Got questions? We’ve got answers

Each year, SafeWork NSW’s Customer Experience team receives thousands of enquiries from workers and employers across NSW. We’ve compiled a few of the more commonly-asked questions, along with some simple answers.

Click the links if you’d like more detailed information, or as always talk safety with us by calling 13 10 50.

Q: How do I report an injury and lodge a workers compensation claim?

A: The first step in claiming compensation for a work related injury is to tell your employer as soon as possible. Your employer must then notify their insurer of the injury within 48 hours, and if the injury is serious, they must also notify SafeWork NSW.

For more information see Reporting an injury and Workers and claims.
Q: Can SafeWork NSW provide me with workers compensation insurance?

A: SafeWork NSW does not provide workers compensation insurance. There are five licensed insurance agents; Allianz, CGU, Employers’ Mutual, GIO and QBE.

For more information see Workers compensation insurers.
Q: How do I replace a lost construction induction card (white card)?

A: If your contact details are still up to date, you may apply for a replacement via an online system. You will be charged a $32.50 replacement fee.

For more information see White cards (CIC).
Q: How does a workplace safety issue become a request for service or complaint to SafeWork NSW?

A: Before SafeWork NSW becomes involved in the work health and safety issue, parties affected by the issue should first try resolving it within the workplace. If reporting it to your supervisor, work health and safety representative or union representative does not resolve the issue, then you should engage SafeWork NSW.

For more information see Safety complaints.
Q: What is considered workplace bullying, and what can be done about it?

A: Workplace bullying is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.

Your first step is to request the behaviour to stop. If that fails, check your workplace bullying policy, keep records of incidents and report it. It is your workplace’s obligation to handle all work health and safety issues, including bullying, in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act.

For more information see Workplace bullying.

Take forking safety seriously

A new year means new workers, tight deadlines and plenty of forklift activity.  We want to remind businesses and workers to keep safe, don’t take shortcuts and to always stick to the usual safety procedures.

In the five years to June 2015, 13 workers died as a result of a forklift incident and 39 were left with serious injuries.

Recently, we have seen more and more forklift incidents resulting in serious injuries.

One involved an 18-year-old warehouse picker who suffered a fractured leg when a forklift driver, who was unlicensed and unauthorised, reversed into him. In another incident, a 35-year-old forklift driver also fractured his leg when a high reach forklift tipped over onto him.

As part of our ‘Take forking safety seriously’ campaign, we’ve been visiting businesses across NSW and talking to business owners and workers about how we can work together to make forklift sites safer for everyone. We’ve visited 500 workplaces so far, with more to come in the new year.

Here’s what we want you to remember:

Keep ’em separated

Out of all the injuries and fatalities, a whopping 33 of them involved pedestrians. This means people working around the forklift – either onsite workers or visitors to the site – like delivery drivers and contractors.

If you work near forklifts, you are equally at risk of being hit or crushed by the forklift or its load.

Keep yourself away from forklifts at all times, and print out our free guide for working safely around forklifts.

Don’t lose your load

Most forklift loads become unstable when a suitable attachment is not used, or when the load isn’t secured to a pallet.

It’s crucial that you only move a stable load and use the right attachment for the load. Check out our guide for forklift operators for more info.

Belt up!

It’s simple: seatbelts save lives.

None of the forklift operators killed in a tip-over were wearing a seat belt. Wearing a seatbelt is a simple way to prevent injury and death.

We’re serious about forking safety, and you should be too. Visit our forklift safety page for guides, a toolbox talk, videos, licence information and more. Be sure to order our free forking safety poster to start the conversation about safety on your site.

Asbestos – When in doubt, find out!

Did you know that asbestos is a naturally occurring substance? It might surprise you to learn that it can actually be found in rock, sediment and soil throughout regional NSW.

While the chances of coming into contact naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) are slim, workers and residents in affected areas should still know what to look for and how to manage it.

So what do you need to do?

NOA is found in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, and can be difficult to spot. The SafeWork website includes a handy map to let you know whether you’re in a low, medium or high risk region. If you’re conducting work in an affected area, take the following precautions:

  • Limit dust-generating work and avoid handling rocks and soil that could contain NOA.
  • Consider the weather. Try not to do work that disturbs the ground on windy days, or if conditions are dry and dusty.
  • Wet down areas if necessary, particularly when planting, seeding and digging.
  • If you think you’ve found NOA, cover with clean soil, rock or other material where practical.
  • If you control a workplace that is affected, you should have an asbestos management plan in place. This should include providing PPE to any workers who might be disturbing the ground and training your workers.
  • Consider calling in a licensed asbestos assessor or an occupational hygienist to test the site for NOA.

The Heads of Asbestos Coordination authorities have also developed a video for people living and working in regional areas that outlines what to look for and what you can do.

Remember, when in doubt, find out. If you suspect you might be living or working in a NOA area, visit asbestosawareness.com.au or call 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378).