OH&S Consulting News - October 2017

Raising the Standard on Sun Protection Clothing: AS/NZS 4399:2017

 

Source: Safety Solutions by Safety Solutions Staff 06/10/2017

 

The standard for sun protective clothing has been revised by Standards Australia.  It includes a new requirement specifying the minimum amount of body surface that must be covered in order to make an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) claim.

 

Australia and New Zealand experience the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with stats suggesting that at least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

 

As a result, it is important that effective sun protective measures are readily available for the Australian and New Zealand public.

 

The AS/NZS 4399:2017, Sun protective clothing - Evaluation and classification sets out procedures for determining the performance of materials and items of clothing to provide protection against solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR).  It is claimed to be the first standard of its kind to take body coverage into account when it comes to sun protection.

 

“The total cost of skin cancer treatments in Australia is in excess of $1 billion a year, the highest cost to the system of all cancers,” said Terry Slevin, chair of the committee TX-021, Sun Protective Clothing.

 

“Our goal is to help reduce this figure and the overall occurrence of skin cancer across Australia and New Zealand.

 

“Even though there are bikinis on the market today made of UPF fabrics, it would be irresponsible of us to label them as sun protective.  We had to take the standard one step further.”

 

Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans thanked the committee for their work.

 

“AS/NZS 4399 impacts the way consumers make informed decisions about the clothes they wear and buy for their families when in the sun,” said Evans.

OH&S Consulting Perth WA, Australian Standards AS/NZS 4399:2017

WorkCover WA Releases Further Injury Management Educational Videos

 

Source: WorkCover WA Webstie - 5 October 2017

 

As promised WorkCover WA have released a further set of four educational videos.  These short videos were developed to provide further information and assistance for injured workers, employers, general practitioners and other services.

 

The videos are an excellent resource to explain important processes in the workers; compensation adn injury management scheme - click on the link to view:

 

Workers’ compensation insurance: a guide for employers – details an employer’s workers’ compensation obligations and outlines when to obtain a policy, as well as who to cover.

 

Injured workers: what are my entitlements – explains the services and financial entitlements available to workers who are injured at work.

 

Dispute resolution: what happens if there’s a dispute – outlines the dispute resolution process, including the role of WorkCover WA’s Conciliation and Arbitration Services.

 

Certificates of Capacity: guidance for doctors – explains the significance of the Certificates, provides tips for completing them effectively, and offers assistance for general practitioners involved in an injured worker’s return to work.

 

WorkCover WA encourages you to share the video links with your relevant stakeholders.

OH&S Consulting Perth, Western Australia Educational Videos

McGowan WA Government to Increase Penalites for Workplace Safety Offences

Source: Media Statement Government of WA 27 August 2017

 

  • Significant increase to penalties for businesses who commit safety offences.

  • Safety of WA workers a priority of the McGowan Government.

  • Penalties in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 to be consistent with the model Work Health and Safety Act.

 

The McGowan Government will increase penalties for workplace safety offences to bring Western Australia into line with other States and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.

 

The amendments will increase penalties for businesses which commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004.

 

The new penalties will be consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with a further increase for inflation (1.14 per cent) from 2010.

 

Harsher penalties for offenders include increasing the maximum term of imprisonment from two to five years.

 

First offence fines for body corporate offenders will also drastically increase, Level 4 first time offences will increase from $500,000 to more than $2.7 million.

 

Level 1 penalties will increase from $50,000 to $456,000.

 

With the exception of WA and Victoria, other Australian jurisdictions have adopted the Model Act and, as a result, penalty levels in WA's OSH Act are significantly less than those applying in many other jurisdictions.

 

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"Penalties for workplace safety offences haven't changed for 13 years.  The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers.

 

"The McGowan Government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws to ensure all workers return home safely from work."

 

Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

"The changes to penalty levels will take place ahead of the introduction of the Government's Work Health and Safety Bill, expected to be introduced into State Parliament by mid-2019.

 

"The new penalties will provide an incentive to comply with workplace safety laws and ensure penalties meet community expectations."

