Queensland Health Green Office Resource Guide

In March 2009, the Carbon Management Unit of Queensland Health released a Green Office Resource Guide. The objective of this guide is to “provide staff of Queensland Health offices with the ability to embrace environmental values, leading to a more environmentally sustainable office environment.”

The manual provides simple guidelines that, while targeted at Queensland Health offices, are applicable to offices everywhere.

The Guidelines Provides

  • Ways to increase office energy efficiency
  • Develop sustainable procurement practices
  • Develop water conservation practices
  • Develop waste management procedures
  • Facilitate shifts in behavioural management
  • Develop a green office self-assessment monitoring and reporting guide

You can download the QLD Green Office Resource Guide here: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/carbon_management/green_office_guide.pdf


Cloth Towel Dispensers

Research shows that most people prefer to dry their hands using cloth towels.

Continuous cloth towel also offers significant environmental benefits: it has the lowest environmental impact of available hand drying systems.

Cabinet hand towel dispensers are unparalleled in terms of hygiene with separate chambers for the new and used portion of the towel, ensuring no contact.

Research has also shown cloth towels to be the most effective hand-drying technique at removing bacteria. Hygienic hand drying is an important step to clean hands.

Fresh & Clean can provide your premises with a fully managed cloth towel dispenser rental program, tailored to your individual requirements.

For more details, contact our representatives now! Alsco is here to help.

 

Image courtesy: laffy4k

Green is Clean – Reusable Food Wipes

Green is Clean - Reusable Food Wipes

Many establishments out there are keen to create a more environmentally sustainable workplace but are unsure of how to achieve this in line with their business operation. As is often the case, there are simple things that can be done to make a difference. For example, the use of reusable cloth wipes instead of one-use paper products for various cleaning purposes is a simple way to create less waste.

Importance of Having a Clean and Neat Kitchen

A clean and neat kitchen is an essential part of running any restaurant or café. From a customer perspective, maintaining high hygiene standards while the kitchen is in use and when cooking has been completed is essential.

If the kitchen isn’t kept clean, bacteria can develop and vermin can be attracted to the premises.

Chemicals Used for Cleaning the Kitchens

There are a number of chemicals used for cleaning kitchens, each specific to a certain area.

  • Chlorine bleach and iodine are very effective when used to disinfect work surfaces and cooking equipment.
  • Alkali detergents are used for heavy duty requirements.
  • Acid based cleaners are used for cleaning ovens, floors and walls.
  • Regular detergents can be used in many areas, from washing to general cleaning.

These chemical cleaners are available in industrial strength and are preferable to those commercially available for home use. In general industrial strength cleaners have less “fillers” and are more effective than their commercially available cousins.

Paper Based Are Less Durable

While paper based products can be used for cleaning in a kitchen, these products need to be disposed of after use and generally cannot be recycled effectively. Paper based wipes are less durable and are a one use only type of cleaner. Continued use of these products can lead to bacterial contamination of sterile areas.

There are a number of stronger “paper” based cloths available which have a reasonable life durability, but are unable to be recycled and have a tendency to be used beyond their usable “sterile life”

Using Polyester Wipes is One of the Best

The use of cotton or polyester wipe cloths provides a more hygienic solution for keeping a restaurant clean. A systematic approach has been developed for the use of cotton cloth wipes.

Different coloured cloths help identify where they should be used so cross contamination is minimised.

Different Colours, Different Task

Cotton food wipes come in four different colours to determine where in the kitchen they should be used.

  • Green wipes are used in areas where there is preparation of raw food.
  • Blue wipes are used for handling of cooked food.
  • Pink wipes are for general cleaning in food establishments.
  • White cloths are for general use.

This designation of colours meets the requirements of the HACCP Food Safety System and helps a restaurant show its compliance during an audit.

Uses of Cotton Cloth

Using a cloth for cleaning is not limited to benches in the kitchen – cotton cloths are very effective for drying of dishes and detailing of glassware.

  • For drying of dishes nothing beats a cotton tea towel, which also has the advantage of being ideal for use as a general cleaning cloth.
  • In the case of detailing of glassware, in particular wine glasses, the best solution is a slightly damp polyester cloth.
  • While cotton cloths are effective in glass detailing, polyester cloths have the advantage of leaving no lint.

For general restaurant use, polyester cloths have the disadvantage of not being able to be used near hot surfaces as the polyester will melt. However their inherent natural properties make them an ideal cloth for cleaning up.

Cotton cloth wipes are made from natural fibres, while micro-fibre is a synthetic product made from very fine polyester and polyamide threads. Visually, there is little difference between a micro-fibre and cotton cloth, both have a similar texture and feel. However there are some significant differences between the products.

