CSG Posts

CSG Posts (39)

CSG Posts

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 15:07

Annual Christmas Networking Lunch 2019

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Networking at Parliament House

Central Safety Group's annual Christmas networking lunch on Tuesday 10 December 2019 was very popular once again. Along with the many members in attendance, it was great to see some new faces and a few of our speakers from 2019.

CSG Christmas Lunch 2018 Parliament House

For the third year in a row, the event was held in the dining room at Parliament House Victoria, where we all enjoyed a delicious meal featuring seasonal Victorian

produce. Best of all we had the dining room to ourselves, which was conducive to excellent conversation and a relaxed atmosphere.

The occasion was also an opportunity to reflect on the past year. While the group faced a few challenges during 2019 - including not having a permanent meeting place - we were fortunate to have a great line-up of speakers and we look forward to more of the same next year.

We wish all of our members and friends a wonderful 2020 and we look forward to seeing you at our meetings.

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Presentation Now Available
CSG Meeting: November 2019
Nan Austin
Check out the latest presentation from our November 2019 meeting, along with notes to accompany the Powerpoint, now available to members.

OHS lessons from NZ

CSG is thrilled to welcome back long-time member Nan Austin, who recently returned from a three-year stint as Health & Safety Manager at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Judging by her presentation to the group in November, Nan gained a great depth of knowledge from her time across the Tasman.

One of the things that stood out for me is the fact that New Zealand has only had OHS legislation since 2015. This came about after the Pike River Mine disaster of 2010; sadly the bodies of the 28 men who died have still not been recovered. While the legislation is based very much on what we have in Australia, Nan pointed out a number of shortcomings with it. In particular, the way that the accident compensation scheme is set up means that there are many gaps in useful data.

However, Nan did note that the situation has begun to turn around since a major review was commenced in 2018. Of particular interest to CSG members is the fact that there is a big demand for capable health & safety practitioners, many of whom are coming from Australia. As Nan said, Aussies can practically step off the plane and start working!


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Presentation Now Available
CSG Meeting: October 2019
Dr David Provan
Check out the latest presentation from our October 2019 meeting, along with the Griffith University research paper, now available to members.

OHS clutter & what to do about it

Every now & then we have a speaker who challenges our traditional ways of thinking and how refreshing that is! Dr David Provan was just such a speaker at our October meeting.

He described safety clutter as processes and activities organisations undertake that do not actually add value to safety, but they are loath to let go of them. He asked for a show of hands to see if anyone could identfy any such activities in their own workplaces and, clearly, people were reluctant to admit such a thing. However, by the end of the presentaton, we understood exactly what he meant and could relate much of what he said to our own workplaces. David gave many examples to illustrate his thesis and to help us "suspend disbelief" in the efficacy of certain practices. He even presented the controversial notion, obtained from research he conducted with Griffith University, that a risk assessment is mostly a social exercise that merely re-confirms people's beliefs.

He outlined a number of negative consequences that can arise from such safety clutter, but also suggested ways of dealing with it. He also posited the interesting concept that more uncertainity can lead to more caution, which in turn leads to more safety.

David also alerted us to a new weekly podcast by him and his fellow researcher from the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University, Dr Drew Rae. Called The Safety of Work, each week they will look at a different item of the latest safety research and provide practical management tips. To learn more, go to safetyofwork.com

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Presentation Report Now Available
CSG Meeting: August 2019
Dr Tracey Sletten, Senior Research Fellow, Turner Institute for Brain & Mental Health, Monash University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety & Productivity
There is no presentation from our August 2019 meeting, but a report on it is now available to members.

The real impact of shift work and workplace fatigue

It was a packed room as we all listened with interest at the findings from a range of research that covered the health effects of shift work, factors that contribute to impairment as well as the effects of sleep inertia.

We could relate to the findings as they do not apply just to shift workers, but to many people who share some of the same characteristics in their daily life. How many of us stay up late on our computers or participate in other activities that affect our sleep? The Turner Institute's and CRC's research -via controlled laboratory tests as well as analysing real-life data -shows us the risks we are exposing ouselves to by doing this. While the natural biological rhythm varies amongst individuals, it can never truly adjust to working through the night when we really should be asleep.

It is not all "doom and gloom", though, as Tracey also presented a range of strategies for alleviating the harmful effects of shift work and fatigue.


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Presentation Now Available
CSG Meeting: September 2019
Professor David Caple, AM
Check out the latest presentation from our September 2019 meeting, along with notes to accompany the Powerpoint, now available to members.

When workplace changes outpace OHS Standards

The group is lucky to have an annual presentation from renowned ergonomist Professor David Caple, who is always such an engaging speaker as he shares the latest developments in his field of study.

This month he focussed on 2 Australian Standards that deal with workstations and chairs, both of which bear little relevance to today's ways of working in offices. One is 22 years old, so it is easy to see how workplace changes have moved so far ahead of its recommendations. The other, however, was revised in 2018 and yet it contains recommendations that do not relate to any data that David is aware of. It is also silent on the issue of dual and multiple screens, which has become very common. In fact, David asked for a show of hands in the room to see how many people work with dual monitors and the majority of attendants put up their hands.

