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CONTENTS 6 Trending 12

A new point of view

18 The parameters of legal professional privilege 23

Staying one step ahead of drug and alcohol trends


Three keys to an effective confined space rescue


Will your drug and alcohol policy stand up in court?

48 Are you cleaning your height safety PPE correctly? 52

Response to contamination from fire- damaged asbestos materials

55 Future workplaces for health and wellbeing

32 Dead tired: the dangers of fatigued driving cover image: Š stock.adobe.com/au/Photocreo Bednarek

AVAILABLE in DIGITAL Your copy of National Safety is now available as an online eMag. http://nsca.org.au/membership/resources/national-safety-magazine/




WELCOME National Safety is produced for the NSCA Foundation by Westwick-Farrow Media.

We are already nearly a quarter of the way through 2018! I hope all of our readers, members and subscribers are enjoying a safe year so far and thank you for your continued interest in National Safety. The unprecedented interest in the Brisbane Incident Investigation Breakfast Forum and registrations for the Melbourne Contractor Management Breakfast Forum in March shows that two topics that we’ve run countless times still attract a great deal of discussion and interest. It has been wonderful to welcome so many guests to these functions. Members who cannot attend but are keen to listen to the audio recordings can access them through the member portal or by contacting the NSCA Foundation team. Whilst the extended 20% discount from selective distance-learning courses expires at the end of March, the regular member discount continues to apply across all public courses at NSCA or Fire & Safety Australia. We encourage anyone with an interest in enrolling, seeking further information or accessing their discount code to contact the membership team. Nominations open for the 2018 National Safety Awards of Excellence within the next few weeks. I encourage those interested in nominating their organisation or safety hero to visit the awards website and review the categories on offer or read some of the stories and photos from the 2017 awards.

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© stock.adobe.com/au/Marina Lohrbach

Automated mine safety tool developed by students

Fatalities prompt confined space warning

© iStockphoto.com/Joanna Sierańska

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is continuing its investigation into an incident at Sarina earlier this year in January when two men were found dead inside a tanker. WHSQ Executive Director Julie Nielsen said inspectors believed 20 cubic metres of SuplaFlo (sugar cane by-product) with 4% urea mix was the last tanker load transported. “While the final details will be in the report to the State Coroner, it is understood the two men were cleaning the residue in the tanks after unloading the day earlier,” Nielsen said. “WHSQ is reminding all workplaces of the dangers of working in confined spaces, as well as the obligations Queensland safety laws hold for employers and workers.” Examples of confined spaces, other than tankers, may include some types of excavations or trenches, drainage or sewerage pipes, and crawl spaces. Hazards include carbon monoxide build-up by an operating internal combustion engine; atmosphere contaminants caused by disturbing decomposed organic material (letting out toxic substances); and the build-up and release of gases like ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. According to WHSQ, employers should ensure that people working in a confined space are safe by: • placing a stand-by person outside the confined space to talk to anyone in the confined space and implement emergency procedures if required; • providing personal protective equipment, and rescue, first-aid and fire suppression equipment; • providing training; • supplying safety harnesses and safety (or rescue) lines where there is a danger of falling while entering or leaving the confined space; • erecting signs that show entry is only permitted after signing the entry permit; • ensuring the area is well ventilated.

The creation of an automated tool to improve mine safety has won a team of students a trip to Silicon Valley. The group from University of Melbourne created the tool as part of the university’s extended-form hackathon, AutoHack18. Designed using Ciena’s Blue Planet software, four teams presented their solutions at the grand final event, each aiming to leverage the potential of automation and make a positive difference in people’s lives. Judged by experts from the University of Melbourne’s Networked Society Institute, Ciena and nbn co in terms of innovation, benefit to society, and commercial and practical viability, examples of entries included a smart car parking solution, a wearable baby health monitor and an application to support homeless people. The winning team, Openworks, including Felicity Chun, Kyaw Min Htin, Simone James and Anton Tarasenko, developed Canary Reporting, a tool that automates reporting of near-miss mining incidents between vehicles. As first prize, the team will visit Silicon Valley for five days courtesy of Ciena in April.

Turn to page 26 to find out more information about confined space rescue.