Micro-fibre fibres are thinner than a strand of hair, in comparison to cotton which is a thicker thread. Micro-fibres have strong elasticity content, and resist shrinking or stretching.

The angled edges of the fibres contain deep splits to attract moisture and dirt, leaving no residue after cleaning. The dirt is trapped and held in the fibres until the cloths are washed.

A micro-fibre cloth can be washed between 100 and 500 times in cold or warm water, but to achieve thermal and chemical disinfection need to be washed in an Industrial Laundry operation.

Cotton is the most widely used textile fibre in the world.

Natural cellulose is spun with long staple cotton and woven into a 100% natural cloth. The result is a soft and absorbent cloth that will not cause scratching, ideal for glass cleaning.

Once this type of fabric has been through its first few washes it becomes more absorbent but has the disadvantage of potentially leaving lint when used as a glass wipe.

Both micro-fibres and cotton absorb well. Cotton can absorb 3 to 6 times its weight, and micro-fibre can absorb 6 to 10 times its weight.

Micro-fibre cloths can be used damp, but should not be used wet. If a micro-fibre cloth is too wet, the elements of the fibre designed to hold dirt will be filled with liquid and the cloth will be ineffective.

While both cotton and micro-fibre are soft and unlikely to scratch, in general the natural fibres in cotton are less likely to scratch than synthetic fibres.


Reusable Wipes — Clean to Green

Knowing the different types and uses of Cotton Wipes are very important. Alsco’s range of wipes uses both cotton and micro-fibre fabrics. For more information or to trial Alsco wipes, visit www.alsco.com.au or call 1300 300 953 and our friendly representatives will help you.

 

Image courtesy: Didriks

Why Natural Light is Better for the Work Place

There is no denying that we humans are outdoor creatures, by and large. Even if some of us prefer a quiet beach to the mountainous wilderness, we would all still be happier outside than cooped up indoors out of the light of the sun.

But, if this is true, shouldn’t we have as much natural sunlight as possible in our office, where we spend so much of our time? Research suggests that indeed we should, with the benefits of natural light in the workplace far outweighing any benefits of artificial lights.

Lower Energy Consumption

It’s only logical that an increase in natural light lessens the need for any artificial light source, and that in turn means a fall in energy consumption.

Admittedly, the reliance on electric lights is hardly going to end completely, but if natural light can be distributed efficiently, there’ll be no dark corners to light. Making the investment can be worth it.

In the US, for example, a Locklear plant in Seattle, WA, was redesigned so that natural light became the chief day-time lighting source. The company enjoyed a reduction in annual electricity costs of US$500,000. But, as a Green Office, you’ll like the fact that switching to natural light will greatly reduce your office’s carbon footprint.

After all, there is nothing running, nothing burning, and nothing wasted – just good, clean natural light from the sun.

Better Worker Health

According to research done in 1994 eyestrain, and the headaches and illnesses associated with it, is one of the biggest health problems in the workplace. This condition is related directly to the spectrum of light present in a workspace.

When a workspace is poorly lit the eyes will be damaged, but eyestrain is significantly diminished when a window with a view is provided. This is because a landscape view provides a combination of both short-range and long-range views causing the eye to constantly refocus, which benefits the eyes.

Natural light has also been linked with fewer headaches, increases in attentiveness, reductions in accidents and even better quality sleep when workers are at home.

Greater Positivity Leads to Greater Productivity

Natural light has a hugely positive effect on people, promoting a sense of team work, higher levels of motivation and organisational attachment.

Little surprise then that providing a bright, open and comfortable working environment is recognised as beneficial for everyone.

A company in California, USA constructed a daylit distribution facility and reported an 5% increase in productivity within 18 months of moving in. The new VeriFone building proved to be even more cost-effective than predicted.

How to Get the Most Daylight

So how can light be maximised in your office?

Well, completely remodeling the building is probably not too practical but there are smaller steps that can be taken. For instance, full pane windows can be installed to allow the maximum light to flow in.

Light tubes could be installed in the roof, to capture light and funnel it down into the room below and distribute it.

Alternatively, a heliostat can catch the sunlight throughout the day and deflect it into a building through either windows, skylights or the light tubes in the roof. Using glass walls and dividers will allow natural light to distribute more effectively.

Who doesn’t want to work in a fun, upbeat and ultimately positive working environment? This is why modern offices are open plan, with a preference for glass walls and spacial dividers, as well as plenty of plant-life within view and large exterior windows to bring the outdoors in.

It’s as close to working with our desks outdoors as we can get – without actually doing so!


Clean and Bright Office

Now that you know the advantages of having a bright office, make it a clean one too. Alsco Mats are a great way to reduce dirt from entering office premises.

