HR Audits – Read Consulting Group’s - Nerida Mitchell

Recently I’ve had some clients ask me, what does a HR audit entail and what are the benefits…

 

An Independent audit of your HR systems, processes and payroll ensures your business can continue to operate compliantly, you are assured your people are being paid in accordance with current legislation and your HR records are up to date.

 

Everything that governs your employees whether it be HR policies and procedures, position descriptions, wage rates and award interpretation are things that can be the difference between business success or failure. A HR audit will ensure you know that your HR systems are compliant.

 

What is a HR Audit?

A HR audit is a practical examination of your business’s HR policies, practices, and procedures. The goal is to look for trouble spots and/or identify ways you can improve.

 

Are All HR Audits the Same?

No, any audit that is undertaken is developed with your organisation in mind to ensure that risks are mitigated, practical solutions are provided and you achieve value from the process.

 

Specific areas HR Audits can examine?

 

Compliance.- A HR compliance audit focuses on how well your business is complying with relevant employment laws and regulations.

 

Best Practices. - A HR best-practice audit compares your HR processes and policies with those that latest and best-practice. This type of audit can be beneficial to any organisation because it can help ensure you’re on the right track and your HR practices are sound for the future.

 

Function Specific. - A function-specific audit is a mini-audit focusing on one area of your business. You might choose to investigate an area such as payroll management, employee reviews, policies or record-keeping.

 

For any HR assistance please feel free to contact Nerida or Richard

www.readconsultinggroup.com

Read Consulting - HR & WHS July Update

Please find below new (1 July 2019) legislative requirements regarding Whistleblower Policy and WHS Update.

 

Company Whistle Blower Legislative Changes

 

Is your organisation up to date with the reforms to the Whistleblower Protection scheme?

Between now and 1 January 2020, if you are a public company, large proprietary company or corporate trustee of a registrable superannuation entity, you are required to have a Whistle Blower policy.

There are penalties for failing to comply with the requirement to have a Whistleblower policy, and furthermore for organisations who breach confidentiality of a Whistleblowers identity, or for victimising or threatening a Whistleblower.

The new reforms provide an opportune time to promote good culture in your organisation, where employees feel they can speak up, it is also a good time to ensure those listed in your policy know, and fully understand their obligations.  It also aims to encourage ethical whistleblowing and discourage white collar crime.

Developing a compliant policy or updating your current policy requires careful thought, about who is appropriate personal to receive the complaint, investigate the complaint, and who should make decisions on protected disclosures.  The policy should contain clear processes to report, assess, investigate and provide resolution.

Regardless of the size of your company, if you are a business that is potential risk to a disclosable matter. RCG strongly recommends you implement a Whistle Blowing policy

disclosable matter is any information concerning misconduct or an improper state of affairs in relation to the entity or one of its related bodies corporate.

 

WHS Cultural Survey

 

One of our 2019 focuses is Safety Culture Surveys.  Read Consulting has developed a Safety Culture Survey designed to measure the safety climate within your business.

Safety Culture refers to how safety is valued in your business, cultural perceptions and behaviour are formed over time as people use safety systems, listen and observe others and particularly what they do when it comes to safety. A Safety Culture survey can assist in identifying:

  • Areas to Focus – What aspects of safety potentially require improvements

  • Safety Identification & Response – risk identification and how well these risks are addressed

  • Continuous Improvement - the importance of safety leadership and commitment to best practice

  • Leadership – business practices and leadership behaviours towards safety

  • Employee Engagement – Employees treat safety as part of doing business at all times

  • Employee Safety & Wellbeing – how safe employees feel in their roles on daily basis

The Read Consulting Safety Culture Survey will be undertaken confidentially with your staff via an online survey tool, the survey responses will be anonymous, feedback will be received, collated and interpreted by Read Consulting Group and anonymised data presented to your management team.

From the results a report will be produced, and an analysis of results presented to you with recommendations.

The survey questions can be tailored to your organisation and amended as you wish.  

Nerida or I are happy to discuss further if you wish to find out more information.

      

Young worker injured by exploding tyre rim

In May 2019, a young worker suffered serious facial injuries when the split rim that he and another worker were performing maintenance on, exploded.

For reasons yet to be established, it appears the tyre exploded while the workers were removing a tyre from a split rim on an earthmover. Investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident

Split rims are multi-piece or divided rims and wheels held together by bolts or a lock ring. They are most commonly used on heavy vehicles, off-road vehicles and rubber-tyre plant, such as earthmoving machinery, trucks, forklifts and rural use vehicles.

Under no circumstances should any work be carried out on a wheel while it has a pressurised tyre mounted on it, particularly any welding or wheel repair work.

When repairing, maintaining or changing tyres on earthmoving machinery or other heavy vehicles, you must ensure that: 

  • tyres are deflated prior to being removed from the machinery or vehicle

  • workers are trained and competent to perform the work task

  • the wheel is inspected for damage and corrosion prior to the refitting of tyres

  • tyres, whether new or used, are inspected for defects

  • tyres are removed from the wheel to prevent damage during the repair process

  • tyre and rim assemblies are adequately secured in a safety cage or other portable restraint device prior to inflating the tyre

  • potential trajectory paths from a failure and exclusion zones have been identified

  • workers stand outside of any exclusion zones

  • tyres are only inflated to the recommended pressure

  • the air hose between the clip-on valve nozzle and the remote gauge and trigger is long enough for workers to stay outside of the exclusion zone

  • a remote dump valve is also fitted that is capable of rapidly deflating the tyre in an emergency.

