunately there is no evidence that so-called ‘high-visibility clothing’ is of any benefit to bike riders,” Mr Brennan said. “Whether the rider is dressed in bright fluoro or black, or is stark naked, matters little when drivers are not paying attention. The good news is that as more bikes crowd the roads, most drivers are paying more attention.”
As the Northern Hemisphere enters its Summer, the use of quad bikes will increase and the UK’s Health & Safety Executive has indicated it will be policing the vehicles’ use. In the press release on 3 June 2010, the HSE reveals that
“Each year an average of two people die and more than 1,000 are injured in quad bike or ATV incidents”
“More than half of all quad bike riders have been thrown from their vehicle at some point…”
The HSE makes this second point in order to promote the use of helmets but one is justified in asking why 50% of users “have been thrown” off the bikes not just falling off. Should not there be an investigation in the cause of the incidents, rather than a reinforcement of the need for personal protective equipment?
The Australian newspaper on 12 May 2010 published an article that is an example of the type of article on the passing of former New South Wales Attorney-General Jeff Shaw that SafetyAtWorkBlog expressed concerns over. For most of the article Shaw’s alcoholism is the focus yet we should not judge a person only by their flaws but by their achievements.
SafetyAtWorkBlog interviewed Professor Michael Quinlan who was closely involved in some of the law reform work that Jeff Shaw instigated in the 1990s when he was the Attorney-General.