© iStockphoto.com/Terry J Alcorn

Asbestos campaign targets tradies

Employers not doing enough about sun safety, report shows


© stock.adobe.com/au/farbled_01

More than two million employees who work outdoors are still not receiving any sun protection from their employers. This is according to the 2017 SHARC Report (Skin Health Australia Report Card), which is based on a national population survey of skin health commissioned by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. The 2017 SHARC Report found that 45% of respondents are required to work outdoors sometimes, regularly or all the time. That is equivalent to eight million adult Australians. Despite this large figure, 57% of outdoor workers say their employers do not supply sunscreen, 66% do not supply protective clothing and 80% do not provide sunglasses. Of concern, 28% of employees working outdoors were provided no protection at all by their employers. There has been improvement on the last three years — down from 44% in 2014 — yet there are still over two million employees whose employers are not providing any sun protection. Employers are potentially open to significant workers compensation claims if their staff develop skin cancers or melanoma. Associate Professor Chris Baker, a consultant dermatologist at the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, and immediate past president of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, said while employers were getting better, all employers should be adopting sun safe practices given the health risk to employees and their potential legal exposure. “Two million employees left to fend for themselves for sun protection is unacceptable. Employers should be aware of their duty of care to staff when it comes to sun protection. They should consider providing, as appropriate to the workplace conditions, a suite of options: sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved tops,” he said. Andrew Farr, Workplace Law partner at PwC, shared the view that the lax approach by many employers to sun protection was concerning. “Given Australia’s robust work health and safety standards and laws, I would hope to see more employers realising that it’s their responsibility to ensure that outdoor workers are protected from risk, and that includes sun damage and sunburn,” said Farr. Sun damage isn’t the only skin health issue employers ought to be considering. If the results of this year’s SHARC Report are any indication, it seems that more Australians are in fact considering their skin when looking for work. 33% of survey respondents said that a skin condition had ‘a little’ to ‘extreme’ influence on their choice of occupation. That is the highest the figure has ever been during the four years of the survey and started out at just 19% in 2014. Additionally, 12% of survey respondents, or equating to about two million Australians, have had to miss work in the past year because of a skin condition. Of those, nearly three in 10 missed 11–15 days because of that condition. This illustrates the economic impact of skin disease and a reason for employers to think and do more about their employees’ skin health — especially when it comes to sun protection.

An asbestos awareness campaign in Victoria is urging tradies to always check for asbestos before they start a new job. While many tradies know that asbestos poses a significant health risk, some struggle with its identification. Inhaling asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining around the lungs. The latest statistics from the Australian Mesothelioma Register reveal that an estimated 60% of mesothelioma cases are due to asbestos exposure in the workplace. There were at least 95 mesothelioma deaths in Victoria in 2016 and 145 new cases of the disease. “Workers have to know what they should be looking out for before they start work,” said WorkSafe Victoria’s acting director of health and safety, Paul Fowler. “Asbestos materials were commonly used in buildings before 1990 and are still contained in many structures today. “Learning more about asbestos and how to identify it could be the difference between developing a severe illness or staying healthy.” In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos has also been linked to lung cancer and asbestosis, which causes scarring of lungs, shortness of breath and coughing. Tradies involved in the building and construction industry are most at risk, particularly those involved in home renovations, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition of buildings built before 1990. Asbestos fibres can be released into the air when drilling, sawing, sanding or when demolition work breaks asbestos materials in walls and floors. To find out more about asbestos, including how to identify and manage it and who to call if you find it at your worksite, go to asbestos.vic.gov.au.


© stock.adobe.com/au/ambrozinio


Improved safety protocol needed for building claddings


An open letter highlighting the need for greater road safety was sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in January. The author of the letter, Michael Byrne of the Toll Group, has said that the federal government urgently needs to address six critical areas of safety to reduce deaths on the roads. Over the five years to 2016, more than 1000 people have been killed in truck crashes. In his letter, Byrne outlines the following changes that are required to improve road safety: • Have one rule book for heavy vehicles and heavy vehicle drivers across the country. No variations, no exceptions. This must cover a standard definition of a heavy vehicle as well as a national approach to: mandatory stationary rest times for heavy vehicle drivers, speed limits for heavy vehicles and a driver licensing system. • Introduce a national operator licensing system. • Enhance community understanding of how to drive safely around trucks, including through the graduated licensing system and education campaigns. • Incentivise and reward safe, modern fleets with life-saving technologies. • Make telematics mandatory for regulatory purposes. • Draw on private sector expertise from transport operators in any discussion on improving road safety outcomes pertaining to heavy vehicles. Currently, rules differ across Australia. In particular, the definition of what constitutes a ‘heavy vehicle’ is not consistent. Byrnes believes that the definition of a truck should be any vehicle 4.5 tonnes and above, and that having this clarity will lead to greater compliance. © stock.adobe.com/au/paulbranding