Young workers are over-represented in injury statistics

Employers should be aware that young workers are over-represented in injury statistics in all industries compared to older and more experienced workers. Young workers have a unique risk profile which means:

  • they may not perceive when something becomes unsafe

  • you cannot rely on them to ask questions or speak up with concerns

  • it is important employers and supervisors understand the factors that can impact on their safety

  • you must provide them with adequate information, training, instruction and supervision.

Young workers also have responsibilities, including to:

  • follow all reasonable instructions

  • follow workplace policies and procedures

  • not put themselves or your workmates at risk

  • wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as required

  • report unsafe situations, injuries or near-misses to your immediate supervisor

 

Richard Read

M: 0450 272 780

www.readconsultinggroup.com

 

Nerida Mitchell

Phone - 0408189610

nerida@readconsultinggroup.com

Spate of Serious Tractor Incidents Prompts Safety Warning

A spate of incidents in which workers have died or been injured while operating tractors has prompted a warning from State WorkSafe organisations across Australia, reminding workers and employers of safety basics.

Among the incidents are a tractor rollover, being runover by a tractor, being crushed by machinery towed by a tractor and being knocked off a moving tractor by a tree branch while slashing.

Tractors are essential for agricultural, green keeping, gardening, landscaping and other activities. They are usually quite safe when operated properly, but become dangerous if incorrectly used. They have been involved in more deaths than any other piece of rural machinery. Tractor run-overs are mainly linked to:

·         starting a tractor from the ground

·         carrying passengers (usually children) on tractors

·         attempting to get on or off a moving tractor.

WHSQ urges rural workplaces to take a little more time when planning jobs, especially when supply chain and environmental factors can vary the work at short notice.

Electrical Safety Vital on Australian Farms

In the past three years, over fifteen people have lost their lives in electrical incidents on Australian farms, with nearly 50 per cent of hospital admissions for electrical related injuries coming from outer regional or remote locations.

Electrical incidents on rural properties are most often caused by machinery and equipment contacting overhead powerlines, equipment and wiring not being maintained to appropriate standards and life-saving safety switches not installed on all circuits.

The agricultural industry is diverse and faces many unique challenges. One-size fits all approaches and more bureaucracy is not what industry needs. Electrical safety and workplace health and safety management needs to be practical, focused on prioritising the most serious risks, and integrated into business.

Worker's foot amputated in feeder bin trailer

In May 2019, a worker’s foot needed to be surgically amputated on site after coming into contact with three operating exposed augers at the bottom of a feeder bin trailer.

Early investigations indicate the worker was sitting on the edge of the feeder bin with both legs on the inside of the bin, using a shovel to remove excess feed stuck on the sides. For reasons yet to be established, he fell feet first into the feeder bin, trapping his legs within the three operating augers. To release him, his left foot had to be amputated and he sustained significant injuries to his right foot. Investigations are continuing.

 Plant is a major cause of workplace death and injury in Australian workplaces. There are significant risks associated with using plant and severe injuries can result from:

  • its unsafe use

  • exposure to unguarded moving parts of machines

  • falls while accessing, operating or maintaining plant.

If the risks from plant cannot be designed out before it is installed, guarding, such as a shield, cover, or physical barrier, should be in place to prevent contact with moving parts.

There are four types of machine guarding:

  • a permanently fixed guard, which is used if access to the area of plant requiring guarding is not necessary during operation, maintenance or cleaning

  • an interlock guard, which is used if access to the areas requiring guarding is necessary during operation, maintenance or cleaning

  • a fixed guard, which is used if it is not reasonably practicable to use a permanently fixed guard/barrier or an interlocked physical guard/barrier. Fixed guards can only be altered or removed using a tool

  • a presence-sensing system/guard, which is used if it is not reasonably practicable to use a permanently fixed guard, an interlocked physical guard or a fixed guard in position.

If any type of guarding is removed for the purposes of maintenance or cleaning, it must be replaced before the plant is put back into normal operation. The plant should not be able to be restarted unless the guarding is in place.

Augers are spiral-shaped tools that move materials or liquids. Augers pose significant risks to workers when the moving parts are exposed. Hazards likely to cause injury include:

  • driver belts, pulleys, chains, sprockets and drive shafts

  • any rotating shafts (e.g. auger/screw flighting)

  • any machine component which moves, cuts, pulps, crushes, breaks or pulverises materials.

Before cleaning or maintaining augers, you must follow isolation, lock-out and tag-out processes to avoid creating a hazardous situation. An isolation and lock-out process includes:

  • de-energising or isolating the auger from all energy sources

  • locking all the isolating units in the isolated position.

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Richard Read

M: 0450 272 780

www.readconsultinggroup.com

 

Read Consulting Group - HR Update

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Nerida Mitchell from Read Consulting Group recently sat down to answer some of your regular HR queries.

Here is what she has to say……

What do I need to do for End of Financial Year?

On 30 May 2019 the Fair Work Commission announced a 3% increase to minimum wages following its 2019 Annual Wage Review.  This increase applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2019.  This wage increase affects all your employees that are currently employed under a modern award, or in some cases a registered agreement. 

