Two farmers dead and two injured from contacting overhead electricity cables

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On 16 March 2010, two farmers outside Rainbow in Victoria were killed when the windmill they were moving touched live overhead electricity cables.  According to preliminary reports from the emergency ambulance service, two work colleagues went to the rescue and were injured themselves.

A video report is available HERE.

According to media information from WorkSafe Victoria:

“A father and son died this morning while moving a 25-foot metal windmill which came into contact with a 12,500 volt power line.

The incident occurred while moving a 25 foot metal windmill was being moved using a tractor with a forklift attachment on it.” Continue reading “Two farmers dead and two injured from contacting overhead electricity cables”

OHS due diligence and safety management

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In the February 2010 newsletter for Australian law firm, DLAPhillips Fox, Andrew Ball and Donna Trembath wrote about one of the important elements of the model Work, Health & Safety Act – due diligence.   We look at how SafetyAtWorkBlog and other OHS information services can support due diligence on OHS matters.

Ball and Trembath list 6 elements in the definition of due diligence (in bold):

Acquire and have up to date knowledge of work OHS matters.

This first element is where business and OHS information sources are going to be crucial supporters.  OHS law in Australia has always supported the need for companies and safety professionals to maintain a current state of knowledge.  There have always been newsletters on OHS issues but it is very easy to fall into a habit of reading only the information that will assist one in their job rather than getting information that relates to safety throughout a workplace.  The use of Health & Safety representatives or OHS Committees can be important in maintaining a “corporate” state of knowledge.  Delegation of reading information can be very useful and HSRs and OHS Committees are probably the most neglected preventative tools in the safety professionals toolbox. Continue reading “OHS due diligence and safety management”

A discussion on ethics and OHS decision making

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In 2004, I was asked to make an OHS-themed presentation to a group of paramedic students on ethics and from a small business perspective.  Some of the information may have dated slightly but I post this to stimulate discussion.  Below is an edited version of that 2004 oral presentation:

Quite often, when we have an ethical dilemma, “should I do this or should I do that?” we often go away somewhere to think.  In the short term, you “sleep on it” and when you wake you may have a solution or, at least, a different perspective on the problem.  Often we try to clarify our perspective.  I don’t know many people whose job it is to develop ethical statements or programs who sit at a table and talk about ethics.  More often, we go away and think about the issue and then come back and discuss, compare and refine our problem.  We frequently do this with our colleagues and by using our social network.

For an example, recently a colleague asked for me to sign off on a safety manual for some Australian contractors who are installing equipment for an American company in Australia.  It is one thing to deal with companies in your native country but dealing with overseas companies is very different.  With local companies you can solve problems by meeting with the Manager or CEO but when it is an American company, from such a litigious society, how should a small business proceed?  Should I accept the contract?  Is the risk worth the money?  I am not sure. Continue reading “A discussion on ethics and OHS decision making”

Good bullying advice needs grounding in prevention

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Recently SafetyAtWorkBlog discussed the quality of media releases on OHS matters.  A very good one was received the other day from Firefly Marketing.  The noticeable quality of this release is that although its purpose is to promote a conference, the release provides fresh and unique comments that have stand-alone benefits.

The statement includes several comments concerning workplace bullying.


WorkSafe Victoria‘s media manager, Michael Birt  says

“The death of Brodie Panlock has received the most media attention of any WorkSafe Victoria prosecution – ever.  The case was covered extensively by Australia’s national media but was even reported in countries from the Netherlands to Russia.  The details will stay on Google forever.  The actions of Brodie’s tormentors will follow them.” Continue reading “Good bullying advice needs grounding in prevention”