CSG Posts

CSG Posts (71)

CSG Posts

Thursday, 23 December 2021 10:13

Building Leaders that WorkWell

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Building Leaders that WorkWell

Over the last two weeks of Health and Safety Month 2021, WorkSafe Victoria ran free 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics. The theme for the month was “You learn something new every day”. I attended the session about Building Leaders under the auspice of WorkSafe's WorkWell program. It was an interview style format featuring Siusan MacKenzie, CEO Emergency Services Victoria; Dr Stephen Carbone, CEO Prevention United; and Tom Ruijs, Senior Consultant, AP Psychology and Consulting Services.

Each presenter was interviewed about their organisation, focussing on mental health wellness tools they had developed for training leaders.
Emergency Services Victoria (ESV) has 14 agencies within their network. They identified that Team Leaders, who are next in line to staff working with the public, required leadership development. In a number of instances they had been promoted due to their technical rather than leadership ability. ESV developed a course that was a meld of mental health first aid and management skills. The course included information on understanding the problems their team faced in day-to-day work as well as what it took to be a good leader.

Normally the different agencies work in silos, but it was recognised that leadership is a shared issue. Fifty two people from 11 agencies were involved in the project, including paid and volunteer staff, with plans developed to implement the findings.

ESV is now working on phase 2, taking lessons from the initial work and developing further training with single agencies. This phase will focus on older workers and those approaching retirement, asking “What do they know now that they wished they had known earlier?” An important quality is to listen to people’s stories about the problems they had faced in their job. With respect to retirees, it was found that they needed support after they left the job; talking to ex-colleagues was good for debriefing, offering support and communication.

Prevention United (PU) are working on a project collaborating with universities and residential aged care with the aim of improving the work environment. The project allows staff to rate their workplaces, nominate key psychosocial issues and make suggestions for improvement. Resources were provided to assist.

Unfortunately, residential aged care was badly affected by COVID and the Royal Commission. Face-to-face contact was impossible, making remote and virtual contacts the only options. This, along with time and work pressures, led to low morale. Psychosocial issues identified included culture, fairness and lack of teamwork. The PU team have finished the formal part and are now looking at ways to implement the findings.

It was found that you can’t rely on self-directed learning; there is a need for face-to-face conversation. A digital tool has some advantages, but joint training sessions have the best results. There is also a need to address the perceived stigma of the word “mental” in mental health.

AP Psychology and Consulting Services also worked with five universities to gain an insight into their risk profile and psychosocial issues. Both staff and leaders were involved and the aim was to develop training programs and practical solutions.

It was found that leaders need to interact with each other, as well as their direct reports, and they need to empower the workforce to work together. There needs to be an understanding of what leaders can do and what they can actually control. All were encouraged to look for signs and symptoms of stress in others and to have a conversation with them. Leaders need to know what supports are available and how to provide the right guidance.

AP has developed a tool that 1,000 people are currently working through. They are monitoring the program to identify which modules are the most useful so that they can expand the information and assistance available. They also determined that a multipronged approach is best that includes communicating directly with people.

Information that came out of the Q&A session:

  • It is about how we treat people – as we want to be treated.
  • Accountability is essential.
  • Individuals need to feel safe to be themselves.
  • Don’t spend all the money on training executives – the middle management layer needs the most training as they have the most interactions with staff. They make or break an organisation.
  • Mental health is as important as physical safety.
  • 360o feedback should be made a KPI. What gets measured gets done.
  • It should not be seen that middle management has the responsibility to fix every problem. They are there to provide assistance / point people in the right direction / address issues.
  • It is difficult to shift the mindset of managers who see psychosocial issues as “just a bit of fluff”.
  • Know your people and build confidence and capability.


The webinar is now available on the WorkSafe Victoria Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_74K_n1F6Sk

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 07:28

Goodbye 2021 & looking ahead to 2022

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Central Safety Group networking get-together

CSG had a relaxed finish to the end of the year with an informal zoom event on December 14th.

The results of our recent survey on topics for 2022 seminars were discussed, with the top five listed below. Interestingly, the least popular topic was COVID. I wonder why?

  1. Latest OHS research
  2. Regulatory & legal issues
  3. Leadership & culture
  4. Mental health & wellbeing
  5. Design, ergonomics & manual handling


There is a clear preference for continuing recorded zoom sessions, though there is still a demand for face-to-face networking opportunities. The committee has already been considering how to offer hybrid events to meet these needs.

The zoom attendees were invited to share their workplace experiences over the past year. Cameron spoke about his work with a national recruitment business that includes electrical drafting. As an essential service, business has continued as usual under COVID, except for the challenges of site visits and new rules, such as mask wearing and vaccinations.

