The Victorian Safety Authorities have expressed their satisfaction with the record low rate of workplace injuries over the 2012/2013 period. According to WorkSafe Victoria, ongoing improvements have helped to bring about the sound safety record.
According to the Chief Executive of WorkSafe, Denise Cosgrove WorkSafe together with employers and workers have worked to minimised workplace injuries and this concerted joined effort has yielded pleasing results
Ms Cosgrove was quoted as stating:
“The number of claims per million hours worked fell to 7.53 as Victorian workplaces continued to improve their safety performances. That is a fall of 6.6 per cent on the previous year and once again confirmed Victoria as the safest state in which to work,” Ms Cosgrove said.
“Strong scheme management delivered improved performance from insurance operations (PFIO) of $119 million, underpinned by an actuarial release of $179 million. Both figures reflect the ongoing health of the scheme.”
Cosgrove also went on to explain that the financial results experienced by the work safety authority were a clear indicator of the improved safety across the state’s worksites.
The construction industry is also experiencing a particularly good year when it comes to workplace health and safety, with no fatalities reported in the sector according to the last Notifiable Fatalities Report.
Despite these good reports, we cannot become relaxed with workplace health and safety especially as the year progresses and the number of construction projects taking place increases.
In addition to keeping the number of fatalities at zero, it is also important that we try to minimise the number construction workplace injuries. Although WorkSafe Victoria has reported a decline in workplace injury claims, injury rates in some parts of the country are still too high, particularly in the construction sector which is why we need to zone in the problem areas and address these so that no worker has to return home with an injury or not at all because of an incident at work.
Obviously the first step in ensuring a low rate of workplace injuries is ensuring that all workers have at least a basic understanding of the laws concerning workplace health and safety, the hazards presented by construction activities and the control measures favoured by the industry to overcome these hazards.
The White Card Course provides workers in the industry, despite the experience, trade or rank with this basic understanding. It covers in general the importance of workplace health and safety and ensures that workers are forewarned before they even begin work on a site. This basic knowledge is vital in order to stay safe on a construction site and even people whose job requires them to regularly visit construction sites like delivery drivers need to undergo this training – it is a mandatory federal requirement.
Go to our homepage to learn more about this course and how easy it is to register and complete online at your convenience.
As an employer in the construction sector ensuring that all workers including contract workers have completed General Construction Safety training, known as the White Card is not the end of your WHS responsibilities – you must also ensure that workers receive site specific safety training as well as any additional training necessary to undertake high risk tasks.
According to the law the responsibilities of an employer, big or small include, providing a safe and healthy workplace, instructing, training and supervising your employees to work safely and doing so in a way that is easy to understand. They also have a responsibility to adhere to construction industry OHS standards and guidelines, National Code of Practice/compliance codes, OHS and welfare acts and regulations, safety codes of practice.
Some of the most common causes of injury on worksites in this industry are slips, trips and falls from heights, electrical injuries and injuries involving heavy machinery.
Employers should begin by identifying the hazards and the risks involved. Once the risks have been identified, it should be determined what the likelihood of the injury occurring actually is.
It is important to identify the hazards by talking to workers as well as anticipating hazards based on the project and tasks to be undertaken. It is a legal requirement and is a very useful tool for management to develop safety procedures in consultation with workers. Many employers don’t consult employees enough about OHS issues.
Employers’ priority should be to eliminate the risks completely. By removing the risk its potential for harm is also removed, so this is obviously the preferred option. If elimination is not possible (as you will find is often the case), determine ways of controlling and minimising it.
This process of identifying and minimising risks will have to be conducted regularly to identify new hazards that may be present itself on site. The construction site is ever changing and reviewing your procedures needs to be done at each stage of the construction in order to ensure a low rate of workplace injuries are maintained.