How Saving Lives at Work Comes Down to Two Simple Factors

Safety in the workplace is a major priority – and rightly so. OH&S regulations make it necessary for equipment and supplies to be available on-site, and through Alsco, complying with these life-saving regulations is easy.

There has been great progress made in recent years to reduce the rate of accident and injury at work, but the threat will never be removed completely.

In 2009-2010, for example, there were a total of 640,700 cases of work-related injury or illness, whether minor or major, with a rate of 53 employees per 1,000 suffering injuries specifically (down from 64 in 2005-2006).

Of course, the particular industry is telling too. Recent figures show the hospitality sector is one of the least safe sectors, with 84 employees in every 1,000 suffering some form of accident.

The arts and recreational services see 77, and the warehousing and transport industries show a rate of 74.

Two Solutions To Save Lives

So, what can be done? How can the very best protection be provided? Well, the solution comes down to two simple factors: Readiness and Knowledge.

Knowledge

Knowledge simply translates to training, or having staff members that know how to deal with any of the variety of accidents and emergencies that might occur on-site. Having staff on the spot who can react properly to an accident can help to save lives.

But treatment techniques and technology are improving all the time, which is why annual re-training sessions for experienced staff are as important as initial first aid courses for new staff members.

Readiness

Readiness requires some investment, with a range of health products and equipment designed specifically for the office or workplace.

We’ve shortlisted three of the most important:

1. First Aid Kits – The basic health and safety object anywhere, whether in an office or a garage shop floor, in a school or even in a public transport vehicle.

Everything necessary is included in the kit when it is bought, but as a few cuts and bruises are attended to over the months, the need to restock increases, making appointing someone responsible for managing the kit important. Often renting a kit bypasses this issue, with stock control and kit monitoring part of a professional first aid kit rental service.

Of course, kit compliance is important, with different states having different requirements. For example, while South Australia confirms that a medium sized first aid kit can cover up to 30 employees, New South Wales believes it is enough to handle no more than 25.

2. External Defibrillators – Increasingly, defibrillators have become as much a part of proper workplace health and safety, as the first aid kits we are so familiar with.

Unfortunately, cardiac problems can be suffered by practically anyone, regardless of age and occupation. It has been estimated that, each year, more than 6% of all Australians over the age of 15 suffer strokes and heart attacks. With the average ambulance response time greater than 10 minutes, the need for on-site treatment in the case of a heart attack is essential.

Thankfully, modern external defibrillators are easy to use, even for a first-timer.

3. Eyewash Station – Only in relatively recent years has the eyewash station become a common sight for workers. But it is designed for more than just getting a loose eyelash or speck of dust out.

Some workplaces, especially on manufacturing floors, in garages, labs and workshops, have debris, liquids and chemicals that can cause serious damage to the eye. The eyewash station provides a safe way to wash out any hazardous substances that, when left in long enough, might cause irreparable damage.

Things Are Improving Every Year

Figures from Safe Work Australia, relating to the 2008-2009 fiscal year, show reductions in accidents and fatalities in every employment sector. The construction industry saw a fall of 24% from figures in 2003, with the manufacturing, storage and transport industries all seeing a fall of 21%.

In terms of work fatalities, Australia recorded the seventh lowest rate of work-related injury fatalities in the world in the two years between 2006 and 2008.

And while general education and safety measures have played a big part in these improvements, there is no doubt too that having access to live-saving equipment, like external defibrillators, sight-saving eye wash stations, and properly stocked and managed first aid kits, has had a significant influence too.

Since safety comes first, our friendly representatives are always here to help. Don’t delay, contact Alsco for detailed information.

Sources:

  1. ‘Work and Health’ (2011), The Australian Bureau of Statistics – www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Jun+2011
  2. ‘National OHS Strategy 2002-2012’, Safe Work Australia – www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/AboutSafeWorkAustralia/WhatWeDo/Publications/Documents/230/NationalOHSStrategy_2002-2012.pdf

 

Image courtesy: Geo Swan

Moving Desk Encourages Ofice Exercise and Improves Productivity

The Stir Kinetic Desk automatically rises and falls to force workers to regularly stand up and stretch their muscles.

