Working in hot and/or humid environments is not only uncomfortable, it can also result in heat-related illness, which can be fatal. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it’s important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.
For this reason, managing heat was chosen as the topic for CTC’s latest Safety Seminar held on Wednesday, 30th August in Hot Leasing.
First up was Zach du Preez, A/Principal Advisor – Occupational Hygiene – Workplace Health & Safety Queensland who explained how to identify and assess the risk of heat stress. It is important to consider:-
What are the workplace conditions? Consider humidity, surface temperatures, exposure period, reflective surfaces, hot plant etc.
What are the job requirements? How complex, how heavy is the work, how regular are the breaks, are there shady areas, what are the PPE requirements?
What are the individual worker attributes? Are they used to this type of work? Do they have a pre-existing medical condition? Would they know the signs of heat stress?
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland have an on-line tool to assist in identifying and assessing the risk of heat stress Heat Stress Basic Calculator Test. Control measures must be implemented when the risk of a heat related illness is assessed as high. For more information from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland about managing heat exposure, visit their website.
Zach finished with a scenario about a worker who suffered the affects of heat stress. He mentioned how the symptoms of heat stress can easily be confused with those of a heart attack. In the last 5 years, there have been over 200 reported incidents of heat stress, 22 of which resulted in serious injury or death.
The second presenter was Di A-Izzeddin, Operations Manager & Director of 4cRisk Pty Ltd. 4cRisk has developed a program to help identify and manage heat related risks. Like the previous speaker, Di stressed the importance of considering environmental and physiological aspects in addition to air temperature when managing the risk of heat stress.
Engineering controls can include fans, thermal blanketing etc. Physiological controls could include educating workers to drink sufficient fluids to stay adequately hydrated. There are tools available to measure hydration levels. Making electrolyte replacements available is a good control measure. Our bodies are designed to regulate heat, but other factors can make it difficult to maintain a safe temperature (as described above).
To finish, Di stressed the importance of workplaces implementing a robust program that takes into consideration all factors that contribute to heat related illness.
The final presentation was a practical demonstration from Charmaine Streeter and Tracy McLean from Queensland Health’s Clinical Skills Development Service. Using “volunteers” from the audience, they demonstrated how to identify the signs and symptoms and apply first aid for the 3 levels of heat-related illness.
Signs/symptoms – painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen, heavy sweating
Treatment – Move to cooler place, apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water.
Signs/symptoms – faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, cool pale clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid, weak pulse, muscle cramps
Treatment – Get to cooler air conditioned place, lie down, loosen clothing, cool by fanning, drink water if fully conscious, take a cool shower or use cold compresses.
Signs/symptoms – throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 40 degrees C, red hot dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid strong pulse, may lose consciousness.
Treatment – Emergency – call 000. Take immediate action to cool the person until help arrives.
The latest in CTC’s Safety Series Seminars was held on Wednesday, 24th August. The focus for this seminar was to highlight how to avoid workplace injuries and how WorkCover Queensland can work with employers to reduce the impact on injured staff.
The seminar coincided with Tradies National Health Month which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations. Tradies National Health Month is an initiative of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and we were fortunate to have Marina Vitale representing their organisation as a guest speaker. She was joined by Gabrielle Turner, Ashleigh Quilty & Troy Mewburn, Customer Advisors with WorkCover Queensland.
Marina said statistics from WorkCover Queensland reveal that muscular skeletal injuries account for 42% of reported injuries and of these, 33% are back injuries. While we all age, the state that our bodies are in, combined with accumulated injuries incurred every day for years, impacts the nature of workplace injuries.
Factors that are important for managing injury risk include:
Where you work
Manual task risk
What you do
How you work
Tools workers can use to prevent injury include:
Drink sufficient water
Sleep and eat well
Manage health conditions
Employers should use prevention tools such as:
Encouraging employees to report niggles early
Walk the talk – lead by action and example
Refer to the Hazardous Manual Task Code of Practice 2011
Review SOP’s – how things are done should be aligned with the Code
Conduct ergonomic analysis
Use PErforM – a collaborative approach to manage task risk in the workplace (the regulator promotes training in this area)
Train supervisors specifically on return to work and muscular skeletal anatomy
Proactively manage older worker issues
Offer early intervention services
Utilise Job Access and Job in Jeopardy programs (these are Commonwealth funded programs lasting 6 months providing access to an exercise physiologist and GP care through Centrelink)
Physiotherapists can assist by:
Improving health and wellness
Conduct worksite visits
Demonstrating exercises for improving balance/pelvic floor – important part of core strength
Providing functional capacity evaluations
Conducting fitness for work assessments
Conducting pre-employment assessments
Providing Suitable Duties and Return to Work services.
