Decline in Workplace Accidents attributed to Stricter Laws

Tasmanian unions have expressed their satisfaction with new workplace laws which they believe have had a positive impact on injury rates in the state and which they believe will continue drop in the future as a result of these laws.

Figures have been released in coordination with the launch of WorkSafe month which show a 4 per cent drop in the number of Tasmanian workers injured on the job.

According to The Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne, last year we saw 8934 injuries as compared with the 9312 reported the previous year. It was the first year that our workplace injury rate dropped below 9000 in a year. And workplace fatalities in the state over the past year were just 4.

According to the Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins, the new workplace laws which came into effect at the beginning of this year have helped to combat the alarming workplace culture of prioritising productivity over safety.

An excerpt from Abc.net.au explains:

“Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.

But Mr Harkins says Tasmania is still the second worst performing state behind Queensland.

Most injuries and deaths occur in construction and farming jobs.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-25/fall-in-worplace-accidents-down-to-tougher-laws-say-unions/4843776?section=tas

The post goes on to provide a cautionary tale for readers about a worker injured on a potato grader conveyor belt. This incident highlights the importance of managing workplace hazards proactively before work on the site even begins. This involves anticipated the dangers and developing a safe plan to overcome the dangers.

Read what the post went on to explain:

Last year, Chris Dornauf spent an agonising hour and a half with his arm caught in the conveyor belt of a potato grader.

He says recovering from a workplace injury is a slow process.

Cut all five nerves, or five tendons and two of the main arteries,” he said.

After eight surgeries and with more to come, he still has not regained the use of his arm.

He is now able to drive trucks instead of working the farm, but says he is more aware of what might go wrong.

“When you stand back and look at it, you think about how dangerous things are,” he said.

“It’s a big, it’s a lot different now.”

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-25/fall-in-worplace-accidents-down-to-tougher-laws-say-unions/4843776?section=tas

Despite the drop in injuries and fatalities in Tasmania, more still needs to be done nationally to enforce workplace safety. It is for this reason that the federal government has made general construction safety training (also known as White Card Training) a mandatory requirement for any worker in the construction sector.

Ensuring that each worker has completed this training is not only the law but will also ensure that workers are aware of the hazards presented by construction work, so as to not endanger themselves or their co-workers on site.

The White Card course is nationally recognised which means that once a worker completes the training in one state, they are able to work in any state in Oz without having to redo their training. This makes work across borders much easier and allows workers to choose where they want to live and work anywhere in the country.

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Calgary Man in life-threatening Condition after Construction Accident

A Calgary man is in a serious condition in hospital following a workplace accident last week. The 30 year old man became trapped on a mechanical lift inside a building and had to be rescued by emergency services.

The incident is example of how sometimes accidents cannot be avoided even when the proper safety precautions are followed. The man involved was wearing a safety harness and appears to have still been wearing it at the time when he was rescued.

It appears that the worker was working on a mechanical life when his head was trapped between the controls of the lift and the ceiling of the second floor as he was raising the basket of the machine. Work on the site has been stopped as investigations into the incident are carried out.

Read what a post on www.calgaryherald.com reported on the incident:

1Fire crews were called to an industrial area on Royal Vista Drive N.W. at around 4 p.m. after receiving a 911 call that a man was trapped on a lift inside the building, said spokeswoman Carol Henke.

“Fire crews brought him down and started basic trauma life support until EMS arrived,” she said. “It looked like he was on a scissor lift or genie lift.”

He was wheeled out to a waiting ambulance still wearing what appeared to be a safety harness.

EMS spokesman Steve Grant said the man was taken to Foothills Hospital in critical, life-threatening condition.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety officials were notified, a department spokeswoman confirmed.

Jennifer Dagsvik said the man was working on a mechanical lift while taping a ceiling inside a two-storey commercial building when the incident happened.

The man’s head became trapped between the controls of the lift and the ceiling of the second floor as he was raising the basket of the machine.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/life+threatening+condition+after+construction+accident/8116802/story.html#ixzz2OUQUkkAq

As this incident demonstrates work with a mechanical lift can be dangerous and therefore there are certain steps that need to be followed. Firstly and most importantly workers that operate mechanical lifts should be trained to do so.

Lifting heavy leads by mechanical means is an essential part of construction work. However, there is also a great risk of failure from such equipment. By taking some simple precautions when using lifting equipment, moving heavy loads around can be achieved safely, without personal injury.

It is also important that in addition to the specialised training that construction workers should receive on their trades, every worker should also undergo general construction training in the form of a White Card.

The White Card training is a state-wide legal requirement that is aimed at making construction sites safer and getting workers home safely at the end of each day.

Although construction sites are full of hazards that threaten workers health and safety, workers needn’t suffer harm while simply trying to earn a living, basic safety training can help workers stay safe.

There’s a stack of useful construction safety articles here

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What we can learn from the fall of a Teenage Construction Worker

Teenage workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace hazards because of their naivety and inexperience but the case of a teenage worker in Sydney who fell 1 meter down a lift shaft could have happened to even experienced workers.  The unfortunate youth suffered a fractured skull and injury to his spine.

Read what happened from this post on Abc.net.au:

A teenager has survived a 10-metre fall down a lift shaft on a building site in Sydney’s north.

The 17-year-old fell four storeys and landed on concrete in Lane Cove at about 9:00am (AEDT).

The Construction Forestry Electrical Mining Union says he has been taken to hospital with a suspected fractured skull and as well as spinal injuries.

The Union’s Mark Sutcliffe says the boy tried to get up after the fall.

“He’s lucid, he’s in the hospital answering questions,” he said.

“They believe he may have a cracked skull and he’s going to be very sore and sorry for himself.

“At this stage though they’re quite happy that he can talk.

“He did try and get up and obviously his workmates kept him down until such time as the ambulance arrived.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-07/teen-survives-four-storey-lift-shaft-fall/4414906/?site=sydney

Workers are often forced to work on scaffolding, roofs and other elevated structures without the proper precautionary measures because of time restraints and limitations in safety equipment provided. This is often the cause of the problem.

According to statistics, falling is the main cause of injury and death of construction workers in Oz. Therefore workers need to be vigilant when working from heights and even more so when their work involves work on structures, higher than normal such as roofs and ceilings.

Workers should be provided with and trained on the correct use of PPE and its use. It is also important that the work area should be reasonably stable.

Physical barriers should be in place over exposed edges, such as guard rails. Safe access and walkways should be provided to all parts of your workplaceOnce the risk has been identified and assessed the risks should be either eliminated or substituted with a less dangerous activity.

A workplace health and safety plan should be used to manage workplace health and such as plan should include how to handle hazards to health and safety from working on an elevated position or any place from which a person can fall.

An edge protection system can be made of guard railing to be used on the edge of working platforms, walkways, stairways, ramps and landings and should run parallel to the working surface.

Holes or openings are often covered with wire mesh. These should not be used as a working platform. All covers should be securely fixed around the hole. Signs should also be attached to the cover to warn people that there is a hole underneath. This is a particularly dangerous hazard as many lives have been lost when workers fell through uncovered holes.

The best method of protection is to use personal fall protection in conjunction with other fall protection systems. The use of these fall protection systems requires proper training to ensure that workers are using the equipment correctly if it is reduce the injury caused by falling.

 

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