Sound annoying? Well, consider this: research has shown that the more you sit, the higher your risk of developing chronic diseases:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure

Prolonged sitting is also responsible for a range of bodily aches and pains including:

  • Back
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Disc pressure
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Blood clots
  • Obesity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Low enzyme production

The solution to all of these problems? Easy!

More physical activity, which the Stir Kinetic Desk encourages, using inbuilt software to move workers from sitting to standing positions throughout the day.

Users can either manually adjust the height of the desk when they want to stand up by double-tapping the screen, or set the computer to automatically raise and lower the table at regular intervals.

At the end of the day, the display shows the user how many calories they’ve burned by performing the simple exercise.

The desk also senses when it’s being used and learns users’ daily routine to improve the effectiveness of its height adjustments. To top things off, integrated AC and USB power outlets to ensure uninterrupted productivity.

How Stir Kinetic Desk Improve Work Productivity

The Stir Kinetic Desk also claims to improve worker productivity – the increased physical activity apparently improves focus and creativity. To top it off, the Desk is WiFi and Bluetooth equipped so that it can be synced to fitness apps.

There’s no doubt that increasing the physical activity of office workers will benefit both the workers and their employers.

How else can offices be configured to induce regular breaks from sitting?

Check out the Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians: Physical Activity Australia

Want to know more about the Stir Kinetic Desk? Visit http://stirworks.com/


Alsco Eco-friendly Mats

At Alsco we want you and your employee to be safe and healthy all the time. Alsco’s Anti-Fatigue Mats and Personalised Mats. Both are made from recycled eco-friendly materials.

Try our 2 week FREE trial offer and see what a difference Anti-Fatigue Mats make. For our Personalised Mats we provide all the artwork FREE. Grab yours now! Talk to a professional.

 

Image courtesy: www.stirworks.com

5 Simple Steps to Improving Workplace Air Quality

Have you ever worked in a ‘sick building’? We know, ‘sick building’ sounds a little dramatic, but the fact is some offices have higher rates of (genuine) illness-related absenteeism than others, and air quality has been shown to be the root of the problem.

Don’t believe us? Well, even as far back as 1984, the World Health Organisation reported that almost a third of new or remodelled office buildings around the world can be linked to the phenomenon – also called Sick Building Syndrome.

Why Air Is Important

The problem with air quality is that it is so easily affected by such common things as temperature, humidity and even man-made influences, like air conditioners, ventilation systems and heating.

With poor air, gases like carbon monoxide and radon, and microbial contaminants like mould and bacteria, as well as a host of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are free to do their worst, resulting in low levels of health amongst workers.

Steps To Improve Air Quality

The good news is that there are a number of simple steps that can be taken to vastly improve the quality of air – none of which are expensive or time consuming.

Here are just 5 of them.

  1. Keep Vents Clear
    Ventilating the office properly means that stale air inside the enclosed area can be taken out, complete with the VOCs and other contaminants that are in it. So, with the exception of the ventilation system needing a service, all vents should be kept clear. This basically means not placing any furniture or stacking any boxes in front of them to block the air flow.
  2. Keep Fans Clean
    It’s only normal that some desk or standing fans will be on the go, especially in the summer months, but carefully maintaining them is important. Fans in the office can simply regurgitate dust and dirt, throwing them around the area.Also, condensation on blades is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. So, when the fan is turned on, the bacteria are thrown into the air and are then breathed in by staff.
  3. Use Real Office Plants
    It has been mentioned before, but is always worth mentioning again. Bringing plants into the office can make a huge difference to the quality of the air being breathed. Research carried out in 2009 showed that VOCs were significantly reduced in enclosed spaces (in this case homes) where plants are present – concentration levels were 30 to 100 times greater when there were no plants. It seems the leaves of these plants absorb much of the ‘bad air’, releasing oxygen and freshening up what we breathe in.
  4. Dust the Office Regularly
    Dust is practically impossible to keep out of any work space, but it can be reduced. Research shows that dust is more than just minute fragments of skin and dirt, there are also gaseous particles, like ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. The two most effective ways of dealing with dust are to have the cleaning contractors dust all surfaces regularly, and bring in plants. Research carried out by Washington State University proves dust levels can fall by 20% with plants around.
  5. Dispose of Rubbish Regularly
    Getting a bad smell from the kitchen bins is really just unpleasant. However, getting a whiff of decomposing food scraps, for example, can leave some people suffering from nausea and headaches.No definitive link has been formed between odour and health conditions, but ensuring that all bins in the office are emptied regularly is certainly a welcome development from everyone’s point of view.