Our revolutionary Evolution Mats are made from recycled eco-friendly materials. We have a variety of Eco-Mats you can choose from. Alsco’s friendly representatives will be delighted to share the cost and other benefits of our mat services with you.

Sources:

1. ErgoDynamix – Workplace Lighting’, ErgoDynamix online – www.ergodmx.com/articles/article_8.html

2. ‘A Literture Review of the Effects of Nautral Light on Building Occupants”, L Edwards and P Torcellini, NREL, 2002 – www.nrel.gov/docs/fy02osti/30769.pdf

  • 2a. ‘Daylighting Offers great Opportunities’, G Franta and K Anstead, Window & Door Specifier-Design Lab, 1994
  • 2b. ‘Energy Effectiveness and the Ecology of Work: Links to Productivity and Well-Being’, Heerwagen JH, et al. Building Research and Information, 1998
  • 2c. ‘At What Cost Health? Low Cost, As It Turns Out’, WR Pape, Inc Online, 1998

Image Courtesy: Howard Lake

The Green-Clean Option – How the Ecosafe Washer is Environmentally Better

It’s hard to argue against the idea that the whole automotive industry is as far removed from the concepts of neat and clean as you can get. Even the layman knows that a mechanic’s job is oily, greasy and grubby.

It is the same in terms of the environment, with pollutants entering waterways when solvents are spilled, toxic vapours released into the air during working processes, and the resulting by-products of work done are often poorly disposed of.

Little surprise then that we have taken to promoting the Green-Clean option in an effort to reduce the negative environmental impact made by this sector.

With the arrival of the Alsco Ecosafe Washer, which uses a solvents-free washing system, no waste is produced and the process is safer for the health of the user too.

No Solvents Used

Solvents are basically the chemical products used to break down grease, dirt and oil and get individual auto parts completely clean.

Elbow grease just isn’t enough to do the job right, but the development of aqueous-based solutions means that the whole process has become safer from both an environmental and health perspective.

The reason is that aqueous washers use alkaline detergents mixed with water.

In the case of the Ecosafe Washer, the solution (known as Ozzy Juice) is non-flammable, pH neutral, non-toxic and non-corrosive, making it the safest engine cleaning solution the environment could hope for.

No Waste Produced

The problem with the automotive industry – at practically every stage – is the waste products that must be disposed of once the processes are over.

When it comes to auto repair and body shops, the disposal of physical byproducts likes grease, grit, dirt and oily substances, as well as any chemical byproducts, is a major problem. Old school part washers have done little to improve the situation.

But the Alsco Ecosafe Washer makes use of a bio-remediation process, which means that now the waste created is greatly reduced.

How? Well, hydrocarbons, such as those found in petroleum products, are converted into water and carbon-dioxide.

Analysis of the Ozzy Juice after use in an Ecosafe Washer shows an oil and grease rate of around 1,400 parts per million – a figure in sharp contrast to the 20,000 parts per million shown by other washers.

Safer for Users

Health has long been an issue at the heart of the industry, with a range of illnesses and skin conditions developed through the use of solvents.

Vapours breathed in can cause:

  • Cancer
  • Severe respiratory problems

While touching chemical compounds can cause skin complaints.

Arguably, the most common skin condition is dermatitis – in fact, in a study in Sweden, almost 6% of automotive industry workers there tested positive for work-related dermatitis.

The secret to keeping the process safe for users is the blend of non-pathogenic microbes in the Ozzy Juice, which are completely harmless to humans. These microbes effectively eat up the hydrocarbon waste that can be toxic, and turn it into water and carbon dioxide.

Of course, efficiency is important too, and the Ecosafe Washer is easily as effective as the solvents traditionally used for engine cleaning and industrial parts washing.

Making a significant contribution to the Green-Clean drive, the Ecosafe Washer is better, not just for the working environment, but the environment in general.

Sources:


Ecosafe Washer from Alsco

The Alsco Ecosafe Washer is water based and exists in its own eco environment where oil and grease are turned into water and carbon dioxide (bio remediation). This ensures a safer workplace where you clean parts without breathing or soaking your hands in dangerous hydrocarbons.

 

What Kind of Workplace Is Yours? A Guide to Identifying Risks

Identifying the type of risks prevalent in your workplace plays a big part in knowing the right number of First Aiders you need, and type of training they need. Through these five steps, you can assess what is needed to achieve compliance:

  • Step 1: What is the maximum number of workers present at any one time?
  • Step 2: What kind of work is being carried out? Does it place your workers at high risk to require immediate first aid treatment?
  • Step 3: Is the workplace remote, or access to emergency services difficult? High risk workplaces with difficult access need at least one First Aider per 10 workers.
  • Step 4: How is work carried out: alone, in transit, or without supervision? If having a First Aider available at all times is impractical, workers must be able to access First Aid assistance, through an effective means of contacting emergency services, getting appropriate information, instruction and training.
  • Step 5: Finally, what other factors affect the number of First Aiders needed? For example: multiple shifts or overtime; seasonal work; large numbers of people present (schools, shopping centres); unique hazards (fitness centres, amusement parks); holidays and annual leave.

