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Physical Capacity Testing for Emergency Workers
CSG November 2015 Presenter: Professor David Caple

Physical Capacity Testing for Emergency Workers

Presentation by: Professor David Caple, OHS Consultant and Adjunct Professor, Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University, David Caple & Associates

Presentation package now available (members only)

Physical capacity testing of workers in emergency services can be controversial. Our guest speaker Professor David Caple talked about some of the key issues surrounding this at Central Safety Group's meeting on November 2015. Risk factors associated with this type of work have given rise for the need to do physical capacity testing, which is now a feature of the EBA for emergency workers. One factor is that emergency workers have high cognitive and physical demands and these result in a higher probability of a risk of injury.
A range of controls has been introduced to address the risk factors and the findings from physical capacity testing. These include design controls; training (both physical and skills) as well as peer support programs and controls specific to particular divisions.

The presenter:

David Caple, whose background is in ergonomics, has been a leading figure in occupational health and safety in Australia for many years. He has advised a wide range of businesses, industry groups and public sector organisations, and worked with Australian and overseas governments on work health and safety issues. He is an OHS consultant and Adjunct Professor, Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University.

OHS Today:
What's Wrong,
What's Right?
CSG October 2015 Presenter: Kevin Jones,

What’s wrong with OHS today (and what’s right)

Presentation by: Kevin Jones, Freelance journalist, SafetyAtWorkBlog

Presentation package now available (members only)

Kevin Jones, well known for his award-winning SafetyAtWorkBlog ( led a discussion at Central Safety Group's meeting on October 13, 2015, about some of the positives and negatives of OHS today. He began by stating that one of the major problems is the excessive documentation required and this may be due to WorkSafe conditions.
Kevin believes that there is also an excess of consultation; management need to be more decisive and focus on the short term – attack the easy problems first to achieve some progress. Recurring problems are either not addressed or the controls implemented are inadequate.  Businesses need to look at the source of the problem and eliminate the hazards.
Kevin stated that there was no face associated with safety, that no-one was seen as a safety champion. There is no engagement of the media by safety groups.
He raised the issue of there being no safety economics in Australia, even though it is possible to determine the costs of safety and relate it to the benefits. Safety managers are expected to know all and be all.  However, funding is tied to the risk profile of a business and is therefore not successful.  Implementation of OHS is seen as reactive with little or no progress.
Kevin also noted that there was little talk about the ethics of safety.
He followed up the session with a blog entry (attached).

The presenter:

Kevin Jones is well known for his award-winning Safety At Work blog ( which keeps readers up-to-date with the Australian and international OHS scene. It’s a beautifully written blog, serving up a tasty mix of news, insights and fresh perspectives on a sector he knows very well.

CSG September 2015 Presenter: Nyssa Hadgraft, Epidemiologist, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Monash University

Is prolonged sitting at work an OHS issue?

Presentation by: Nyssa Hadgraft, Epidemiologist, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Monash University

Presentation package now available (members only)

There is now evidence to suggest that long hours in a sedentary position increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular and other health problems. Our speaker at Central Safety Group's meeting on September 8,2015, Nyssa Hadgraft, is a member of a team called The Stand Up Australia Program of Research that is doing internationally-recognised research on the health impacts of too much sitting and interventions to reduce sitting time.
Nyssa spoke about the group’s findings and discussed recent workplace studies they have done. Findings include that office workers spend most of their day sitting (6+ hours per day) and lot of this sitting time is unbroken (30mins+).  While excessive sitting is detrimental even for those who exercise, prolonged standing is also an issue.
Nyssa outlined a number of strategies to reduce workplace sitting, including the provision of height-adjustable desks, but they have cost implications. Helpfully, all the other measures she suggested have no cost attached. The key take-home message is Stand Up – Sit Less –Move More.

The presenter:

Epidemiologist Nyssa Hadgraft is a postdoctoral research fellow in public health at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. She is a member of the team at Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute led by Dr David Dunstan doing world-recognised research on the health impacts of too much sitting.

Safety on a
Mass Scale
CSG August 2015 Presentation: Steve Goss, Sentry Business Resilience Solutions

Safety on a mass scale – managing risk and safety at epic events

Presentation by: Steve Goss, Sentry Business Resilience Solutions

Presentation package now available (members only)

How do you manage safety for a crowd of 500,000 out for a good night? Members heard how it is done from Steve Goss, the man behind safety, risk and emergency planning for the 2015 White Night festival in Melbourne’s CBD with his lunchtime presentation on August 11, 2015.
Following significant challenges experienced at the first White Night in 2013, where debrief comments included “from a crowd safety and risk management perspective, it is the worst event witnessed”, Steve was brought in to make radical improvements to the safety approach.
Steve explained that many of the 2103 problems were foreseeable and, when he joined the organisation, he tackled the main issues of communication and crowd control. He outlined crowd dynamics as well as how safety was improved through design. An installation risk assessment includes specifics for every item of plant, and he also developed a decision matrix for adverse weather conditions to use when considering cancelling events or specific activities.
Importantly, his system involves briefing and liaising with all relevant stakeholders such as security agencies, emergency services and transport and traffic management bodies.
The extensive planning and constant vigilance led to a very successful event in 2015 with the number of incidents significantly reduced in number and severity.

