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Monthly Archives: April 2009

  • Swine Flu and BIG Safety in the news

    Posted on: 01, May

    BIG Safety was quick to respond to clients and customers needs as preparations for swine flu protection kicked into full swing.

    Some clients were ordering enough masks for their workers to last up to one month. Our clients have the philosophy that they need their businesses functional and operational therefore it is better to be safe than sorry. The investment in P2 masks is a small price to pay for insurance to ensure their businesses do not stop in the event of an epidemic.

    The P2 disposable masks are usable for five years from the date of manufacture, which makes the investment pretty small if amortised over five years.

    The most common masks purchased were the P2 disposable face mask with exhalation valve.

  • Can you give away $100000?

    Posted on: 28, Apr

    I am not usually a big fan of Oprah Winfrey (more to the point - not a fan of daytime TV), however it was really interesting to watch a show on the weekend entitled "The Big Give". 10 contestants needed to run around town and give $100000. They were not allowed to give cash, only allowed to give up to $500 per individual or $10000 per business/company or organisation. Then the biggest giver was jugded by a panel of Judges including Jamie Oliver to determine who was "The Biggest Giver"

    The two main things which really interested me were:-

    1. The joy it gave these people to see the enjoyment they were able to bring to other peoples lives.

    2. When people were given the opportunity they gave to their passion:-

    • handicapped children
    • underpriveleged families
    • cystic fibrosis foundation
    • Animal shelters

    It made me think if I had $100000 to give away, who would I give it to, but more importantly what can I do now to help the organisation, group or body that I am passionate about?

    I have heard it said that you get back ten fold what you give. The contestants in this show seemed to be definitely reaping those rewards.

    Only 1 of 10 was able to give away $100000.

    For more information you can view the show here:- http://abc.go.com/primetime/oprahsbiggive/index?pn=index

  • Swine Flu Protection - N95 and P2 Protection Masks Q & A

    Posted on: 27, Apr

    With the news spreading the world about the threat of "Swine Flu" I just wanted to clarify the most apropriate masks and include a quick Question and Answer video to assist people in understanding the risks, protection measures sites to check for up dated information.

    The US CDC (Centre for Disease Control) recommends N95 NIOSH approved masks to prevent the spread of SWINE FLU. N95 is a US standard for disposable face masks. The equivalent disposable face mask in Australia is the P2. The link below talks about the resonable steps that you can take to protect yourself as well as a Question and Answer summary from the Centre for Disease control websitehttp://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25391554-401,00.html N95/P2 protective face masks can be purchased at http://www.bigsafety.com.au/category13_1.htm

  • Creating a safety awareness culture within your organisation which motivates members to wear PPE

    Posted on: 22, Apr

    A challenge for any person responsible for the occupational health and safety within their workplace is not only ensuring that they are up-to-date with the relevant OH&S obligations, but ensuring compliance of those regulations from staff within your workplace. An example is the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for that particular site.  This not only includes staff members, employees or contractors but also suppliers and visitors to the site that could be potentially exposed to risk.  An effective safety awareness culture needs to be developed within the organisation via an effective OH&S program.

    The depth and magnitude of any OH&S program to be implemented within your workplace will depend upon several factors including the size of your organisation, the resources available for developing and implementing such a program into your workplace and the level of risk that is present within your workplace (determined by conducting a risk assessment).

    Within smaller organisations, formalizing the OH&S program might not be necessary and could effectively be done via informal discussions between the members of the team.  Within larger organisations, a formal OH&S committee or representative might be required to develop and implement a program for the workplace.  The legal requirements for organisations and individuals are set out quite clearly under OH&S legislation and will depend on your state or territory.

    Four key areas that an organisation should focus on, in developing a safety culture by encouraging and promoting safety within their workplace are:

    • Leadership
    - Establishing clear directions to every member of your workforce;
    - Promoting a culture geared around safety awareness;
    - Reinforcing ownership of safety with all members of your workforce;
    - Identifying and rewarding successes;
    - Enforcement and proper supervision of safety protocols at all levels within the organisation.
    - Ensuring that up-to-date training manuals, safety protocols/guidelines and appropriate, well maintained personal protective equipment is made available for use by members of your workforce

    • Communication
    - Providing adequate, relevant and timely safety information to all levels within the organisation;
    - Focusing the message of safety down the chain of management;
    - Publishing common safety lessons learnt or safety breaches that have occurred;
    - Ensuring that the safety awareness message is displayed adequately throughout the workplace and is site specific;
    - Providing an avenue for members of your organisation to provide feedback or have input into the types of personal protective equipment used/provided and their pro’s and con’s.