Fresh & Clean

A well ventilated work place is a must in order for us to work properly. Fresh & Clean managed hygiene and washroom rental programs. Just like our Sanitary Bin which is designed to provide maximum comfort for your female employees and customers and our Odour  Control (Air Freshening & Odour Elimination Services) to ensure the washrooms and all areas of your organisation are always smelling fresh.

For any of the above, all you need to do is ask Alsco. If that green office is one of your priorities, then why delay?

Sources:

  1. ‘Sick Building Syndrome’, Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_building_syndrome
  2. ‘An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality’, EPA, USA – http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/occupgd.html
  3. ‘Houseplants as AIr Fresheners’, spectroscopynow.com – http://www.spectroscopynow.com/coi/cda/detail.cda?chId=4&id=22493&type=Feature&page=1
  4. ‘Impact of Interior Plant on Relative Humidity and Dust’, VJ Lohr and CH Pearson-Mims, Washington State University, USA – http://public.wsu.edu/~lohr/hih/air/

 

Image courtsey: Juhan Sonin

5 Office Recyclables You Never Thought Of

When it comes to recycling in the environment-conscious modern office, everyone knows that paper is the chief material concerned.

Between documents, scrunched up balls of waste paper and even the stiff cardboard wrapping that sandwiches can come in, there is plenty to throw in to the recycling bin. Of course, it’s the same with plastic bottles and plastic wrapping, but there is actually more than that in the office.

Five Common Items

Here are 5 such additional items that recycle bins can be set up for – some of which, we’re sure, you’ve never thought of.

1. Mobile Phones

It is amazing how many people are stumped to know what to do with their old mobile phones.

We all love to get the newest and the ‘wow-est’ on the market, and end up leaving the old one in a drawer at home. What could be more logical than setting up a phone recycling bin at work.

What is more, there are charities and organisations that would love to get their hands on these phones – cleanup.org, the ARP and Mobile Muster  from Australian Mobile Recycling – so you can help the environment and raise funds for good causes too.

2. Eye Glasses

Believe it or not, eye glasses can be reused. In fact, Lions Clubs International have recycling centres around Australia and the world to gather unwanted glasses and send them to third world countries so others can benefit from them.

Why not set up an eyeglasses box, and ask staff members who have old glasses at home, or have recently gotten new ones, to donate them? Before they know it, their bifocals will find their way to faces in Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and India, being put to vital use once again.

3. Broken and Damaged Gadgets

Have you ever accidently dropped your MP3 player in to your cup of coffee? Well, if you haven’t, we’d bet you know someone who has.

When people come to work, they can have MP3s, discmans and even pocket radios with them. Sometimes, these gadgets can fall, be leaned on, be crushed or find themselves swimming in a Cappuccino.

Of course, these fates can meet desk phones, calculators and a host of other office-related gadgetry too. But where can your colleagues put these broken gadgets? Why not in a recycle bin!

4. Umbrellas and Rainwear

How many umbrellas have you seen sticking out of rubbish bins as you walk through shopping and commercial districts? Many people don’t realise that the rainwear they might tear on the way to work can the recycled too. It is the same for rain coats, and any rain-proof clothing made of polyester.

So, if a gale force wind turns your colleagues’ umbrellas into a haggard mess and tears their light rain-proof jackets and trousers, simply place them in a box and hand it over to your local recycling company. You may need to contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out who will take them.

5. Inedible Peanuts!

Sounds strange, but we are talking about the polystyrene packing peanuts that come with new electronics goods. Instead of throwing out these light little balls of foam, many moving firms are only too pleased to see them coming their way. This stands for all foam packing items.

So, while the cardboard box the new screens came in is added to the paper recycling pile, and the interior plastic bag to the plastics recycling pile, the little foam peanuts can create a polystyrene pile. These can be reused, rather than recycled, but either way, the world will be a little bit cleaner.

A comprehensive recycling program is a significant step towards a greener workplace.

Combined with other simple steps such as using floor mats made from recycled materials and continuous cloth towel for hand drying, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your bit to help the environment.


Recycling is Green

Recycling is the best way to help our environment and it is very important that we do this often. With Alsco we offer variety of solutions to help make your workplace a greener environment like our Ecosafe Washers, Evolution Mats and Continuous Towels.

