Welcome to the December edition of the Monthly Focus. Please find below the key areas we hope to help you understand.
This Month’s Focus
This month’s focus is on the following areas:
- Drug and Alcohol
- Christmas Parties
- Sun Safety
Additional Reminder to Creating New Users in CIRT
At the request by several clients you can now create your own user in CIRT and don’t have to request CHD Partners to complete this task for you.
The Access Online Request form will be removed two weeks and will be replaced with a Green Toggle button on the Action Managers Page which will direct you to the Administration Section to create the new user.
To create a new user, a new tab has been added next to the training tab at the top of the page if you have Create User Account security access.
Simply click on the “Administration” tab and then select “Create User Account.”
Fill in the required fields then click on the “Create Account” to proceed.
Manager User Accounts
The Manage User Accounts function has also been released under the same drop-down tab.
The Manager User function allows you to change details, team, supervisor, role and turn off access.
Drug and Alcohol
Every business should have an up to date Drug and Alcohol Policy to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers. This policy will also prevent and reduce the harm associated with workers being impaired by drugs or alcohol in the workplace.
It is the responsibility of all mangers to ensure the guidelines set out in the drug and alcohol policy are enforced throughout the entire year. Managers have the power when they reasonably suspected someone to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol to:
- Direct workers away from the work area.
- Ask workers to see a medical practitioner nominated by the employer.
- Arrange for onsite testing for workers.
- Arrange for transport home for any worker under the influence.
- Counsel workers who are found to be in breach of these guidelines.
- Authorise appropriate assistance for a worker whose work performance is affected by drugs or alcohol.
It is the responsibility of a worker to comply with the guidelines set out in the drug and alcohol policy. It is important to note that workers must:
- Inform the company and request assistance if they are taking prescribed medication which may affect their work; or
- Have an addiction that is likely to adversely affect their work performance.
What to do if you suspect a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Under no circumstances should a worker be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during working hours. It is their responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves and others by carrying out their duties in a safe manner.
If you or another fellow worker suspect an individual is working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol you should immediately report this situation to their manager or a person of authority within the business.
Workers with prescribed medication
Workers which have had medication prescribed to them should check with their doctors before conducting work. They must confirm whether the use of the drug will affect performance and place themselves and others in danger. This is particularly important if it is likely to impact their ability to operate machinery or a motor vehicle.
If a worker has been told by their doctor that their medication is likely to affect their performance, it is crucial to themselves and the safe of others around them that they report this to their relevant managers as soon as possible.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
It is important for both the employer and employees to be aware that the business can undertake random alcohol and drug testing. A test can also be conducted if a fellow employee has reasonable suspicion that a worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs during work hours.
The business must ensure the worker agrees that they may be suspended during the course of any testing period. They also need to agree to follow a direction from the employer to undergo testing in the form of urine, saliva, breath, blood sample and other reasonable forms of testing as determined by the employer
Workers must obey statutory limits for blood alcohol levels while driving any company vehicle or any vehicle for work-related purposes. During approved functions a modest consumption of alcohol is acceptable however, workers are responsible for the amount in which they choose to consume during the function.
Coming into December a vast majority of businesses will choose to host a Christmas function for their workers and perhaps clients. Hosting these functions can place enormous risks on the business in the case someone is injured or damage to property occurs.
If your company chooses to host a Christmas function it is extremely important that the following steps are followed:
Before the Function
- Send an email, or pin to the notice board, a reminder to staff of EEO and WHS policies and behavioural responsibilities.
- Clearly outline to staff that it is a work function.
- Don’t discriminate, use partners on the invitations.
- Remind staff that Kris Kringle/Secret Santa gifts should not be offensive or that of a sexual nature.
- Designate some managers to stay sober in order to monitor the party to ensure any issues are promptly and properly addressed.
- Inspect the venue for possible hazards like slips and trips and make potential risk areas out of bounds.
- Suggest a dress code for the party that keeps things professional.
- Clearly define a start and finish time.
- Put a limit on the bar tab or simply do not provide one.
- Obtain information concerning employee food allergies and cater accordingly.
- Arrange for designated drivers, a minibus or cabs to take staff home.
During the Function
- Alcohol, if served, should be done responsibly. A voucher system may be a useful way to limit alcohol consumption.
- Have a bartender dispense the alcoholic drinks. Instruct them as to when to limit alcoholic service.