First Aid Kit: Code of Practice

There is no denying that the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act has many facets, all of which need to be adhered to if a business is to comply with the new regulations. The problem is keeping up with the finer details. To help businesses in this matter, a code of practice has been drawn up by Safe Work Australia.

First Aid in the Workplace: Code of Practice sets out clearly everything businesses owners and PCBUs need to know, effectively removing any confusion there may be. It provides information on a risk management approach ensuring the specific system is tailored to the specific risks and hazards in their workplace.

A synopsis of the points it covers includes some points covered in a previous Green Room post here. But as well as the expected points, like:

  • The required contents of First Aid Kits
  • The size and capacity of the kits
  • The ideal locations for them
  • There are also details provided on kit maintenance, additional equipment required, and the First Aid facilities expected.

Maintaining Kits

A person in the workplace should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit (usually a first aider) and should:

  • Monitor access to the first aid kit and ensure any items used are replaced as soon as practicable after use
  • Undertake regular checks (after each use or, if the kit is not used, at least once every 12 months) to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items (an inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check)
  • Ensure that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within their expiry dates and that sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with.

Other First Aid Equipment

In addition to First Aid Kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary, like Automatic Defibrillators or Eye Wash and Shower Equipment.

  • Automatic Defibrillators

Providing an Automatic Defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest and is a useful addition for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution, or where there are large numbers of members of the public.

Automatic defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons. They should be located in an area that is clearly visible, accessible and not exposed to extreme temperatures. They should be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

  • Eye Wash and Shower Equipment

Eye wash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace. Eye Wash equipment should be provided where there is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances causing eye injuries.

Easy access to shower equipment should also be provided in workplaces where there is a risk of:

  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in skin absorption or contamination from infectious substances
  • Serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical or electrical burns or burns that are deep, in sensitive areas or greater than a 20 cent piece)

Shower facilities can consist of:

  • An appropriate deluge facility
  • A permanently rigged hand-held shower hose
  • A portable plastic or rubber shower hose that is designed to be easily attached to a tap spout – for small, relatively low risk workplaces where a fixed deluge facility would not be reasonably practicable but the risk of serious burns is still foreseeable (a fish and chip shop).

First Aid Facilities

Facilities must be sufficient to cope with whatever demands might be placed on the first aiders in the event of a major accident – however unlikely that may seem to be. A risk assessment will help determine the type of First Aid facilities needed. For example, a clean, quiet area within the workplace that affords privacy to an injured or ill person may be suitable and practicable for some workplaces.

Access to a telephone for contacting emergency services or an emergency call system should be provided as part of all First Aid facilities.

First Aid Rooms

A First Aid room should be established where there is a higher risk of serious injury or illness occurring that would not only require immediate first aid, but also further treatment by an emergency service.

A first aid room is recommended for

  • Low risk workplaces with 200 workers or more
  • High risk workplaces with 100 workers or more

First Aid rooms should suit the hazards specific to the workplace, and should allow easy access and movement of injured people supported or moved by stretcher or wheelchair.

A First Aid room should

  • Offer privacy via screening or a door
  • Be easily accessible to emergency services (minimum door width of 1 metre for stretcher access)
  • Be well lit and ventilated
  • Have an appropriate floor area (14 square metres as a guide)
  • Have an entrance that is clearly marked with first aid signage

Maintaining a first aid room should be allocated to a trained occupational First Aider, except where this room is part of a health centre or hospital.

Health Centres

Health centres staffed by a registered health practitioner (a doctor or nurse) or paramedic can provide emergency medical treatment and cater to the types of hazards in high risk workplaces.

The facility should

  • Be self-contained
  • Be located at ground level where possible in a quiet, clean area that is a safe distance from hazardous operations and clear of any general thoroughfare
  • Be convenient and accessible to workers at the times that they work and have an entrance clearly marked with health centre signage
  • Have walls, floors and ceilings that are made of impervious materials and are easy to clean
  • Have enough space to accommodate first aid equipment

Are You Compliant? We’ll Audit Your Business to Make Sure You Are!

Alsco’s 2012 First Aid Compliance Guide conforms to the health and safety laws now applied across Australia, and gives you the best guidance in complying to them.