If you have any queries about the above changes or other changes regarding your employees’ conditions of employment, do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Are my employees Independent Contractors or Employees?

This is another hot topic that many clients struggle with and an area that is being reviewed by Fair Work Commission given the uberisation of our workforce.  There are numerous factors to consider when differentiating if you have employees or independent contractors and unfortunately not one situation is the same.  Independent contractors are not automatically contractors solely because of the type of work they do or because they provide you with an invoice and ABN, independent contractors can also do the same type of work as an employee of your business. 

For advice on Independent Contractors v Employees do not hesitate to call me.

 

Are my employees really Casual Workers?

Under the fair work Act the definition of a casual worker is:  A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from an employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days (or hours) they will work. A casual employee also does not commit to all work an employer might offer.

For example, an employee who works to a roster that could change each week and can refuse or swap shifts is casual.  A casual employee:

·      has no guaranteed hours of work

·      usually works irregular hours 

·      doesn't get paid sick or annual leave

·      can end employment without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award or employment contract.

Are your employees really casual workers or should consideration be given to swapping workers to a more permanent arrangement, giving your employees more permanent work, giving you a more stable workforce and saving you money.

 

May 2019 Newsletter

Dear Clients

This week I attended the Safety Institute of Australia's National Conference. One of the more alarming sessions was given by Clyde and Co's – Alena Titterton (Partner) on Industrial Manslaughter (IM) laws in Australia.

 Recently Queensland became the second state in Australia (following the ACT in 2004) to enact industrial manslaughter (IM) legislation last year.

The IM laws are an extension of the existing Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (QLD) – criminally illegalise any action or omission of action, that inadvertently causes death in the workplace.

If found guilty of IM, a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) may be liable for fines of up to $10 million; and asenior officer could face up to 20 years in prison.

Safe Work Australia have commissioned the Boland review in 2018 and the IM provisions have been recommended to be implemented across the remaining states. and remain subject to parliamentary discussions.

 Personally I believe if the regulators were doing their job more effectively, the IM laws would not be required.

 Below is a summary of the IM provisions laws and I have paraphrased they key actions Alena Titterton recommended for PCBU's and Officers in preventing a Industrial Manslaughter claim. Which many of you do.

  • "Do not have a fatality at work"

  • "Undertake WHS Inspections and be sure to act on the recommendations"

 

Industrial Manslaughter

These provisions make it an offence for a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), or a senior officer, to negligently cause the death of a worker. In particular, the offence applies if:

  • a worker dies, or is injured and later dies, in the course of carrying out work for the business or undertaking (including during a work break); and

  • the PCBU's, or senior officer's, conduct cause the death of the worker (i.e. the action or inaction of the PCBU, or senior officer, substantially contributes to the death); and

  • the PCBU, or senior officer, is negligent about causing the death of the worker (i.e. the person's action or inaction departs so far from the standard of care required).

 Where a PCBU, or senior officer, commits industrial manslaughter, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual, or $10M for a body corporate, applies.

 Definition of a Senior Officer - A senior officer is: an executive officer of a corporation (i.e. a person who is concerned with, or takes part in, the corporation's management);

Examples of senior officers may include:

  • a director or secretary of a corporation

  • Chief Executive Officers

  • Chief Financial Officers or Chief Operations Officers

  • General Counsel

  • General Managers

  • officeholders in a unincorporated association (i.e. a club president).

What is the standard of care required by PCBUs and senior officers?

The existing standard for criminal negligence in Queensland applies to the industrial manslaughter offences. This means that a PCBU or senior officer will be found negligent where their conduct departs from the standard of care expected to avoid danger to life, health and safety, and the conduct substantially contributed to the fatality.

PCBU and Senior Officers Action to take in Preventing a potential Industrial Manslaughter Claim

  • Officers must be briefed on their obligations

  • Do not have a fatality

  • Perform WHS Risk Inspections ( Audits/Inspections) and act on the recommendations

  • Do more than less when controlling risks in your business

Many Read Consulting Group clients undertake WHS Audits and are proactive in addressing the recommendations. For any further discussions or questions please do not hesitate to call or email.

 

Regards

 

Richard Read

M: 0450 272 780

www.readconsultinggroup.com

RCG – Why Implement Safety Policies for your Business

On occasions I have been asked by potential clients. “Why do I need safety policies for my business.” “Won’t this give me more liability to prosecution having a set of rules in place and then something going wrong”.

Many may say “head in the sand stuff”.  But as a safety consultant we need to explain the benefits to potential clients. Not only to their business, but the workers they employ. Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are costly to everyone. A safe and healthy work place pays, in more ways than one.

 

The benefits of good WHS policies, procedures and practices include:

·       Effective health and safety practices help you protect your staff from injury, it can also lower injury costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity/quality, and raise employee morale

·       Demonstrate that your business is addressing its health and safety obligations

·       Provide rules and guidelines for decision-making in routine & non-routine work situations;

·       Ensure that safe work practices are recorded, communicated, consistently to workers.

·       Save time by allowing health and safety matters to be handled quickly through an existing procedures, rather than staff responding differently each time the same issues arise.

·       a means of communicating information to new workers.