Workers can manage muscular skeletal discomfort by:
Using mechanical assistance where possible
Maintaining tools – keep these sharp etc. so no pushing required
Be conscious of hand tool design
Keeping neutral positions for power and stability
Avoiding awkward postures
Avoiding ill fitting shoes
The following factors which affect worker recovery rates:
Not reporting early
Not receiving treatment early
Not receiving the correct treatment
Inappropriate duties being assigned on return to work
Marina finished her presentation by demonstrating some stretches that can be incorporated into the workplace.
Gabrielle Turner, Ashleigh Quilty & Troy Mewburn (Customer Advisors) then spoke about how WorkCover Queensland can help business by identifying trends, assisting with the return to work process, injury prevention management (IPaM), information campaigns and access to industry resources.
The construction industry had 9,620 claims costing $116 million and required 35 days off work on average – 42% of these were muscular-skeletal 33% were classified as lacerations and burns. Consulting Workcover Queensland to promote a safe work environment can result in lower injuries and reduced premiums.
Potential flags that claims are escalating:
Claimants not engaging with the business
Focussing on pain rather than using positive language
Poor support network
Claimants becoming withdrawn from social activities
Struggling with performance
Proactive employers display the following:
Early return to work from claimants
Keep in contact with the claimant
Invite claimants to work social functions
Educate employees on the return to work process
Have employee assistance programs (counselling) available
Ensure claimant’s colleagues are aware of their alternative duties
To find out more about CTC’s Safety Series Seminars, call us on 07 3216 6711 or visit our website.
The latest in the series of Safety Seminars was held in CTC’s Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th May. Around 60 people representing various sectors attended the seminar which highlighted safety issues and concerns around Materials and Personnel Hoists.
Industry experts Stuart Davis, Principal Adviser from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and Dave Van Der Poel, QLD/NT Sales Manager with Alimak Hek shared their knowledge and provided interesting insights around construction hoist safety.
Has a maximum lifespan of 5 years
Critical to ensure the hoist will stop even if the drive fails
Critical to ensure continued safe operation
OEM Service is required after every 40 hours of use
The hoist should be checked each day as part of the start of day routine
Functional tests should be conducted after each project
Correct ties and bolts should be used to install
If hiring a unit
Installation is critical to safety
Check the following before allowing a unit onto the site:
the service records are current
the safety device tag is current
For information about this or CTC’s state of the art Hot Leasing facility, visit our website www.hotleasing.com.au.
The latest in CTC’s series of safety seminars was held last Wednesday, 24th February 2016. The topic was Confined Space Safety. Presenters highlighted safety issues around practitioners entering a confined space.
The first presenter was Brett Biddle, an Inspector with Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland. He spoke about issues concerning safety, and recounted incidents that highlight areas of concern.
“Often people can overlook the obvious, which can have disastrous consequences for personnel and management”, Brett commented.
Brett mentioned a number of matters that practitioners should be aware of, namely:
A query often asked of him is “am I working in a confined space?’.
Complete a risk assessment prior to entering the area, considering the legislation and code of practice
Should the assessment indicate that the area might be a confined space, treat it as a confined space
All persons on the confined space entry team should be well trained
The entry person (as the gatekeeper) is a key role
All staff should be rotated through various roles to ensure competency.
Check communications are operational
Communication between the rescuer and entry personnel
Communication between rescuer and emergency services
All equipment (including rescue gear) should be inspected and set up prior to entry to the confined space in the event of a rescue being required
Rescues should be drilled and practised regularly – drills save lives
As things evolve, ensure that risk assessments are reviewed and re-assessed.
Will we have sufficient oxygen?
We need sufficient for life otherwise workers begin to behave erratically
A number of matters may change the amount of oxygen available – e.g. the addition of other gases
Be mindful of positional asphyxia (crushing may remove oxygen)
Recycling fans with snorkels often get damaged and shorter and shorter over time as the tubing is damaged
Ensure your calculations are accurate so that the above equipment will recycle air sufficiently in the confined space
Working in remote locations – may have other sources of contaminants that need to be considered i.e. gases from other generators
Water and engulfing need to be considered
When inspectors arrive on site, often the rescue equipment has “just left site”
Brett then shared some examples of investigations he’d undertaken as a result of confined space incidents.
