SafetyFirst - February 2017


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  Newsletter  - February 2017

Inspection blitz targets falling objects at construction sites

WorkSafe inspectors will zone in on the risk of falling building materials and equipment at construction sites that can cause injury or death during a three-week blitz across Victoria.

The first of almost 1000 inspections of commercial, residential and industrial construction sites will begin next week to ensure builders are controlling the risk of falling objects.

According to WorkSafe statistics, more than 860 construction workers have been injured since 2010 by falling objects. Injuries are commonly caused by falling building materials such as bricks, tiles, concrete and timber.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said ensuring loose building materials and tools were secured at building sites could make the difference between life and death.

“Each year WorkSafe investigates serious injuries and countless near-misses involving falling objects at construction sites,” Ms Williams said.

“We know that even a small tool or a bolt falling from a building site can cause life-threatening injuries. That’s why every builder must assess their site throughout the day and identify materials or objects that could fall in or outside of the site boundaries.”

Ms Williams said materials placed close to the edge of an incomplete upper level or left unsecured posed a particularly high risk.

“Materials that are blown from structures by wind or tools and equipment knocked or dropped from ledges not only pose a risk to workers but the general public in the streets below,” Ms Williams said.

“Any object, no matter how small, can be deadly if it falls from a height so builders need to constantly assess the work being undertaken to ensure these kinds of materials are secured.”

Futher information available here.

Labour hire company convicted after backpacker scalped

A labour hire company that specialises in providing backpacker workers to the fruit packing industry was yesterday convicted and fined $60,000 over an incident in which a worker was scalped by a conveyer belt.

T&R Contracting Shepparton Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Shepparton Magistrates Court to one breach of the OHS Act 2004 for failing to provide a safe working environment by failing to provide instruction and training. It was also ordered to pay costs of $8091.

The incident took place in a packing shed in Shepparton run by Kalafatis Packing Pty Ltd which used two conveyers to deliver pears for distribution.

The court heard that workers were required to clean the conveyors while they were energised and moving.

On 7 November 2015, an Irish backpacker was assessing the underside of the second conveyor in order to scrub its surfaces when her hair became entangled in a rotating drive shaft and her scalp was torn from her head. She also had one of her ears torn off in the incident.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said the circumstances of the incident were appalling.

“All workers at this business were exposed to serious risks to their health and safety because a safe system of work was not in place. There was no requirement to isolate the conveyors from energy sources during the cleaning process and no training provided to workers.”

Ms Williams said there was a blatant risk of serious injury from entanglement, crushing or entrapment with both conveyors.

“This labour hire business engaged workers for this packing shed and left them exposed to risk of serious injury and death,” Ms Williams said. “They should have ensured the workers were provided with a safe working environment and appropriate training at the workplace and not just left it to chance.”

Further Information available here.


There have been 10 workplace fatalities reported by 10 February, compared to 11 at the same time last year.

The industries with the highest number of fatalities are:

Agriculture, forestry & fishing – 2

Transport, postal & warehousing – 6

Construction – 2

More at Safe Work Australia


Concrete delivery pipeline failures

This alert highlights the risk to employees and other persons from using poorly manufactured concrete delivery pipes and pipeline components.

Safe use of flammable refrigerants

This safety alert concerns Class 2.1 Flammable refrigerant gases and provides guidance to occupiers of premises on how to control the risk of fire and explosion from refrigeration and air-conditioning systems containing flammable refrigerants.

Collapse of floating roof in storage tank

This Alert highlights the risks associated with maintenance work in a confined space, such as a storage tank that has an internal floating roof, and suggests control measures to address these risks.

Equipment on concrete agitator trucks

This alert highlights the risk of injury when storing equipment beneath the rotating mixer drum of concrete agitator trucks.

WHS Online Course – Enrolments closing soon

A reminder that registration are still open for your staff to enrol in the online Certificate IV in Workplace Health and Safety course. This course has been very popular with GTO staff in the past. The course is online and self paced with RMIT supporting students through their assessment activities.

Course Structure

Core Units of Competency (UOC) Elective Units of Competency

BSBWHS402 – Assist with compliance with WHS laws


BSBRSK401A – Identify risk and apply risk management processes


BSBWHS403 – Contribute to implementing and maintaining WHS consultation and participation processes


BSBWHS407 – Assist with claims management, rehabilitation and return-to-work programs


BSBWHS404 – Contribute to WHS hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control


PUAWER002B – Ensure workplace emergency prevention procedures, systems and processes are implemented


BSBWHS405 Contribute to implementing and maintaining WHS management systems


BSBRES401 – Analyse and present research information


BSBWHS406 Assist with responding to incidents


BSBWRT401 – Write complex documents


Worksafe Victoria – Supporting young workers


A reminder that Worksafe Victoria have a number of free resources available to support employers and newly commence young workers improve their safety awareness and workplace safety obligations.

For further information please click here.

Worksafe Victoria – training checklist for young workers

SafetyFirst - Ahead of the Action

Safety First FlyerYour own branded learning management system not only benefits your apprentices and trainees, it also benefits you as a business. You need not worry about putting your resources out of play for a day or two just to conduct the program. With SafetyFirst's online safety induction training, you'll enjoy benefits such as:

  • Assist in meeting compliance - designed as tools to assist managers and supervisors to meet their Work Health and Safety obligations
  • Do it anytime - The training course is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Interactive and engaging - easy to use by various learners, entertaining content for a more enjoyable learning experience
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Consistency - ability to maintain a particular standard with staff WHS training
  • Results – immediate results and feedback that identify further training needs

SafetyFirst can assist you in creating a safe work environment for all your new employees, apprentices and trainees.

A free trial of the material can be found here -

Learn more about SafetyFirst

S1logoSafetyFirst is an initiative of the  Group Training Association of Victoria. Visit our site to keep up to date with the latest Health and Safety news Australia wide.



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