Do you get enough sleep?

Train drivers, waiters, chefs, and shift workers in manufacturing and healthcare are most likely to suffer the greatest sleep deprivation.

Shift work, job stress, work hours and physically demanding work are also linked to sleep deprivation. Round-the-clock access to technology and pressure to work harder has increased work hours and led to an increase of short sleep.

Read the full report.

Work health and safety legislation

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 is being repealed on 1 September and replaced by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, which comes into effect on the same day.

The new regulation is essentially the same as the 2011 Regulation, except for minor changes, including formatting and corrections to typos.

The changes are outlined in this table.

SafeWork NSW is currently working to update references to the regulation across its multiple sources of information and regulatory materials, as well as links to the regulation.

Work Health and Safety Bill going to Parliament

Following the recent statutory review (the Review) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), the Work Health and Safety Bill 2017 will be soon introduced to the NSW Parliament for consideration.

The scope of this Review only considered the NSW-specific provisions of the WHS Act and Regulation and how they were being interpreted, applied and enforced in NSW. This was due to the NSW legislation being aligned to the national model legislation which is scheduled for review in 2018.

As part of the NSW Review, the community was asked if the work health and safety laws were working well. The Review found that the objects of the WHS Act remain valid and the terms remain generally appropriate for securing those objectives.

The Review Report was tabled in the NSW Parliament on 20 June 2017.

  • Some of the recommendations from the Review include:
    The introduction of new penalty notice offences for unlicensed high risk work and falls from heights.
  • Allowing for penalty notices to be issued electronically.
  • Clarifying responsibility for certain dangerous goods and high risk plant that may affect public safety when not at a workplace.
  • The ability for inspectors to record interviews regardless of whether the interviewee consents, while still retaining the current self-incrimination provisions and ensuring the interviewee is advised that the recording is to be undertaken.
  • Clarifying the ability of the NSW regulators to obtain records and issue notices outside of NSW, to the extent the State’s legislative power allows.

It is anticipated that the new laws will be introduced later this year. Prior to the introduction of the new legislation, an information campaign will be conducted, preparing stakeholders for the changes resulting from the review recommendations.

An untapped resource: mental health champions

Every year Kevin Figueiredo is responsible for keeping 190,000 Australians safe. That means reducing the usual physical, chemical and environmental hazards.

Increasingly, though, mental illness is becoming a focus.

Figueiredo is not running a psychiatric ward or crisis centre. As general manager of safety, health and wellbeing at the Woolworths Group, he is on the frontline of a workplace battle that’s been lost for too long.

But Woolworths, like a number of companies, has now made mental wellness its number one safety priority.

One in five Australians has faced challenges with mental health, according to widely accepted research. Eight Australians every day take their own lives. Suicide Prevention Australia estimates that 370,000 Australians think about ending their life every year.

Executives like Figueiredo see the anguish of suicide and its ramifications in the workplace. They see how mental illness can be hidden yet eat away insidiously at workmates and friends until often it is too late to save someone.

The one-in-five figure for mental health issues is one thing, but many people across the community also know someone who has taken their own life.

At Woolworths, that’s potentially tens of thousands of people with firsthand experience of the pain as well as the ways to survive life’s challenges. And, given the chance, they are ready to help others.

‘We need to change the conversation and celebrate those with lived experiences,’ Figueiredo says.

‘To my mind, they are champions of mental wellness.’

Woolworths has begun to appoint mental health first-aiders in some business units. It will soon offer online training for team members and leaders in mental health first-aid and suicide prevention.

Lifeline is working with the corporate sector and other mental health groups to develop a template for mental wellness in the workplace. It is not only the right thing to do but, especially for businesses big and small operating in higher risk communities, it is a central part of company culture.

Lifeline is developing these action plans to empower staff and managers across a range of suicide-safe skills, from having open discussions to spotting the signs in workmates and fellow executives/owners, to supporting those in crisis or at-risk, to following-up with colleagues impacted by suicide death. Accidental counsellor courses are a key part of the approach.

To find out more about accidental counsellor courses, contact Lifeline Northern Beaches on 02 9949 5522 or Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury on 02 9498 8805, or visit lifeline.org.au.

* If you need support with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, ring Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Printer commits to $450,000 undertaking after forklift incident

A Sydney-based printing company has committed $450,000 to various work health and safety undertakings after a worker was hit by a forklift.

In lieu of prosecution, Offset Alpine Printing Pty Ltd entered an enforceable undertaking to deliver strategies that would give long-term, sustainable work health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry and community.

The injured worker was standing near his truck when he was struck by a forklift as the forklift driver attempted to load pallets onto the tray of the truck.

As a result of the incident, Offset Alpine Printing will spend $78,025 completing a traffic management plan at both its despatch dock at Lidcombe and its warehouse at Warwick Farm.

Another $209,162 has been earmarked to establish a uniform framework of policies that will help reduce incidents in key risk areas. Technology will be enhanced to improve identification of trends and issues, and increase automation of data entry, notifications and follow-ups.

The company has also committed $165,000 to a six-month forklift safety awareness campaign, which will include videos, public relations, posters, brochures, blog posts, infographics and social media updates.

Offset Alpine spent almost $50,000 in rectifications made as a result of the alleged contravention, including repainting safety walkways and stop signs, painting pedestrian crossings in the despatch yard, constructing a waiting area in the despatch dock for drivers, and designing an induction training program for contracted drivers.

Read the full undertaking.

2500 reasons to be careful

Falling from height is one of the main causes of injury in the NSW construction industry.

Over the past four years, more than 2500 workers have fallen from a height on NSW construction sites. Six died, 52 were permanently disabled and more than 300 were off work for over six months.

One worker fell from a scaffold to the ground while climbing to another place of work, another fell through an asbestos roof while repairing it. Yet another fell when the suspended working platform he was working on tilted. And still another lost his footing and fell under a stairway’s top and only handrail, landing on a concrete floor three metres below and suffering serious injuries.

And on and on it goes.

So many sorry tales. So many avoidable incidents.

Don’t be the next statistic. It’s so simple to stay safe.

Check out simple safety.