·       Your staff can do their work more easily and safely which will increase productivity

 

The cost of injury prevention is far less than the cost of an injury. A safe and healthy workplace attracts and retains quality employees. It's an asset to a community, operates more efficiently and enjoys a healthier bottom line that workers can thrive in.

 

For assistance with developing your WHS policies and procedures or a review of current policies and procedures including WHS audits. Please contact Richard at Read Consulting Group.

M: 0450 272 780

 richard@readconsultinggroup.com

 www.readconsultinggroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

HR Update – RCG Payroll

One of the most important tasks & success for your business is correct payments to your employees.  Payroll can be a mind boggling process with complex additions, allowances, deductions and superannuation contributions, all whilst wading through Federal and State awards and / or legislation. 

In recent years we have seen businesses such as Lush Australia and Hellenic Restaurant (George Colambaris) caught up in scandals for underpaying staff. 

You can confirm your payroll processes with an Independent HR and Payroll Health Check, giving you the assurance that you are:

·       Paying wages correctly 

·       Payroll is being processed efficiently

·       Correctly calculating superannuation payments

·       Calculating and paying Termination payments correctly.

Nerida Mitchell can undertake a HR and payroll health-check on your employee records, a worthwhile investment that can give you peace of mind.

Nerida also provides strategic and hands-on advice to small, medium and large sized businesses across a range of capabilities including 

·       Staff performance issues

·       Payroll

·       Policies and Procedures - drafting, review and implementation strategies

·       Employment contract advice - employment letters templates & award interpretation

·       Auditing of your HR and payroll processes

Nerida Mitchell

Read Consulting Group

nerida@readconsultinggroup.com

Phone – 0408189610

Underpayment of Workers

Recently amid the Royal Commissions into Banking and Aged Care, a number of established organisations have been highlighted for underpaying workers, such as ABC, Rockpool Restaurants and previously Lush Cosmetics.  This just shows that even large established organisations cannot assume payroll compliance and not fall foul to system issues.

The ABC has admitted it underpaid up to 2500 casual staff over the past six years and has commenced an urgent review in conjunction with the Fair Work Ombudsman and unions.

The ABC have acknowledged problems with systems and compliance errors and is currently working with Fair Work and the unions to review.

Compliance complacency can be easily overcome with an independent review and audit to confirm how penalties, allowances and loadings should be calculated and applied. A thorough review in the long run saves organisations time, money and reputational damage. 

Contact us at Read Consulting Group to discuss how we can assist your organisation with HR / payroll auditing.

Our other HR services include:

·       Providing HR advice

·       Audit is HR systems and employee documentation

·       Policy / procedure reviews

·       Bullying and Harassment policies and workers induction

·       Investigations

·       Payroll review / audits

 

Nerida Mitchell

Read Consulting Group

 

nerida@readconsultinggroup.com

Phone - 0408189610

December Quarterly Industry Update

All

 

There has been a recent spate of tragic farm incidents the last few weeks. It has been a trying year for many managing drought conditions. We wish you and your staff a safe run into Christmas and enjoy any down time you may have.

Recent Industry Incidents

Worker fatally run over by Tractor he was Operating

In November 2018, a worker on a rural property died when he was crushed by the wheels of the tractor he was operating. Initial findings suggest he was spraying herbicide on a sugar cane crop and got out of the tractor to re-fill the spray tanks which had been retro-fitted underneath the tractor. It appears the tractor rolled forward over him while he was under it re-filling the tanks. Investigations are continuing.

Risk Control Measure Include: 

  • Never climb on or off a tractor that is moving. Do not get out while the engine is running unless the transmission is in the neutral or park position and the handbrake is engaged.

  • Reduce speed before turning or applying turning brakes.

  • Descend slopes cautiously with the tractor in low gear. Extra care needs to be taken if towing trailers or implements down slopes, as often they will not have their own brakes.

  • If an attachment becomes blocked, the tractor should be stopped, the drive to the attachment disconnected and the moving parts of the implement stopped before the obstruction is cleared.

Worker fatally crushed by bale accumulator

In November 2018, a worker was killed after he was crushed by a hay baling accumulator. An accumulator is towed behind a hay baler and is used to group hay bales together for easier pick up. Accumulators include a large deck that is raised and lowered with a hydraulic cylinder. It appears the accumulator operator was attending to maintenance issues when he was killed. He was found underneath the deck by another worker who went to check on him after contact ceased during a phone call. It is not clear at this stage what caused the incident. Investigations are continuing.

Risk Controls Include:

When operating any machinery that uses hydraulic power:

  • always make sure that you read the instructions provided by the manufacturer and follow all safety directions

  • never place yourself in a position where you could be crushed in the event of hydraulics failure or inadvertent operation of the hydraulics

  • if a back-up safety prop is provided on the plant, always use it before entering a high risk zone

  • if a safety prop is not provided on the machine, make sure you use another prop that is load rated and has adequate strength to safely withstand any loads that could be applied to it.

Worker Killed in fall from Grain Auger

In November 2018, a worker was fatally injured after he fell 15 metres while trying to move a large mobile grain auger away from a silo. Early investigations indicate the weight of the opposing end of the auger was greater than the end he was holding. As he pulled the auger away from the silo, the opposing end dropped, propelling him into the air. Investigations are continuing.