Of course, many of the basic principles of ensuring safety in the workplace have not changed. So, if your business was compliant with the previous regulations as they relate to the provision of First Aid kits, there are few changes that you need to make.

Certainly, we at Alsco are more than happy to help you meet the new First Aid kit requirements.

If you’re not completely sure whether your company complies fully with the current WHS guidelines for providing First Aid kits in your workplace? Give our friendly team a call on 1300 077 391 for a free, no-obligation First Aid Audit.

ALSCO’s Fully Managed First Aid Kits

Many businesses like to buy their First Aid equipment, including their kits, but with WHS Act stipulating a need to properly manage and maintain First Aid Kits, the sensible option is clearly to hire professionals to maintain equipment and supplies.

Alsco’s fully managed First Aid rental program means everything is taken care of, leaving you with nothing to worry about. You can be confident the First Aid supplies you need will be there every time they are needed.

Our managed rental service includes:

  • Agreed maintenance schedule by our friendly, professional team with a proven service record. Use our experience and expertise as a reference point to support you.
  • High quality “hospital grade” first aid supplies that are never out of date
  • Peace of mind knowing that all your first aid kits are auditable to OH&S guidelines, using both log books and our state of the art electronic tracking system
  • Sturdy, highly visible, wall-mounted cabinets for immediate identification and ease of access – for first aid kits, AEDs and eyewash stations.
  • Easy budgeting and cashflow management with a flat fee, inclusive of all services and consumables
  • Each item in Alsco’s First Aid Kits are colour coded for specific injuries, ensuring you select the correct first aid kit for your required situation.
  • A removable door liner is exchanged each service.
  • Well labelled, transparent packaging allows you to find the right supplies when you’re in a hurry.
  • A service card in each cabinet is used to log service dates.
  • Each kit has a logical, standard layout that makes it simple and easy to use.

Seriously, call Alsco right now! Act quickly and prioritise safety.

 

Safety at Work: A Guide to the WHS Act

Improving safety levels in the workplace is not a simple undertaking. Work-related injuries, and even fatalities, are recorded every year in every employment sector. But, with the introduction of the new WHS Act, this is hoped to dramatically reduce accidents at work.

It is an unfortunate fact that everyone faces potential hazards in:

  • Place of work
  • From stairwells
  • Unstable shelving and scaffolding
  • To machinery
  • Tools and electrical cords

There are any number of ways in which we can suffer an injury.

The new WHS Act is a major undertaking, with an array of new duties and responsibilities for employers and their workers. So, it is only to be expected that Safe Work Australia would put together a guide to clarify what these new laws and regulations actually mean.

The guide is itself something of a major read, comprising more than 40 pages of detailed explanation that sheds light on the complexities of the Act. From the duties of PCBUs and other officers (including first aid requirements), to their requirement to consult with workers, to the rights inspectors have in enforcing the Act, a multitude of issues are clarified.

The guide also details the consequences faced by any company, PSBU, HSR or worker that fails to live up to their designated responsibilities. The maximum punishments include a fine of $3 million issued to guilty corporations, $600,000 and 5 years in prison for a PCBU or officer, and $300,000 and 5 years in prison for a worker.

It’s clear that through the WHS Act, government is determined to make Australia one of the safest countries to work in. Below, we have provided a taste of what is contained in the Guide To The WHS Act [1.3MB], but you can read it in full by simply clicking on the link and downloading the guide for yourself. For more information, visit the Safe Work Australia website.

Some Guide Facts

Introduction:

Nationally Harmonised Work Health and Safety Laws

The WHS Act like that of most other jurisdictions is based on the ‘model’ WHS Act developed by Safe Work Australia.

The aim is to provide all workers in Australia with the same standard of health and safety protection regardless of the work they do or where they work.

A stronger national approach means greater certainty for businesses (particularly those operating across state borders) and over time reduced compliance costs for business.

More consultation between businesses, workers and their representatives, along with clearer responsibilities will make workplaces safer for everyone.

The harmonised work health and safety laws apply in the majority of jurisdictions. For more information about whether they apply in your jurisdiction check with your local regulator.

Purpose of the WHS Act (section 3)

The WHS Act provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers at work and of other people who might be affected by the work. The WHS Act aims to:

  • Protect the health and safety of workers and other people by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or workplaces
  • Ensure fair and effective representation, consultation and cooperation to address and resolve health and safety issues in the workplace
  • Encourage unions and employer organisations to take a constructive role in improving work health and safety practices
  • Assisting businesses and workers to achieve a healthier and safer working environment
  • Promote information, education and training on work health and safety
  • Provide effective compliance and enforcement measures, and
  • Deliver continuous improvement and progressively higher standards of work health and safety

In furthering these aims regard must be had to the principle that workers and other persons should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work as is reasonably practicable.

