SNG with QRMCThe third quarter Safety Networking Group meeting was held on 21 August, hosted by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

WHSQ hosted the August Safety Networking Group Function with Brad Bick, the Director Work and Electrical Safety Policy sharing details of Queensland’s Health & Safety performance and insights into the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 that is currently tabled to go before Parliament in September. The Amendment Bill looks to adjust the entry permit provisions, remove the current 24 hour notice required for HSRs to request the assistance and access to the workplace and reinstate the power for a trained HSR to direct workers to cease work if they have a reasonable concern that the work would expose the worker to a serious and immediate or imminent risk to their health and safety.  The Bill also amends the current WHS incident notification provisions to include an additional requirement to notify the Regulator when a worker is absent for more than four days due to a workplace injury  (reinstating the notification requirement from the repealed Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995).

Rhett Moxham, the Manager Workers Compensation Policy provided an update in relation to the changes to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. Rhett indicated that the Bill is part of the Government’s commitment to remove the 5% threshold while ensuring the rights of injured workers to effective rehabilitation. The Bill will amend the process for common law claims, but will retain the simplified administrative process.

Sharon Vandermaat presented details of the approach taken to implement PErforM within the City of Gold Coast’s City Maintenance Branch. PErforM is based on the core principle that the worker is the expert in performing their work tasks and it provides a framework to help employers engage with workers to identify, assess and control manual task risks. After an initial survey identified a number of areas to be targeted for improvement, and following the training of the nominated ‘PErfroM Facilitators’ WHSQ’s PErforM Risk Assessment Tool was applied to a range of high risk manual tasks. Following the assessment a series of engineering, design and procurement controls were implemented to mitigate the impacts of the manual tasks. Sharon detailed that the program led to impressive reductions in both cost and the number of ‘body stressing’, strains, soft-tissue and occupational overuse claims and costs within City Maintenance Branch. The key to the success, from Sharon’s perspective was empowering the workers and the follow through by Management.

Lindsay Shorley seconded these ‘keys to success’ in his presentation, exploring the challenges of implementing participative ergonomics with large and diverse organisations drawing on his experience within QR’s Infrastructure Services. Lindsay indicated that the process and risk assessment tools needed to be embedded within the Safety Management systems. The other key learning from Lindsay’s experience was that while targeting excessive exertion, long-duration or awkward postures, and assessing the specific movement patterns there was also a need to consider cumulative tissue damage occurring over time. Large geographically spread organisations with diverse operations present challenges in relation to the visibility and sharing of assessment and risk controls. Lindsay explored how on-line assessment tools (such as ErgoAnalyst) facilitate enhanced visibility and reporting functionality across larger organisations, enabling assessments and control strategies to be circulated efficiently with the benefits shared and lessons applied quickly.

The next SNG meeting is earmarked for late November 2015.

 

ABOUT THE SNG:

In 2005 QRMC founded the Safety Networking Group for senior safety professionals working in the greater Brisbane metropolitan area. QRMC continues to coordinate and arrange for speakers to present at quarterly meetings and discuss information on contemporary WHS issues. Group members also share information from their workplaces or industries, which other members frequently find interesting and useful.

More information on the Safety Networking Group can be found on our website. Senior safety professionals contemplating attending meetings in Brisbane can contact QRMC to express an interest.