The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Involving Workers in Safety Programs

Graham Marshall - Sunday, July 31, 2011

In Australia, employer-employee consultation on safety matters is emphasized in the legislative codes.

In WA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (1984) and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act (1994) place a formal obligation on employers to consult employees and safety and health representatives, where they exist, on safety and health at the workplace.

To complement this consultation process, employees also have a duty to cooperate with their employer on safety and health matters.

In country's where no such legal demands for consultation exist, health and safety consultation still makes a lot of sense.

Here are some less formal ways in which any employer can foster a more mature safety culture with high levels of employee participation in the company safety management program:

  • Invite employees to participate in safety incident investigations;
  • Conduct brainstorming sessions on solving identified HSE problems;
  • Introduce hazard spotting and JSA tools to the workplace and encourage participation with these tools;
  • Establish a safety suggestions program (this could be anonymous through the use of a suggestions box);
  • Encourage employees to participate in workplace inspections;
  • Introduce a formal hazard observation program.  Click here for more information;
  • Hold regular tool-box talks; and
  • Encourage workers to trial various types of PPE before selecting a chosen brand.


To review the WA Guidance Note on Workplace Consultation, click here.

Managing Whole Body Vibration

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 30, 2011
Whole Body Vibration (WBV) occurs when low-frequency environmental vibration is transferred to a person through a broad contact area. 

Transmission of environmental vibration to the person most often occurs through the buttocks when sitting and this places operators of mobile plant and equipment at particular high risk of exposure. 

WBV can also be transferred to a person through the feet when standing or through the whole body when in broader contact with machinery.

The health impacts of WBV can be substantial and include increased fatigue, a reduction in motor performance capability, irritation of the lungs, abdomen or bladder, and unwanted vision impacts.

One of the most common impacts of WBV is lower back pain caused by vehicle jarring.

There are several methods of control for WBV and these include:

  • Elimination of the problem by removal of people from vibrating environments (through redesign);
  • Substitution of new for old technology which may be less prone to vibrate at low-frequency;
  • Installation of vibration dampers on equipment and vehicles;
  • Use of transportation alternatives;
  • Regular grading of unsealed roads which may be prone to "corrugations";
  • Regular job rotation to reduce individual exposure time to WBV; and
  • Training in the ergonomic set-up of vehicle seating and controls.


For further information on WBV, the UK Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) are available by clicking here.

Bystander Apathy Effect

Graham Marshall - Friday, July 29, 2011
TGIF - a bit of light relief this Friday from the team at QI talking about the bystander apathy effect.

Pretty funny.

Check it out here.


American Society of Safety Engineers 2012 Conference

Graham Marshall - Thursday, July 28, 2011
The 2012 ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition will be held in Denver (Colorado) between June 3rd - 6th.

Click here for more information and a downloadable application form.

Conference Paper submissions may be sent to:

Director, Professional Development
1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines
IL 60018-2100

Selecting the Correct Safety Footwear

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It is important to ensure that safety footwear meets an appropriate national standard (e.g., ANSI Z41.1 in the USA or AS/NZ Standard 2210.1:1994 in Australia and New Zealand).

But selecting the wrong safety shoes can lead to lots of painful problems, especially for workers who are standing up for long periods.

Here are a few tips to ensure you select the right safety footwear in order to prevent ongoing pain.

  • Shop for shoes later in the day as feet tend to swell as the day progresses;
  • Measure your feet while standing;
  • Do not rely on shoe sizing by referencing the size of your last pair of shoes - always measure your feet each time;
  • Feet are often slightly different in size - select shoes based on the fit for the larger foot;
  • Try on shoes wearing the same (or similar) socks to the ones you most often expect to be wearing when using your new shoes;
  • Try on both shoes and walk around.  If they hurt, try another pair.

In addition to the proper shoes, I recommend the use of anti-fatigue mats for those workers who tend to stand for long periods during the working day.

Psychological Hazard and Mass Murder Incidents

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Yesterday I posted about the tragedy in Norway and highlighted the role of the psychological hazard as a source of incidents involving mass murder.

To re-iterate the points made yesterday, here are other examples of incidents involving mass shootings over the previous two-decades that highlight the role played by the psychological hazard in these unwanted events.

1982 - Korea - Police officer Woo Bum Kong kills 57 people and wounds a further 38 before blowing himself up.

1987 - UK - Michael Ryan, kills 16 people and wounds 11 in Hungerford before killing himself.

1989 - France - A French farmer kills 14 people in Luxiol, near the Swiss border. He was captured by police.

1989 - Canada - 14 young women shot and killed at the University of Montreal.

1990 - NZ - 11 men, women and children are murdered in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny New Zealand seaside village of Aramoana. The gunman is killed by police.

1995 - France - A 16-year-old youth kills 16 people and then himself in the town of Cuers.

1996 - Scotland - Thomas Hamilton murders 16 children and their teacher in a nursery school in Dunblane before killing himself.