The presenter:

Originally a Senior Sergeant in the Victoria Police, Steve Goss then worked as a safety regulator in the upstream oil, gas and mining and quarrying industries, followed by senior executive roles in safety & risk management at both the Melbourne Racing Club and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation. Steve set up his company Sentry Business Resilience Solutions (Sentry) in 2009, and his clients include businesses, not-for-profit organisations, sporting bodies and local and State government agencies.

CSG July 2015 Presenter: Daniel Venditti, State HSE Advisor, Bunnings

Manual handling challenges in Bunnings retail operations

Presentation by: Daniel Venditti, State HSE Advisor, Bunnings

Presentation package now available (members only)

Daniel Venditti, State HSE Advisor with hardware giant Bunnings outlined the company’s approach to manual handling challenges and risks in a presentation to Central Safety Group on July 14, 2015. These included a wide and complex range of manual handling tasks, concrete flooring, racking up to 3 metres and big and bulky packages. Bunnings employees include many part-time and casual workers and a workforce with 25% aged over 50.
A large number of injuries centering on known hot spots led to the development of the BSafe (Bunnings Safe) program in 2004. The methodology involved a move away from the compliance approach to incorporating safety into the business.  Safety leadership training was provided, LTIFR was abolished and replaced by IFR, and staff were encouraged to report all injuries.  This resulted in a 30% increase in incident reporting and was followed by an increase in resources for safety as compared to injury management.
Daniel explained how further strategies evolved over the next 8 years as a result of workplace incidents and the current strategy aims to reduce complexity.  Ownership of the safety system has been assigned to the stores, which have monthly activities that must be completed and reported to Head Office.
Daniel also outlined their range of controls to address the fact that 50% of reported injuries were found to be related to manual handling activities.

The presenter:

Before joining the safety team at Bunnings, Daniel Venditti (who is also a VFL player with the Coburg Lions) worked in injury management and vocational rehabilitation. His background includes a degree in health and exercise science and postgraduate qualifications in OHS management.


Next Meeting


Safety Risks -
Human Factors

CSG May 2021 Zoom meeting - Speaker: David Trembearth, Safety Business Partner, Coles

Safety risks and understanding human factors

Presented by Dr Kate Branford, Senior Human Factors Specialist, V/Line

Tuesday 8 June 2021, noon

Safety risks and understanding human factors
Human Factors issues constitute a significant source of risk in many industries. Human error contributes to an estimated 60-80% of incidents, while other Human Factors issues also play a part in a large proportion of incidents.
Understanding human error, how it contributes to safety incidents and how it can be managed, will be the subject of a zoom talk by Dr Kate Branford at midday on 8 June.
Kate is the Senior Human Factors Specialist at V/Line, which operates Victoria’s regional public transport network, and has worked in this role for seven years. She will talk about what Human Factors is, how it relates to human error and how it can be applied in the workplace to help improve health and safety performance.
She says the rail industry attracted her due to its collaborative approach to safety and the many opportunities for improvement. She will give examples of these in her talk.

About the Speaker:

Dr Kate Branford studied at the ANU, majoring in Sociology, with a focus on industrial accidents. She wrote her Honours thesis on the role of blame in accident investigation and then completed an industry-based Doctorate in Human Factors with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Her supervisor was Professor Andrew Hopkins, who is internationally recognised for his ground-breaking work in industrial safety and accident analysis.
Before joining V/Line in 2014, Kate worked as a Human Factors consultant focusing on defence, aviation and nuclear power projects. At V/Line her role includes error management, incident investigation, Rail Resource Management and supporting Human Factors integration into rail projects and changes.

Date: Tuesday 8 June 2021
Time: 12:00pm to 1:00pm
How: Online via Zoom.
N.B. A video recording of the session will be available on the website exclusively for financial members.
Cost: Financial members* free. Others $10
[Individual membership fee for 2021: $75]
*If unsure of your membership status, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
RSVP: COB Monday 7 June, 2021.
The Zoom meeting link will be emailed upon confirmation of payment.
Online using our RSVP form
or phone the secretary T: (03) 9387 9768 Mobile 0417 040 252
or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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