Remote or Isolated Work Solutions

Technical Options

1.      Man Down App

http://mandownapp.com/

iTunes – $1.99

Android – $1.89

The ManDown App sends immediate alerts in case of an emergency or injury. Enter the contact information for your family, friends and colleagues – if you have an emergency, they’ll get notified via text, phone or e-mail.

Once the Mandown app is activated, it continuously monitors the phone’s movement. The default setting is that if the phone is motionless for 30 seconds, then a pre-Alarm warning will start. If the phone is not moved within another 30 seconds, then the Full Alarm mode is activated. In the Full Alarm mode the phone sends out a local, audible alarm. The phone will also send out a text, email and phone call to selected recipients. This message will also contain the GPS location of the person in distress.

2.      Safety app to keep an eye on lone workers – Free (iPhone only)

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/lone-worker-lite/id582132420?mt=8

An innovative iPhone app is helping organisations improve the safety of their workers out in the field.

The Lone Worker app was developed by iota, the commercial arm of South East Water, and was recently launched for free download on iTunes.

Lone Worker works by sending an SMS or email to colleagues, or an operations contact centre, if a worker is not moving or responding. It also sends GPS details of a worker’s last known mobile phone location to ensure they can be located quickly

3.      Click2BSure

http://click2bsure.com/C2personalsecurity.php

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/click2bsure-emergency-alert/id434081583?mt=8

Click2BSure Personal Security Alert is the fastest way to contact friends, family, security, and 000 during a crisis situation. With Click2BSure you can call, text, and email an alert message to all of your key contacts with the touch of a button.

4.      inReach

http://www.alwaysinreach.com.au/   ($399 + mobile plan)

The DeLorme inReach™ satellite communicator is the first affordable, two-way, satellite communications device ever. It’s about the size and weight of a smartphone, but much, much more durable. Choose inReach SE to send and receive messages to Mobile numbers, email addresses and social networks from the palm of your hand. Choose the original inReach to keep it simple – it floats too!

5.      SafeTCard

http://www.safetcard.com.au

100% Verified Audio or Visual Emergency Duress Alarms with discreet design as your I>D. Card holder, thus continuing to facilitate easy wear and discreet use whilst giving peace of mind to both the user and employer alike. The SafeTCard solution is the most efficient way for a lone-isolated remote and high risk worker to receive appropriate assistance in the event they suffer verbal abuse, attack or “man down” due to a trip, slip or fall.

Training material

Actsafe: Working Alone

http://youtu.be/Gqdi17YObkU

Public Course Dates 2015

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DRA Safety Specialists are a Registered Training Organisation who offer a range of Nationally Accredited Courses including Functioning as a Work Health & Safety Advisor (WHSA), Fire Safety Adviser (FSA), Work Health & Safety Representative as well as BSB41412 Certificate IV in Work Health & Safety and BSB51312 Diploma of Work Health & Safety.  DRA Safety Specialists also deliver and assess CPCCOHS1001A Work Safely in the Construction Industry (White Card).

DRA Safety Specialists offers a wide range of expert non-accredited training programs including legal responsibilities, hazardous chemicals management, risk management, fire safety and fire warden training, work at heights, confined space and asbestos awareness training.  We can develop and deliver individualised work health and safety training to address your specific business requirements.  Our highly experienced consultants are available to deliver customised training at your premise for groups of employees, or alternatively training is available on public courses held throughout the year.