1. Investigation of safety relating to water tankers which are a confined space
Staff were asked where the rescue equipment was located.
This was some distance from the confined space and sufficiently removed to be of little use in a rescue situation.
2. Investigation of an incident where a worker sustained a back injury while working in a confined space
The company had been practising their rescues, and was fully competent
However the emergency services rescued the injured worker as there were no other risks (e.g. fumes)
The company was fully cleared on investigation
3. Investigation into a worker injury:
A large galvanised plate had to be removed from a switch room
The room was not treated as a confined space, it was treated as a room
He was not wearing breathing apparatus
The plate required 3 cuts to remove it
The worker started to feel ill, took a break and continued to cut. Once the job was completed the worker went home feeling ill
His next door neighbour discovered him slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle, and called an ambulance. Luckily he survived, as he was drowning from the fumes.
On investigation, this incident occurred because all parties were unaware of confined space matters.
Ignorance is no defence.
The second speaker was Rick Millar, Chairman of the Working at Heights Association (WAHA) Technical Committee who presented the findings of a confined space survey the Association conducted recently.
Respondents highlighted a number of concerns:
Varying state regulations regarding Confined Space
60% of respondents would be affected by this as they operated across state boundaries
consistency across company work sites
additional references required
extra burden on resources
Approximately 26% of respondents are unclear on the Australian Standard AS2865 requirements
Majority believed the training available was sufficient, however 32% still required extra support in this area
Most extra support was sourced from manufacturers and distributors – rather than a single source of information.
Rick Millar along with Stuart Lange from Capital Safety then presented a live demonstration of how to effect a Confined Space Rescue.
The latest in CTC’s Safety Series Seminars was held in the Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th November. The topic this time was crane safety – what you should look out for when visiting a site where cranes are operating and what your workplace health and safety obligations are. CTC was fortunate to have two industry experts share their knowledge about safety and innovation around cranes.
The first to speak was Brandon Hitch, CEO of the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA), the national peak body for the crane industry. He has a masters degree in engineering from the University of Michigan and has extensive experience in the crane, automotive and heavy trucking sectors both in the United States and Australia. Brandon’s talk focused on the recently released CraneSafe Inspection App as well as major inspections on cranes.
Then is was the turn of Danny Black, General Manager of Terex Cranes and also President of CICA. His career in cranes spans 25 years after joining Franna Cranes as a Design Engineer in 1989. In 2012 Danny was awarded the CICA Con Popov Memorial Award in recognition of his engineering achievements and for his contributions to the Australian crane industry. Danny spoke about using technology to improve operator safety with pick and carry cranes.
Below are slides from Brandon Hitch’s presentation:
A turnout of 62 people from numerous stakeholder groups attended CTC’s recent Safety Series Seminar on Wednesday, 26th August 2015.
This free seminar, as with previous seminars in the series, focused on a high risk activity, discussing the topic of scaffolding.
Two industry experts, Stuart Davis and Warren Reddicliffe gave their insight into scaffolding at the event.
The first presenter was Stuart Davis from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, who discussed the importance of safety when working with scaffolding, and how to maintain safety when on the job.
He talked about how scaffolding is a temporary structure and needed to be treated as such when working.
He mentioned that single elements are the biggest cause of fatalities in scaffolding, including:
Hop up brackets
Insert type anchor ties
Stuart also talked about the use of harnesses in scaffolding. He emphasized that harnesses are not required if scaffolding is done progressively, but are required on hung scaffolding. He also said that although the law states harnesses are not required, if a company policy indicates harness use, there is no issue.
Stuart made special mention of how anchor insert ties are being used too early in green concrete, resulting in poor retention of the anchor.
Stuart’s last topic was about why stair modules drop out. He stated there are a few reasons such as weld failure, stair modules not being square to the transom and fatigue to the steel. He announced that Workplace Health & Safety Queensland will issue an alert on the matter soon.
Stuart’s segment was followed by a talk from Warren Reddicliffe, who oversees all of the QuickAlly business and engineering. He is a leader in the industry for both product knowledge and industry regulation.
He revealed that there have been many improvements in scaffolding, including the use of robotic welding.
