OH&S Consulting News - December 2018
Source: DMIRS Worksafe WA Website 07/12/2018
WA is now well into cyclone season, and businesses throughout the State have been reminded to ensure that contingency plans have been established and are in operation.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Ian Munns said today it was crucial that everyone on both sea and land knew what to do when there was a cyclone in the area.
“Under workplace safety and health laws, employers must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone,” Mr Munns said.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a below-average number of tropical cyclones in the waters off the North-West coast this season.
“The average number of cyclones that approach the WA coast each year is 10 to 13, but it only takes one to cause significant damage and suffering, as demonstrated by the tragic circumstances surrounding Cyclone George in 2007.
“It’s extremely important that everyone in a workplace – regardless of their employer - knows exactly what he or she needs to do in the event of a cyclone threat. This is particularly important on sites with employees of several companies where coordinated plans must be in place.”
Fishing vessels need to keep a list of sheltered anchorages and have information on how to use them, along with a specific action plan for each vessel depending on the distance from the cyclone and safe havens.
For the fishing, charter and recreational sectors, the Department of Transport has cyclone contingency plans for regional boat harbours at Point Samson (Johns Creek), Onslow (Beadon Creek), Exmouth, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Denham.
“Employers should not leave anything to chance when a cyclone is threatening, and must make sure safe work practices are in place well before a cyclone is in their vicinity,” Mr Munns said.
“Whether the workplace is a fishing vessel or in a land-based location, everyone should be trained in the cyclone contingency plan and follow all instructions given when a cyclone is approaching.”
Joint Resources Safety/WorkSafe Bulletin Cyclone- Emergency preparation, planning and preparedness
Information on Department of Transport plans can be obtained by telephoning the department on 9435 7524 or on the website at www.transport.wa.gov.au/cyclonecontingency.
Additional information on preparing for cyclones can be found on the following websites or locations:
Further information on cyclone contingency plans can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877.
Cyclone Contingency Plans should be in Place
The Dangers of Working in High Heat Environments
Source: DMIRS Website 13/11/2018
Workers are being reminded about the dangers of working in high heat environments on WA mine sites and remote areas.
It might start out with an increase in sweating, before feeling dizzy and suffering from cramps. Suddenly you're experiencing extreme weakness, nausea, a headache and a weak rapid pulse.
Your body is under heat stress and without intervention you could be heading towards heat stroke.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn said the extremes of Western Australia's climate means that heat stress is a significant risk that needs to be managed across the State's mining and exploration operations.
"Supervisors and workers need to understand the risks and symptoms of heat stress. Workers should report any signs of heat stress to a supervisor," Mr Chaplyn said.
"Heat stroke can cause permanent damage to the brain and other vital organs, and can even result in death.
"It is critical that urgent medical treatment is sought for anyone suspected of suffering heat-related illness."
Some of the key risk factors for workers are:
High temperatures and/or humidity.
Radiant heat from hot surfaces.
Hot work processes (e.g. welding, work near furnaces/kilns/boilers etc.)
Lack of hydration.
High work rate and strenuous physical exertion.
Working without recovery breaks.
Lack of acclimatisation.
Work where heavy personal protective equipment (PPE) is required.
Personal risk factors (e.g. age, physical fitness, medical conditions, drug/alcohol use).
Some of the measures that can be taken in order to minimise the possibility or likelihood of heat stress could include:
Not exposing workers to the extremes of heat so far as is practicable
Isolating sources of heat, so far as is practicable, through shielding, containment and remote handling techniques
Adopting safe work practices and appropriate administrative procedures such as job rotation and frequent breaks.
Managers and supervisors
Ensuring workers are trained to recognise early symptoms of heat stress
Providing detailed safe work practices that identify the hazards and controls for working in hot and humid conditions and ensure controls are implemented
Adjusting work output expectations acknowledging the difference in acclimatisation between workers.
"Added to this danger is the fact that many mining operations are in remote areas in Western Australia where medical assistance is not easily available," Mr Chaplyn said.
"This is especially the case for exploration work and travel between mine sites."
The department has guidance for remote area work, a guideline on the management and prevention of heat stress and links to further information on the DMIRS website.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE TEAM AT OH&S CONSULTING
Ali & Michelle would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy christmas and a prosperous new year!
Our offices will be closed for the Christmas Season from the close of business Friday 21 December 2018 and we will re-open on Monday 14 January 2019.
If you have an emergency and need to speak to someone at OH&S Consulting, you can reach Ali Martins on 0419 990 601.
Drink safe, drive safe and play safe!
Source: DMIRS Worksafe WA Website 12/12/2018
Research in Australia and overseas has found that workers fabricating benchtops from stone can be exposed to levels of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) which are hazardous to their health. The effective control of occupational exposure can be achieved by the application of a range of known isolation, dust suppression, dust extraction, respiratory protection and housekeeping control options.
This guide outlines how to control exposure to airborne RCS dust during fabrication of stone benchtops or similar stone products and the health effects of breathing RCS dust.
This guidance note applies to all workplaces in Western Australia covered by the OSH Act. It provides guidance for employers and workers on silica hazards and some of the legislative requirements in the OSH Act and OSH regulations. This guidance note does not address other hazards that may be present in workplaces that fabricate stone products including benchtops.