To enquire about a public course or to inquire about how DRA Safety Specialists can tailor a training and development program specifically for your business,  please contact our office for more information on 07 5573 6199 or email: rtomanager@drasafety.com.au

Victorian WorkCover Authority

Are you aware that presentations from this year’s event are now available for download from the VWA Health and Safety Week website. You’ll also find a complete list of available presentations below

Understanding Australia’s Ageing Demographic and the Implications for Business View
The Challenges of Managing an Ageing Workforce View
Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence View
Manual Handling Basics View
Mentally Healthy Workplaces View
Managing Musculoskeletal Disorder Risks Associated with Handling Bariatric Clients View
Engaging Workers in Return to Work View
Leadership and Culture in Health and Safety View
A Practical Tool to Measure OHS Leading Indicators View
Agent’s Role in Supporting Return to Work View
One Second is All it Takes View
Integrated Approaches to Workers Health, Safety and Wellbeing View
Managing Asbestos in the Workplace View
Practical Plant safety from First Principles View
Inventing the Award-Winning SafePanel System View
Workplace Wellbeing Following an Injury View
Optimising Alertness and Workplace Performance through Fatigue Risk Management View
An Employer’s Perspective on Manual Handling View
CodeSafe Solution: Bridging Communication Barriers View
Best Practice in Risk Management View
The Health Benefits of Safe Return to Work View
Best Practice in Disability Services View
Understanding the Worker Injury Illness Experience View
Considering Safe Design When Purchasing Machinery View
Improving Return to Work Outcomes View
What Works (and Doesn’t Work) for Return to Work View
The Virtues of Engaging Health and Safety Representatives View
How Inspectors Can Help you Understand your Role and Responsibilities View

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

Changes to Comcare’s workers compensation and self-insurance eligibility laws have passed the House of Representatives and are now in the Senate

The proposed changes will see a significant streamlining of WHS obligations for businesses that operate in more than one of the country’s states or territories. As things stand under current laws, few organisations are able to satisfy the legislative requirements to obtain self-insurance under the Comcare scheme and coverage under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act.

If the SRC Bill becomes law the “competition” test will be abolished in favour of a new “national employer” test. This entails a corporation being required to meet obligations under workers’ compensation law in at least two Australian jurisdictions, being a self-insurer, or being a self-insured employer in at least two Australian jurisdictions. Multi-state employers which are able to satisfy this test will be eligible to self-insure under the Comcare scheme (subject to other financial thresholds and standards being met) and be covered by the Commonwealth WHS Act irrespective of the locality in which they are operating.

Under the bill, Comcare will no longer pay workers compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks away from an employer’s premises. Nor will it pay compensation for death or serious and permanent impairment if the person killed or injured engaged in serious and wilful misconduct.

The bill also removes the need for the Minister of Employment to declare a corporation’s eligibility to be granted a self-insurance licence. Corporations can go straight to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) to apply for the licence.

Let’s hope the Senate passes the legislation soon, but with the Senate currently rejecting everything, I won’t hold my breath.

Work in Isolation or in Remote Locations

Do you have workers who work alone or in isolated situations?  The WHS Regulations 2011 S48 require you to manage this identified risk, and although there are many methods available, one of the most effective is the SafeTCard. This device was demonstrated at a recent SIA meeting, and has recently undergone further refinement. To ensure you are kept up to date on the latest technology that may assist you with meeting your duty of care in this area of risk, go to www.mandownduressalarms.com.au to review their new products.

Recent Incident Alert! Brace yourself..

A school had an occurrence recently which they deemed as a notifiable dangerous incident  ( WHS ACT 2011 section  37 – A serious risk to a person’s health and safety emanating from the release from height of any plant, substance or thing ….) which they reported to Worksafe Queensland.  A bracing arm in a shade structure fell to the ground from a height of about two metres pivoting around an end that was still attached to a post.  Fortunately, the incident happened at a time when students were in class.  On investigation, the nut securing the bolt to the post and arm was missing.  This event is not a “one off” as we are aware of at least one other incident at one of our school clients where a brace fell and struck a student.  A review of both incidents indicates the possibility that in certain situations the wind across tight shade sails can make the whole structure vibrate and this vibration can in turn loosen fixings.

Action:

1. Ensure lock tight nuts are fitted throughout the structure and each nut is torque sealed to make inspection easy.
2. Ensure that the integrity of fittings on shade structures is included in your playground equipment checklist.
3. Ensure your playground equipment inspections are being completed weekly and recorded.