Better safety testing is required for high-rise exterior building claddings, according to FM Global. This follows a spate of expensive and fatal fires that have taken place in some of the world’s newest and tallest buildings. The highly combustible exterior claddings have been chosen for aesthetics, energy efficiency, weatherproofing and cost-effectiveness, but have not taken safety into consideration. In New South Wales, an inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce was established in June 2017 as part of the NSW Government’s ongoing work to address fire safety risks associated with external wall cladding. The taskforce has taken a number of actions to support the already stringent laws in NSW, including identifying aluminium cladding on buildings in NSW and ensuring affected buildings are safe. Fire and Rescue NSW will be undertaking further work to collect information from building owners whose legal responsibility it is to ensure fire safety. The Cladding Taskforce is also writing to occupants of the buildings that require further assessment to update them on the work being done to ensure the safety of their building. FM Global regularly conducts fire research and participates in global building-code improvement efforts. It understands that scientifically robust, repeatable, cost-effective and timely testing must be completed to properly assess if a building material is fit for purpose. For that reason, FM Global has proposed a better testing protocol that follows the company’s in-depth examination of exterior wall systems made of metal composite materials (MCMs) or aluminium composite materials (ACMs) using 16-foot-high parallel panels as outlined in the test protocol for the ANSI/FM 4880 standard. FM Global outlines the strengths of the proposed protocol in a new research technical report, ‘Evaluation of the Fire Performance of Aluminum Cladding Material (ACM) Assemblies Using ANSI/FM 4880’. “While many fire engineering firms perform desktop assessments in good faith, current practices and regulations introduce the possibility that substandard, dangerous assemblies will slip through the cracks,” said Dr Louis Gritzo, vice president, manager of research at FM Global. “We can’t afford to take this risk as buildings burn and lives are lost, even in the developed world. We believe the protocol in ANSI/FM 4880 is a key to the solution.” The research technical report complements a recently released FM Global white paper, ‘Grenfell: The Perfect Formula for Tragedy’, that explores the dangers of combustible cladding.

Call for the PM to act on road safety



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Around 60% of individuals who consume drugs & alcohol at harmful levels are in full time employment

Estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity through alcohol & other drugs in Australian workplaces

13% use cannabis 4% use amphetamines 1/2 of Australian workers drink at harmful levels.


© stock.adobe.com/au/Creativa Images

Workplaces are less safe for older workers

Can you tell when your colleagues are stressed?


© stock.adobe.com/au/Jeanette Dietl

The way a person perceives stress also impacts the way their view the health and productivity of their workers, according to a new study. A study from Tel Aviv University has found that people often project their own experiences with stress onto their colleagues and employees, causing miscommunication and, often, missed opportunities. “This study is the first to show that our own psychological mindset determines how we judge other people’s responses to stress — specifically, whether we perceive stress as positive or negative,” said principal investigator Professor Sharon Toker of TAU’s Coller School of Management. The research informs the way managers assess their employees’ ability to take on different workloads. Experiments conducted by Toker and researchers Daniel Heller and Nili Ben-Avi, also of TAU’s Coller School of Management, found that a person’s individual stress mindset colours the way he or she will perceive a colleague or employee’s health, work productivity and degree of burnout. “If a manager perceives that a certain employee doesn’t suffer from stress, that manager will be more likely to consider the employee worthy of promotion,” said Toker. “But because the manager believes that stress is a positive quality that leads to selfsufficiency, the manager will also be less likely to offer assistance if the employee needs it.” Toker and her colleagues recruited 377 American employees for an online ‘stress at work‘ questionnaire. Participants were asked to read a description of ‘Ben’, a fictitious employee who works long hours, has a managerial position and needs to multitask. The employees then rated his burnout levels and completed a stress mindset questionnaire about Ben. “The more participants saw stress as positive and enhancing, the more they perceived Ben as experiencing less burnout and consequently rated him as more worthy of being promoted,” said Toker. The researchers also wanted to see whether they could change people’s perceptions of stress and consequently change the way they perceive other people’s stress. They conducted a series of further experiments among 600 employed Israelis and Americans to determine whether their stress mindset can be cultivated or changed.

