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Here we share some of the most interesting questions that come through the Helpdesk service from subscribers. Please note: All identifying details are removed for reasons of confidentiality.

Through the Helpdesk, you can ask any general health and safety queries that you can’t find an answer to in your handbook, and our experts will give you an answer. Whether your query is about recent legislative changes, or the steps you need to take to protect yourself, our team of experts is ready to answer your questions.

January 28, 2020 on topic Hearing conservation programs
Hearing Tests

We complete hearing tests for at-risk workers every 2 years. We have a staff member, who once was exposed to noise but now works solely in an office environment and has done so for the past 8 years, with no exposure to noise. When should we stop conducting hearing tests for him?

A.

Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW), you are only required to conduct hearing tests every 2 years if you have a worker who is frequently required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from the risk of hearing loss associated with noise that exceeds the exposure standard for noise.

Must we record a postie injury?

We have had a postie injure himself after he fell off his bike while delivering mail to us. The postie is not a worker of ours. His bike wheels slid “along” a hose connection we had placed on the berm (approved practice by our client) instead of riding over the hose. At every driveway there is an approved ramp for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians to safely cross the hose. Do we need to capture this as a Lost Time Injury (LTI) on our statistics?

A.

Whether or not the incident should be recorded as an LTI will depend on the severity of the injury, as LTIs only cover occurrences resulting in a fatality, permanent disability or time lost from work of one day/shift or more as per the Workplace Injury and Disease Recording Standard (Australian Standard 1885.1- 1990). It should be noted that when calculating LTI frequency rates, however, Safe Work Australia only uses workers’ compensation claims involving one week or more time lost.

Specifically, Safe Work Australia asks for employers to supply data consistent with the Australian Standard. That is, claims that involved either a death, permanent incapacity, or a temporary incapacity for which payments have been made (including common law claims).

So, if either of these circumstances have occurred as a result of the incident, then the injured worker’s employer should be the one to record it as an LTI. As you are not the employer, you do not need to record the LTI.

Do we need to have a first aider in the office?

Are we legally required to have a first aid officer within an office environment?

A.

In addition to the general duty for a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others at the workplace under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (Act), the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Cth) (Regulation) places specific obligations on PCBUs to:

 

    • provide first aid equipment and make sure each worker has access to equipment;

 

    • ensure access to facilities to administer first aid;

 

    • ensure an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of people who are trained in first aid; and

 

    • ensure workers are aware of information and know how to carry out first aid.

 

The NSW approved Code of Practice First Aid in the Workplace outlines the number of first aiders that low, high and remote high-risk workplaces should have. This includes one first aider for every 50 workers in low-risk workplaces, and one first aider for every 25 workers in high-risk workplaces. A low-risk workplace is one where workers are not exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness, including office environments.

Do we need to have a first aider in the office?

Are we legally required to have a first aid officer within an office environment?

A.

In addition to the general duty for a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others at the workplace under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (Act), the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Cth) (Regulation) places specific obligations on PCBUs to:

 

    • provide first aid equipment and make sure each worker has access to equipment;

 

    • ensure access to facilities to administer first aid;

 

    • ensure an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of people who are trained in first aid; and

 

    • ensure workers are aware of information and know how to carry out first aid.

 

The NSW approved Code of Practice First Aid in the Workplace outlines the number of first aiders that low, high and remote high-risk workplaces should have. This includes one first aider for every 50 workers in low-risk workplaces, and one first aider for every 25 workers in high-risk workplaces. A low-risk workplace is one where workers are not exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness, including office environments.

January 28, 2020 on topic Hearing conservation programs
Hearing Tests

We complete hearing tests for at-risk workers every 2 years. We have a staff member, who once was exposed to noise but now works solely in an office environment and has done so for the past 8 years, with no exposure to noise. When should we stop conducting hearing tests for him?

A.

Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW), you are only required to conduct hearing tests every 2 years if you have a worker who is frequently required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from the risk of hearing loss associated with noise that exceeds the exposure standard for noise.

December 03, 2019 on topic Codes of practice
Do you have any safety guidance for carrying out hot works

I am looking to create a hot work permit to work process. Do you have any safety guidance when carrying out hot works or other processes that produce a flame or other ignition source?

A.

SafeWork NSW recommends persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) that undertake hot works implement a hot work permit system to assist the PCBU to discharge its general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others in the workplace.

Relevantly, SafeWork NSW published a safety alert on the topic in September 2018, which sets out some key features of a hot work permit system and the typical key measures to be considered before commencing any hot work on site. You can find that at www.safework.nsw.gov.au/safety-alerts/safety-alerts/hot-work.

SafeWork NSW has also developed an approved code of practice for welding processes, which is accessible at www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/52160/ Welding-processes-COP.pdf.

Following an approved code of practice will assist a PCBU to achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the Work Health and Safety Act (NSW) (Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulation (NSW) (Regulation). Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the Act and Regulation. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk, risk assessment or risk control, and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates.

We note that the codes of practice deal with particular issues and may not cover all relevant hazards or risks. The health and safety duties require duty-holders to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.

SafeWork NSW’s safety alert also refers PCBUs to the Australian Standard AS 1674.1 Safety in Welding and Allied Processes Part 1: Fire Precautions (Standard), which provides guidelines with respect to hot work activities and an example of a typical hot work permit.

Must we record a postie injury?

We have had a postie injure himself after he fell off his bike while delivering mail to us. The postie is not a worker of ours. His bike wheels slid “along” a hose connection we had placed on the berm (approved practice by our client) instead of riding over the hose. At every driveway there is an approved ramp for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians to safely cross the hose. Do we need to capture this as a Lost Time Injury (LTI) on our statistics?

A.

Whether or not the incident should be recorded as an LTI will depend on the severity of the injury, as LTIs only cover occurrences resulting in a fatality, permanent disability or time lost from work of one day/shift or more as per the Workplace Injury and Disease Recording Standard (Australian Standard 1885.1- 1990). It should be noted that when calculating LTI frequency rates, however, Safe Work Australia only uses workers’ compensation claims involving one week or more time lost.

Specifically, Safe Work Australia asks for employers to supply data consistent with the Australian Standard. That is, claims that involved either a death, permanent incapacity, or a temporary incapacity for which payments have been made (including common law claims).

So, if either of these circumstances have occurred as a result of the incident, then the injured worker’s employer should be the one to record it as an LTI. As you are not the employer, you do not need to record the LTI.

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