For these purposes ‘health’ includes psychological health as well as physical health.

Work Health and Safety Duties:

General Principles (sections 13-17)

The WHS Act sets out work health and safety duties for PCBUs, officers, unincorporated associations, government departments and public authorities including municipal governments, workers and other people at a workplace.

Coverage:

The WHS Act covers:

  • People who carry out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking including employees, contractors, subcontractors, self-employed persons, outworkers, apprentices and trainees, work experience students and volunteers who carry out work.
  • Other people at a workplace like visitors and customers at a workplace.

The WHS Act does not cover ‘volunteer associations’ who do not employ anyone.

More information about volunteer organisations and volunteers is available on the Safe Work Australia website and from local work health and safety regulators.

Multiple and Shared Duties (sections 14-16)

A person may have more than one duty. For example the working director of a company has duties as an officer of the company and also as a worker.

More than one person may have the same duty. A duty cannot be transferred to another person.

If more than one person has a duty for the same matter each person retains responsibility and must discharge their duty to the extent to which the person has the capacity to influence and control the matter—disregarding any attempts to ‘contract out’ of their responsibility.

Example:

A labour hire company hires out its employees to ‘host employers’ to carry out work for them. Both the labour hire company and the ‘host employer’ owes a duty of care to those employees. In such cases both are fully responsible for meeting that duty to the extent to which they have capacity to influence and control the matter. It is not possible to ‘contract out’ work health and safety duties.

Example:

A principal contractor and a subcontractor for construction work must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the provision of adequate facilities for the welfare of the workers carrying out the construction work. This does not mean that both are responsible for providing the facilities. One may provide the facilities with the other duty holder satisfying themselves that their duty is met because the facilities provided by the other duty holder fulfil their obligations.

Consultation with Workers and Representation of Workers:

Consultation With Workers (sections 47-49)

PCBUs must so far as reasonably practicable consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a matter relating to health and safety. This includes giving workers a reasonable opportunity to express their views or raise issues about work health and safety at the workplace.

Consultation is a collaborative process between PCBUs and their workers. It involves sharing information about work health and safety and ensuring that views of workers are taken into account when making decisions about health and safety at the workplace. It does not require agreement to be reached.

If there is an agreed consultation procedure then the consultation must be in accordance with those procedures.

If an HSR represents workers the consultation must involve the HSR.

A PCBU must consult with workers and take their views into account when:

  • Identifying hazards and assessing risks arising from work
  • Proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of workers, and
  • Whenever specifically required to do so under particular regulations

And when considering making decisions about:

  • Ways to eliminate or minimise risks
  • The adequacy of facilities for workers’ welfare at work
  • Procedures for consulting with workers
  • Procedures for resolving health and safety issues
  • Procedures for monitoring the health of workers or workplace conditions, and
  • How to provide health and safety information and training to workers

Views of workers must be taken into account when consulting under these provisions but there is no requirement for agreement to be reached.

Workers who have been consulted under these provisions must be advised of the outcome in a timely manner. There is no particular way this advice must be given—it could for example be given at a ‘toolbox’ meeting or posted as an intranet news item.

Representation and Participation of Workers

Workers are entitled to:

  • Elect a health and safety representative if they wish to be represented by one
  • Request the formation of a health and safety committee if they wish
  • cease unsafe work in certain circumstances (see below for more information)
  • Have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure, and
  • Not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues

Offences and Penalties:

Health and Safety Duty Offences

The WHS Act provides for three categories of criminal offences for breach of health and safety duties. The maximum penalties are different depending on the category of the offence and whether the offender is an individual (e.g. a worker, or a PCBU), an officer (as defined) or a body corporate.

  • Category 1 – a duty holder, without reasonable excuse, engages in conduct that recklessly exposes a person to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.
  • Category 2 – a duty holder fails to comply with a health and safety duty that exposes a person to risk of death or serious injury or illness.
  • Category 3 – a duty holder fails to comply with a health and safety duty.

Volunteers are not liable for a failure to comply with a health and safety duty except in their capacity as a worker (section 28) or other person at a workplace (section 29).

An unincorporated association is not liable for prosecution although its officers (except volunteers) may be prosecuted for a failure to comply with an officer’s duty (section 27). Its members may owe duties in their capacities as workers (section 28) or other persons at a workplace (section 29).