OH&S Consulting Perth, Western Australia WA Government increases Penalties for Workplace Safety Offences

Energise your Safety Culture

Source:NSCA Foundation - Safety Solution Newsletter

By: Andrew Russell, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Actrua, 1 September 2017

 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recently sent an email to his employees about how much he cares about the safety of his employees.  That simple, heartfelt message has gone global.

 

As we think about strategies to energise your safety culture, you are encouraged to think a bit broader than what is perhaps the traditional safety remit.

 

Great safety performance involves a 24/7 engagement campaign and requires new ideas to keep things fresh and to maintain the attention of your audience.

 

Here are three important ideas to consider:

 

CELEBRATE THE BRIGHT SPOTS

When you mention safety to someone, it most often comes with a connotation of rules, compliance and prevention.  Why is it we most often talk about risk and not opportunity? Harm and not health?

 

I encourage you to search out the bright spots in the business to celebrate and find positive reasons to communicate safety.  Don’t wait for the next million hours lost time injury free to acknowledge achievement of a milestone.  Let’s celebrate something we have done; for example, best toolbox talk for the month; best safety improvement for the quarter; most dedicated safety mentor; or a health achievement or initiative.

 

What you recognise, reward and celebrate can have a big impact on your culture.

 

BRING YOUR HEART

Focus on people, not numbers.  Too often safety communication is swamped by graphs and statistics.  Sure, ultimately the metrics are important and provide an objective measure of safety performance in a business.  But the numbers are an output, they are a result of doing the important things well.

 

People are the greatest influencer of the output.  Yes, there are systems, processes and technology that are essential elements of a safe workplace.  But it is the people who design, implement and utilise all these elements.

 

Emotional intelligence is a hallmark of any great leader and they know it is okay to show emotion as a leader.  In fact, it is more than okay.  People will trust and have confidence in a leader who is authentic and speaks from the heart.  Great safety leaders demonstrate care for the lives and welfare of others.  They use their feelings and emotions to influence others by engaging both the heart and the mind.

 

FIRE UP YOUR STORYTELLING

Out of 10, how would you rate the most recent toolbox talk or pre-start meeting you attended?  Hopefully you wouldn’t expect anything less than a solid 7 or 8.  But there is a real risk that the meetings become process for process sake.

 

They are a great opportunity to engage people.  What a shame to waste this opportunity. Even worse, done poorly they can even disengage and destroy value.

 

The role of frontline leader is so crucial because they have such an impact on the day-to-day engagement of a workforce.  The level of engagement impacts attention and focus, which impacts health and safety performance.

 

Have your frontline leaders been provided with the skills to confidently deliver an engaging toolbox talk?  It is not fair to put someone into such an important role and to expect great delivery of a new skill without adequate preparation or development.  A ‘sink or swim’ attitude just doesn’t cut it.

 

It is not just frontline leaders we are talking about either.  It is the role of every leader in the business to lead safety.  A good story elicits engagement and emotion.  For some people storytelling comes naturally, yet for most mere mortals we need to work at it.  But storytelling skills can be learned and developed.

 

In closing, the language and messages you choose to use can be extremely powerful and culture building.  What can we do?  What will we do?  What is possible?

 

Replace can’t with can and won’t with will.  You may be surprised what you can achieve.

OH&S Consulting Perth WA, Safety Culture

What you need to know about Managing an Incident

 

Source: NSCA Foundation Safe-T Bulletin 481.  Sparke Helmore Lawyers: Article by Partner Carlie Holt and Senior Associate Emma Gruschka 11 September 2017

 

Effective incident management starts before an incident in the workplace occurs.  Preventing an incident begins with good risk management, by identifying what can injure people in a workplace, implementing safe work practices and equipping people with the information and resources they need to eliminate or control risks.

 

Managing incidents is not always easy or straightforward as every incident is different.  However, there are some actions you can take that will assist you with responding to an incident promptly and effectively, by understanding your legal obligations, having an incident procedure and investigative model in place, and seeking legal advice when necessary.