Our Alsco Ecosafe Washers are water based and exists in its own environment where oil and grease are transformed into water and carbon dioxide. The revolutionary Evolution Mats are made from recycled eco-friendly materials. And our continuous Cloth Towel also offers important benefits with less impact in the environment. Use cotton towels which are an environmentally friendlier option than paper.

If safe and healthy environment is what you want, all you need to do is ask Alsco.

Image Courtesy: Ramsey County Minnesota

Is Absenteeism Costing Your Business?

Absenteeism Unwell

Absenteeism is estimated to cost Australian business around $17 billion per year.

According to various studies, every sick day costs businesses an average of $385 and one in 40 people do it daily in Australia. The assumption, in Australia at any rate, is that the old-fashioned ‘sickie’ is the major issue. But is that the reality? Is laziness the problem or is there more going on?

According to recent research 90% of sick days are the result of genuine illness, with colds, flu, headaches, gastro and mental health the leading culprits. Those who subscribe to the ‘sickie’ philosophy may assume that most sick days are taken on either a Monday or a Friday, in order to enjoy a long weekend.

The reality, however, is that Tuesdays are the most common day for unplanned absences from work.

Whether or not sick days result from a genuine need however, the fact remains that absenteeism has a major impact on the bottom line and businesses would be well advised to reduce staff absences as much as possible. The phenomena of sick workplaces may be reduced to two main issues:

  1. Health and wellbeing of employees not being prioritised.
  2. Workplace culture issues making employees reluctant to attend.

Employee Health and Wellbeing

This is a topic we have covered before: simple measures such as ensuring optimum hygiene levels in the workplace and encouraging healthy lifestyles can make a world of difference.

Check out these links for some great advice:

Positive Workplace Culture

High rates of absenteeism are sometimes a signal that there’s something very wrong with the way employees are engaged. An analysis by research firm Gallup, for example, revealed that disengaged employees have rates of absenteeism that are 27 per cent higher than their peers. A happy workplace is a productive workplace.

Here’s some ways to create that happy workplace:

  • take a genuine interest in the future path of an employee’s career: any helpful advice or mentoring you can provide will do wonders for an employee’s attitude
  • take a genuine interest in employees’ work-life balance: a well-balanced employee is a good employee. Where possible, some flexibility in schedules to allow for medical appointments or family commitments will go a long way.
  • Foster friendship at work. Encourage employee wellness and engagement activities to develop friendship and sense of community.
  • Listen: this one isn’t as easy as it sounds. Genuinely listening to an employee’s ideas about their work or about any problems they may be experiencing will always be appreciated.
  • Treat people with respect – it seems pretty obvious, but treating people with respect will make them more likely to treat you, their employer, with respect. Do unto to others …

Workplace Health & Hygiene

A healthy and hygienic workplace is not only great for employees, your customers will also enjoy it and, so, it is good for your bottom line. Fresh & Clean managed health and hygiene services provide a variety of useful, essential and stylish products and services including professional cleaning, hand sanitisers and cleansers, first aid supplies, and a wide range of washroom supplies including sanitary bins, soap dispensers and hand drying systems.

For more information, Alsco’s friendly representative is here to help you.

 

Image: Leonid Mamchenkov

Non Slip Mats vs Anti Fatigue Mats

It’s no secret that floor mats are a great way to create a safer workplace.

Good quality, well maintained mats can play a significant role in preventing trips and slips for both employees and customers. The right mat can also help to protect employees from muscle strain and fatigue.

But How Do You Know Which Mat Is Right For Your Workplace?

Non slip mats serve a very different purpose to anti fatigue mats: your business type and the nature of the work that is undertaken there will determine the type of mat that is appropriate for you.

Anti slip mats are usually the best option for areas such as:

  • Slippery kitchens or
  • Greasy industrial areas
  • Contribute to worker safety in these types of work environments

Keep in mind that water is not the only slip hazard – dirt and dust can also create a slippery surface.

Anti fatigue mats, on the other hand, are ideal to decrease foot weariness for workers who stand in one position for prolonged periods or are on their feet all day. Anti fatigue matting absorbs the shock due to walking, providing a cushioning effect that reduces foot fatigue.

