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Winning Safety has a new valued member to its ever growing team. We would like to welcome David Doyle to Winning Safety and encourage everyone to also welcome him to the team.
David brings a strong working knowledge of risk management and occupational health and safety together with experience implementing governance frameworks in senior executive positions. Effective risk management is more than a well written policy, it is about making sure the risk is understood and practical steps are being taken to eliminate or reduce that risk.
With academic qualifications in law (Bachelor of Laws), computing (Bachelor of Information Technology) and occupational health and safety (Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety), David is able to cover a broad range of topics. David has built on these academic qualification and has been at the leading edge of providing quality advice as part of a senior executive team for the implementation of practical and valuable solutions. David has been heavily involved in the implementation of solutions at all levels of the organisation to achieve cost effective solutions to compliance. During his career he has had to implement a large number of governance initiatives throughout an organisation. Initiatives varied from impact on the organisation and the levels of the organisation affected to ensure a consistent approach of communicating the change was a key contributor to success. David is able to look at the day to day issues affecting an organisation but also consider it within the governance framework for that organisation.
If you feel David or Winning Safety could be of assistance to you, please contact us for more information.
Homeowners and tradespeople are urged to turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard before heading up into the ceiling space.
There are serious electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces. Whether you are a homeowner or a tradie, there is one simple thing you can do to make it safer before you go up there - turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard.
Get your free brochure containing warning stickers and place them on your home's ceiling space manhole and switchboard.
Brochures will be distributed throughout major metropolitan newspapers, handed to homeowners by electricians and on display at home hardware stores.
Have you heard about the new changes to Workcover in Queensland? As a part of the Queensland Governments current change and restructure, there are a number of legislative changes which will affect us all in Queensland. The biggest change to the workplace at the moment is the changes to the Worker Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. These changes are now detailed in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (“Amending Act”)
Queensland Parliament passed the Amending Act which includes significant changes to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (“Act”), together with other amendments to the Civil Liability Act 2003, the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002, and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2003.
The Amending Act makes numerous significant changes to the Act including the following:
1. Section 237 of the Act has been amended to limit the entitlement to claim damages to the following:
· a worker who has received a notice of assessment from the insurer for the injury and the estimated Degree of Permanent Impairment (assessed under the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment under section 183 of the Act) is more than 5%; or
· a worker who has a terminal condition; or
· a dependant of the deceased worker, if the injury results in the worker’s death.
2. Section 302 of the Act has been amended to provide that limitation periods can be altered depending on when the injury has been “assessed” and Notices of Assessment have issued.
3. For a psychiatric or psychological disorder to be a compensable injury, or for there to be an entitlement to damages for such an injury at common law, employment must be “the major significant contributing factor to the injury” (refer section 32(1)(b) of the Act).
4. There is now an obligation on workers to disclose pre-existing injuries or medical conditions upon the written request of a prospective employer under section 571B of the Act. If a worker provides false or misleading information about a pre-existing injury then the worker may not be entitled to compensation or damages for any aggravation of that pre-existing injury or condition (see section 571C of the Act).
Parts of the Amending Act will take effect from 15 October 2013 (including points 1 and 2 above). Importantly, this includes section 678 of the Act which is a transitional provision providing that any injury suffered prior to 15 October 2013 will be assessed according to the pre-amended Act.
Other parts of the Amending Act will take effect upon assent (including points 3 and 4).
These changes will have significant impact upon WorkCover claims.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) is reminding budget accommodation operators about the seriousness of adhering to fire safety regulations, following a decision in the Caboolture Magistrate’s Court yesterday to hand down a hefty fine and suspended prison sentence to a businessman for non-compliance.
QFRS was pleased with the substantial penalties, totalling more than $650,000, that the court had fined the offender and the company
The businessman was also sentenced in respect of a number of other charges related to those premises not being fitted with fire safety installations required under Queensland law for budget accommodation buildings.
The Magistrate imposed fines totalling $180,000 and four months imprisonment
Budget accommodation can be identified generally as a boarding house, hostel or share house for six or more unrelated people who have access to shared bathroom or sanitary facilities.
QFRS said the outcome today served as a warning to people operating budget accommodation facilities that they have the lives of others in their hands and cannot ignore strict fire safety legislation.
