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A risk management based approach to returning to workplaces

As restrictions start to ease and we’re all excited to step outside the 4 walls of our homes, sensible employers are starting to plan for a staged return to work for their workers. As with most other workplace decisions, we recommend a risk-based approach. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission In order to achieve a safe and healthy work environment, you might like to start by first thinking about what working environment delivers the optimum outcomes for your business. Reducing the likelihood of transmission is still a key consideration, so if tasks can be completed remotely, it’s well worth workers…

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COVID-19 and your OHS responsibilities

We’re starting to see some workers compensation claims related to injuries sustained from people working at home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As a result questions are being asked about employers OHS requirements when it comes to staff working from home. For many employers, having any staff work from home is new, let alone the majority of their workforce. Literally overnight businesses across the country have had to implement remote working arrangements. In the process they’ve had to tackle a multitude of different challenges and considerations – from technology, to processes, connectivity and productivity. However, there is one…

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You are responsible for employee safety, even when they are working from home

With more and more Australians working remotely to minimise the spread of COVID-19, we’re finding many employers don’t realise their responsibility for ensuring a safe work environment still applies – even when staff are working from home. As an employer, you are responsible for the safety of your employees, wherever they are working. Even when they’re working from home you have a duty of care to ensure that their work environment is safe. If one of your employees is injured while working from home, whether that be as a result of poor ergonomics, or simply tripping and falling while on the…

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Corona virus COVID-19 How Australian Businesses should be preparing

Yesterday the Australian Federal Government activated it’s Emergency Response Plan. While the virus is yet to hit our shores, the likelihood of a world-wide pandemic is increasing every day. Now is the time to plan and prepare Australian employers need to be planning and preparing for a potential Coronavirus outbreak here in Australia – determining exactly how you will respond to and manage the impact, and how you will respond to your staff’s questions, concerns and requests. Where to begin Some Australian businesses may have a Pandemic or Infectious Diseases Plan in place, that sets out how the business will manage…

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WorkSafe Victoria releases new code for working with engineered stone

Last week WorkSafe Victoria released a new compliance code, designed to protect people working with engineered stone from potentially deadly exposure to silica dust. The new compliance code provides a clear cut set of safety requirements and obligations for working with engineered stone. It comes on the back of a complete ban of uncontrolled cutting, grinding and polishing engineered stone in August last year. Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said in a statement last week that ‘this code of conduct has been developed by the experts – all employers should be using it to reduce the risks of their workers of contracting deadly silicosis’….

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Mental health at work

It’s 2020 – we need to take workplace mental health seriously Here in Australia, employers do a pretty good job of managing the physical aspects of workplace health and safety, for the most part. However, our legislation requires employers to ensure workplaces are both physically and mentally healthy for all employees. Mental health is something that has touched all of us at some stage. This year, we want to focus on helping employers support employees struggling with mental health issues and assist them in creating mentally healthy workplaces – because half of us are going to struggle with a mental health…

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Australia to adopt GHS Hazardous Chemical Labelling

Bringing Australia’s Hazardous Chemicals Management into line with Global Standards Last Friday 10 January 2020, Safe Work Australia agreed to adopt the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7 under the model WHS laws for workplace hazardous chemicals.   The two most significant changes will be: Updated precautionary statements – which appear on product labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Removing the requirement for the label of a hazardous chemical to disclose the identity and proportion of each ingredient. Changes will take effect from 1 July 2020 Manufacturers and importers will have a two year…

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7 Reasons you should outsource Workers Compensation Claims Management

Workers Compensation premiums are a significant cost for many businesses. The complexity surrounding premiums, injury and claims management, and return to work programs often means it ends up costing many businesses more than it needs to and taking up valuable time and resources. While it all sounds very simple in principle, in practice Workers’ Compensation claims management is anything but. For employers, it can be confusing and costly to get claims submitted on time, paid correctly and reimbursements processed in a timely manner and many employers end up paying more in claims costs and premiums than they needed to! This…

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Silica Safety Management – Discovering Stone magazine

The latest edition of Discovering Stone magazine – Safeguarding Against Silicosis – features Lana Rubinstein explaining why a silica safety management system is essential for protecting your people and your business. Discovering Stone Magazine| Issue 35 |October 2019

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Uncontrolled cutting of engineered stone banned in Victoria

Last week WorkSafe announced immediate changes to the Victorian OHS regulations relating to cutting, grinding and polishing engineered stone with power tools. Under the new regulations – which are already in effect – anyone cutting engineered stone with a power tool must ensure it is fitted with either an: Integrated water delivery system (on-tool water suppression) that supplies a continuous feed of water. Using a hose or other handheld device to direct water to the cutting point isn’t acceptable – an integrated delivery system needs to be interlocked with the power tool. On-tool dust extractor that is attached to a HEPA filtered dust…