Warren discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using aluminium in scaffolding. He said that:
In 2014 30% of all scaffolding sold in Australia was aluminium
Aluminium is one-third weaker than steel
Aluminium is more efficient than steel
Aluminium is more beneficial to worker’s health and safety
A 3 metre standard in aluminium is 7 kg while steel is 16.5 kg, making aluminum much easier to work with
Aluminium is not recommended for demolition work
Mixing and matching of couplers is not recommended as steel is usually 48mm and aluminium is 50mm which could lead to crushing the tube
Aluminium does have some steel components, such as the end fittings, which can rust
Always check for wear
Check loadings for different size transoms and ledgers
Polypropylene platforms are a new addition and have a lifespan of about 10 years
Ignorance is no excuse in law should an investigation come about after an incident
“Our Safety Series Seminars this year have been a great success”, commented CTC Training Enterprise Manager Peter Walker.
“The scaffolding seminar is no exception and we look forward to offering more seminars in the series in the months ahead”, he added.
“We surveyed participants to gauge their preference for future topics, and we will take this on board to deliver seminars that are relevant and beneficial to industry”.
Visit Hot Leasing to learn about CTC’s state of the art high risk work licence and safety training facilities.
Nearly 100 people from various stakeholder groups attended CTC’s Safety Series Seminar on Wednesday, 27th May 2015. The third in a series of safety seminars focusing on high risk activities, the topic this time was working at heights and rope access.
Falling from heights is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. It’s three times more common in construction than in any other industry, with 1.03 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high number of fatalities due to falls, each day, 21 workers lodged a workers’ compensation claim for a falls-related injury and required one or more weeks off work, across all industries Australia-wide, according to Safe Work Australia’s report Work related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height, October 2013.
The Construction Training Centre CEO Phil Diver said it was for this reason that the Centre chose heights and rope access as the topic for their Safety Series Seminar.
Following no less than 500 logged rope access hours, an operator may apply for a level 2 operator assessment. Operators at the completion of a successful level 2 assessment may supervise workers on a ‘basic’ site and may also work under the supervision of a Level 3 Operator on an ‘Advanced’ site. The level 2 operators skill extends beyond the level one vertical world and into the horizontal dimension. This skill is accompanied by appropriate rescue techniques and administrative controls for this work method.
Level 3: Ability to do complex rescues in confined space, large towers, under structures
Following no less than 500 logged rope access hours as a level 2, an operator may apply for a level 3 assessment. Operatives at the completion of a successful level 3 assessment may run projects including those on sites classified as ‘Advanced.’ This operative is versed in not only technical skills but additionally in administrative type controls and requirements for health and safety. The Level 3 is currently the highest level operator assessed in ARAA and results in opening a worker to higher level skills in the vertical and horizontal planes, rescue and mechanical advantage.
He told the audience that the ability for rope access technicians to come to a worksite with very little gear, enabling them to move around a site more efficiently, has been an important development in the construction industry.
Chris said more work needs to be done with building design to accommodate anchorage systems.
The final speaker was Tom Martin who is Regional Manager with Capital Safety a major supplier of fall protection equipment in Australia. Tom spoke about recent innovations in fall protection and rescue equipment that help keep workers safe at heights in various environments.
Some points to take away from the seminar …
It’s a sector of the industry where a little knowledge can be very dangerous.
Operators should undertake continuous and regular training including refresher training.
Workers must have access to quality training by a reputable provider (RTO).
Operators must have access to the right equipment for the job.
Safety is the key
Persons in charge of a business or undertaking (PCBU) have the right to check the quality of equipment and the skills of rope access technicians. Some things to check include:
The physical condition of the equipment used by a rope access technician.
The equipment is tagged and within test date.
Appropriate preparation is completed including equipment checks and there is a pre-rigged rescue kit available.
A PCBU has the right to ask for the technician to review their rescue and retrieval process.
It is key to ensure the technician can demonstrate skills and abilities – not only on paper.
Resource documents will be available from the ARAA shortly.
Falling from heights is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. It’s three times more common in construction than in any other industry, with 1.03 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high number of fatalities due to falls, each day, 21 workers lodged a workers’ compensation claim for a falls-related injury and required one or more weeks off work, across all industries Australia-wide, according to Safe Work Australia’s report Work related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height.
The Construction Training Centre CEO Phil Diver said it was for this reason that the Centre chose heights and rope access as the topic for their next Safety Series Seminar.
“We’ve hosted two seminars already which focused on the important issues of Swing Stage Safety and Elevated Work Platform Safety”, Phil said.