“The QFRS makes no apologies for enforcing regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of all Queenslanders, as well as interstate and overseas visitors,”
The QFRS has reminded accommodation providers of the dangers associated with non-compliance and highlighted the tragic Childers Backpackers Hostel fire as an example.
“In Childers, 15 people tragically lost their lives as a result of overcrowding and un-maintained fire safety systems,”
“We are now seeing a trend towards people using residential properties in suburban streets, rather than traditional style boarding houses, as budget accommodation to maintain anonymity and avoid detection and prosecution.
“This is life-risking behaviour and we urge any cases to be reported to the QFRS or local council immediately.”
Between 1 January, 2007 to 15 February, 2013 the QFRS has completed 2855 inspections at 1453 Budget Accommodation Buildings across the State.
These inspections have resulted in the QFRS:
• Issuing 773 requisitions by the Commissioner under s69 of the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 (the Act), to reduce occupancy numbers to 5 or below;
• Issuing 209 Notices by the Commissioner under s104G of the Act to upgrade existing fire safety;
• Issuing 176 Infringement Notices for fire safety breaches in Budget Accommodation Buildings; and
• Completing 58 successful prosecutions for Budget Accommodation Building offences.
In the USA it has been evaluated the real cost of fire to be $11.7 billion per year. This cost includes the cost of fire services, construction and the economic impact of fires.
In Australia, the economic losses from fire are estimated to be 1.3% of Gross Domestic Product of Australia (GDP) or $1.7 billion dollars annually.
There has been much discussion about the economic and social cost of a fire in commercial property. Many business’s fail to recover from fire incidents due to lost production, loss of market share and loss of reputation.
It is critical and legislated that you have the correct equipment installed and maintained to minimize the impact of a fire incident in your business and increase the safety of your staff. In Queensland we endure the highest standard of fire safety which has come from the greatest fire tragedy Australia has ever experienced. Emergency preparation is not only a legal requirement it makes good sense.
If you are not sure if you are compliant or have the appropriate level of protection for your business you can get a free building fire safety health check. This will ensure your compliance and give you piece of mind.
For For more information contact us on 0499 499 433 or visit www.winningsafety.com
With temperatures expected to hit 39 in Melbourne and the 40s in many regional areas today, WorkSafe is warning people to be aware of the dangers of heat exposure.
WorkSafe Health and Safety general manager for operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, urged business operators and supervisors to ensure planning was in place for workers exposed to high temperatures.
“Workplace health and safety laws require the working environment to besafe and without risks to health and safety, including illness from working in heat,” she said.
“There are clear safety issues with people working outdoors, but many people who work indoors or in confined spaces are also at risk from indirect heat or fatigue.”
Ms Sturzenegger said everyone had to play their part to ensure no one was put at risk.
“If there is a risk of a heat-related illness it must be controlled,” she said.
“The nature of the work and the features of the workplace have to be considered when determining how to manage workers in extreme heat.
“Access to water is essential and rest breaks may have to be increased.
“Some workers will need shelter and protective clothing to keep the sun off them, while regular communication is needed with people working on their own, particularly if they work in direct sun.
“Employers, supervisors and workers have to determine how their particular issues are to be minimised and they need to ensure people don’t put themselves at risk.
“Depending on the circumstances, some work may have to be rescheduled, or it may have to be modified.”
Information on working in the heat can be found by visiting: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au
Ways to preventing heat illness:
• Reschedule work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day
• Wear light clothing that still provides adequate protection
• Reduce the time spent doing hot tasks (eg job rotation)
• Arrange for more workers to do the job
• Provide extra rest breaks in a cool area
• Use mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion
• Provide cool drinking water near the work site
• Provide workers with information, instruction and training on recognising heat-related illness and on first aid. Adequate supervision of workers is also required
• Provide first aid facilities and access to medical help
North Queensland authorities are warning residents not to be complacent about preparing for severe weather, despite the late start to the wet season.
The weather bureau says a low pressure system in the Coral Sea could develop into a cyclone next week but it is unlikely it will cross the Queensland coast.
It will be called Cyclone Oswald if it forms.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill says it is important new residents ensure they are ready ahead of the monsoon season.
"We need people to be aware that they are living in the tropics, particularly the new people who have moved up here in the last few weeks after Christmas," she said.