Be aware that non slip matting can increase foot fatigue as the mat surface acts to ‘grab’ the shoe soles, causing feet to move forward in the shoe.

It’s important to know which type of mat suits your particular situation. Some workplaces will benefit from both non slip mats and anti fatigue mats, while others will only require one type of mat.

To ensure your workplace is as safe as it can be it makes sense to get some expert advice regarding the type of mat(s) appropriate to your situation.

Consider trying a mat rental service. A good service will provide regular pick-up and exchange, ensuring that the mats in your workplace are always clean and in good repair – significant when you consider that old, worn mats can be a trip hazard.


Alsco’s Eco Friendly Mats

A clean office will benefit both employees and customers; this will give everyone a very good impression. Our  Wet Area Mats and Anti-Fatigue Mats — all are made from recycled eco-friendly materials.

Just imagine how beneficial this will be. Only one thing to do, just call Alsco and we’ll be happy to serve you.

Checklist for Making Your Office Greener

A Green Office

  • Has an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.
    Look for a 3 to 4 star rating system that complies with Energy Australia’s ‘green guide policy’. A 4 star rating offers better efficiency and also helps you save money. See www.energyrating.gov.au/.
  • Utilises efficient sources of lighting, especially natural light.
    Natural lighting is better on eyes and reduces the need for artificial lighting during sunny hours of the day. This will bring energy costs down.
  • Practices the three R’s “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
    Create a Three R’s Culture throughout the office by offering incentives to staffers and departments for reducing waste by recycling. Also think about managing water use when it is time to upgrade bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Opts for supplies and equipment made from partially-recycled and environmentally-friendly materials.
    The Evolution mat by ALSCO is made in part with recycled materials. Paper supplies, office furniture and appliances are all available with green features today.
  • Switches all computers, printers and appliances off at night.
    One work computer switched off on nights and weekends can burn up to 300 pounds of CO2 emissions LESS than a computer that is left on 24/7. Visit http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/commonly-lefton-appliances.html for more information about the amount of power used by commonly left on appliances.

Alsco Evolution Mats

A bright office will benefit both employees and customers; this will give everyone a very good impression. Get to know more about Alsco Evolution Mats. Our Dust Control & Floor Protection Mats, Wet Area Mats, Anti-Fatigue Mats, Personal Mats, Message Mats and the Alsco added the new Eco Mat — all are made from recycled eco-friendly materials.

Seriously, contact Alsco representatives! You’ve Got Nothing To Lose.

 

Image courtesy:  Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland

Guide to Greener Electronics

There are many things to be considered in the pursuit of a green workplace:

  • Cutting down on paper usage
  • Environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Ensuring staff switch electronic devices off when they’re not in use

To name just a few.

Then there’s the procurement side of things: ensuring that the supplies that are purchased for your workplace are as green as possible.

Well ensuring the green credentials of your electronic devices just got easier.

Greenpeace have created a Guide to Greener Electronics to help you make greener decisions for your business. The guide “ranks leading mobile phone, TV and PC manufacturers on policies and practices to reduce their impact on the climate, produce greener products, and make their operations more sustainable.”

Check it out here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/electronics/

Ecosafe Car Parts Washer

The Alsco Ecosafe Washer is a safe, economical car part cleaning solution – that doesn’t require the use of harmful solvents. Outperforming other parts washers, the Ecosafe Washer uses a bioremediation process to effectively clean engine parts, eliminating the need for harmful solvents and creating no waste products.

Even better, the Ecosafe Washer is kind to employees – with no exposure to harmful chemicals or toxic fumes, OH&S becomes much simpler.

Alsco offer a free 2 week trial of the Ecosafe Industrial Washer so you can discover the benefits for yourself. Grab yours now!

 

Image courtesy: Nick Ares

Occupational Health & Safety – Is Your Workplace Up To Scratch?

Occupational Health Safety Is Your Workplace Up To Scratch

There was a time when First Aid Kits were little more than an afterthought for businesses, and comprised little more than a packet of Band Aid plasters and a bottle of iodine. But times have changed, and as a key part of ensuring health and safety in the workplace, these kits are not just expected but required by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation.

Employers must provide a safe working environment for their employees, with Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, standardizing the legislation Australia-wide for the first time.

The penalties now facing businesses that fail to comply with the new legislation are quite severe, so the importance of getting everything in order is arguably greater than ever.