As Bryce is based in Albury/Wodonga working for a global company, he has spent most days dealing with multi-jurisdiction COVID issues rather than core business.

David shared his experiences in a national role with Coles, with 120,000 team members across 850 stores. Like many businesses, Coles has had to develop new COVID-safe ways of working.

This forum was a great opportunity to hear from our members and share some personal experiences.

We hope you all enjoy a wonderful safe Xmas and will join us in our 60th Anniversary year.

If you would still like to particpate in our VERY SHORT survey, the link is below. We are always keen to hear your views on which topics and types of events are of interest to you. CSG Network Survey


Monday, 22 November 2021 11:56

New Silica Regulations

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Silica: New Regulations and Control

Over the last two weeks of Health and Safety Month 2021, WorkSafe Victoria ran free 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics. The theme for the month was “You learn something new every day”. I attended the session about the new Silica regulations, which was presented by Bryan Monch and Meryll Ashton from WorkSafe, and Dr Ryan Hoy, Respiratory Physician & Senior Research Fellow, Monash University, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health.

Both engineered and natural stone contain significant amounts of crystal silica (SiO2), with engineered stone having the higher content.  Inhalation of silica dust can lead to the disease silicosis. There are three types of silicosis – chronic, accelerated and acute – based on the level of dust and the length of exposure.  It is a scarring disease and effects range from shortness of breath and wheezing to lung cancer, kidney disease and auto-immune disease.  Smoking exacerbates the effect of silica inhalation.

The new Regulations were introduced in 2019 and come into effect in May 2022.  They aim to address a lack of information on the hazards of silica across the supply chain, many of whom are small businesses or sole traders.

These Regulations will mainly affect manufacturers and suppliers of engineered stone, who will be required to be licensed and have controls in place that will be assessed by specialist WorkSafe Inspectors.  For those organisations working with non-engineered stone, they will be required to have controls in place such as Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS). 

A transition period for both the engineered and non-engineered stone work commenced on 15 November 2021. WorkSafe Victoria has created a Silica Field Team of Inspectors, who will visit workplaces to assist employers comply with the new requirements.

Some key controls:

  • Uncontrolled dry cutting of manufactured stone is banned in Victoria; water cutting is recommended.
  • In some cases there may need to be treatment of recycled water.
  • Dust should be vacuumed with specialist equipment, rather than swept.
  • Information on the hazards and required PPE must be supplied to job applicants.
  • Screening for silicosis needs to be undertaken by a specialist occupational or respiratory physician.

There is now a specialist screening clinic at the Alfred Hospital.

Information that came out of the Q&A session:

  • Cleaning of ceramics studios should follow the same principles of wet rather than dry methods as well as vacuuming with H-class equipment.
  • PPE/respirators must comply with relevant Australian Standards, with P2 or air purifiers recommended.  Proper fit and storage are also required.
  • SafeWork Australia is looking at developing guidance material and there is already some information available in the West Australian jurisdiction: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/silica-0
  • The time-weighted average (TWA) has been set at 0.05 mg/m3 over an 8 hour working day, but susceptibility depends on the individual.  0.02 mg/m3 is considered low risk.

WorkSafe Victoria will make an edited version of the webinar available on their website in late November.

Saturday, 20 November 2021 11:52

CSG committee bulletin 003

Written by

Central Safety Group Survey

As Central Safety Group approaches the impressive milestone of its 60th anniversary in 2022, the Committee is busy planning the year's speakers and events.

We are seeking your input via a VERY SHORT survey -just 4 questions. Please click on the link below and take a few minutes to tell us which topics you want to hear about next year and the types of events you'd be interested in attending.

CSG Network Survey

Thank you in advance and we will share the results at our networking event on December 14th.


Presentation & Full Event Video Now Available
CSG Event: November 2021
Dr Natasha Lazareski, Managing Director, PsyFlex
Check out the latest presentation from our November 2021 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.

Return to work in COVID times: managing psychosocial risk

We had an amazing turnout for our last presentation of the year, which was not surprising considering the topic and the calibre of speaker. Natasha Lazareski's presentation covered some interesting ground that included the inherent contradictions one must face as we all venture back to work post the latest phase of the pandemic.

One such contradiction is within our reactions to situations, where our instinct can be in conflict with a more rational response. Natasha advised organsiations to normalise the fact that we all have different responses to COVID, but still to establish clear guidelines for the workplace that all must follow. Another aspect of this balancing act is to ensure that you don't give out mixed messages, because this can erode trust. We only have to think of how that played out in the community when authorities communicated ever-changing rules and information.