    • Training
    - Instilling an effective culture of safety awareness by providing adequate training or access to different training options of the safety rights and responsibilities of both the organisation as a whole and for individuals within the organisation;
    - Providing adequate training on the use of personal protective equipment;
    - Highlighting the benefits of using PPE to prevent workplace and to demonstrate the detriments of not utilising PPE

    • Accountability
    - All levels of management within the organisation should be held accountable for safety compliance on both an organisational basis and an individual basis;
    - Promote and enforce existing standards and institute or expand incentive or reward programs;

    Ensuring that these four key areas are present within your workplace will go a long way to ensuring the success of any OH&S program and enhancing the levels of safety within your workplace.  However, as with any system or program, safety related or not, its success is dependant on the active and cooperative participation of all parties concerned.

    This article is intended to be a general introduction to creation of a OH&S management plan, however a OH&S Industry professional should be consulted to develop the ideal plan to suit your worksites requirements.  Information sourced from the Naval Safety Center website found at http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/default.htm


  • Safety Glasses – It is better to read this article than lose your sight!

    Posted on: 17, Apr

    Imagine what it would feel like to never be able to see again?


    Eye injuries are a significant cause of lost working days throughout Australia, particularly within the manufacturing industry.  There are two main reasons why eye injuries would occur at work ? not wearing any eye protection or more commonly because of wearing the wrong type of, or inadequate eye protection.


    When injuries occur even though eye protection is being worn, the question has to be asked ?how much protection is required??  To answer that a simple hazard assessment should be made to determine which of several eye hazards exist in your workplace for each job.  Such hazards include:

    • Dust, concrete, metal and other particles;
    • Chemicals such as acids, bases, fuels, solvents, lime and wet or dry cement powder;
    • Falling or shifting debris, building materials and glass;
    • Smoke and noxious or poisonous gases;
    • Welding light and electrical arcs;
    • Thermal hazards and fires; and
    • Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood, body fluids and human remains.

    Where hazards are found to exist in the workplace, to help prevent eye injuries from occurring, employers or people in charge should:

    • Ensure eye protection is adequate against identified eye injury hazards, this include selection of either safety glasses, safety goggles or a face shield;
    • Know the latest eye protection information, procedures and provide the equipment;
    • Provide information, training and supervision to ensure safe procedures are followed and that adequate eye protection is being worn;
    • Ensure eye protection is worn by employees as well as any visitors to the site at all times in identified risk areas and situations;
    • Consider providing both safety goggles and face shields for high-risk work;
    • Ensure eye protection is properly maintained.  Dirty or scratched lenses impair vision and are more likely to be removed;
    • Ensure adequate first aid training is provided and first aid equipment is available for emergency treatment to eye injuries.

    Of course this should be considered in conjunction with the organisation or workplace?s overall safety program or plan.

    For further information or reference material for understanding eye protection requirements, the legislation and standards that are relevant include Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2001, Australian/New Zealand Standard 1336:1997 ?Recommended Practices for Occupational Eye Protection? and Australian Standard 1337:1997 ?Eye Protectors for Industrial Applications?.

  • Workwear and Hi Vis Safety Clothing Standards

    Posted on: 03, Apr

    Personal protective clothing can be defined as any item of clothing which is used by employees and others to reduce their exposure to hazards in the work place.


    Protective clothing and equipment is available for almost every part of the body and the type of equipment used will depend on the protection that is required.  Some common areas which require protection and examples of how that area may be protected include: body protection using lab coats, coveralls, waterproof jackets and pants, heat proof aprons and hi visibility garments; foot protection using steel capped safety boots, waterproof boots and non slip shoes; and hand protection using cotton, leather, PVC or nitrile gloves.