Having a First Aid kit is a key part of achieving compliance. Access to these life-saving kits must be easy, with their contents properly managed and adequately stocked at all times. But mobile external defibrillators and eyewash stations are also required.

According to the OHS legislation, all business owners must:

  • Provide First Aid facilities that are adequate for the immediate treatment of injuries that arise at the place of work.
  • Ensure First Aid facilities include a First Aid Kit appropriate for the number of employees on each site and work environment.
  • Ensure First Aid Kits are maintained in proper condition and the contents are replenished as necessary.
  • Ensure First Aid Kits are regularly checked to ensure the contents are as listed and have not deteriorated or expired.
  • Ensure First Aid Kits have a white cross on a green background with the words ‘First Aid’ prominently displayed on the outside.
  • Ensure First Aid Kits are located at points convenient to the work force and where there is a risk of injury occurring.
  • Provide at least one First Aid Kit on each floor of a multi-level workplace.
  • Provide each work vehicle with a vehicle First Aid Kit.

Is Your Business Compliant?

First Aid Kits must contain all items that can adequately treat common injuries for your particular industry sector. For this reason, you should carry out a Risk Assessment to ascertain which contents you need – for example, more burn gel if burns are most likely.

Here’s a quick guide to what is needed to ensure your First Aid Kit is fully compliant:

First Aid Kit Contents to deal with:

  • Cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
  • Muscular sprains and strains
  • Minor burns
  • Amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Eye injuries
  • Shock

Physical Requirements of your First Aid Kit:

  • Large enough to contain all the necessary items
  • Immediately identifiable with a white cross on green background prominently displayed
  • Contain a written list of that kit’s contents
  • Made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and contamination

First Aid Kit Location:

  • Prominent, accessible and be able to be retrieved promptly
  • Close to areas where risks of injury or illness is higher
  • In security-controlled workplaces
  • On every second floor in multi-storey buildings
  • Highlighted on emergency floor plans
  • Portable kits in vehicles of mobile workers (couriers, taxi drivers, sales reps)
  • Portable kits safely located in case of accidents

However, while the kit itself is a key component, it is now also necessary to provide the right facilities, and ensure they are capable of coping with whatever demands might be placed on First Aiders in the event of a major accident – however unlikely that may seem to be.

Amongst the facilities and additional equipment featured in the Model WHS legislation are:

The Expanded Role of the PCBUs

But there is now a stronger onus on the business officer – or person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) – to ensure the workplace has adequate First Aid facilities, equipment and trained personnel.

This means they must accurately assess the requirements for their workplace, taking into account a number of aspects, such as the nature of the business, the typical the hazards there, and the number of staff working at any one time.

A PCBU’s specific obligations, known as ‘Duties of Care’, fall into just a few categories:

  • The provision of First Aid equipment
  • That each worker has access to that equipment
  • Adequate number of worker appropriately trained in first aid (First Aiders)
  • Adequate number of First Aiders available at any time
  • Workers gave access to facilities for the administration of First Aid

Making Sure To Have First Aiders

When it comes to providing First Aid after an accident, it is now essential that every workplace has a properly trained First Aider on site at all times. First Aiders have to report directly to the PCBU, but their role is arguably the most important.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Taking reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • Taking reasonable care not to adversely affect the health and safety of others
  • Complying with any reasonable instructions given by the PCBU to allow him or her to comply with his or her duties
  • Co-operating with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety in the workplace

Having enough First Aiders to deal with the staff numbers is also a key component to complying with the new legislation.

The number on duty at any one time depends on the type of work too. For example, in low risk workplaces (office), one First Aider is required for every 50 workers; while in high risk workplaces (manufacturing complex), one First Aider is needed for every 25 workers.

Ensuring Properly Trained Staff

Staff can only be considered First Aiders if they hold nationally recognised ‘Statements of Attainment’ after completing an endorsed First Aid unit of competency. But the type of training is significant too.

