SAFETY AWARNESS

Reduce the Risk: Heat Stress

BY: Tracey Mesken01/11/2018

​With heat levels rising and summer approaching, it's time to get serious about heat stress. It’s always better to prevent health risks than to have to deal with the consequences of them when it’s too late. That’s why we’ve compiled some key tips for staying safe this summer, especially when working outdoors or in hot conditions. We have also included information on recognising the signs and symptoms of heat stress. Keep reading to find out more and to view our latest video from the WorkPac Group Safety & Risk team on understanding and managing heat stress.[responsive_vid]​​

Safety Message: Hay Fever

BY: Tracey Mesken22/12/2016

​It’s that time of year. Where the eyes hurt, the sneezes start and antihistamine medication use is on the rise. Our WorkPac Safety and Risk Management Team have put together some information on hay fever and how to manage it during the summer season.What is it?Allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as Hay Fever is an allergic reaction that affects large numbers of people every year. There are two main classifications. These are:Seasonal: experience symptoms during spring and summer with the most common allergen to be pollen.Perennial (all year round): experience symptoms all year around with the most common allergens to be dust mites, animals, moulds and dust.Allergies are common. Your genes and environment may make you more prone to allergies.Whether or not you are likely to develop allergies is often passed down through families. If both your parents have allergies, you are likely to have allergies. The chance is greater if your mother has allergies.How the allergy works?The nose has very fine hair that acts like a biological dust mask which catches and filters particles that enter, trapping them. These either exit through sneezing or becoming trapped to mucous and going down the back of the throat. When you suffer hay fever the fine hairs in the nose become inflamed from the particles that are entering the nose. As a result the body will create chemicals called histamines which give you the symptoms.SymptomsSymptoms can vary in severity and type. Symptoms often occur shortly after you come into contact with the substance you are allergic to and may include:Itchy or runny noseItchy mouth, eyes, throat, skinProblems with smellSneezingWatery (teary) eyesFor longer term reactions symptoms that may develop later include:Nasal congestionCoughingClogged earsDecreased sense of smellSore throatPuffy and dark circles under the eyesFatigue and irritabilityHeadache TreatmentBefore undertaking any treatment it’s best to consult your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment advice. Once confirmed that you have hay fever the best treatment is to avoid or reduce the exposure to the triggers. However where this is not possible, there are a number of treatment options that may be considered. Typically these can be either medication or desensitisation treatment. Examples include:AntihistaminesCorticosteroid nasal spraysDecongestantsDesensitisation injectionsMake sure you read the product information especially if you are driving or operating equipment and follow the advice of your pharmacist or doctor. Sources:www.allergy.org.auwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth

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Safety Alert

18/11/2016

​SIGNIFICANT INJURY INCIDENT INVOLVING LIGHT VEHICLE AND WORKERThis incident DID NOT involve a WorkPac employee however it serves as a reminder of the risks associated with unplanned vehicle movement.A Pump Operator was temporarily pinned between his own light vehicle and the pump he was operating after his vehicle rolled forward approximately 13m. The Operator self evacuated and was able to raise the emergency from the two-way radio in his own vehicle.INJURY: Although no serious injuries were identified, the Operator was required to remain in hospital overnight for observation in relation to the potential crush injury.EQUIPMENT: Toyota Landcruiser and site pump.HAZARD: In the line of fireCAUSE: The vehicle was not parked as per procedure and the vehicle handbrake was defective.CONTRIBUTING FACTORS:Unplanned movement due to vehicle not parked as per site procedureHandbrake was defectiveVehicle not fundamentally stablePrestart checks not forwarded for actionWORKPAC RECOMMENDATIONS:Follow all Site Policies and ProceduresEnsure vehicles are serviceable prior to useTag out and report all non serviceable Plant and EquipmentEnsure vehicles are fundamentally stable when parked and prior to exiting the vehicleForward all Plant and Equipment defect notices to Maintenance for actionEducation awareness relating to line of fireCONTACT: For any further information contact Peter Zigmantas, Regional Risk Manager, Central Queensland,  (07) 49694722.

