Welcome to the November 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:
- Incident, Injury and Hazard Reporting
- Local Safe Work Procedure
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 email us. It is quicker for you to do it now and the system will send an email directly to the new user. The Access Online Request form will be removed in two weeks and has been replaced with a Green Toggle button on the Action Managers Page which will direct you to the Administration Section to create the new user.
There is now no need to use the request online access request form. Time efficiency has been achieved by allowing you to add your own user rather than request CHD Partners to complete this task for you.
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.
$1 million payout awarded to injured senior employee
NES DEMIR, FCW LAWYERS
A senior employee – well-trained in health and safety – has been awarded over $1 million in damages for a back injury caused by boxes stored negligently under his desk.
In Sheppard v Qantas Defence Service Ptv Ltd (2018), David Sheppard was employed by Qantas Defence Service Pty Ltd [Qantas) as an Aircraft Engineer. He was asked by his team leader to try to locate documents in the archived material. After failing to find the documents in the archived material, Mr Sheppard decided to search inside boxes stacked underneath his desk. While pulling one of the boxes out, another fell on his arm causing him to jar his back and injure his neck, arm and leg. He commenced proceedings in the NSW District Court seeking damages for Qantas’ negligence.
Qantas argued that it could rely on Mr Sheppard performing his tasks in a sensible manner due to his senior position and extensive workplace health and safety training. It further contended that Mr Sheppard was contributorily negligent for failing to reach for the boxes from the floor.
Judge Strathdee found Qantas negligently failed to take reasonable care for the safety of its employees. There was a foreseeable risk of injury stemming from the boxes being stacked under his desk. Even though this risk was minimal, it could easily have been remedied or guarded against by stacking the boxes beside the desk or with the archived material.
Further, Judge Strathdee found that Mr Sheppard was not contributorily negligent as his training did not include how to remove boxes stacked under a desk in a safe manner. Regardless, there was no safe manner to remove the boxes other than to dismantle the desk.
Qantas was ordered to pay Mr Sheppard $1,174,974 compensation for past economic loss and future loss of earning capacity.
This case highlights the importance of having an adequate safety system in place. Without a good safety system, your employees are exposed to risks of injury despite how senior or well trained in health and safety they may be. It is also important to have a dedicated health and safety training representative to recognise and address risks before they manifest into injuries.
Portner Press Health and Safety Handbook © 2018
Reporting and Record keeping
Keeping records of the risk management process demonstrates potential compliance with the WHS Act and Regulations.
It also helps when undertaking subsequent risk assessments. Keeping records of the risk management process has the following benefits. It:
- allows you to demonstrate how decisions about controlling risks were made
- assists in targeting training at key hazards
- provides a basis for preparing safe work procedures
- allows you to more easily review risks following any changes to legislation or business activities
- demonstrates to others (regulators, investors, shareholders, customers) that work health and safety risks are being managed.
The detail and extent of recording will depend on the size of your workplace and the potential for major work health and safety issues.
It is useful to keep information on:
- the identified hazards, assessed risks and chosen control measures (including any hazard checklists, worksheets and assessment tools used in working through the risk management process)
- how and when the control measures were implemented, monitored and reviewed
- who you consulted with
- relevant training records
- any plans for changes.
There are specific record-keeping requirements in the WHS Regulations for some hazards, such as hazardous chemicals. If such hazards have been identified at your workplace, you must keep the relevant records for the time specified.
You should ensure that everyone in your workplace is aware of record-keeping requirements, including which records are accessible and where they are kept.
You must notify your regulator (WorkSafe NSW if you are in NSW on 13 10 50) if there’s a death, a serious injury or illness or a dangerous incident and notify your insurer within 48 hours of becoming aware a worker has been injured.
What is a notifiable incident?
A “notifiable incident” means:
- the death of a person, or
- serious injury or illness of a person, or
- dangerous incident.
Serious Injury or Illness
Serious Injury or Illness includes:
- Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
- Immediate treatment for the amputation of any part of the body
- Immediate treatment for a serious head injury
- Immediate treatment for a serious eye injury
- Immediate treatment for a serious burn
Notification is also required of any incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:
- an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
- an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
- an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
- an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
- electric shock. (Examples of electrical shock that are not notifiable)
A full list of requirements is available on the WorkSafe website.
Register of injuries
You must keep a register to record any injuries suffered by workers regardless of whether there has been a claim.
Supervision – Safety Walk
Our workforce is diverse, made up of people of different ages and cultures, with different skills and experience, who work under different employment arrangements. It is important that work health and safety strategies take this diversity into account.
If you’re an employer, this includes providing the appropriate level of information, induction, training and supervision for your workers and talking with them on work health and safety.
A safety walk is undertaken to observe the safe and unsafe practices of safe operating in the workplace. A safety walk provides evidence that supervisors or senior staff are observing workers operating in the work place and are supervised.
This process is not about conducting an inspection of the physical environment. Where possible try and observe and note a safe work practice first. Keep each safety walk focused on a single task and complete another safety walk for each task or job.
Monitoring Monthly Performance
One way to assist you show evidence of due diligence is to monitor what is going on in the workplace. To complete a monthly performance report shows evidence that you are monitoring incidents and activity in the workplace and bench marking it against previous months.
The WHS report can be completed by the manager or supervisor of each area in your business or just one report depending on the size of your business.
This form can be completed after the last business day of each month and then reviewed.
Click here to complete your simple end of month report.
Workplace Changes/Review Checklist
A way to prove due diligence is to review what is changing in the workplace and determine if any action should have been taken or is required to address safety issues. The items you should be reviewing are:
- Chemicals – New or obsolete requiring update of Hazardous Chemical Register
- Plant or Equipment New or removed from service
- New Activity -Task, role or function
- Incident or Hazard – Reported or identified. Provide report numbers for reference. Check that all reports have been finalised.
- Staff Changes – New roles, contractors or services
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.
Click here to book your 30 minutes free Consultation
This Month’s Tasks
This month is simply one standard operating procedure and one safe work procedures:
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.