With communication being such a key to successful return to work, Natasha said she believes that workplace Health & Safety Representatves will become the new frontline heroes. That was a great way to emphasise the importance of those roles!

Natasha's presentation went at a cracking pace with a lot of information in her slides, some of which were skipped over due to time constraints. Therefore, do check out the powerpoint slides as well as the video itself.

If you'd like to hear more from Natasha, you can also take a look at her short video as part of our free CSG Talks series last year, Workplace safety in pandemic times.

View Presentation & Full Event Video
members only, please login first.

Welding Fumes: Health Risks, Legal Obligations and Control

Over the last two weeks of Health and Safety Month 2021, WorkSafe Victoria ran free 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics. The theme for the month was “You learn something new every day”. I attended the session about Welding Fumes, which was presented by Dr Tim Driscoll, School of Public Health, University of Sydney and Alex Simovski, Senior Occupational Hygienist, WorkSafe.

Welding fumes are classified as carcinogenic, with short-term effects being irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes, and metal fume fever.  Long-term effects include scarring of the lungs, asthma and lung cancer.  Due to the long latency period before onset of symptoms, there is difficulty in linking the symptoms to the causation factor.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified welding fumes as a Group 2 to Group 1 carcinogen.  Group 1 = Carcinogenic to humans; Group 2 = Probably and possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Their meeting in 2017 showed clearly an increase in lung caner after prolonged exposure to welding fumes.  There was also some evidence in bladder cancer, but not enough evidence for classification. 
Safe Work Australia will be undertaking research on exposure standards. They will depend on the metals involved in the welding process, varying from 0.002mg/m3 for beryllium to 5mg/m3 for aluminium oxide and iron oxide.
Air monitoring can be conducted by Industrial Hygienists to determine the amount of welding fumes in a workplace.  Personal monitoring is preferable, although static monitoring may have some use.  These records must be communicated to the relevant employees and maintained for the legislated time frame, which could be up to 30 years.
The Hierarchy of Controls should be used to reduce the risk of inhaling welding fumes.  As usual this starts with elimination (purchase of prefabricated material) going down to PPE (respirators).

Some tips for control:

  • Kneeling over the work is more hazardous than working on a bench; extraction ventilation at the source removes the fumes from a welder’s breathing zone more effectively than overhead extraction.
  • Longer work duration increases the amount of fumes potentially inhaled, as does the number of welders working in the same area.
  • Respiratory protection can be used in combination with extraction ventilation, but can prove uncomfortable/hot over long periods.  Dust masks do not provide any protection from the fumes.
  • Other employees working in the same area are also exposed to fumes; exposure will depend on the ventilation in the area.
  • Tig welding generates the least amount of fumes; soldering uses different temperatures, thus resulting in much lower generation of fumes.
Many businesses involved in welding are small businesses with a lack of understanding of the problem and how to control the risks.  It is recommended that employers work with employees in developing a site-specific solution to exposure to welding fumes, as this is more likely to gain acceptance.


WorkSafe Victoria will make an edited version of the webinar available on their website in late November.

Do you have night shift workers in your workplace?

An important study at Monash University is seeking interest from companies employing night shift workers to participate in an upcoming trial commencing February 2022.
The trial aims to improve workers' body clocks' adaptation to shift work, their sleep and their health (e.g., fatigue, mental wellbeing). It also expects benefits to the workplace in the form of increased alertness as well as improved workplace performance and safety.
Click here for a summary of the research project and its benefits for your organisation. The research procedure will be adapted to comply with each workplace's operational requirements.  This includes timing participation to suit the organisation (e.g., avoiding overly busy/ peak periods if needed) and employees' rosters.
The research team has had proven success in improving workplace safety and alertness, and employee sleep and wellbeing in various shift working sectors, such as manufacturing, transport and hospitals.
Earlier work by this team was presented to Central Safety Group by Dr Tracey Sletten in August 2019. It attracted a lot of interest and is readily accessible to financial members: The Real Impact of Shift Work and Workplace Fatigue  –log in first.
This study will be building on the latest findings and recommendations in this area outlined by Tracey.

For more information, please contact the project coordinator Dr Linda Shen on 0423 855 748 at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

View study details



Dangerous Goods (Storage & Handling) – New Regulations Explained

Over the last two weeks of Health and Safety Month 2021, WorkSafe Victoria ran free 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics. The theme for the month was “You learn something new every day”. I attended the session about the new Dangerous Goods (Storage & Handling) Regulations, which was presented by members of the WorkSafe Dangerous Goods Strategic Inspection Team as well as one of their Senior Dangerous Goods Advisors.

