The first quarter of 2021 is almost over and we already have some popular safety articles. For this article, we summarise their key points and link back to the original so that you can quickly see what interests you most and read more.
1. Managing Your Contractors’ Safety
Contractor safety is now more than ever on the radar for many companies because this type of working arrangement makes up 10% of the Australian workforce. This article was our most popular safety article this year and it’s no wonder because managing contractor safety is often a difficult task. The problem is contractors bring with them varying degrees of occupational health and safety knowledge, training and experience.
A strong contractor safety programme is one that prequalifies contractors before they are hired and monitors and manages their ongoing safety performance. This can help to prevent workplace injuries, protect your corporate reputation, support compliance with government regulations, and avoid hefty fines and jail terms associated with violations.
See our article, How Can You Best Manage Contractor Safety?
2. Working with Moving Plant or Parts
Plant and machinery are present in most workplaces and working with moving plant or parts create exposure to the risk of injuries. The hazards associated with moving parts of machinery include the risk of crushing, shearing, entangling, trapping, hitting or abrading, or the uncontrolled release of pressure. To successfully identify these hazards requires knowledge of how kinetic and potential energy and the interface between people and machinery that causes a loss of control of the energy.
Our second most popular safety article for the year draws on the safety hierarchy of controls to develop ways to protect people when working with moving plant and presents some implications for health and safety practitioners.
On the Tap into Safety online and mobile-friendly training platform, there is a comprehensive course that trains on Isolating Energy Sources and a short course that refreshes on Personal Locks and Safety Tags.
See our article, Hazards When Working With Moving Plant.
3. Controlling Risk to Prevent Workplace Injuries
Controlling risk to prevent work-related fatalities, injuries, diseases and ill-health is the core role of the safety professional when they are ‘officers’. Legislation governs the duty to control workplace risk and looks for organisations to do more than just compliance activities. This topic is in one of our most popular safety articles and it summarises several principles including requisite variety, the hierarchy of controls, time-sequence approaches, barriers and defences, the precautionary principle and the socio-technical systems approach to controlling risk.
The law does not require a risk-free work environment where accidents never happen, but instead requires employers to take such steps as are practicable to provide and maintain a safe working environment. In the article, we also offer control strategies that health and safety professionals can use to decrease the probability or likelihood that hazards become uncontrolled.
See our article, Preventing Workplace Injuries and Controlling Risk.
4. The Moral Agent Role of the Safety Professional
Another one of our most popular safety articles for 2021 looks at the requirement of health and safety professionals to draw on their ethics to make life-threatening decisions to act as ‘moral’ agents in their role. This is a particularly difficult task given they are bound by legal obligations to ensure a safe workplace and eliminate risk as far as reasonably practicable and at the same time support their company to ensure productivity and profit.
And as such, they need to behave ethically, morally and professionally. Each day their personal ethics intersect with business ethics that encompass the moral rules that govern how the company operates. Health and Safety professionals need to navigate issues with their employer, their fellow workers, legal institutions (courts), insurers, regulators and the community. They must deal with competence, and conflicts of interest, and adhere to honesty, respect and other values. Also, they must have the courage to speak up when ethics are compromised.
This article looks at the legal obligations of the Health and Safety professional, how they may act as a moral agent and the obstacles to ethical-decision-making. We offer nine areas to consider when speaking up about health and safety concerns to keep the discussion constructive.
See our article, Do OHS Professionals Act As Moral Agents?
5. Occupational Noise Hazards
For decades now we have understood the health impacts of noise and the long-term damage to our hearing. Another of our most popular safety articles looks at key concepts and advice to help you manage noise hazards in your workplace. We also provide a basic understanding of acoustics and the factors that impact hearing loss and health together with the principles of noise measurement and control.
Understanding and controlling noise in your workplace is important when between 28% and 32% of Australian workers are likely to work in an environment where they are exposed to non-trivial [>84dB(A)] loud noise generated during their work.
There is a requirement for workplaces to try to reduce noise levels to below 85 decibels if it occurs over an 8-hour period. Critically, you are not to expose your employees to a noise level above 140 decibels. However, hearing damage is related to the intensity of the sound, the nature of the sound (whether it’s continuous or intermittent) and the duration of the noise exposure. So long term exposure to low-level noise can also create permanent hearing loss.
See our short course, Noise Hazards Management.
See our article, Understanding Occupational Noise Hazards.
How Can the Tap into Safety Training Platform Help?
Here are some FAQ’s about the Tap into Safety Training Platform that supports our most popular safety articles with courses to cover many of these topics.
Q: How long has the Training Platform been available?
A: We formed in June 2014 and since then we have over 1000 businesses using our courses.
Q: How has the platform grown in the past 12 months?
A: There are now 90+ training courses for safety, mental health, leaders, managers and supervisors. All have a consistent training flow, in-built assessment, certificate of completion and comprehensive GAP reporting that shows you where to focus and provides a comprehensive audit trail.
Q: Can you customise your training content for our company’s needs?
A: We can customise any of our courses or build a new one for you. This includes adding your branding or the safety language that you use. Editing is quick and simple and we can build a new course in a week. Ask us what’s coming up in the next few months; we may have just what you’re looking for!
Q: Tell me about your continuous improvement and quality control processes.
A. All training content is regularly reviewed to ensure it meets WHS requirements. The Platform is also continually undergoing maintenance with improvements for administrators and trainees.
Q: How can we purchase credits for the platform?
A: You can get started with 20 credits which cost AUD$240. You can pay by credit card or we can invoice and link to your PO. We use Xero accounting to provide invoices for credit card purchases. Invoices are payable within 30 days.
Q: Is there an option for an annual unlimited use plan?
A. For organisations that want unlimited use of the Platform we offer an annual plan. This means unlimited use of everything on the Platform, including new content and the GAP analysis reporting. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about the low fee.