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Attempted murder in the workplace

A foreseeable and not insignificant risk?

A host employer’s duty of care tested.

This very recent case is a timely reminder of the extent of the duty of care owed by a host to its labour hire employees.

The New South Wales Supreme Court recently delivered a decision in the matter of Wright v Optus Administration Pty Limited*, awarding over $3.8 million in damages to an injured worker. The Court found that the host employer, Optus, breached its duty of care to the Plaintiff to take reasonable care in devising and instituting a system for the management of the behaviour of another employee, in order to safeguard the Plaintiff from any foreseeable and not insignificant risk of assault.

The Facts
The worker, Glen Wright, was employed under a labour hire arrangement undertaking call centre training with host employer, Optus. Nathaniel George was undertaking the same training course but was employed by a different labour hire agency.

On 15 March 2001 Mr George attempted to throw Mr Wright over a 4th floor balcony railing in an attempt to murder him. When his attempt was foiled by Mr Wright’s reaction to cling to the railing, Mr George started attacking Mr Wright, punching him in the face.

This incident was predicated by a series of events in the hours prior in which Mr George displayed incoherent and alarming behaviour.

The Duty of Care
While it was disputed by Optus, the Court found that Mr Wright was under the care, control and supervision of Optus. As a result, it was held the Optus owed Mr Wright a duty of care to:

“take reasonable care in establishing, maintaining and enforcing a safe system of work in the sense of safeguarding him from unreasonable risks in the methods by which the work was to be undertaken, extending to taking reasonable care to protect him from the criminal acts of others in the workplace.” (Campbell J at paragraph 77)

In the circumstances of this specific event, the duty was to devise and institute a system to deal with Mr George where there was a foreseeable and not insignificant risk that he would assault Mr Wright.

You may ask, “But how was the employer to know that Mr George would attempt to murder Mr Wright?”

The Court determined that Mr George’s behaviour led supervisors to form the view that he presented a risk to the personal safety of others. Mr George’s behaviour was observed by multiple Optus supervisors, who considered that he may be under the influence of drugs. The events were unfolding on a large balcony area on the 4th floor of the building. Mr George was unresponsive to questions asked of him. The Optus supervisors were apprehensive about leaving Mr George alone and one even ensured that he was accompanied to the balcony by another Optus supervisor who he considered would be able to physically capable of assisting him. Yet during this period of incoherence and aberrant behaviour, Mr George showed a continued interest in the whereabouts of Mr Wright.

Incorrectly, Optus supervisors deduced that Mr George and Mr Wright must be friends and that Mr Wright would be able to assist them in determining the cause, or managing the behaviour of, Mr George. Mr Wright said to an Optus supervisor that he did not really know Mr George and was not his friend. Yet Mr Wright was encouraged by an Optus supervisor to accompany them to the balcony where Mr George was pacing.

In effect, Optus put Mr Wright in a position where he was alone with Mr George after Mr George demonstrated aberrant behaviour over a period of time that alarmed Optus.

On these facts, the Court found that Optus exposed Mr Wright to a risk of harm that was foreseeable as a real possibility being neither far-fetched nor fanciful.

In considering whether the risk was “not insignificant”, the Court considered that had the Optus supervisor made reasonable enquiries he would have determined that there was no relationship between Mr George and Mr Wright. However, the Optus supervisor failed to make these enquiries and permitted Mr Wright to be introduced to Mr George’s presence on the balcony.

On a practical level, the Court considered that there was a reasonable system of management of the situation open to Optus. It was considered common sense that Optus should have escorted Mr George from the premises and/or called the Police.