    Body Protection


    Sometimes it is easy to forget about using the appropriate protective clothing but the simple fact is, that it helps protect from accidents.  There are several important points to remember regarding protective clothing:

    • Ensure that all protective clothing meets the appropriate standards
    • Ensure that each item of protective clothing is appropriate for each particular workplace hazard
    • Ensure the clothing fits the individual worker
    • Provide/obtain training in the appropriate use of protective clothing
    • Provide/obtain additional training for supervisors to ensure they understand their role in enforcing wearing and use of protective clothing
    • Ensure all protective clothing is cleaned and adequately maintained


    Hi Visibility Clothing

    Workwear - Hi Vis Safety Vest


    There is a wide range of Hi Vis garments available for workers who require visibility within their workplace.  These range from hi vis vests to hi vis work shirts, pants and jackets.  The selection and use of High Visibility Garments is governed by the High Visibility Safety Garments standard (AS/NZS 4602:1999) which details the requirements of personal safety garments to increase the ability for the wearer to be seen. Material used in the design and manufacture of high visibility safety garments must be fluorescent and retroflective.  Below is a simple guide to the standard:

    Class of Garment

    Class D

    §         For outdoor day use only

    §         Uses fluorescent materials

    §         High visibility materials must encircle the upper torso - min visible area of 0.4m2


    Class N

    §         For night use when viewed under retroflective conditions eg: vehicle headlight illumination

    §         Must have 50mm strips of retroflective material complying to class R AS/NZS 1906.4 in specific tape configurations


    Class D/N

    §         For use in day or night, dawn, dusk or in poor weather conditions where there is illumination from headlights

    §         Must use retroflective strips and fluorescent material


    Protective Disposable Clothing


    The value of protective disposable clothing is often dismissed in the argument ?why spend money on items that are going to be thrown away when I can wash what I already wear?.  What they fail to recognise is that disposable clothing is designed for those situations where all over body protection is required and the risk of contamination to normal clothing may exist. 


    Hair, sweat, dust, bacteria, viruses and clothing threads may be some of the contaminants you do not want brought into your work place and may contaminate your work environment/manufacturing products. Chemicals, aerosols, dusts and water are some of the contaminants you may wish to prevent coming into contact with your physical body.  You can more easily control the disposal and re-issue of fresh garments and not worry about collection, washing and cleanliness of reusable items.


    Disposable protective clothing is generally made from a polypropylene material which is lightweight, durable, soft and economical.

  • Safety Harness and Height Safety Fall Protection

    Posted on: 01, Apr

    Spanset Ergo 1300 Safety Harness The recent death of a man at Maroubra, NSW Australia from a fall related incident is a timely reminder to treat working at heights seriously. You MUST complete the three steps listed in this article.


    Fall hazards are the construction industry?s main cause of death from traumatic injuries with 18 deaths having occurred in 2003 in Australia and New Zealand.  They are also its second largest cause of non-fatal injuries to construction workers.  In Australia alone between 1997 and 2001, the construction industry generated around 1,600 fall-related workers? compensation claims each year.  This represents approximately 12% of all construction workers? compensation claims.*


    Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989, employers, persons in control of a workplace and self-employed persons must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that persons at or near the workplace are not exposed to health and safety risks.  Preventing injury from falls is also a requirement under the Scaffolding and Lifts act 1912.


    What can you do to prevent falls?  There is a three step risk management approach that can be implemented into any workplace.  The first step is to identify the hazards, the second is to assess the risk and the third step is controlling the risk. 


    Controlling the risk can involve such measures as eliminating the hazard, by working on the ground as much as is practicable; substituting with a safer surface such as constructing temporary work platforms; isolating the hazard by using physical barriers such as guardrails; and the use of personal protective equipment such as a hard hat which can minimise the risk of head injuries and safety harnesses which are secured into an anchor point or a safety line at the work site.


    If your workplace engages contractors to undertake work, it is important to remember that there is a shared responsibility for health and safety and this requires cooperation and communication regarding risks associated with the work.  You can not ?contract out? your safety responsibilities for work or a workplace that you control.


    For further information on the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees, visit the Workcover website in your state or territory.  They have loads of information and provide all the up-to-date legislative requirements.


    * Information sourced from the HWSA Joint Compliance Project Report: Falls Prevention in Construction 2004 ? Part One found at http://www.workcover.tas.gov.au/workcoverpublish/attach/inspfalls1.pdf and from Workcover ACT?s IB0314 ? Prevention of Falls on Construction Sites found at http://www.workcover.act.gov.au/pdfs/IB0314-Falls_Prevention.pdf


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