For auger safety, ensure:

  • the auger is empty before moving it

  • for height adjustable augers, the auger is as close to the ground as possible during travel

  • the auger is stowed in the correct transportation configuration prior to it being transported or moved

  • the auger is moved slowly to prevent the likelihood of the auger tipping over, particularly long inclined augers

  • before moving the auger, inspect the ground conditions along the intended path of travel to ensure the auger can maintain stability during travel

  • the auger does not travel over potholes, depressions, soft ground, uneven ground surfaces or any objects that could destabilise the auger and cause it to tip over.

Quad bike fatality while back-burning

In October 2018, a quad bike operator suffered fatal injuries while managing a back-burn on a rural property. He was last seen driving up a road and was found deceased about 20 minutes later underneath the quad bike. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. There were no witnesses and investigations are continuing.

Ensure:

  • a quad bike is the right tool for the task

  • a compliant helmet and other personal protective equipment such as boots, gloves and eye protection is supplied and used

  • operators are trained (preferably through formal training) and competent before using a quad bike, particularly when riding on steep slopes, at speed, with attachments or carrying loads

  • operators have sufficient strength, weight and agility to operate safely and to react quickly to changing terrain or conditions

  • operators are aware of heat stress, fatigue or other limiting conditions which may affect concentration while operating a quad bike

  • the quad bike is maintained to manufacturer's specifications, including equipment such as brakes, are working and tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and guards are in place.

Goondiwindi farm fined $475,000 over teenager's 2016 death

FINES totaling $475,000 have been issued after the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy at a large property at Goondiwindi on April 1, 2016.

A large cotton and cattle property at Goondiwindi was fined $450,000 for two separate breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, while a farm manager was fined $5000 and the company he operated received a $20,000 fine. 

The incident

WorkCover Queensland reported in the 2016 incident, twin 14-year-old boys were employed during school holidays to perform various tasks around the farm.

The court heard both boys were inexperienced in farming activities and on day of the incident were directed to pick up irrigation pipes using a tractor with a trailer. 

The tractor had one seat which the operator occupied. The other boy sat on the trailer. After one load was collected, the passenger stood on a small platform on the drawbar which placed him between the tractor and trailer. 

Tragically, he fell and was run over by the loaded trailer. The youngster subsequently died in hospital later that evening from injuries he received.

The farming company owned the tractor which was defective, though the faults were not causative of the incident. It was simply an item of plant that should not have been in service and available for use by any worker.

The company operated the farm and it held the primary responsibility to ensure work systems were in place for all employees, including vulnerable child workers.

Judge's comments

Magistrate Bevan Manthey told the court there was obvious risk to a most vulnerable category of worker and the farming operation failed in its system of supervision.

Magistrate Manthey said general deterrence and denunciation formed a large component of the penalty in order to send a message that duty holders understand breaches of the WHS Act which result in serious injury or death will result in significant penalties being imposed.

For any assistance with the above please contact Read Consulting.

Wishing you all a safe end to the year.

Worker’s arm partially amputated in quad bike collision with mechanical pruner (Workplace Health & Safety Queensland)

In August 2018, a worker’s arm was partially amputated when the quad bike he was operating collided with a mechanical pruner. One worker was operating a mechanical pruner attached to the front of a tractor to prune the bottom branches from macadamia trees. Another worker was operating a quad bike nearby. The quad bike and its operator contacted the pruner resulting in a partial arm amputation. Investigations are continuing

 

Preventing a similar incident

Quad bikes have become very popular farm vehicles in recent years. Safe operation of quad bikes is essential in all situations, or they can be very dangerous.

On steep terrain or when driven at low or high speed, quad bikes can be very unstable due to their light weight and high centre of gravity. This is made worse by a tendency to overload them and fit inappropriate attachments.

PCBUs must ensure:

  • a quad bike is the right tool for the task

  • a helmet and other personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection is supplied

  • never let children under 16 ride adult-sized quad bikes

  • proper instruction and training is provided and understood by the rider.

The quad bike’s fitness for purpose should be assessed prior to its use. Consider whether:

  • there is another item of farm machinery that could provide a safer operation, i.e. a side-by-side vehicle, small tractor or utility

  • fitting equipment (such as crush protection devices) that will minimise the risk of injury from possible rollover

  • the quad bike is maintained to manufacturer's specifications, including equipment such as brakes are working and tyres are inflated to the correct pressure

  • all guards are in place, particularly foot plates

  • all controls are adjusted so they can be operated comfortably and safely when seated.

Quad bike operators should:

  • always wear a helmet and other personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection

  • be trained or have sufficient experience before operating a quad bike, particularly when riding on steep slopes, at speed or with attachments

  • never allow passengers on the quad bike unless it has been specifically designed to carry two people

  • have sufficient strength, weight and agility to operate safely and to react quickly to changing terrain or conditions

  • be aware of heat stress, fatigue or other limiting conditions which may affect concentration while operating a quad bike.

Be aware of the risk of:

  • being struck by an object

  • striking an object hidden by long grass such as logs and rocks, location of drains and other hazards

  • a leg being caught in rear tyre, chain or foot rest

  • attachments or loads being too heavy, unequally distributed or not secure

  • the risks posed by poor maintenance of brakes, suspension and tyres.