Penalties for Breach of Health and Safety Duty Offences

Type Order Information
Corporation Individual as PCBUor officer Individual as workeror other
Category 1 $3 million $600 000, five yearsin jail or both $300 000, fiveyears jail or both
Category 2 $1.5 million $300 000 $150 000
Category 3 $500 000 $100 000 $50 000

Alternative Penalty Options

In addition to imposing a penalty courts may impose alternative remedies including:

  • Adverse publicity orders
  • Restoration orders
  • Work health and safety project orders
  • Court-ordered work health and safety undertakings
  • Injunctions, and
  • Training orders

Alsco First Aid

We all know that time is very important especially in saving lives. Understanding our customer’s needs identified a need not only for training courses but the ability to manage and maintain the total compliancy of certifications, and aspects of legislation over and above just training. Alsco’s Managed Training Service is a complete solution that will compel action within your business.

Our Training Guarantee ensures you manage your training costs irrespective of staff turnover. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Image courtesy: Ausgrid photos

 

Cut Down Unnecessary Waste by Using Green Cutlery

Cut Down Unnecessary waste by Using Green Cutlery

We all feel good when we opt for green lunches, but going truly ‘Green’ extends beyond munching on the healthy salad option. What about the cutlery you use? Is it ‘Green’ cutlery or plastic that you’ll toss in the bin?

The thing is that, while eating healthily is certainly good for you, it is not always good for the environment. And even if your local sandwich bar proudly delivers its triple-deckers in bio-degradable packets and wrappings, is the little spoon with your tomato and basil soup the same?

The good news is there are plenty of options available to those that wish to make the change to more eco-friendly utensils – without resorting to using your fingers, that is!

The list of ‘Green’ cutlery options basically falls into two categories: reusable and biodegradable. But it is the bio-degradable (or compostable) that is attracting our attention mostly.

Bio-degradable Cutlery Options

  1. Celeplast or PSM (Potato Starch Material) – How much more eco-friendly can cutlery be when you know they have been made from potatoes? They look just like plastic cutlery, but are completely bio-degradable and are strong enough to handle even steak. They are also heat resistant up to a temperature of 205 F, so are quite durable.Be warned, however, that a second version of PSM is also on the market. Known as Plastized Starch Material, it is made with 20% petroleum-based resin, so is NOT bio-degradable. Be sure to check which type of PSM the caterers are providing.
  2. PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) – Made from corn, this plastic is 100% bio-degradable, but the plastic is hard enough to hold out when handling solid food. They are just as strong as the regular plastic products on the market, but they can only handle temperatures up to 110 F. When they are used and set for composting, the material takes between 60 and 90 days to decompose.
  3. Wood – As you might expect, wooden knives, forks and spoons are very much eco-friendly. The choice of wood used for wooden cutlery includes hardwoods like birch, maple and fast-growing bamboo. Lightweight but sturdy, they can handle any temperature, and are manufactured from chemical-free processes.

Reusable Cutlery Options

  1. Metal Cutlery – It may be a no-brainer but we thought we’d mention it anyway. The beauty of these is that they can last for years. Many office kitchens have real cutlery, and simply wash them after use. They do tend to disappear over time, which perhaps makes the second option so attractive.
  2. Bring Your Own – By taking your own cutlery to work, you don’t actually need any utensils from the food supplier. The equation is simple: no disposable cutlery required means no extra waste.

Finding Restaurants or Suppliers

Luckily, when it comes to finding a restaurant that use bio-degradable or compostable cutlery, there isn’t much trouble.

No business is shy about promoting its ‘Green‘ ethics, so all you need to do is take a look around to find a restaurant or sandwich bar close to you. You can also check out the Greenfinder.com.au, a site that lists thousands of eco-friendly businesses and their products.

Sources:

  1. ‘Compostable Cutlery, Biodegradable Cutlery: The Newest in Green Cutlery Options’, Mr Take Out Bags blog.
  2. ‘Compostable Cutlery Made From Cereplast’, Treehugger.com.
  3. ‘What are the Pros and Cons of Using Wooden Cutlery?’, Wisekgeek.com.

Food and Glass Wipes

Alsco’s reusable wipes are a cost effective, efficient and environmentally friendly way to wipe down and clean up just about any surface. Made from 100% cotton, our kitchen wipes are durable and absorbent. They are also compliant with HACCP and workplace health and safety regulations. Alsco food and glass wipes are collected, laundered to Australian Quality Standards and delivered back to you, our customer, ready for use and reuse. Best of all, with our managed rental system there’s no capital outlay.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Solvent Based Parts Cleaners vs Non-solvent Based Parts Washer

All mechanics know the necessity of cleaning car parts in order to carry out their work. There are, however, choices to be made regarding the way in which parts ought to be cleaned: using solvent based parts cleaners or non-solvent based parts cleaners?

While solvent based cleaners are known to be effective in engine cleaning, their use is also known to have a detrimental effect on both the environment and worker health.