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Fatigue Management: A Worker's Guide

BY: Tracey Mesken24/10/2016

​WHAT IS FATIGUE?Fatigue is more than feeling tired and drowsy. In a work context, fatigue is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively.It can occur because of prolonged or intense mental or physical activity, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal body clock.Signs of fatigue include:Tiredness even after sleepReduced hand-eye coordination or slow reflexesShort term memory problems and an inability to concentrateBlurred vision or impaired visual perceptionA need for extended sleep during days off work WHAT CAUSES FATIGUE?Fatigue can be caused by work related or non-work related factors or a combination of both.Work related causes of fatigue include excessively long shifts, not enough time to recover between shifts and blocks of shifts, very strenuous jobs and long commuting times. An example of non-work related fatigue would be poor quality sleep due to street noise or family demands.THE BODY CLOCKMost people are day-orientated meaning they are most alert and productive in the daytime and sleep at night. The circadian rhythms (the body clock) cause regular variations in individual body and mental functions repeated approximately every 24 hours.These rhythms regulate sleeping patterns, body temperature, heart rate, hormone levels, digestion and many other functions.These rhythms influence job performance and quality of sleep. Most of the body’s basic functions show maximum activity by day and minimum activity by night.The body rhythms affect the behaviour, alertness, reaction times and mental capacity of people to varying degrees.WHY IS FATIGUE A PROBLEM IN THE WORKPLACE?Fatigue may increase the risk of incidents because of a lack of alertness. Fatigue may result in a slower reaction to signals or situations and affect the ability to make good decisions, particularly when:Operating fixed or mobile plant including driving vehiclesUndertaking critical tasks that require a high level of concentrationUndertaking night or shift work when a person would ordinarily be sleeping.A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers while they are at work.This means if fatigue is identified as causing a risk to work health and safety, then suitable control measures should be implemented in consultation with workers to eliminate or minimise the risks.YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A WORKERWorkers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety and health and that their acts or omissions don’t adversely affect the health or safety of others.Workers must also comply with any reasonable instruction and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to fatigue at the workplace, for example fitness for work policies and policies regarding second jobs.REDUCING THE RISK OF FATIGUETo reduce the risk of being involved in a work incident caused by fatigue, you should:Comply with your organisation’s policies and procedures relating to fatigueUnderstand your sleep, rest and recovery needs and obtain adequate rest and sleep away from workSeek medical advice and assistance if you have or are concerned about a healthcondition that affects your sleep and/or causes fatigueAssess your own fitness for work before commencing workMonitor your level of alertness and concentration while you are at workLook out for signs of fatigue in the people you work withIn consultation with your supervisor, take steps to manage fatigue, for example take a break or short nap (night shift), maintain hydration (drink water), do some stretching or physical exercise, adjust the work environment (lighting, temperature)Talk to your supervisor or manager if you foresee or experience being impaired by fatigue likely to create a health and safety risk e.g. because of a health condition, excessive work demands or personal circumstancesAssess your fatigue levels after work and take suitable commuting and accommodation options (e.g. avoiding driving if fatigued) HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE NEED?Sleep researchers believe there is no one magic number for ‘sleep need’ and there are a lot of individual differences in what children and adolescents need to sleep to be at their best. But below is a guide of the best evidence we have so far:Babies under 1: 14-18 hours throughout the day and nightToddlers: 12-14 hours per 24 hour periodPrimary school: 10-12 hours per dayHigh school: 8-10 hours per dayAdults: 7-9 hours per day GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE CAN HELP PROMOTE GOOD SLEEP"Sleep hygiene" - this can be defined as habits that can help us to sleep or stop us from sleeping. If you or someone you know is having trouble sleeping you can try to change or include some of the things on this list and see if it helps.No TV/computer games 1 hour before bed. No TV s in bedroomsMonitor mobile phone use in bedNo caffeine, high sugar or high spicy food 3-4 hours before bedEnsure relaxing and regular bed time routine - special time with children, relaxation techniques such as breathingNo vigorous exercise 1 hour before bed - it raises the body temperatureFinish eating 2-3 hours before bed - digestion competes with sleeping - hot milk is OKMake sure the bedroom is comfortable (temperature, light, noise)Set bedtimes and wake times - try and keep these regularLearn to relax - deal with worry and stressUse a sleep diary to check how many hours you are sleeping - Are you sleeping enoughConvince children that it is important to sleep well - reward them for complying with bedtime rules

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Get cyclone ready with WorkPac’s emergency kit

