As we near the end of October, National Safe Work Month is coming to a close, but that’s no excuse to let safety slide. A safe workplace culture should be a priority all year round.
The mining, construction, and road transport sectors have already seen a combined total of 66 work-related fatalities to date this year, with the majority due to vehicle collisions and machinery roll-overs. Machinery operators and drivers have also routinely ranked in the top three for serious workers compensation claims.
“These are alarming statistics for our industry, but a number we can decrease as a community by prioritising safety” says David Kidd, Head of Mobile Plant at NTI.
Safe Work Australia warns that although the industry fatality rates having slightly decreased in the past decade, we still have a long way to go to meet the fatality target of zero.
Commonly reported traumas, particularly from excavation work, include hearing damage, falls, collisions, earth and rock dislodgments, and exposure to airborne contaminants.
Be sure to consult the necessary authorities and experts such as principal or demolition contractors or structural and geotechnical engineers before excavating. We also recommend contacting Dial Before You Dig to get an accurate underground assessment of the site for any pipes or electrical cables that may be lurking beneath.
‘She’ll be right’ isn’t a mantra that belongs in a safe workplace, so here’s a quick list of tips for running operations as smooth and as safe as possible:
- Educate workers on their occupational rights and responsibilities
- Don’t be the one who slipped on a banana peel; keep sites tidy and organised.
- Fatigue management is crucial; if you snooze, you might lose more than your job.
- No licence? Too bad. Only allow certified operators to work on site.
- If you see something unsafe speak up by reporting incidents and near misses.
- Don’t try to lift a box bigger than Ben Hur; make sure manual handling is done right.
- Avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals and fumes by being aware of procedures for handling dangerous goods.
- Vests are back in fashion, so wear the appropriate PPE and install safety signage where necessary.
- Don’t let a lemon do the job; ensure plant and vehicles are maintained and compliant with regulations.
- Install sturdy barriers to isolate pedestrians and powered mobile plant to reduce the risk of collision.
- Implement engineering controls by benching, battering or shoring the sides of the excavation to reduce the risk of the ground collapsing.
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