More needs to be done to keep older workers safe, according to a new study. This is particularly the case given that increasing numbers of people are working beyond retirement age. Researchers from the University of Otago have studied the incidence, nature and cause of work-related injuries in older New Zealanders, with the findings published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. The study found older workers represented a significant burden on ACC with just over one in five accepted claims for all traumatic work injuries being made by workers aged 55–79 years, from 2009 to 2013. Associate Professor Chrys Jaye, of the university’s Department of General Practice and Rural Health, said increasing numbers of people were working beyond retirement age. The number of older workers in the workforce is predicted to double by 2036, which could result in escalated costs to the ACC injury rehabilitation and compensation scheme. “Employers and policymakers need to consider the impact of work activities on older workers while continuing to value their productivity,” said Jaye. Employers need to work to make workplaces as safe and hazard-free as possible. “This means taking into account risks related to agerelated impairments such as declining vision, hearing, physical capacity and balance. This might include redesigning workplaces to meet the needs of older workers, and worker training and health promotion in the workplace. “A workplace that is safer for older workers is likely to be safer for all workers.” Overall, 70- to 79-year-olds had the highest rate of work injury entitlement claims, and the highest percentage (5%) of fatal injury, among 55- to 79-year-olds.



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© stock.adobe.com/au/Photocreo Bednarek





VR and AR technology

The benefits provided by immersive ‘world-withina-world’ technologies like virtual and augmented reality are leading to increased uptake for safety and training applications across a range of industry sectors.


irtual and augmented reality seem like relatively new developments, but both have a long history. Today’s simulated environment technology builds off ideas that date back to the 1800s and has been applied across a range of fields — to varying degrees of success — since the late 1960s. The ability to create a virtual world and have people ‘exist’ within it leads to heavy utilisation in gaming applications, but now the benefits are more broadly recognised and new uses are being developed.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? There is a simple distinction between the two technologies: • Virtual reality (VR) is a completely computer-generated environment which it is intended to simulate a reallife situation or location. Users are immersed in a virtual world, usually via a headset that provides visual and auditory stimuli relative to the setting. • Augmented reality (AR) technology takes an existing environment and adds digitally produced information. This provides an enhanced overlay, commonly viewed on a mobile device.

GIVING THE GAME AWAY In high-risk industries — such as mining, engineering and construction — the use of simulated conditions allows workers to experience ‘real-world’ scenarios without the inherent risk, so it’s not surprising these sectors are spearheading the use of VR and AR. A notable example, Melbourne Water’s (MW) use of VR for hazard identification was recognised as the ‘best solution to a specific workplace Health & Safety issue’ at the 2017 Victorian Worksafe Awards.



VR and AR technology

© stock.adobe.com/au/Bits and Splits

The utility developed technology that identifies design defects and WHS risks in capital projects at the planning stage. Previously relying on two-dimensional drawings and 3D modelling, MW’s VR solution lessens the need for imagination and appraisals based on a limited understanding of the project scope. MW found that some of the less obvious design and safety problems were overlooked using traditional techniques. This led to expensive and complex design fixes once construction was complete and the asset operational. It also put workers unnecessarily at risk of injury, as hazards were only recognised post-completion. Immersion within a virtual version of the proposed asset is made possible by employing VR headsets. This set-up allows engineers to move freely about and interact with the planned environment from the safety of an office. To verify the concept, MW ran trials of the technology in tandem with standard methods. The VR solution assisted in identification of 26 potential safety issues, versus just six uncovered using drawings and modelling. This success led to the utility adopting the technology as an integral part of the asset design process. Perhaps buoyed by these achievements, Western Australia’s Water Corporation (WC) commenced trials of 3D VR simulations in November last year. Initially confined to water and wastewater infrastructure design,


The VR solution assisted in identification of 26 potential safety issues, versus just six uncovered using drawings and modelling.

WC sees potential in the use of VR for other purposes including training and testing maintenance programs.

DIGGING DEEP VR is commonly utilised for training in the mining industry and as a method to accompany class-based learnings in

universities that offer infrastructure and engineering courses. The University of Wollongong has collaborated with safety training provider Coal Services to develop an immersive VR system for training miners and rescue services workers. Recognising the limitations of hazard identification conducted from the safety of a classroom, the VR program was developed to facilitate a more authentic learning experience. The resulting environment permits eight students at a time to experience a mining setting that includes common hazards, explosion simulations and guidance on conducting safety inspections. UOW believes it’s as close as anyone can get to being in a mine without ever entering a shaft and better prepares students for the real world. The School of Mining Engineering at UNSW features a similar facility — the VR Suite — which simulates a range of mining scenarios and provides a high-impact learning experience that allows students to test and challenge concepts and theories in a safe environment.