Conclusion
This case clearly demonstrates that a host employer is not completely absolved of its duty of care because a labour hire employee commits a serious criminal act.  This case also illustrates that although a host employer may not be an employer of an injured labour hire employee, the duty of care imposed on a host employer is onerous, and analogous to the duty of care owed by an employer to an employee.  In this case, it was the absence of a system to manage the unusual behaviour of an employee that was the host employer’s undoing. Incidents in the workplace can occur as a result of a multitude of circumstances never contemplated by the host employer. It is not the position of the Court that an employer must contemplate every possible situation that might arise and have in place a policy or system to manage it. Instead, it was determined that a host employer must have in place systems to ensure that any event can be managed and employees working under there overall direction are not exposed to harm.

*Full citation: Wright by his tutor Wright v Optus Administration Pty Limited [2015] NSWSC 160

Copyright © 2015 Kaden Boriss Brisbane, All rights reserved

Article Authors – Kaden Boriss Brisbane

Hamish Broadbent                 Jennifer Davis                                   

Partner                                            Solicitor

E: hamish@kadenborissbrisbane.com.au                           E: jennifer@kadenborissbrisbane.com.au

Change in QDC – Are your contractors telling you the truth?

With any change in legislation there is a tendency by some contractors to “wave the change in legislation and new compliance stick” around to “frighten” a few extra dollars out of customers. There is also the opportunity to “cold” sell with mass mailings to let you know that they could help you comply.  The information is always very short on detail by design and sometimes there is even a “quote”.  Like all of these types of things be careful and ask chapter and verse of legislation etc. of a contractor you regularly deal with.

The truth is:

Yes there was a change in Australian Standard 1851 that is called up in legislation regarding the maintenance of fire safety installations.  The version is now “2012” rather than “2005”. For nearly everything a school would deal with there are no changes.  The changes were more about how the contractor goes about their testing etc.

For background to challenge statements for authenticity here is what  you need to know:

The legislation is the following reg from the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

 

50 Maintenance of prescribed fire safety installations—QDC, part MP6.1

(1) This section applies to a person carrying out maintenance of a prescribed fire safety installation.

(2) The person must carry out the maintenance of the installation in compliance with QDC, part MP6.1.

Maximum penalty—30 penalty units.

It calls up Queensland Development Code  which in turn establishes that AS1851 – 2012 is the standard by which fire installations are installed and maintain and because it is “called up” we have to comply. Now if you want to see what changes from AS1851 – 2005 to AS851 – 2012 have a look at the following link: 

http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/BuildingPlumbing/FireSafety/Pages/FireSafetyInstallations.aspx

Probably the best solution at this point is to turn to your Fire Safety Adviser since this is why there is the role and we have them trained!

They should be able to point you a schedule of when fire installations have to be maintained and by what standard.  Those who have DRA Safety Specialists train them should go to page 138 and following for the information in their course manual.

Be careful not to casually dismiss all suggestions of non-compliance as you may well be in breech.  Just be astute in your assessment of what is being put forward.

This text was courtesy of Mr Eric Wilson from LEQ and was endorsed by DRA Safety Specialists.

Dismissal of Safety Manager held up by Fairwork

The dismissal of a safety manager who accused his superior of bullying, but was in turn accused of unhelpful safety advice, has not been deemed unfair by Fairwork Australia.

By the time he was dismissed, the manager had himself come to the conclusion, though without accepting his conduct could be improved, that he no longer wished to be with the employer’s company.

Irregularities in the dismissal process, including gaps in procedural fairness, will not always lead to the conclusion that dismissal was unfair. The commission can give greater weight to the dismissed worker’s offending conduct.

[Full text of this case: Harvey v Egis Road Operation Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 2306 (7 April 2015)]

Legal Precedent – Personal Responsibility Applies

In a recent Supreme Court decision, Justice Martin dismissed a claim by a paraplegic man against a Council and a Real Estate Agent. The case demonstrates that even in tragic cases, personal responsibility applies and the TORT law system will not operate as a de facto disability insurance scheme.

Refer : Morris v Redland City Council & Anor