Taking action on workplace safety

The Sydney Showground played host to the three-day event, with more than 4000 health and safety decision makers throughout the government, resources, construction, transport, and manufacturing industries discovering new ways to improve their organisation’s safety.

Part of the Safety In Action event series, with events also held in Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne at different times during the year, more than 100 exhibitors were in attendance including Chemical Safety International, Mediflex Industries, Safe Work Australia, the Black Dog Institute, and SafeQuip.

A variety of safety solutions for all sectors were displayed such as fork lift grips, safety footwear, risk management training services, scaffolds and platforms, and PPE.

Keith Barks, general manager at Informa Australia – who jointly presented the event with the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) – said an estimated 2000 workers die from work related illnesses each year.

“[This] highlights the urgent need for national improvements to prevent and reduce the number and severity of injuries and illnesses in the future,” he said.

Additionally in 2013-14 more than 106,000 serious workers’ compensation claims were lodged, reinforcing the importance of implementing necessary safety measures in all workplaces.

This year’s theme was ‘Keep your workplace safe’ with height safety, particularly in construction in focus.

Ferno Australia, which specialises in height safety equipment, exhibited their range at the event, with their products suitable for construction through to emergency services including helicopters, ambulances, fire and defence industries.

Greg Wyld, the company’s territory sales manager, highlighted the importance of proper restraint while working at height.

“There’s been quite a few deaths at height so awareness is one of the main factors,” he told Australian Mining.

“There’s a lot of people working at height that aren’t properly restrained and they’re getting injured, so actually wearing the appropriate PPE, so that they’re arrested if they fall or preventing from falling in the first place, is a big thing.”

A Safe Work Australia report on work related injuries involving a fall from height found the construction industry made up 37 per cent (41) of fall related fatalities between 2008 and 2011. This was more than three times the number from the next highest industries; with 12 deaths in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing, and 12 across the transport, postal and warehousing industries; while 11 deaths were recorded in the manufacturing sector.

Super Spill Solutions, which provides liquid spill response products, services, and training throughout all industries that have bulk liquid storage, also attended the event.

Company director Dominic Fedele, told Australian Mining they provide products for companies required to have liquid response products, which they can use in the event of an emergency spill. He added that they provide training on how to respond to liquid spills.

“We have service and maintenance programs where we go on site and restock the spill kits on the spot and issue a report for their environmental due diligence, and also follow up with training,” he said.

With automation and innovation fast becoming the norm for several industries, management systems to further streamline traditionally paper-based processes are on the rise.

Nicky Bishop, consultant at safety management software company MyOsh, explained that MyOsh is a modular system based on email alerts that records an organisation’s management.

She said the system helps companies comply with safety legislation.

“The mobile apps make it really easy to log incidents, hazards and actions, which is basic compliance,” she told Australian Mining.

“You need to keep track of all your incidents. You need to be able to audit them, find out what’s going on with them – if they’re open or closed –and once all your data is in the system it’s really easy to run your reports.”

The system consolidates all data and can present it in graphs, pie charts, or tables through its dashboards, which can pinpoint exactly which part of the site is experiencing a particular problem.

“On top of that we’ve got all the other modules; training management, contracts management, online learning, and inspections which is really popular. You can create your own inspections so you can go around and with your mobile app and do all your inspections really quickly,” she said.

“It’s very automated; emails are sent out automatically, so accountability is great.

“The ability to make people accountable for their safety is very important, you can save on time, man-hours, and on insurance premiums.”

The event also featured a range of seminars on how to achieve a zero harm, positive safety culture; contractor safety management and compliance; and how to manage and improve work safety with software tools.

Co-located at Safety in Action was SIA’s National Convention – a two-day conference that challenged safety leaders to change their thinking around safety. With the theme of ‘Disruptive Safety’, the speakers tackled ways to positively disrupt the status quo in workplace health and safety.

Australia’s largest cleaning and hygiene show CleanScene was also run parallel to Safety in Action, with companies including Electrolux, SABCO, and Whiteley Industrial displaying the latest in cleaning technology. The event also hosted seminars throughout the day, with topics including the emerging standards in cleaning and hygiene; the importance and rise of sustainable cleaning products; and how to grow a cleaning business.

The next Safety in Action event takes place in Brisbane in early 2017.