Solvent Based Cleaners and the Environment

The waste liquid produced by solvent based cleaners can pollute the work area if it is left on the work floor, while dumping it into the sewage system untreated means that hazardous elements are simply added to the water system.

Chlorinated solvents, like trichloroethylene, are resistant to environmental degradation, while petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals (fluid), heavy oil distillates and detergents all contribute to highly pollutant concoction.

Solvent Based Cleaners and Worker Health

The use of chemicals in cleaning parts has long been linked with a variety of illnesses and injuries, including:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Impotence
  • Dermatitis
  • Loss of motor function
  • Memory loss

Is there a suitable alternative to the use of these chemicals in workshops? Happily, there is.

Relatively new to the market are parts washers that are not reliant on solvents.

Some of these, such as the Alsco Ecosafe Washer, work using a process called bioremediation – grease and oil are simply turned in to carbon dioxide and water. So, instead of using a product that is harmful to both employee health and the environment, mechanics (and similar industries) can now opt for a product that is as effective (if not more) and eliminates health and environmental concerns.

Ideal for engine cleaning and industrial parts washing, the Ecosafe Washer provides an environmentally friendly alternative:

  • No harmful chemicals
  • No fumes
  • Non toxic
  • Non flammable
  • No waste disposal
  • No health concerns

Maintaining a clean, healthy and green environment has become a simpler task for workplaces such as mechanic workshops and garages.


Ecosafe Washer

Our Alsco Ecosafe Washers are water based and exists in its own environment where oil and grease are transformed into water and carbon dioxide.

This is the solution to clean car parts without any risk! CALL ALSCO NOW! You’ve Got Nothing To Lose!

Life Saving Heartsine Defibrillator

Alsco Life Saving Story

Earlier this year one of Mosman Public School’s young teachers named Tristan experienced heart problems and collapsed while on a school camp.

His fellow teachers were able perform CPR and use our Heartsine Defibrillator which stabilised his heart until the ambulance officers arrived. As a result he is back at school today teaching all the bright eyed kids in his class.

Heartsine Donation Program

Heartsine, as the maker of our defibrillator, runs a program that enables Alsco First Aid to donate a defibrillator to an organisation of Tristan’s choice. Fresh & Clean Sydney were invited to make a presentation in front of the Mosman Public School assembly to hand.over the defibrillator to the school.

As a result of the presentation the school’s P&C decided that the school should have another defibrillator so they could take it on school trips and provide the school community with better access to one of these lifesaving machines.

We now have many machines out on hire and also have sold many as direct sales to the community saving lives on a regular basis.  It’s our machines and our service that is helping improve access to this life saving device.

You too could save lives. Ensure your workplaces have Heartsine Defibrillators installed and easy to access. Alsco services these AEDs regularly to make sure they are working properly, whenever needed. Get to know these AEDs better by calling an Alsco representative.

Reduce Your Corporate Impact on the Australian Environment

Creating a culture of the three R’s in your office will enact a powerfully noticeable change.

Motivate everyone to get on board by casting a green vision and providing incentives. Express to customers and clients that your company is taking steps in the green direction today. Prune away small, wasteful practices and rethink your large-scale impact on the environment.

Here are helpful hints for getting started with the three R’s in the workplace.

Recycle

  • Reward departments for having low amounts of trash by redirecting waste to recycling bins.
  • Recycle old carpet.
  • Purchase office equipment made with recycled materials such as the Evolution Executive mat.
  • Launch a composting program to keep food scraps out of the garbage bin.
  • Recycle toner cartridges and dispose of light bulbs and batteries responsibly.

Reduce

  • Install low-flow or more efficient commodes in your building to reduce water use.
  • Encourage direct deposit to eliminate paper checks.
  • Email all memos rather than printing them.
  • Reduce heating and cooling costs by investing in premium insulation and smart windows.
  • Reduce the pesticides used in landscaping or switch to natural pest control methods.
  • Eliminate Styrofoam and plastic cutlery by requesting staff use mugs, plates and other items from home.

Reuse

  • Redirect rainwater to containers for use in garden areas.
  • Harness the power of the sun by installing solar panels.
  • Save money by purchasing gently used office furniture.
  • Reuse office supplies such as paper clips and rubber bands.
  • Reuse folders by slapping on a new, organic label.

Alsco Continuous Towel

Our cloth towel dispensers provide a quick and economical method for people to dry their hands. The dispensers have separate chambers for the new and used portion of the towel, which ensures no contact and an unparalleled level of hygiene. During cleaning, towels are processed at over 150°C to ensure complete sterilization.

Start recycling for greener environment. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

 

Image courtesy: Intel Free Press