A BROADER VIEW One of the limitations of VR is the relatively high cost — those headsets aren’t cheap, nor is developing a virtual world. Additionally, one of the chief benefits is also an application limitation — great for training and remote hazard identification, but no practical use for workers already on-site. This is an area where AR will most likely take over. There are already apps that provide sitespecific hazard information via a phone’s camera view, highlighting potential dangers relative to a worker’s exact location. It does require the site manager or OH&S team to identify and manually add each hazard but has the benefit of providing that information site-wide to every worker. We’re likely to see further development of safety AR in the wearables space, building on the (thus far) limited success of safety glasses and hard hats which can provide environmental data and hazard identification, along with practical information such as work instructions. Although it is still relatively early days for VR and AR industry applications, continual advances will drive improvements and continue to bring costs down, ensuring that these technologies will play a significant role in improving safety across many industry sectors.





The NSCA Foundation Platinum Partner Program recognises organisations with elite leadership qualities and the capability to influence change, and which are at the forefront of WHS risk elimination. For information on joining, visit www.nsca.org.au

RECOGNITION FOR EMPLOYEE WELLBEING PROGRAM: HEALTHDIRECT AUSTRALIA WINS GOLD! Healthdirect Australia has won “Through our internal Working Gold in Corporate Bodies Environment Group we were International’s (CBI’s) annual already doing a lot of activities client awards after implementing to support the health of our the Get Healthy at Work staff. The Get Healthy at Work program. program gives us access to CBI Dietitian and Exercise resources that help us structure Physiologist Nicole Arts and measure these,” she said. said the award is given to Since commencing the organisations that deliver value program in early 2017, to their employees, demonstrate Healthdirect Australia has hosted best practice and develop ‘a healthy cooking demonstrations, From left, Healthdirect Australia’s Get Healthy at Work team members Lyn West, workplace of choice’. provided individual coaching Alana Wright and Meghan Mann with CBI’s Nicole Arts. “The Get Healthy at Work sessions with dietitians and program is about the people, the exercise physiologists, and policies and the place. Healthy workers are encouraged walking meetings. NSW Government and equips employees productive workers, and if an organisation Healthdirect Australia’s next steps will with tools to make healthier decisions. is looking out for its employees’ physical involve developing a holistic wellbeing CBI delivers the program in workplaces and mental health they can expect to see strategy that will focus on supporting across NSW. boosted productivity and higher levels of both the physical and mental health of Healthdirect Australia Working concentration,” she said. employees. Environment Manager Lyn West said Designed to promote health and the program has provided a framework wellbeing in the workplace, the Get for managing wellbeing initiatives within Healthy at Work program is funded by the the company.

EMERGING TRENDS IN HAND SAFETY Ansell recently published its 2017 edition of the Hand Safety Report. The report seeks to understand and benchmark hand safety performance and emerging trends in safety practices, within Australia and New Zealand. The yearly report is conducted in partnership with NSCA Foundation. A total of 381 respondents were surveyed as part of the study from 18 October to 20 November 2017. In addition, one-onone interviews were carried out with 10 representatives from leading companies. All surveys were conducted with decisionmakers in worker safety, procurement and operational roles. In the survey, 50% of respondents indicated that their company’s overall safety performance has improved since


2016. Organisations are moving away from a top-down approach, towards coaching employees to own the implementation of safety practices and establishing more

programs for workers to provide feedback. Despite the overall improvements, 47% of Safety Managers still say that they worry about worker underreporting of injuries, suggesting that the reported safety performance of many companies is overstated. The main reasons for underreporting are thought to be concerns about blame and punishment, with no clear trend of change. “The perceived fear of blame and punishment continues to stifle the true reporting of incidents. It seems incidents aren’t always being seen as a catalyst for improvement, and in some cases, are being disregarded,” said Jamie Burrage, NSCA Foundation General Manager. The full report is available for download at ppe.ansell.com.au.



d National Safety is the official member magazine of the NSCA Foundation. All NSCA Foundation members receive a print and digital version of the magazine each quarter. The NSCA Foundation is an independent, non-profit, member based organisation. Our vision is to assist Australian Workplaces to be the safest in the world and protect their most important asset – people. We do this by inspiring, educating, informing and engaging Australian business in best practice Work Health & Safety (WHS) and risk management.

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National Safety Mar 2018  

National Safety is the official magazine of the NSCA Foundation. It is published 4 times a year by the Safety Solutions team at Westwick-Far...

National Safety Mar 2018  

National Safety is the official magazine of the NSCA Foundation. It is published 4 times a year by the Safety Solutions team at Westwick-Far...