- Sufficient food should be served with alcohol.
- Have plentiful supply of low alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages available.
- Buffets present a particularly high risk of food poisoning from foods such as cooked meats, eggs, mayonnaise and cooked rice. It is recommended that food should not be left out at room temperature for more than 90 minutes and stored below 5°C.
- Don’t hang mistletoe. An innocent kiss may turn into a festive fling which could have repercussions in the workplace.
After the Function
- Ensure staff have appropriate travel arrangements in place prior to the party to ensure they can get home safely.
- Make a mini-bus or cab charge vouchers available to your staff, particularly those who have been drinking.
- Inform staff that if they become unwell at the party and are not able to safely use public transport, they should contact their manager to arrange alternative means of safe transport.
- If an occasion occurs where a staff member has had too much to drink, or too late a night, and who needs to drive or operate machinery the next day give them either time-off or alternative work until they are fit to resume their normal tasks.
Source: Charisse Gray, Senior business writer, NSW Business Chamber.
It is important that workers understand that in certain situations the company they are employed by will support them via referral to treatment programs if the performance and well being has been adversely affected by drugs or alcohol use. Alcoholism and drug addiction are treatable illnesses.
If you are, or have a worker whom, has difficultly with drugs or alcohol use which could be affecting their well being, there are help services which provide specialised support for such cases. Examples of these services are provided below.
Phone: 1300 222 222
Phone: 1800 422 599
Family Drug Helpline
Phone: 1300 368 186
Breach of Company Policy
In the circumstance that a worker is found to have breached or is reasonably suspected to have breached their companies’ drug and alcohol policy they will be given an opportunity to explain their actions. If the explanation given be seen as not satisfactory the breach can be considered as misconduct. Disciplinary actions for breaching the policy can be given up to and including dismissal.
In the instance a company makes the decision to refer the worker to a treatment program, the company may, at its discretion, treat the absence as part of the worker’s paid leave entitlements / leave without pay. It is important to note that the company still reserves the right to terminate employment if the treatment is not undertaken or is unsuccessful.
Working outdoors exposes you to up to 10 times more UV radiation than indoor workers. If you regularly work outdoors protection is recommended all year round, regardless of UV level. Both employers and workers share a ‘duty of care’ to reduce workplace exposure to UV radiation.
Why Should You Care?
More than 2000 Australians die from skin cancer every year, but most skin cancers can be prevented. To put this into perspective, more people die from skin cancer than on our roads each year.
Who is at Risk of getting Skin Cancer?
Almost all (95%) skin cancers are caused by UV damage. Anyone can get skin cancer, but your risk is higher if you:
- Work outdoors
- Have fair skin that burns easily
- Have many moles on your skin
- Have a history of bad sunburn
- Have had a skin cancer already or have a family history of skin cancer
- Spend a lot of time outdoors, unprotected
- Suntan, use/have used solarium’s
Reduce the Risk
How could you reduce your exposure to UV radiation while working outdoors?
To reduce risk wherever possible:
- Work under shade
- Move the job indoors
- Plan work so that outdoor tasks are scheduled earlier in the morning or later in the day
- Take breaks indoors or in the shade
- Use sun-protective PPE
- Move away from or modify reflective surfaces such as water, concrete, sand, glass, roofing iron and snow
- Make sure vehicles have tinted windows
Personal Protective Equipment
Slip on a long-sleeved shirt with collar and trousers ideally made from material with an ultraviolet protection factors (UPF) of 50+.
Slop on broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every two hours.
Slap on a hat that shades the face, head, ears and neck. It should be broad-brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style (caps do not protect your neck and ears). Wear attachable brims and neck flaps when wearing a hard hat.
Seek shade, particularly when you take breaks.
Slide on wrap-around sunglasses that are close fitting and that meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067 – Category 2, 3 or 4 or safety glasses that meet AS/NZS 1337.1.
CIRT can provide you with standard forms and checklists to report and record incidents, hazards and other requirements. CIRT can also be tailored to suit specific client’s requirements.
This Month’s Tasks
This month is simply one policy:
All staff need to do is complete the following steps just like doing the induction.
Consultation and Toolbox Talk
Supervisors are tasked with completing the following toolbox which is in consultation and toolboxes and in your Action: Managers Tasks
Each month we would like to encourage our customers to give us feedback on our service or CIRT.
We have now added a customer survey on bottom of the Compliance home front page.
Feel free to comment.