Smartphone Key to Worker Safety

smartphoneExperts at a recent international Safety Conference predicted the use of technology in WHS compliance will increase the next ten years.

Panelists at the Alberta Health & Safety Conference in Edmonton, said the biggest trend for safety professionals is around data and analytics, and a worker’s most important tool is his smartphone.

For example, employees can use it to take picture for hazard assessments, said David Cooper, a technology entrepreneur with experience in the health and safety industry.

Employers should be training workers on how to use their mobile devices to improve workplace safety. After all most employees have a smartphone in their pocket.

“How do we use existing tools in a simpler way?” he said. “Simply taking a picture, emailing it to their supervisor… companies that have this sort of option and even just using what is built into mobile phones saw an 80 per cent increase in people reporting incidences because they are using technology they are already used to.”

The younger generation coming into the workforce is also forcing employers to use technology at work. By 2015, 20 per cent of the workforce will be between the ages of 20 and 30.

So those people who were brought up with smartphones and tablets or are using these devices in everyday life are now coming into the workforce and expecting a lot more in terms of connectivity and devices.   WHS managers looking at how they can meet these requirements but with reduced budgets are faced with the option of choosing off-the-shelf mobile solutions.

One solution that has been launched recently is the mobile app by Safety Concepts. The Safety Concepts App virtualizes all the paper forms, policies and procedures from a typical Health and Safety system and allows access without connectivity on any smart device. Want to know more about the app or get a free trial? Call us on 1300 773801 or CLICK HERE.




















Singapore Tightens Up Safety in Construction Industry

cranes on siteOfficials in Singapore are making sure workplace safety is a priority in the construction industry.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently took action against 79 companies following a special enforcement operation conducted this summer. The enforcement operation targeted the construction industry, with a focus on unsafe lifting practices and crane operations.

A total of 80 work sites were inspected by MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Division, and 194 crane-related contraventions of the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act were uncovered.

Of these contraventions, 98 resulted in composition fines totaling more than $95,000. The other contraventions saw 96 Notices of Non-Compliance issued to companies to warn them against unsafe lifting practices. MOM has also instructed the companies involved to address the findings of the inspections and will monitor these efforts closely.

The top five contraventions uncovered included:

  • Failure to maintain cranes in good working condition

  • Failure to establish and implement a proper lifting plan

  • Using defective lifting gear or lifting gear that had not been examined by an authorized examiner

  • Failure to implement a proper Permit-To-Work system

  • No indication of the Safe Working Load and lifting machine number on the lifting machine

Crane safety remains a top concern.

While none of the contraventions uncovered warranted a Stop-Work Order, the type and number of contraventions remain a concern.


MOM’s commissioner for WSH, Er. Ho SiongHin said, “The crane industry’s practices remain a serious concern. Besides the safe deployment of cranes, crane owners and occupiers have the responsibility to ensure that their cranes and lifting operations do not endanger workers or the public. MOM has threatened stern action against errant crane companies and occupiers. All occupiers and crane owners ought to put in place robust maintenance regimes and safety systems to put an end to unsafe lifting operations”.


UN Announces Ebola Emergency Response

United Nations BuildingThe Ebola outbreak in west Africa has been declared by the UN Security Council a threat to international peace and security.

UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, announced a new United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) would be deployed after 193 members of the General Assembly voted a resolution.

This is the first time that the UN has created a mission for a public health emergency.


In the period to October since the first case was reported to the World Health Organization period more than 4,500 victims have died of the disease. 

 UNMEER advance teams have been directed to deploy to the mission headquarters in Accra, Ghana, and to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, by Sept. 22.

Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organisation director-general, has said the outbreak is likely to be the greatest peacetime challenge the United Nations has ever faced and has called on nations around the world to help in providing for nearly $1 billion in critical needs the UN has identified for the next six months.

“The fact that the U.S., U.K., China, Cuba, and other countries are using a variety of assets, including military assets, speaks to the complexity of the challenge,” she said.

“This is not just a public health crisis. This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis, and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones,” she told the Security Council. “For these reasons, Mr. secretary general and I are calling for a UN-wide initiative that draws together all the assets of all relevant UN agencies.”

Dr. David Nabarro, the secretary general’s senior coordinator for the Ebola response, said confirmed cases had doubled in the affected countries during the three weeks prior to the council’s vote. 

WHO declared Nigeria and Senegal free of Ebola transmission, calling the former’s effort “a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained.”


WA Tables Draft WHS Bill

OHS NewsThe draft Work Health and Safety Bill 2014 (‘the Green Bill’) has been tabled in Western Australia’s Parliament.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch has now called for public comment on the Bill, the WA version of the national Model Work Health and Safety Bill, the harmonised legislation developed by Safe Work Australia for implementation across Australia.

“The State Government announced in August that it intended to craft the best version of the legislation, adapted and suited to the Western Australian work environment,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The Green Bill has been drafted to include the core provisions of the Model WHS Bill, but has been refined to reduce red tape and ensure it is in the best interests of WA businesses and the WA community.

“While the State Government has long supported in principle the process of harmonising workplace safety legislation across Australia, it does not support uniformity for its own sake without giving thought to what is best for WA workplaces.”