 

Planning and procedure

The immediate hours following an incident are critical and will rely heavily on a sound incident response procedure. Workplaces that do not currently have such a procedure in place should consider implementing one that addresses:

 

  • Exactly what needs to happen following an incident — this should align to legislative requirements to render immediate medical assistance and not disturb the scene of an incident in certain circumstances;

  • Internal and external notification requirements (ie, who to notify, when this must be done and by whom);

  • When to call emergency services and who is responsible for doing so;

  • Who will arrange counselling (if required);

  • Who will liaise with regulators;

  • When is an investigation required; and

  • Who will investigate the matter.

 

Any procedure your company implements must be communicated to, and easily located by, all workers.  It must also be supported by education and training for workers so they understand the process and can implement it in critical situations.  Personnel should also have access to assistance and advice as early as possible from when the procedure is introduced.

 

Investigations

When an incident has occurred, subsequent events can happen in quick succession and it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening.  Now is the time to get organised, appoint a single contact person for the regulator and keep track of what the regulator requests.

 

It is also vital to have an investigative model in place to take a structured approach to investigations and to streamline the process.  There are a number of models that can be used, and some organisations have devised their own to tailor it to their business.  In establishing a model, there are some key elements that should be considered, to undertake an effective investigation:

 

  • Have a plan — Investigations should be systematic and thorough.  To achieve this, establish a plan that deals with the investigation scope, documents that need to be gathered, data to be reviewed and witnesses to be interviewed.  Make a list and communicate it to the relevant people on the investigation team, including what their specific role will be.  Anyone who is not on the team should not be undertaking their own investigation as it could cause confusion and affect the outcome of the main investigation.

 

  • Enlist an experienced investigator — Some organisations have skilled and experienced investigators already on their staff, while others do not.  Organisations should identify the skills gap and when a notifiable incident occurs, make sure they have an appropriately qualified and experienced investigator on hand to undertake the investigation.

 

  • Timeliness is important — The quality and reliability of witness recollection can deteriorate over time, so it is important to speak with witnesses as soon as possible after the event.  This, of course, needs to be balanced with the health and welfare of witnesses, and whether they are fit to participate in an investigation.  Some incidents are complex and take time to investigate.  The important thing is to avoid unnecessary delay and where possible, set a timeframe that can be adhered to.

 

  • Stick to the facts — Getting the facts right is key to an investigation.  This means gathering the facts (in particular, what, when and where) while avoiding or separating speculation and opinion.  Talk to witnesses and ask them what they saw, heard and did.  Gather and examine documents as well as recordings, data and any other resource that may have recorded the incident or events relevant to the incident.

 

  • Know what you don’t know — Sometimes an investigation won’t give you all the answers and you will need advice or insight from an expert to properly understand the incident and causal factors.  How and when to engage an expert should be carefully considered and may benefit from legal advice — ask for a CV and fee estimates from experts before formally engaging them.

 

  • Have a photo register — If you take photos, keep a register of the exact date and time they are taken. If the photos are required days, months or years later, you’ll be glad you did!

 

  • Keep a copy of documents — If you provide documents to the regulator, either voluntarily or in response to notices, it’s important to check the compliance date and keep a copy of everything you produce.

 

Clarifying privileged information

Many people mistakenly believe that, upon speaking to a lawyer, every document in their possession becomes subject to legal professional privilege.  Items and documentation in existence before an incident occurs will generally not be subject to legal professional privilege and will therefore have to be produced to a regulator if requested.

 

As an example, if you sought an expert report about an item of plant six months before an incident without the involvement of a lawyer, the report will not be subject to privilege.  The same applies for any safe work method statement, risk assessment, closed-circuit television footage or anything else that was created before a lawyer was contacted for the dominant purpose of obtaining legal advice.

 

Continuous improvement

Incidents often expose areas for improvement and they should not be ignored.  Indeed, one of the objectives of the model Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) is to “provide a framework for continuous improvement and progressively higher standard of work health and safety”.

 

Part of effective incident response is learning what happened and why, then taking measures to ensure there isn’t a recurrence.  For officers, this means receiving all the information about the incident, so they know what happened and can take steps to ensure the same incident doesn’t happen again.

 

OH&S Consulting Perth, Western Australia Managing and Incident