(Workplace Health & Safety Queensland)

Fatigue Management

Fatigue is an issue which may not be adequately managed by individual workers and also businesses. Fatigue does affect safety in workplaces, particularly in hot rural work. With many farms across Australia commencing harvest shortly it is imperative to be aware of the risks of fatigue on workers in your business.

Short-Term Effects

Fatigue reduces alertness which can cause errors and increase injuries, particularly when a fatigued worker is operating fixed or mobile plant, including driving vehicles, undertaking critical tasks that require a high level of concentration, and during night or shift work.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term impact can contribute to the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression. It can be caused by a combination of work, environment, lifestyle and social factors, and general wellbeing issues.

Tired muscles can recover with rest, but the brain can only recover with sleep - an adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep daily. Just one sleepless night can increase the risk of being involved in an accident.

The risks associated with fatigue can be managed by:

·       identifying the factors which are causing fatigue

·       What are the potential risks for workers who are fatigued in your business

·       controlling risks by implementing the most effective control measures reasonably practicable in the circumstances

·       reviewing control measures to ensure they are working as planned.

 

Review your work practices and consider the following:

·       develop a fatigue management policy in consultation with workers. Read Consulting can assist in developing a policy that is relevant to your business.

·       plan for situations where workers may have to work longer hours and shifts (i.e. harvest time) – such as ensuring they get breaks and are hydrated

·       encourage workers to report fatigue concerns and seek worker input on development of controls and workplace issues

·       conduct safety audits, review risk management policy and hold frequent WHS meetings

·       provide appropriate induction, and appropriate training.

In Agriculture depending on the activity it is worth looking at ways to reduce fatigue in the work environment. This may be cool vests for outdoor workers, lighter quad bike helmets, providing worker amenities and good accommodation for rest and sleep. Shade cover of the main work areas in yards as well as yard design for efficient flow of livestock. You also should provide and maintain safe, fit-for-purpose plant, machinery and equipment, and ensure appropriate training according to the environment and employee’s level of skill.

Personal factors can be improved by discussing the symptoms of fatigue and on healthy lifestyle behaviours such as good nutrition, hydration, physical activity, drug and alcohol management and stress management.

Read Consulting works with our clients in developing fatigue management policies.  to increase awareness and develop strategies to reduce the effects of fatigue for workers and businesses.

 

RCG – 0450 272 780

www.Readconsultinggroup.com

Driver fatally crushed by own truck

In June 2018, an owner/operator truck driver was reversing his single deck truck up to a loading ramp to load cattle used in a rodeo as part of the local annual show. It appears he placed the truck in reverse and began to idle backwards – the gearing of the truck in reverse was sufficiently low that it did not require the driver to have his foot on the accelerator. He then opened the door and stood on the running boards of the truck holding on to the steering wheel to manoeuvre the truck while looking backwards to where he was going.

He fell from the running board of the truck and was fatally crushed under the front wheel as the truck continued to reverse itself.

Also in June 2018, a courier van driver sustained serious fractures when he was dragged under his vehicle. He had returned to the parked van to retrieve an item via the front window when it rolled backwards. It appears he was dragged under the vehicle while trying to stop it moving.

Both investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident

There have been incidents where vehicle drivers and others have been killed or seriously injured after being hit, pinned or crushed by the uncontrolled movement of vehicles. The risk of a vehicle moving in an uncontrolled or unexpected manner must be managed by ensuring appropriate control measures are in place. Controls may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Before leaving a vehicle ensure it is stationary and out of gear with the hand-brake applied.
  • Do not climb onto a moving vehicle.
  • Do not allow any movement of the truck or vehicle unless there is someone at the driver’s seat who is able to receive aural or visual warnings and can immediately act to prevent harm (e.g. apply brakes or steer the truck).
  • When reversing, ensure the area around the vehicle is clear.
  • Always reverse with the aid of mirrors or a spotter.

The person conducting a business or undertaking should conduct a risk assessment of work practices, develop appropriate safe work systems, conduct appropriate training and ensure the system is enforced at the workplace. For assistance please contact Read Consulting Group.

Richard Read

M: 0450 272 780

Read Consulting WHS Services

As we are in the midst of Farm Safety week it is an important reminder for all rural workers the various dangers encountered working on agricultural properties. Last year 68 people died on Australian farms and countless others sustained debilitating injuries, causing grief in our communities and costing more than $100 million in medical bills and lost productivity. 

Read Consulting Group use Farm Safety week as a time in the year to reflect on current industry safety practices and what areas can be improved on. This includes the way we work with livestock, mustering using motorbikes, quad bikes and side by sides, use of large machinery such as tractors, bulldozers, electrical incidents, handling chemicals and the driving of vehicles on and off farm roads.  

Read Consulting clients are united in efforts to reduce the deaths and injuries associated with health and safety risks on farms and continue to make improvements year on year in this area.

Read Consulting through working with its clients are able to review best practice management regarding farm safety and is able to provide recommendations for your business. For assistance please contact Richard at Read Consulting Group to see how we can assist your business with farm safety.

 

Read Consulting – HR Services

With the new financial year and the news of Lush Cosmetics at the front of our minds it is timely to ensure that your HR and payroll processes are robust and current.