"There's procedures that they can put in place to ensure that if a cyclone was to form they would be adequately prepared to deal with the situation."
A 38-year-old man has died after falling ill at an industrial site on the outskirts of Roma, in Queensland's southern inland.
An ambulance was called to treat the man at the site in Mooga about 8:00pm (AEST).
He had a heart attack on the way to hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.
Authorities are investigating if the man was suffering from heat stroke.
Investigations are continuing into a fatal house fire on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
A man in his sixties was the only person in the house at Wurtulla when the fire broke out just before midday on the 13th of January.
Considerations for prevention:
On 23 February 2011, Coroner AM Hennessy handed down the finding of an inquest into the deaths of three mine workers who were fatally injured in motor vehicle accidents on the journey home from mine sites where driver fatigue was a contributing causal factor.
One of the reasons why workers who gave evidence at the Inquest indicated they did not rest before travelling home was that there was some concern in the industry that they would not be covered by appropriate workers' compensation insurance if there was a substantial deviation in their journey, for instance to have a sleep at a location separate to the mine site prior to commencing their drive to their home base.
The Coroner subsequently issued the following recommendation:
The Department of Industrial Relations and Q-COMP should review the current rules for journey claims to ensure clarity and cover for fatigue-reducing rest breaks before commuting on public roads, to make it clear that a worker who is complying with a Fatigue Management Policy which comes under the Health and Safety management system of the mine is covered in the event of a journey claim.
Under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 ('Act'), workers are covered in the event they suffer an injury on a journey between their home and place of employment.
An exception exists where the injury occurs during or after a substantial delay, substantial interruption, or substantial deviation in the journey.
When determining whether a delay, interruption or deviation is 'substantial' regard is had to:
- the reason for the delay
- the actual or estimated period of time for the journey in relation to the actual or estimated period of time for the delay, interruption or deviation
- for a deviation, the distance travelled for the journey in relation to the distance travelled for the deviation.
Common law authority1 illustrates that even if there is a substantial interruption, deviation or delay the claim will still be accepted as a journey claim if the reason for the delay, interruption or deviation is directly connected with the worker's employment (i.e. the worker was complying with an employer policy or procedure).
Q-COMP confirms for all stakeholders that where the only 'substantial' deviation or interruption in a journey is to take a rest break in accordance with an employer fatigue management policy or under a health and safety management system, a worker will be covered under the Act. Providing the journey otherwise falls within the provisions of the Act, insurers should not consider a rest break to be a substantial deviation or interruption in the journey.
Much work to do on fire safety by Rae Wilson
THE Sunshine Coast had the highest number of residential care buildings, outside Brisbane, not yet meeting the state's new fire safety standards.
The Coast had 107 buildings, housing residents with special care needs, that needed updating to meet new legislation born from the 2010 Childers Backpackers Hostel fire which killed 15 people.
Rockhampton was fifth with 42 buildings and Toowoomba seventh with 37 buildings which needed to comply.
The figures were revealed on Friday in an audit report on fire safety standards of Queensland's pre-2007 residential care buildings which entered the spotlight last year after 11 elderly residents died in a fire at Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Sydney.
After the bill to improve fire safety passed in Queensland Parliament last year, 926 residential care buildings housing 31,096 people became non-compliant.
Inspectors found 25,604 residents were still living in 784 non-compliant buildings during the six months to February 29.
The Housing and Public Works Department could not provide a regional breakdown on the buildings still not complying.
Residential care buildings house six or more people, with at least 10% needing physical help for daily activities and would need help evacuating in an emergency.
Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg said on Friday the audit showed there was still much work to do.
He said 644 of the non-compliant buildings were either single-storey or built with fire-retardant materials and had until September, 2016, to comply.
Mr Flegg said the remaining 140 buildings were made from combustible materials or multi-storey and had until September, 2014, to comply.
The fire-retardant buildings can choose strategies such as higher staff ratios, better fire suppression and fire safety management plans.
Older-style timber buildings might have to install sprinkler systems, bedroom door closers or fire resistant walls to meet standards, though figures show regionally only a handful of buildings need sprinklers.
