CSG Posts

CSG Posts (80)

CSG Posts

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).

Presentation & Full Event Video Now Available
CSG Event: October 2021
Speaker: 
Helen O'Keefe, Founder & Principal Consultant, HOK Talent Solutions
 
Check out the latest presentation from our October 2021 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.
 
 

The current OHS job scene

There was a lot of interest in this very timely and fascinating presentation. As Helen said, the current job scene in OHS is HOT and, as it is likely to stabilise next year, now is the time to pursue new opportunities if that has been on your mind. It's a candidate's market!

It was heartening to hear that the pandemic has had one positive effect in that the reputation of OHS has been boosted, making it a great career choice.

Helen shared some interesting national statistics on recruiting that showed the most sought-after job categories. She also offered valuable advice to both potential candidates and organisations looking to fill roles.

Helen conducts a regular podcast series where she talks to CEOs about OHS, which you can learn more about at https://www.hoktalentsolutions.com.au/podcast-webinars/

If you are interested in OHS job opportunities a bit further afield, check out Nan Austin's presentation from July 2020 about her experiences in New Zealand: Safety shake-up across the Tasman, which you can access here (log in first)

View Presentation & Full Event Video
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Tuesday, 05 October 2021 17:07

WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Month 2021

Written by

WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Month 2021

WorkSafe Victoria is running Health and Safety Month again this October and the theme is "You learn something new every day".
As a part of the activities, free 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics are being run via zoom, so you can attend from the comfort of your own home!

A few of the highlights are:
October 20: Prosecution case studies; The infringement notice scheme; Work-related violence in community care

October 21: Workplace mental health; Safety within the multicultural community

October 25: Organisational culture; Systems thinking

October 26: A new approach to manual handling training; Tools for HSRs: prevent and respond to workplace gender violence

October 27: Tips for remote and flexible working; Predicting psychological safety

October 28: New Regulations for dangerous goods storage and handling and for silica; Welding fumes

October 29: The importance of HSRs to business; Improving return-to-work outcomes for mental injuries

Further details on the speakers and topics, as well as registration for the webinars, are available on the WorkSafe website here: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/events

Presentation & Full Meeting Video Now Available
CSG Meeting: September 2021
Speaker: 
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)

View Presentation & Full Meeting Video
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Friday, 10 September 2021 05:39

Les Auld heads north

Written by

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
Speaker: 
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)

View Presentation & Full Meeting Video
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