David also mentioned an initiative of La Trobe University’s Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors, the APHIRM toolkit (A Participative Hazard Identification and Risk Management toolkit). There will be a workshop on it for Health & Safety Professionals at the university’s city campus on November 14th. For details & bookings, visit www.aphirm.org.au


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Presentation Now Available
CSG Meeting: July 2019
Michael Carley, Safety and Risk, Villa Maria Catholic Homes
Check out the latest presentation from our July 2019 meeting, now available to members.

Safety and the aged care sector

In July we were lucky once again to have a speaker who is so obviously passionate about the work they do to make a real difference in health and safety. Michael Carley has been working with Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) for just over a year, so he freely admits that there is still a long way to go to improve their safe systems of work -many of us can identify with that! However, the progress made so far inspires him to continue in what he described as a very fufilling sector in which to work.

Aged care is a growth industry, but it also presents many challenges. The most common risks that he outlined have also come to light during the current Royal Commission into the sector, so it was a very timely presentation.

Michael noted that residents are coming in at later stages of life when they need a higher level of care. Another challenge is that the average age of the workforce is 55 and comes from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The greatest risks arise from inadequate training and competency, but Michael's main message was to "be courageous in addressing risks", which includes thinking laterally about how to address them. He outlined a number of innovative solutions he and VMCH have made to date and he looks forward to continue making improvements.


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CSG Meeting: June 2019
Rohan Sykes,
Phoenix Workplace Safety

Safety lapses and real life consequences

We have had many speakers with a wealth of knowledge derived from their work as OHS managers, consultants and practitioners, but in June we had the rare opportunity to hear about the first-hand experience of someone who has been seriosly injured in an industrial accident.

Rohan Sykes gave a graphic and harrowing presentation on an industrial accident that left him with burns to 35% of his body and was the result of his protective clothing catching fire from close proximity to molten glass.

As a result of his injuries, he had to learn to walk and talk again and the impact on his wife, children and family was immense. Apart from the physical injuries, the mental impacts were just as great for all involved.

After his recovery Rohan founded Phoenix Workplace Safety with a mission to encourage industrial workplaces and individuals to completely re-think the way they approach safety.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide the presentation from this meeting. If you want to make sure you don't miss out on any of our great speakers, put the second Tuesday of the month in your calendar and come along to our meetings.


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Recommended reading for Members in the CSG archives

CSG Archives: a wealth of information

Further Reading

  At our May meeting, Life Member Kevin Jones alerted us to 5 new publications. One title is quite timely, considering the topic for the May meeting: The Happiness Industry. Other books include the story of the Esso Longford disaster aftermath and a look at the controversy surrounding the health implications of using a very popular weed killer. The other two titles refer to laws and regulations.

Links to all of the books are in the Further Reading section of The Vault

Thanks to Life Member Kevin Jones (https://safetyatworkblog.com/) for bringing these to our attention.

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CSG Archives: a wealth of information
We have been working hard lately to upload more resources into the Members-Only section of the website. These include a range of treasures from previous years:

   Presentations from 2010-2017:
Gaps in these years have been filled and, where presentations were unavailable, detailed summaries are provided.

   Minutes from meetings 2010-2017: These are now up-to-date, including all AGMs.  The exception is the second half of 2014 arsing from the sudden departure due to ill health of our esteemed Secretary John Knowles, (who sadly passed away in January 2015).

   Newsletters from 2000-2006: You will find these in The Vault. They were written by Kevin Jones when he was Secretary of the group during that period and they make excellent reading.

Thanks to Life Member Kevin Jones (https://safetyatworkblog.com/) for providing some of the archival material, in particular Safety Central Newsletters.  A special thanks to Marina Milankovic for her tireless efforts in sourcing and compiling all the archival material, now available to members.

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Presentation Now Available
CSG Meeting: May 2019
Claire Nivarovich, Director Mental Health Programs, WorkSafe Victoria
Check out the latest presentation from our May 2019 meeting, now available to members.

Prevention of mental injury at work – where can employers’ best direct their efforts?

It was a packed event in May including many first-time attendees, all of us eager to hear Claire Nivarovich. We were rewarded with a very interesting and practical presentation.

WorkSafe statistics show that only 54% of workers have returned to work 6 months after mental injury; by 2 years, 38% still have not returned to work. They also show that mental injury claims have been increasing steadily across all workplaces over the last 4 years.

As a result WorkSafe has been targeting initiatives to assist vulnerable workers and employers. These range from reducing the time to asses claims and creating videos and guidance notes to developing an online toolkit: Workwell Toolkit

Claire guided us through the toolkit, showing us how a dashboard can be tailored to the user and how to access a wealth of information. There are resources to deal with a wide range of situations; these include ways to implement prevention practices in your workplace. Claire's unit did a road test of the kit to ensure it offers practical and easily accessible advice.

Claire ended her talk with a call to action to those present: they are keen to receive feedback from employers, so give the toolkit a go!

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