Buildings not compliant with new fire safety standards
- Brisbane: 202 buildings, 22% of state
- Sunshine Coast: 107, 12%
- Gold Coast: 83, 9%
- Rockhampton: 42, 5%
- Toowoomba: 37, 4%
- Bundaberg: 31, 3%
- Fraser Coast: 25, 3%
- Mackay: 19, 2%
- South Burnett: 16
- Gympie: 13
- Ipswich: 13
- Whitsunday: 9
- North Burnett: 6
- Gladstone: 5
- Lockyer: 5
- Maranoa: 5
Buildings needing sprinklers
- Brisbane 36
- Gold Coast 16
- Toowoomba 3
- Sunshine Coast 3
- Gympie 2
- Rockhampton 2
- Burnett 2
- Ipswich, Gladstone, Mackay 1
The on-the-spot fines system adds to the enforcement options available to the QFRS to ensure adequate fire safety standards are maintained.
As part of the new process, Fire Officers are able to issue infringement notices to building owners and occupiers who have committed breaches of fire safety.
The QFRS is responsible for the protection of people, property and the environment from fire and hazardous substance incidents, and for the rescue of persons trapped in motor vehicles, buildings and other emergency situations. This role involves a range of services including incident response; community safety; fire prevention education and advice; inspections; and investigation and prosecution aimed at enforcing compliance with fire safety legislation in both urban and rural areas.
The QFRS has, in the last decade, expanded and developed its role from a single focus re-active fire service to one that combines supervision with pro-active ‘preventative’ initiatives for community safety. An initiative to implement community education and public awareness programs has paid off with the success of this initiative evident in a dramatic reduction in loss of life and property due to structure fires - from 42 fire fatalities in the period 1994-1995 to 27 in 1998-1999.
One of the key functions of the QFRS is to inspect buildings to ensure they meet required fire safety standards in compliance with the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 (link to the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website), the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and Building Code of Australia 90 and 96. This has effectively increased public safety and decreased the number of buildings being lost or damaged by fire.
The Childers backpacker hostel fire tragically claimed 15 lives. A review of budget accommodation throughout Queensland strongly indicated the need for a more robust enforcement regime. The introduction of an Infringement Notice system to allow "on-the-spot fines" to encourage occupiers and owners to comply with Building Fire Safety requirements became necessary. The Infringement Notices penalty system commenced on 1st December 2001 and is designed to reinforce the importance to occupiers and owners of their fire safety responsibilities.
Penalties for breaches vary according to the level and type of breach.
Click here for a list of the breaches and penalties.
Queensland is the only jurisdiction in which the state underwrites and runs a workers compensation scheme and lobby groups are agitating for an overhaul.
State-owned WorkCover, which manages 90 per cent of claims, reaped $1.4 billion in premiums last year.
Insurers and employer groups are pushing for an overhaul of the scheme, especially injury tests.
But lawyers believe such a move would result in inaccurate injury assessments.
A Parliamentary committee is currently assessing submissions on the scheme, with a report due back on February 28.
Unions, fearing privatisation, last week launched a billboard campaign
WorkCover has $3.4 billion in assets with excess funds invested with Queensland Investment Corporation.
Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said privatisation of workers’ compensation would trigger higher premiums and lower protections.
However, the Insurance Council of Australia suggested privatising the scheme could address “financial risks” associated with the state funding and covering payouts.
It pointed to research noting privatisation would shift the risk of unforseen contingencies or unfunded payouts from taxpayers to insurers.
The ICA also said insurers could price risk better than government.
The ICA, insurance giant Suncorp, and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland pushed for “thresholds” – minimum levels of impairment – at which injured workers can sue for common law damages.
Currently, some workers can accept a statutory lump sum or sue, or do both in more severe cases.
“Unrestricted and uncapped common law entitlements … remain a fundamental financial risk to the scheme as entitlements cannot be accurately predicted,” Suncorp said.
CCIQ claimed the lack of thresholds meant law firms increased claims against WorkCover, which for cost reasons were settled rather than litigated.
But the Australian Lawyers Alliance argued thresholds failed to reduce premiums elsewhere.
Two police officers were involved in a car accident last night in St Albans, west of Melbourne. One of the officers is in hospital with minor injuries.
The two constables were operating with lights and sirens on when a car that drove through a red light at the corner of Main rd and Esplanade East hit them.
The driver of the other car, a 74-year-old man gave a positive reading for alcohol.
At the time the two police officers were on their way to an incident and were proceeding through a green light when the other vehicle hit them.