“Falling from heights is a huge risk with potentially devastating consequences, so it’s important that anyone involved in any working at height activity understands the dangers”.
“Seminar attendees will hear industry experts explain the dangers associated with rope access and heights work, hear about the latest advancements in height safety equipment and learn the critical steps an operator must take to reduce the likelihood of potentially deadly falls or equipment failure,” he added.
This event has been endorsed by the Working at Height Association, the peak industry body representing the interests of all those involved in providing products, services or advice relating to safe working at height.
Industry experts from the Working at Height Association (WAHA), the Australian Rope Access Association (ARAA) and RTO’s delivering training in heights and rope access will share their knowledge and lead a panel discussion at this free event.
Representatives from small and large construction companies, unions, government, industry organisations, equipment suppliers, entertainment venues and registered training organisations are expected to attend.
“The event is vital for business owners and contractors to understand their workplace health and safety obligations and to learn what to look out for when they engage heights and rope access technicians”.
“These seminars are free. It’s how we give back to industry and attendees can see first-hand what CTC’s cutting edge Hot Leasing facilities have to offer in working at heights and other safety training”, Phil added.
The CTC Safety Series Seminar, which includes a light breakfast, will be held on Wednesday 27th May from 7:00am to 8:30am.
Fatalities caused by crush injuries and falls from elevation while operating an elevated work platform continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers. For this reason, EWP Safety was the topic chosen for the second CTC Safety Series Seminar held in the Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th February 2015.
The Seminar was endorsed by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc., the peak body responsible for ensuring high standards of equipment, safety and reliability around elevated work platform operations. We thank them for their support.
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and the Griffith University Institute for Educational Research also contributed to the discussion. Industry experts who presented were –
Brad Geinitz, Principal Advisor (Construction), Queensland Construction Strategy Unit, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland;
Phil Middleton, Training Director, Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc.
Dr Tim Mavin, Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Following are the notes from Mr Middleton’s and Dr Mavin’s presentations.
To cover all aspects, Mr Middleton contacted a specialist law firm to check if were there any points of law that places a responsibility upon a company to use a VoC assessment program?
The answer from a legal perspective was that a company as the person conducting a business or undertaking has a primary duty under the Act to ensure so as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.
Whilst the Act does not specifically talk about assessing an operator’s competence, in a lawyer’s eyes the words ‘so far as reasonably practicable’, ring loud in their ears. By using a VoC assessment process, they can provide evidence of reasonably practicable and this returns the responsibility back on the operator.
It was also made clear that if a company did not use a VoC process, it would not mean an automatic loss in court. A VoC was a tool to strengthen a defence.
To conclude, there is no legislative requirement to support the VoC process. It appears to be industry driven and has the support of the regulators. From a legal perspective, it is a tool used to strengthen a defence by turning the responsibility back on the operator.
Fatalities caused by crush injuries and falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers.
Many operators are unaware of the potential to be catapulted from an elevated working platform (EWP) or of electrocution when inadvertently coming too close to power lines. Crushing injuries have occurred, including a fatality, when operators are pinned between the machine and another obstacle or fixture.
An industry breakfast at The Construction Training Centre will provide a forum to discuss dangers associated with the operation of an elevated work platform and reinforce the critical steps an operator must take to reduce the likelihood of potentially deadly falls, crushing injuries or electrocutions.
The event has been endorsed by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc., the peak body responsible for ensuring high standards of equipment, safety and reliability around elevated work platform operations.
Industry experts from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland, the Elevated Work Platform Association of Australia and the Griffith University Institute of Educational Research will share their knowledge and lead a panel discussion.
Representatives from small and large construction companies, hire companies, unions, government, equipment suppliers and registered training organisations are expected to attend.
The Construction Training Centre CEO Phil Diver said the event is vital for business owners and contractors to understand their workplace health and safety obligations.
“If you have sites that use elevated work platforms or you are involved in their supply, you need to be able to spot a problem and carry out the proper risk assessment, so this breakfast is a must,” Mr Diver said.
“You will learn the critical steps an EWP operator must take to reduce the likelihood of potentially deadly falls, electrocutions or crush injuries”.
“And attendees can see first-hand what CTC’s cutting edge Hot Leasing facilities have to offer in elevated work platform and other safety training.”
This CTC Safety Series Industry breakfast will be held on Wednesday 25 February from 7:00am to 8:30am.