As in the Lush case, they relied upon an outdated payroll system to ensure that they paid their employees correctly and as per the award, sadly times change and so do awards and this didn’t flow through to their payroll system.  It is important to ensure a review of your remuneration and the way your employees are paid is undertaken regularly, the new financial year is a perfect opportunity to get this underway.

Read Consulting has a HR specialist that can assist you, Nerida has extensive experience in both HR and payroll and is more than willing to assist you with a review of your current remunerations structures, employment contracts and an audit of how this is flowing through your payroll processes.

Please contact Read Consulting Group to see how we can assist your business.

Two workers die inside agriculture tanker

In January 2018, two men were found dead in the bottom of a fibreglass tank on a trailer. The tanker/trailer is a purpose built tri-axle trailer built for the transport of dunder and molasses.

It is understood the two men were cleaning the residue in the tanks after unloading the day before. It is believed the last tanker load transported was 20 cubic metres of Suplaflo (dunder cleaned (no dirt)) with 4 per cent urea mix – which is a sugar-cane by-product. Investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident

Working in a confined space can increase the risk of injury from noise, being overcome by fumes, gases or oxygen depletion, high or low temperatures, manual handling, and slips, trips and falls. It is vital to be aware of the dangers of working in confined spaces. A confined space includes any enclosed or partially enclosed space that is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person, and is intended to be at normal atmospheric pressure while a person is in the space and is a risk because of the atmosphere, contaminants or engulfment.

Examples of confined spaces, other than tankers, may include some types of excavations or trenches, drainage or sewerage pipes, and crawl spaces.

Employers should ensure that people working in a confined space are safe by:

  • having compliant confined space signage in place
  • ensuring they are trained in confined space entry processes
  • ensuring they are competent in performing the confined space entry task
  • completing a risk assessment
  • implementing a confined space entry permit system
  • ensuring any hazards and risks in the confined space are controlled and safely managed prior to entry of the confined space
  • placing a stand-by-person outside the confined space to talk to anyone in the confined space and implement emergency procedures if required
  • providing personal protective equipment, and rescue, first-aid and fire suppression equipment
  • establishing a rescue, communication and continuous monitoring plan prior to entering a confined space
  • supplying safety harnesses and safety (or rescue) lines where there is a danger of falling while entering or leaving the confined space
  • ensuring the area is well ventilated.

If you have any questions regarding your confined space risks and controls. Please contact Read Consulting who are able to assist.

Agriculture mobile plant roll-over fatalities

In December 2017, a worker on a Tamborine Mountain avocado farm was killed when a single seat ride on mower being driven by another worker rolled over on a steep slope and crushed her.

A few weeks before, a worker was killed when the tractor he was driving went over the edge of a steep embankment on a banana farm in North Queensland. He was attempting a U-turn on a road when it appears he drove over the embankment and was thrown or jumped from the tractor. Although there were no witnesses, the injuries he sustained indicate the tractor rolled over him.

Environmental conditions may have contributed to the incident as it had been raining in the preceding days which left the road muddy and boggy. The tractor was fitted with a roll over protective system (ROPS) but was not fitted with a seatbelt.

Both investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident

Tractors and other items of agricultural mobile plant are safe when operated properly, however, like any equipment, they become dangerous if used incorrectly. Before operating them, the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure:

  • the vehicle selected is the right vehicle for the task
  • weather and ground conditions have been assessed
  • a ROPS that complies with AS/NZ1636.1-1996 is fitted to tractors in accordance with WHS Regulation s216 Roll-over protection on tractors
  • a seat belt is worn where fitted
  • the manufacturer’s operating instructions have been read and are followed. For older items of mobile plant where operating instructions are not available, operational procedures and instructions for use should be developed by a competent person.

When operating mobile plant:

  • ensure it is driven to suit the environmental conditions and slow enough to retain control in unexpected circumstances
  • reduce speed before turning or applying brakes
  • use as wide a wheel track as possible when working on hillsides and sloping ground
  • descend slopes cautiously, keeping the tractor in low gear to allow motor compression to act as a brake. Watch out for ditches, embankments, and depressions – unstable banks can cause overturns
  • do not park on a steep slope
  • ensure the park brake is on and operating effectively before dismounting
  • if towing a trailer, ensure the load is evenly balanced, well secured and you operate at a lower speed.

HR the Christmas Grinch…….

It is that time of year again and our staff Christmas get togethers are happening. It is important to remember that Christmas parties are still a “work function” and employers and employees need to be mindful of their ongoing ‘duties’ as employees and employers.

Cut to the chase…. Christmas parties are fun and relaxing, however inevitably this also comes with the increased risk of employees being injured and inappropriate behavior. Therefore, as managers it is important to ensure employees are aware of the expected standards of behavior.

Some tips to prepare for the silly season…

 1.     Ensure your policies and procedures address the behaviour expected of employees at work functions, e.g. a drug and alcohol policy or sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying policy.

2.     Send a notification out to employees before the Christmas party reminding them that Christmas parties are still work functions and that their behaviour at the party must remain appropriate at all times;

3.     Ensure that there is sufficient food available at the function, and ensure the responsible service of alcohol.

4.     Nominate a representative to ‘supervise’ the Christmas party and deal with any issues which arise at the event.

5.     If a complaint arises about behaviour at a Christmas party, you need to make sure that the complaint is dealt with promptly and that it is investigated if required.

