Safe Work Australia has issued a safety alert to remind workers to take precautions when carrying out hot work, for example grinding, welding, oxy cutting or other tasks that produce a flame or other ignition source.
In February, a serious fire developed on a building demolition site when workers were using an oxy acetylene torch to cut a metal beam. A plastic mesh screening nearby ignited. The fire engulfed the site, and approximately 20 people were treated on site for smoke inhalation.
Hot work risks include:
- Explosion when cutting up, repairing or working on or near drums, tanks, pipes or vessels that contain or have contained flammable liquids, gases or materials;
- Fire/explosion caused by a gas leak, or flammable liquids or materials backfire or flashback;
- Burns from contact with the flame, sparks or hot metal;
- Crush or impact injuries resulting from an explosion;
- Exposure to toxic fumes; and
- Depletion of oxygen levels in the atmosphere causing suffocation
Northern Territory WorkSafe has issued a safety alert to remind PCBUs of their duties to workers and others in the lead up, during and following an emergency situation, such as a cyclone.
- NT WorkSafe says:
- Ensure your business has an emergency plan, which includes preparedness for cyclones;
- Implement your emergency plan in a timely manner, and ensure yours workers have plenty of time to get home safely;
- Non-essential workers should not be required to return to work until NT emergency services advise it is safe to do so;
- Workers must have a clear and safe passage to return to and from work;
- Basic amenities must be available to workers at work, including toilets and drinking water, and
- Once the official all-clear is given, conduct a risk assessment of the workplace before asking workers to return to work
In February 2018, a truck fitted with a vehicle loading crane was driven along a road with its stabiliser extended. The stabiliser struck a parked vehicle and a worker standing behind his vehicle was crushed and killed. It is not yet known why the stabiliser was unsecured and investigations are continuing.
PCBUs must also ensure workers who drive/operate the vehicles are provided with appropriate instruction, training and supervision regarding the use of the stabiliser or outrigger and their locking mechanisms. The training should relate to the specific make and model of plant and be documented.
Owners of vehicle-loading cranes are strongly encouraged to retrofit units with a warning system to indicate when the stabilisers are not locked in the transport position. The 2014 version of the Australian Standard AS1418.11-2014 Part 11: Vehicle-loading cranes specifies the provision of an indicator to show that the stabiliser are not locked in the transport position.
In 2016, a company was fined $200,000 after a cyclist was killed after being struck by the stabiliser arm of a prime mover and trailer fitted with a vehicle loading crane. As the vehicle made a right turn, the left-hand stabiliser arm extended and struck the cyclist travelling in the same direction as the vehicle.
SafeWork SA has issued a safety alert for Millboard – once widely used in air conditioning units and for ductwork insulation because of its flamer-resistant properties – which is known to contain asbestos. It was also commonly used to line compartments containing heat or spark-producing electrical equipment.
Many air conditioning systems containing Millboard have been replaced over the years but many systems remain, often unknown to their owners. Some are in older buildings undergoing retrofitting or renovations.
The South Australian Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) (the WHS Regulations) require an inspection of the workplace to identify asbestos in buildings (regulation 422). This includes the requirement for building owners to keep an accurate register of all asbestos-containing materials on the premises. Where asbestos cannot be accessed, its presence can be assumed.
More information about servicing or removing this type of equipment is available at: www.safework.sa.gov.au
This alert reminds both electrical and non-electrical workers of the risks of electric shock when entering ceiling spaces of properties. Electric shock arising from contact with damaged or exposed energised (live) wiring or equipment could lead to serious injury or death.
This safety alert reminds people who handle packs of glass sheets not to rely on the packaging to support the contents when the package is being lifted or opened.
Reminds people of the precautions required when carrying out hot work in the workplace.
Reminds people of the risks associated with working on roofs with skylights or plastic roof sheeting.
This safety alert reminds people who unpack glass and heavy materials not to rely on the packaging to support the contents
Highlights the risks associated with erecting, climbing or dismantling tower cranes
This alert highlights the risk to employees and other persons from using poorly manufacture red concrete delivery pipes and pipeline components
This safety alert concerns Class 2.1 Flammable refrigerant gases and provides guidance to occupiers of premises on how to control the risk of fire and explosion from refrigeration and air-conditioning systems containing flammable refrigerants