The 2018 fire in West Footscray and the 2019 fire in Campbellfield resulted in a review of the DG Regulations, particularly around the notification to WorkSafe of the storage of large quantities. This resulted in an amendment to the regulations, which came into effect on the 1st July 2021. Prior to this, occupiers storing above ‘manifest’ quantities were required to notify WorkSafe every 5 years using the prescribed hard copy proforma. As of 1st July 2021, occupiers now must notify WorkSafe every 2 years. Importantly, occupiers must re-notify WorkSafe before the end of the 2021 calendar year despite what their current certificate states.

Notification can now only be made via the online proforma/portal located on the WorkSafe website https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/dangerous-goods-storage-and-handling-notification
Extra information required includes the packing group of the chemical, and information confirming the written advice from the emergency services (fire authority), as required by regulation 55. In addition, occupiers must submit a new notification when there are changes to the quantities stored (above manifest quantities).

The DG Strategic Inspection Team at WorkSafe was created to look after about 230 sites that store large quantities of dangerous goods, excluding Major Hazard sites. They include sites with a potential for an off-site impact, e.g. toxic release, and cover a range of industrial sectors, i.e. food manufacturers, cold storage sites and water treatment businesses.

There are 6 inspectors in the team and each is assigned a specific business. In a number of instances the have made joint visits to sites with Fire Rescue Victoria and the EPA. The main areas they examine are: the risks of the business; control of ignition sources; emergency planning; fire protection systems; waste storage; maintenance of equipment; permit-to-work systems; induction and training with respect to dangerous goods. There are also 4 senior DG advisors, who support the inspectors and authorised explosive offices. They also participate in various DG regulatory committees.

Information that came out of the Q&A session:

• Hard copies of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are still required for transport drivers.
• The chemical manifest (where required) must be displayed at the main entrance to a site, with multiple copies required for multiple locations.
• Quantities of waste chemicals must be included on the manifest.
• No on-the-spot fines (infringement notices) are currently applicable to this legislation.
• Emergency services require hard copies of SDSs in the red emergency box, especially those for high risk chemicals.
• Employees need to be trained to deal with emergencies.

WorkSafe Victoria will make an edited version of the webinar available on their website in late November.

Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:48

CSG committee bulletin 002

Written by

Central Safety Group Inc.

We are proud to announce that, as of 16th October 2021, we are an Incorporated Association. Financial Members will recall that, at the 2020 Annual General Meeting in February this year, a resolution was passed to commence the process of incorporation, and now that is complete.

As a result there have been a few changes to roles within the Committee and these remain until the next Annual General Meeting to be held in 2022. The Committee comprises 4 office bearers and 3 ordinary members.

Office Bearers:
President - Nan Austin
Vice President - Frank Imbesi
Secretary - Heather Turner
Treasurer - Cameron Cranstoun

Ordinary Members:
Jane Loudon - Events Co-ordinator
Marina Milankovic - Membership Co-ordinator  
Christina Rennick

The Constitution has been replaced by the Rules of CSG Inc. In addition there is a one-page Membership Policy. We urge all Financial and prospective members to read these documents.

View the CSG Inc. Rules

View the Membership Policy

This is an important step for the Association, and the Committee continues to work hard to provide value for members and our broader network.


CIMA conference 2021

Upcoming conference: Pandemic Trauma- Person, Place & Environment

CSG Member Jacqui Bloink has alerted us to the Crisis Intervention Management Australasia (CIMA) Biennial Conference titled “Pandemic Trauma- Person Place Environment”.  It will be an interactive 3.5 hr Live Streamed event on Wednesday 10th November, 2021 at noon (AEST).

Jacqui runs the St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne (SVHM) STAR Peer Support Program, of which CIMA is the professional affiliate.  CIMA is a not-for-profit organisation that provides education, training and support for workers in emergency services, health care and related agencies in managing the impact of psychological stress and trauma in their work.  

The conference will offer insight into models of practice by leaders in the field, who have implemented change using critical response frameworks during the pandemic. Speakers include Patty Stewart McCord from Canada and Angela Lewis from the UK, both of whom will have specific lessons for health care workers as we plunge into the Wave 3 surge.

Dr Antony Tobin will be representing SVHM on the panel and his expertise as an Intensive Care Specialist & Epidemiologist and current experience as their Chief Medical Officer is a great drawcard.

For more information and to register, here is the link: https://www.cima.org.au/conferences/pandemic-trauma-2021-short-virtual-conference

As the flyer for the event says, the words Pandemic and Trauma were probably not seen together before 2020. It should be a fascinating session.

Jacqui actually gave a great presentation to us in August 2017 outlining SVHM’s award-winning Peer Support Program, so I urge you to check it out here (log in first).

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