BY: Tracey Mesken04/01/2016

​Cyclone season occurs from November through to April in Australia so it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit and household plan organised. Be prepared this season.Get cyclone smartTrim treetops and ensure branches are clear of your home, clear your property of loose material that might cause damage during extreme weather and clear out your gutters.Create an emergency contact list.Organise an emergency management plan and clearly communicate this to all of your family.Prepare an emergency kit.​​Our pets are so special, make sure you don’t forget to pack for them too! Ensure they have a collar, are clearly identifiable and have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness on hand. Include them in your emergency plan – if there’s a weather warning, keep your animals close.Handy emergency contactsLife threatening emergenciesTelephone Triple Zero (000). For life threatening, critical or serious situations only.State Emergency Service (SES) flood and storm assistanceTelephone:  132 500 for help with a damaged roof, rising flood water, trees fallen on buildings, or storm damage.Local CouncilVisit your local council website for information for your specific location, or look up your local council contact numbers.Weather and warningsVisit the Bureau of Meteorology web site at www.bom.gov.auAlternatively, visit the Bureau's Telephone Weather Services Directory for Queensland.Additionally, tune to your local radio station for warnings and advice.  Details of your local ABC radio frequency and local web-page can be obtained from www.abc.net.au/local.Animal emergenciesWildlife Hotline: To report wildlife emergencies, marine strandings and pollution incidents, call the Wildlife Hotline on 1300 130 372.To report lost or missing animals during times of disaster and emergency events visit your state RSPCA lost/found web site:QueenslandNew South WalesVictoriaSouth Australia Western Australia Northern Territory TasmaniaAustralian Capital Territory Should you need to report an animal in distress, or you have concerns for the welfare of an animal, please contact one of the following options:RSPCA websiteEmergency Animal Disease and Biosecurity MattersSocial mediaFollow your state police service, SES, fire and rescue service and local council for real time information.Sources:http://www.burdekin.qld.gov.au/2012/media-releases/get-emergency-kits-ready-now-for-cycloneflood-season/ 

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National Safe Work Month - Workplace Safety Awareness

BY: Tracey Mesken27/10/2015

​Safety awareness is required in everything that we do on a work site. Hazards can be found in the simplest of tasks. Below are examples on what to look for and information on how to reduce hazards in the workplace.  Workplace House KeepingHousekeeping includes office, site, tool sheds, kitchen, printing rooms, walkways, factories, yards, etc.What can cause slips, trips and falls in your workplace?Is your area and equipment organised before you start your task?Are spills cleaned up as they are made?Are you storing chemicals and PPE in its designated areas in their correctly labelled containers?Are floors and emergency areas cleared from obstruction?Are the latest Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available?Are your areas too hot or cold or susceptible to weather conditions such as rain, frost or sun?Plant and EquipmentAre you hanging and storing lifting equipment correctly? E.g. Slings and chains.Can you see that the equipment is clean and ready for use?Are you reporting faults/ issues to your supervisor or safety representative?Are the relevant guards in place on all machinery?ElectricalElectrical covers any power cables, cords, points, stations, appliances, substations or anything that can carry a current within an electrical zone.• Are all electrical devices tested, tagged and dated?• Are electrical devices repaired by a qualified and experienced electrician?• Have you isolated the power to your area if you are working on electrical appliances?VehiclesVehicles  i.e. cars, trucks, forklifts, road trains, trailers, vans, utes, 4x4, etc.Are daily Pre-starts conducted on your vehicles?Are vehicles parked according to workplace/site procedures?Are you reporting any faults using relevant site procedures?Emergency Evacuation ProceduresThis includes evacuating from your area, buildings, vehicles, plant, visiting areas, sites, etc.Do you know your evacuation procedures in your area?Do you know your muster point?Are you aware of your wardens in your area? So how do we act effectively to be aware and react, eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace? StopUnderstand the task and get it right.  Information, tools and equipment, work safe instruction, procedures, consider people/systems affected, environmental impact, safety access and alternative methods.Think about the HazardsWill hazards arise due to; Pressure, mechanical equipment, posture, manual handling, electrical, uneven surfaces, temperature, heights, mobile equipment?Access the riskWhat is the consequence if it does happen? How likely is it to happen?RespondRemove the hazard, isolate the hazard, barricade the hazard, and wear PPE. This month is National Safe Work Month and is a great opportunity for all of us to focus on promoting safety in the workplace to reduce death, injury and disease, so be proactive in managing workplace safety awareness.  Remember to always ask yourself;What can go wrong?What can cause it to go wrong?What is the risk of it going wrong?What can I do to stop it?Take the time to stop and think.WorkPac is focused on Zero Harm, the safety of our people is our absolute priority.  To report a safety incident or hazard call us on 1300 967 572.

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