1996 - Tasmania - Martin Bryant shoots and kills 35 people at the Port Arthur tourist site in Australia.

1999 - USA - Two teenagers  rampage through Columbine High School in Littleton, Denver, murdering 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.

1999 - USA - A gunman killed nine people in Atlanta, after killing his wife and two children. He committed suicide five hours later.

2001 - Nepal - Crown Prince Dipendra kills nine members of the Nepales Royal Family and then commits suicide.

2002 - Germany - 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser murders 12 teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman at the Gutenberg Gymnasium, before killing himself.

2002 - USA - John Muhammad and Lee Malvo murdered 10 people in Washington, D.C.

2007 - USA - Virginia Tech becomes the site of the deadliest rampage in U.S. history when a gunman killed 32 people and himself.

2007 - Finland - Pekka-Eric Auvinen murders six students, the school nurse and the principal and commits suicide at the Jokela High School near Helsinki.

2008 - Finland - Matti Saari Kills nine students and one male staff member before killing himself.

2009 - Germany - A 17-year-old murders 15 and then commits suicide.

2010 - UK - Derrick Bird kills 12 people and  injures 11 more. Bird also killed himself.

2010 - Slovakia - Seven people shot dead in the Slovak capital Bratislava before the gunman commits suicide. Fourteen more people were wounded.

2011 - Holland - Tristan van der Vlis kills six people in a shopping mall before turning the gun on himself.

Useful Safety Websites

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Today I'm posting some of the range of United States websites that may be useful to Safety Advisors working in the USA.  Just click on any of the listed organizations to be taken to their website.

American Society of Safety Engineers.

Chemical Safety Board.

Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Drug Enforcement Administration.

Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal Highway Administration.

Institute of Medicine.

Mine Safety and Health Administration.

National Hearing Conservation Association.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


Norway Shooting Rampage

Graham Marshall - Monday, July 25, 2011
The tragedy unfolding in Norway over the previous weekend with the deaths of over ninety civilians at the hands of Anders Behring Breivik once again highlights the nature of the psychological hazard.

Within the Think 6, Look 6 hazard and risk management process, identifying the psychological hazard is pretty straightforward and it needs to be managed as best we can alongside any other "traditional" hazards.  

Of course, managing for psychological hazards is particularly difficult.

With the psychological hazard, what we're looking for are deliberate and wilful attempts to cause harm by individual people. 

We recognize that people themselves have the potential to cause harm. 

The psychological hazard is simply the potential for individuals like Anders Behring Breivik to cause harm - to themselves, to other people, to equipment, or to the environment around them.

As such the psychological hazard manifests itself through incidents involving suicide attempts, assault or mass murder.  In workplaces it also shows up in sabotage attempts and deliberate acts of pollution.

I distinguish the psycho-social hazard from the purely psychological form because the latter tends to involve whole groups of people with the potential to cause harm rather than single individuals - like Anders Behring Breivik - who typically act on their own fantasies.

Such groups may include terrorist groups, criminal gangs (e.g., the Mafia), anti-capitalist Anarchist or Marxist groups, social, environmental or political movements with a specific disruptive "direct-action" agenda (e.g,. animal liberation activists or "hunt saboteurs"), or vigilante groups.

Put simply then, the psychological hazard involves individuals who wish to cause harm and the psycho-social hazard involves those individuals when they come together in larger groups with a specific harmful agenda.

For further information about the Hazard Spotting Guide which provides a detailed analysis of the various types of hazards people face in the workplace please click here.

Australasian Petroleum Safety Regulators Forum

Graham Marshall - Monday, July 25, 2011

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) is about to host the second Australasian Petroleum Safety Regulators Forum (APSRF) on Friday 12th August 2011.

Regulators from across Australia, New Zealand and Timor L’Este will come together in order to share their insights on emerging issues, evalution and challenges for the safety legislative regime. 

The APSRF 2011 will round out a week of peer discussion and global industry review in Western Australia as it follows the WA Health and Safety Representative's (HSR)  forum, the APPEA Safety Conference and the inaugural International Offshore Petroleum Regulators and Operators Summit .

All of the forums and conferences mentioned will take place at Burswood Resort Casino in Perth, WA.

Forklift Disaster For McLaren Vale Winemaker

Graham Marshall - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Moollydooker wine maker Sparky Marquis reports he has lost over $1 Million worth of his flagship Velvet Glove Shiraz following the loss of a container which fell off a forklift.

Selling for $185 a bottle and heading for export to the USA, Moollydooker has lost over a third of its 2010 Velvet Glove release.  Thankfully no one was injured during the forklift incident.

The loss demonstrates once again, however, the importance of assessing the risks and developing appropriate lift plans when using mobile lifting equipment such as forklifts and mobile cranes.

To access a Procedure for Risk Assessment simply click here.

It's a shame that Sparky hadn't read a copy 'cause the Velvet Glove is a pretty good drop of red!

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