The choice of First Aid Training courses include:

  • Apply First Aid – trains staff to recognise and respond to common life-threatening injuries or illnesses, including CPR, and to manage the casualty and incident until the arrival of medical or other assistance. In low risk workplaces, First Aiders need only know how to perform CPR and treat minor illnesses and injuries.
  • Apply Advanced First Aid – trains staff in additional competencies required to apply advanced first aid procedures. Suitable for some high risk workplaces.
  • Manage First Aid in the Workplace (Occupational First Aid) – trains staff to apply advanced first aid procedures and to manage a first aid room.
  • Provide First Aid in Remote Situations – trains staff to administer first aid in a remote and/or isolated situation, including preparing for aero-medical evacuation. Suitable for high risk workplaces where emergency services are a distance away.

First Aiders are expected to undertake CPR refresher courses annually, and to renew their First Aid qualifications every 3 years. First Aiders may also need to be trained to respond to specific situations at their workplace – for example, where workers may have severe allergies to commonly used substances.

Greater Policing To Ensure Compliance

If you’re wondering just how important complying with the OHS legislation is, then consider the fact that relevant local authorities have powers to police employers within their jurisdiction, and a variety of ways to punish those businesses guilty of non-compliance.

Inspectors can effectively call in on a business premises at any time and assess that workplace. So there is every probability that any short-comings that may exist will be quickly revealed. It is, therefore, unwise for any company to take a lax view of the new measures. In short, the inspectors can be good, bad or ugly!

The Good

  • Inspectors can provide information and advice on compliance measures
  • Assist in the resolution of WHS issues
  • Help train health and safety reps

The Bad

  • Issue prohibition notices, improvements notices, or non-disturbance notices
  • Can investigate contraventions of laws
  • Can make surprise visits to a workplace

The Ugly

  • Can seek search warrants
  • Can seize evidence, and request documents
  • Can seek court injunctions
  • Can begin legal proceedings

Severe Penalties For Non-Compliance

As mentioned above, OHS inspectors have the power to issue 3 types of notice, depending on the specific details of each case.

These are designed to give companies time to set things right, but if a company does not satisfy the requirements after that time, then they face some serious consequences.

  • Improvement Notice: Calls for specific health and safety improvements to be made. Penalty: $50,000 individual; $250,000 corporate
  • Prohibition Notice: Prohibits work to continue until improvements are made. Penalty: $100,000 individual; $500,000 corporate
  • Non-Disturbance Notice: Preserves a site for a stated period of time (max 7 days). Penalty: $50,000 individual; $250,000 corporate

Far bigger penalties apply to those officers, PCBUs and businesses that fail to live up to their Duty of Care obligations. Breaches of the Duty of Care are considered a criminal offence.

Depending on the specific breach, penalties may be:

  • $3 million for a corporation
  • $600,000 or 5 years in jail for an individual
  • $100,000 or 5 years in jail for a worker

Links and Further Reading

Websites Worth Visiting:

Recommended Reading:

Resources:


Alsco Eyewash Stations

By supporting you to keep your compliance, you can focus on your main business plans. At Alsco, we’re committed to helping safe environmental work practices and products that help make your workplace healthier, safer and greener. Our Eyewash Stations help quickly washout debris and liquid hazards, potentially saving the eyes from severe damage.

We know that you aim for safer workplace, get started today! Talk to a Professional! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Image Courtesy:”Safety instructions at a construction site in China” by RudolfSimon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Sustainable Procurement Makes Good Business Sense

There is no denying the increasing importance of finding environmentally friendly ways to do business. Of course, business is business and so it is essential to find solutions that are both economically and environmentally viable.

The struggle for many businesses is to identify some sort of economic pay-off that will be gained from implementing sustainable practices – for instance, cutting costs, attracting more customers or better staff. To help businesses get started on the road to a sustainable future Supply Chain Digital, together with the Director of Action Sustainability Ian Heptonshall, have come up with an easy eight-step plan to help businesses move towards a greener future.

Check it out here: http://www.supplychaindigital.com/procurement/sustainable-procurement-makes-good-business-sense

Workplace Health & Hygiene Services
A clean and hygienic workplace speaks volumes. Fresh & Clean managed health and hygiene rental programs are available throughout Australia, providing a wide range of functional and stylish products and services. Achieving a healthy and hygienic workplace is made simple with a program designed to suit your specific needs, based on a thorough assessment of business operations, staff levels and customer numbers. Services and products provided include first aid kits and supplies; hand cleansers and sanitisers; specialist cleaning; and washroom supplies such as feminine hygiene disposal units, odour control, soap dispensers, hand-drying systems.

 

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia