CSG Posts

CSG Posts (59)

CSG Posts

Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: September 2021
David Caple AM, Adjunct Professor, Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University
Check out the latest presentation from our September 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.

New research into manual handling injuries in healthcare

We had a great turnout this month as David Caple proved once again what a popular speaker he is. We really appreciate his access to up-to-date research along with the practical advice he offers in dealing with emerging health and safety risks. Not to mention an element of interactivity: not even the constraints of zoom could hinder his exhortation to us to try out some of the postures under discussion!

While David's presentation focussed on hospitals, many of the issues and solutions could apply equally in other settings. One is the role of design in both creating and mitigating risks, a topic that was prominent in the discussion after the formal presentation. Another is the notion of broadening risk assessment to encompass Associated Non-Technical Skills (ANTS), such as situational awareness and communication.

It was interesting to ponder some of the developments that have arisen over the last 18 months. For instance, the restriction on family members being able to visit in hospitals has led to a reduction in occupational violence. Conversely, new deep cleaning protocols can create extra workload and harmful repetitive postures for cleaners.

David's annual "State of the Nation" address is always keenly anticipated and this iteration was no exception. His style and knowledge are always greatly appreciated.

David's presentation complements the one given by David Trembearth in April this year, Musculoskeletal issues – what’s new in risks and prevention, which you can access here (log in first)

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Friday, 10 September 2021 05:39

Les Auld heads north

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Les Auld heads north

Early this year, long-time member Les Auld said farewell to Central Safety Group, as he has moved to Far North Queensland –lucky man!
Les has been a valued member since the early 1990s and also served as Vice President from 2012 to 2014.
I asked Les to share stories from his life in Health & Safety and I think many of us can identify with the path he followed.

During the mid-1960s, he was working in the Catering Branch accounting office of the Victorian Railways when they advertised for a safety officer. He decided to apply and was successful. From there he gained his first OHS qualification at South Melbourne Tech.

His main duty was dealing with PPE. Safety footwear was supplied free to employees, but a fair percentage was being returned as a bad fit. Therefore, Les and a colleague would roam the state in a van full of safety shoes & boots in all brands and sizes to assist employees obtain the best fit.

Les says: “On one occasion we were in a station office, fitting track men, and a shoe came flying across the room. We said, “What did you do that for?” The guy came back, “Well, if I can kick it off, it doesn’t fit.” That was a lesson well learnt.”

He was sent off to expand his knowledge, which included doing the ACTU Safety Rep course. This led to him being asked to conduct safety training for staff. While it put him well outside his comfort zone, he appreciated the experience.

The job entailed him visiting and liaising with management and staff at various locations, ranging from the cafés at Flinders St to canteens at rail workshops to the Mount Buffalo Chalet, which was run by the railways back then.

Les worked on the implementation of a catering module for country trains, which is still in use. At the same time he gained a qualification in food safety from William Angliss College. 

Eventually he became a Senior Safety Officer in the Transport Operations Division and remained there until he accepted redundancy in 1988.

A month later he began work as a medical orderly with Melbourne Health, his first “blue collar” job, which naturally involved a lot of manual work. This included stints in Emergency, X-Ray and the burns unit. After sustaining a back injury 5 years later, he was redeployed as an Assistant Safety Officer, due to his prior experience.

Later on he became Safety and Fire Officer at Northwest Hospital near the zoo. One day, while conducting fire extinguisher training, he turned his attention to the fire blanket. He says: “We had a square metal pan with water and a small splash of petrol. The fire blanket was a bit old in the tooth and had a hole in it. We placed it over the lighted pan and it also burst into flames. I saw the irony of this!”

During this time Les was involved with presenting Safety Rep courses and laser safety courses, and he also formalised his own on-the-job training and initial education with a Diploma of OHS from RMIT.

Les worked on a number of projects, including contamination reduction in the Nuclear Medicine Dept and addressing manual handling issues in the Catheter Lab, where cumbersome monitors and heavy protective aprons posed risks.

When Les retired he did pro bono work for not-for-profit organisations during the period of OHS Act harmonisation. He maintained his membership of CSG, because he found the speakers informative and valuable, not to mention our great Christmas luncheons!Les Auld birds

With amazing foresight, he left Melbourne in March 2020. We thank him most sincerely for his many years of loyalty to the group and wish him all the best for his new life up north.


Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: August 2021
Alison Hunt-Sturman, Group Manager, WHS, Mercy Health Australia
Check out the latest presentation from our August 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.

Managing the healthcare challenge of COVID-19

Alison Hunt-Sturman took us through the full and detailed journey of how her team faced the challenges of COVID-19 during 2020. During the discussion afterwards, Alison suggested that perhaps she should have issued a trigger warning before her presentation, because it certainly brought back many memories for those present!

We could certainly identify with their experience that began with a naive thought that the situation would be short-lived and that their existing systems were able to keep everything under control. However, as the full impact began to unfold, it was clear that Alison's early warnings, which had been considered overdramatic by some at the time, were justified. As Alison outlined the many developments in the pandemic and the accompanying body of knowledge, it was quite starling to realise how much changed just in the short period between March and May.

One of the stand-outs for me was Alison's discussion about the challenge of boosting the workforce. There was not only the obvious need to replace clinical staff on furlough, but they needed to boost staff in other areas as well. One example was in the IT department to handle all the technological changes. Another big issue was in aged care, where the restriction on family members visiting had a huge impact, because these carers make such a big contribution to the daily workload.

While the current experience is looking more and more like a replay of 2020, the positive side is that practices that were developed last year, and are in a continual state of review, are now putting Alison and her team in good stead for dealing with it.

Alison's presentation complements the talk by Christina Rennick from St Vincents Hospital earlier this year, Hospital Safety during the Pandemic, which you can access here (log in first)

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Wednesday, 04 August 2021 19:10

CSG committee bulletin 001

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Central Safety Group committee bulletin

The committee has begun to meet regularly under the direction of new President Nan Austin. Once a month we catch up in the days following the zoom presentation and discuss future speakers, our financials, membership, website resources and other topics to benefit and promote the organisation.

Financial members can access the minutes via Quicklinks in the footer on our Home page. Go to About Us - Meeting Minutes or click here (log in first). They are posted after they have been accepted at a subsequent meeting, so the first one there is for June 2021. It is your opportunity to see how we are working on your behalf. We welcome your feedback!

In other news, Adrian Glaubert has resigned from the committee as he has moved away from the sphere of health and safety and has secured a role as Head of Enterprise for a large retail operation. We wish him all the best and thank him for his valuable contributions over the last two years.

WorkSafe Victoria’s new Infringement Notices scheme

I recently attended an information session held by WorkSafe Victoria about the new infringement notices scheme. Held via zoom, the session was very informative and professionally presented and, with approximately 2,000 viewers, it was clearly important to business.

Infringement Notices (or on-the-spot fines) commence on 31 July 2021 and will be an additional tool to existing notices, such as improvement notices, prohibition notices and non-disturbance notices.
The notices will be issued by an Inspector to relevant persons who have obligations under the OHS legislation (employers, employees and self-employed persons). Some other key points:

  • 54 offences have been prescribed and will be listed in Schedule 20
  • A notice will include a prescribed penalty, details on how to pay, the date the payment is due (at least 21 days) and how to appeal the notice
  • The penalty amount is greater for corporations than for individuals and will be noted as penalty units as with other notices
  • Other notices can be issued at the same time
  • Infringement Notices cannot be issue retrospectively


As the session was only for an hour, not all viewer questions could be addressed, but here is some of the additional information that came from the Q&As:

  • The dispute process, as with other notices, could be via WorkSafe internal review or through the courts
  • Money raised through the notices will go into the Workers’ Compensation scheme
  • Inspectors will not be set a number of Infringement Notices to issue - they must observe the breach and determine what notice would best serve
  • Employers are expected to consult with their employees about the introduction of these notices
  • Psychological safety is not specifically included in these notices, but employers are still required to provide a safe system of work (including welfare)
  • Infringement Notices apply to all industries
  • The amount of the fine does not increase for repeat offenders, but other actions can be taken in these circumstances
  • The Attorney General and the Department of Justice were consulted prior to releasing this scheme


More information, including the presentation, will be available on the WorkSafe website in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, check out what is there already:

Thursday, 05 August 2021 05:56

Keeping up-to-date with contractor management

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Keeping up-to-date with contractor management

Earlier this month CSG members LinkSafe alerted us to a webinar they are hosting on August 24, featuring Sue Bottrell on the topic of contractor safety management. Well, the webinar became fully booked within 30 minutes! If you missed out, don’t worry, they told me that they are hoping to do another later in the year, so we’ll let our mailing list know about that as soon as we know more.

Sue Bottrell is LinkSafe’s Legal Advisor and a leading expert in contractor safety management. You may remember her excellent video presentation during our CSG Talks short video series last year. She spoke about the legal implications arising from the tragic incident on the Eastern Freeway that resulted in the death of 4 Victorian Police officers. Of course that is being played out in the courts as we speak, so it’s timely to hear again what Sue had to say about the contractor management aspects of this incident. Her talk A very public tragedy – but who is really responsible? is available to members and non-members alike.

Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: July 2021
Dominic Melling, Lead Organiser, OHS Team, Victorian Trades Hall Council
Check out the latest presentation from our July 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.

COVID-19 response in Victoria: A union perspective

This was a very informative session that consolidated many of the issues we learned about throughout the last 18 months that affect vulnerable workers. Dominic highlighted a number of areas where the essential workforce was exposed to risks. In particular, he spoke about aged care, the quarantine frontline, supply chain and meatworks. In the case of the latter, while WorkSafe acted quickly to produce guidance, some of it was not practical and needed to be modified.

Dominic and his team have developed an extensive program to assist Health & Safety Representatives (HSRs) and workers, with resources that are readily available via two of their websites: www.covidsafeworkplace.org and www.ohsrep.org.au. Resources include checklists for auditing and free 2-hour training sesssions.

Dominic also spoke about those who worked from home and how the rush to implement this new way of working has resulted in its own challenges. In our December 2020 presentation by David Caple, he went into this issue in greater detail and you can access it here (log in first)

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Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: June 2021
Dr Kate Branford, Senior Human Factors Specialist, V/Line
Check out the latest presentation from our June 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.
**Please note that the video of this presentation is available for 2 weeks only**

Human factors and human error

There was a great turn-out for this presentation, even though some members were a bit shy to turn on their cameras!  Nevertheless, all attendees were treated to an excellent and informative session.

The bulk of the presentation focused on human error, which typically accounts for 60-80% of incidents. However, Kate demonstrated that there are many aspects to this. For instance, it doesn't relate to operators alone; it could be human error on the part of a designer or the person who does a risk assessment, among others.

In relation to design, it is worth considering optical illusions and perception of information. This was illustrated brilliantly via an interactive section of the talk that showed us just how easy it is to misread visual information. One of the take-home messages for me was that human errors do not occur randomly; context is important.

If you would like learn more about V/Line's general approach to safety, Sylvia Hudson gave a detailed presentation in April 2016 about their updated management system Destination Zero (log in first)

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Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: May 2021
Gavin Kenny, Manager SHEQ - Service Delivery, Melbourne Water
Check out the latest presentation from our May 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.

Using technology to make work safer

This was a fascinating presentation and quite an eye-opener for those of us who are technologically-challenged. While Central Safety Group has only recently joined the world of zoom, Gavin Kenny at Melbourne Water has spent the last 4 years implementing a whole range of innovative solutions to common health and safety issues.

Gavin covered the whole gamut: from the use of Virtual Reality technology when designing new plant, through the use of animation to bring the Confined Spaces compliance code to life and developing apps for workers and maintenance contractors to use in the field, to very low-tech ways to engage with the workforce. With the latter, one that caught my eye was an annual staff barbecue called "Whingefest".

Another feature is the conversion of many of their procedures into a digital format to make them less cumbersome and, therefore, easier to use. It is part of their philosophy to reduce safety clutter. This was also the topic of our October 2019 presentation by Dr David Provan, here, which is definitely worth checking out again (log in first to access it).

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Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: April 2021
David Trembearth, Safety Business Partner, Coles
Check out the latest presentation from our April 2021 meeting, along with the full meeting video, now available to members.

Musculoskeletal issues – what’s new in risks and prevention

There was a lot of interest in this topic and David gave attendees a lot to think about after his excellent presentation.

David was keen to point out that manual work is not a bad thing and that he is not against manual handling. In fact, current research indicates that it is not only physical factors that contribute to workplace musculoskeletal disorders, but other workplace factors as well. Therefore, one needs to look at how a task is "shaped". With appropriate design controls, manual tasks can be made much safer.

David busted a few myths about the reliance on conventional interventions. He confirmed what many of us have suspected for a long time, that training is not an effective prevention tool. There was certainly quite a bit of head-nodding at this point from attendees.

David alerted us to some useful resources, including Safe Work Australia's handbook on the principles of good work design.

Due to copyright reasons, we are not able to include the video David shared about a couple of the innovative design solutions he has implemented at Coles. You had to be there! Make sure you put the second Tuesday of the month into your diaries so that you don't miss out on our great presentations!

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