The WA Government has long had concerns with some areas of the proposed legislation, and three areas of the national Model WHS Bill have not been adopted in the WA version.  They are:

  • Union right of entry – in WA, union right of entry for workplace safety reasons is provided under industrial relations legislation, and this is considered to be a more appropriate location than in workplace safety legislation;
  • Safety and health representatives’ capacity to direct the cessation of work – it is believed that the decision to refuse to continue working where there is a serious risk of harm should remain with the individual worker; and
  • Reverse onus of proof in discrimination matters – WA considers the inclusion of this section to be contrary to one of the issues that initiated the harmonisation process.

Anyone with an interest in workplace safety is urged to participate in the public comment process closing on January 30, 2015.



New Report Shows Link Between WHS and Improved Business Performance

Centre Workplace LeadershipA new report commissioned by Safe Work Australia has identified links between investing in workplace health and safety and better business performance.

The report by the University Of Melbourne’s Centre for Workplace Leadership found that by improving worker safety and reducing the likelihood of poor health in workers businesses can substantially increases performance in terms of increased productivity, lower costs, greater innovation and higher profitability.

Director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership and author of the report, Professor Peter Gahan said that this was a crucial area for businesses to address, as the cost was high for poor safety records.

“Productivity declines when poor safety means that employees are injured in and out of the office. Finding and training suitable replacements is far more expensive than reducing risks in the workplace in the first place,” Professor Gahan said.

“There is a strong case to be made that Australian businesses need to invest more to protect employees from accident, and to protect themselves from the costs associated with workplace injury.”

In Australia almost 130,000 serious workers’ compensation claims were made from 2011-12. This represents more than 12 claims per 1,000 employees. Employees who claim for a serious injury are away from work for an average of 12 weeks. During this same period 228 workers died due to a workplace injury or accident.

As well as the tragic implications for colleagues, family and the community, workplace accidents that result in death are estimated to cost between $11 and $19 Million. 

Some of the things businesses can do to promote best practice WHS and improve business outcomes include:

  • Ensure someone has clear responsibility for workplace health and safety (WHS) performance and they are held accountable through their performance review.
  • Make sure your WHS approach is appropriate – what suits a large business may not be applicable to a smaller businesses.
  • Ensure everyone in your organisation is trained and inducted in the work health and safety rules to ensure they understand their personal responsibility to keep the workplace safe.



Useful Links for Safety Month

Working Together to Solve BullyingIt’s still Safe Work Australia month across Australia.

What have you done to encourage people to concentrate on and improve safety in their workplaces?

Raising awareness of work health and safety and encouraging your co-workers to speak up about hazards can save lives.

If you are looking for more ways to get involved in Safety Month 2014 here are some things you can do:

Attend a safety event

Become a Safety Ambassador

Access the Australian Strategy Virtual Seminar Series

Enter the Safety Month Workplace Participation Reward, and

Download the Safe Work Australia App

For more information, please visit the Safe Work Australia website.

Interested in learning even more about safety in the workplace?




Margaret Jolly Talks About Leadership and Safety


When you ask anyone what great leadership is, they usually describe a person, rather than a set of character traits. Great leadership is one of those things that is easy to see, but so hard to encapsulate in words. 

In this article Margaret Jolly explains the characteristics of good leadership.


2014 NSCA Awards Announced

NSCA2014The NSCA National Safety Awards of Excellence were announced recently.

Congratulations from everyone at Safety Concepts to all the winners and those organisations who were recognised for their contribution to safety in the workplace.

The NSCA Awards are Australia’s longest running, independent awards, recognising outstanding Work Health and Safety initiatives.

Now in their 22nd year, these awards continue to celebrate organisations and people that actively promote Work Health and Safety (WHS) as a cornerstone of elite business performance.

Australia’s premier safety awards program continues to celebrate organisations and people who contribute to the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees and show continuous improvement in their business performance

The Pinnacle Award for Safety was awarded to Transdev Australasia. 

Transdev Australasia has been operating passenger transport services across Australia and New Zealand since 1998, employing more than 5,000 staff and operating a fleet of more than 1,870 vehicles and vessels.

Transdev Australasia launched a campaign in 2013 called ‘Safety Starts With Me’ that aimed to re-engage with workers to strengthen Transdev’s safety culture and embed safety as core value and reduce injuries.

The result was a 14% decrease in their Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate, across overall operations, between 2012 and 2013.

For a full list of the winners and finalists CLICK HERE.



Elbola Risk in the Workplace

elbolaHave you already started thinking about what to do about the threat of an Ebola outbreak in the workplace?

While the risks of an outbreak in Australia are very low it is a smart move to be prepared.


Queensland Plans Activities for Safe Work Month

safeworkThis October is Safe Work Month. In Queensland over 35 events will be held throughout the state for workers to attend and remember that the most important reason for workplace safety is not at work at all.

According to Work Cover Queensland this year is the year to be involved. Safety leadership, success stories that inspire, practical examples from local businesses and taking the next steps in safety will be the focus of Safe Work Month 2014.

Register for Safe Work Month events and activities hosted by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.