As a reminder Read Consulting now offers specialist Human Resource consulting. Please contact us with any queries.

Richard Read

Principal

Mob: 0450 272 780

http://www.readconsultinggroup.com

Australia's most dangerous jobs

Each year, hundreds of Australian workers die from work-related incidents.

If you are working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, then you are working in the country’s most dangerous industry. This is according to Safe Work Australia’s Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2015, wherein the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry had 52 fatalities in 2015. The transport, warehousing and storage industry lost a total of 40 employees during that period.

In ranking the industries, finder.com.au took employment figures from Safe Work Australia in the Australian Workers’ Compensation statistics and meshed them with the Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report stats to create a Risk Score for each industry.

Top 10 most dangerous industries in Australia:

1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing – recorded 744 workplace fatalities between 2003 – 2015.  The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has routinely been at the top of the most dangerous jobs list, with 418 workplace fatalities being recorded between 2007-2016. The most dangerous type of sub-division within agriculture was sheep, beef cattle and grain framing with 279 total fatalities in the same time period.

2. The industry also had an abundance of workers' compensation claims lodged from 2015-16, with over 3,510 in total.  The transport, postal and warehousing industry accounted for 46 fatalities (7.5 per 100,000 employees) and 8,200 serious injury claims (14.4 per 1,000 employees) in 2016.

3. Transport, postal and warehousing – recorded 754 work-related fatalities from 2003 – 2015.  Construction accounted for 12.28% of all workplace compensation claims in 2016 with 12,670 claims made.  'Constructions services' were responsible for 35 total deaths in 2016. This includes jobs such as earthmoving, plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying and concreting.

4. Construction – 469 people killed in construction-related incidents from 2003-2015

5. Manufacturing – 275 workers killed in workplace incidents since 2003-2015

6. Wholesale trade – 98 fatalities between 2003-2015

7. Mining – 122 killed in mining incidents from 2013-2015

8. Health and community services – highest number of worker compensation claims in 2014-2015 (17,565 claims lodged)

9. Public administration and safety – total of 6 deaths and 8270 workers’ compensation claims in 2015
Electricity, gas, water and waste services – increase in workers’ compensation claims in 2015 with 1,175 (up from 1,100)

10. Administrative and support services – 7 killed in workplace incidents and 3785 serious injury claims in 2015.

 

Original article: finder.com.au

Our New Human Resources Services

Read Consulting Group is pleased to announce that we are now offering Human Resource (HR) services as part of our commitment to our clients. Our new HR service aims to provide a full range of affordable HR support and guidance to small, medium & large businesses.

RCG remain focused on Risk Management for its clients.  We see the addition of a specialist HR consultant complementary to the current services.

Nerida Mitchell who has been providing back office support to us the last 6 months, will be providing RCG’s HR consultancy services. Nerida is highly experienced & has specialised in HR Management for the past 12 years across a broad range of consultancy, government and private enterprise organisations. We are excited Nerida has joined the team in a larger capacity.

The key HR services offered include:

  • Best practice people and HR management strategy
  • Employee letters, policies and procedures
  • Mediation
  • Independent unbiased workplace investigations/ representation
  • Performance Management strategies
  • Independent unbiased exit interviews for existing employees

For more details please click attached link https://readconsultinggroup.com.au/human-resources/.

 

 

Worker killed after being pinned by mobile plant

In October 2017, a worker was killed after he was pinned between a cane haul out vehicle (a vehicle used to collect and remove sugar cane as it is harvested) and a fuel tanker trailer. The worker, who was the operator of the cane haul out vehicle, was attending to maintenance issues at the time. He was found by another worker who went to check on him after he failed to return or call on the UHF radio. He could not be revived.

It is not clear at this stage what caused the incident as there were no witnesses. Investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident

Incidents have occurred where mobile plant operators and other people nearby have been killed or seriously injured after being hit, pinned or crushed by the mobile plant.

In ideal circumstances, mobile plant should be turned off prior to exiting the vehicle. However, when performing certain maintenance functions or when using ancillary equipment requiring power takeoffs or vehicle mounted cranes, it may be necessary to have the engine running. In such circumstances, you must ensure that park brakes are applied and the vehicle or mobile plant is adequately immobilised before you get out of it.

If you are the person with management or control (PWMC) of mobile plant, you must ensure that:

  • it is used in accordance with manufacturer's specifications
  • the ignition/starter switch key is removed if you leave it
  • no-one works in, under or around it unless it has been prevented from moving
  • wheel chocks are used if required
  • workers are trained and competent to safely operate it
  • all safety features and warning devices are used in accordance with instructions, including guarding, operational controls, emergency stops and warning devices
  • when not in use, it is left in a state that does not create a risk to health and safety.

Mobile plant maintenance, inspection and testing must be carried out by a competent person and the PWMC must ensure that:

  • a safe system of work for maintenance is in place and workers follow it
  • the plant is effectively immobilised
  • maintenance is carried out in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations
  • where the plant needs to be operated during maintenance, that the risks associated with the maintenance activities have been eliminated or minimised.

The PWMC of mobile plant must ensure that its controls are:

  • identified to indicate their nature and function
  • located so that they are readily and conveniently operated
  • located or guarded to prevent unintentional activation
  • able to be locked off.