The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

APPEA Conference Brisbane 2013

Graham Marshall - Thursday, January 31, 2013

The APPEA Conference and Exhibition 2013 is set to be bigger and better than ever and taking place this year in Brisbane from 26th to 29th May.

APPEA are billing the conference as the key event where 'the world meets Australian oil and gas'.

So mark it in your diary for 26-29 May.

New Australian Anti-Discrimination Laws

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Federal Government of Australia has released a draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill which will consolidate anti-discrimination law at the Federal level.

Under the new bill:

• Workers will be protected under federal law from discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation and same sex relationships.

• It will also be unlawful to discriminate because of a workers union status or activities relating to lawful industrial dispute, medical history, nationality or citizenship, political opinion, religion or social origin.

• The definition of discrimination will be broadened to include harassment or other conduct that offends, insults or intimidates a worker.

• The definition of discrimination will also be broadened from "unfavourable" treatment to "less favourable" treatment (i.e. no requirement for comparison to another individual).

• It will be unlawful for employers to require or request information with the intent to engage in unlawful discrimination or deciding whether to engage in such conduct.

• Duty holders may be held personally liable where they cause, instruct or aid another person to engage in unlawful conduct. Importantly for employers, an employer may be held liable for the unlawful conduct of its directors, employees and agents unless it has taken reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the conduct.

• Employers will be exempt from discrimination if the conduct is taken in good faith for the purpose of achieving a particular aim unless it relates to a disability that the employer could of made a reasonable adjustment for to lessen the discriminatory effect. In addition, a common exception can be applied based on the inherent requirements of the job.

• Industries will be able to apply to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to request a Compliance Code, which can be used as a defence to a discrimination claim.

• Employers may submit its policies and programs to the AHRC for review for a fee and the outcome of the review can be taken into account as part of any proceedings.

• Unions will be able to lodge discrimination complaints on behalf of employees.

• The AHRC will be able to terminate a discrimination complaint if they find the complaint has no merit.

• Once a worker establishes a case that an employer treated them less favourably because of a protected attribute, the burden on proving that discrimination did not occur will be shifted to the employer (known as 'reverse onus of proof').

• Parties are to bear their own costs in proceedings before a Federal court and the court may award these costs to a particular party.

• Employers will also be required to satisfy local State and Territory anti-discrimination legislation.

The Bill has been referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to report to the Senate by 18 February 2013.

Danger from overhead falling objects

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The danger of "working below" - in situations where items can fall from height and strike workers has again been highlighted by the prosection in the UK of Steel manufacturer Tata Steel and a specialist contractor.

A fine totalling £320,000 has been handed down for safety failings after a worker was killed by a falling metal bar in the steelworks at Redcar.

Kristian Norris from Middlesbrough was working for Vesuvius UK Limited at the time of the fatal incident on 12 April 2008.

He was hit on the head by a  metal bar that fell approximately 30 feet from overhead.

Teesside Crown Court heard today that an investigation by the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) found that adequate precautions were not in place to control the risk of falling objects.

This was a failing on the part of both Vesuvius, and Tata Steel UK Limited, which then owned Teesside Cast Products where work was being undertaken.

Tragically, both company's were aware of the safety problems but both allowed the unsafe work to continue.

Vesuvius UK Limited and Tata Steel UK Limited both pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 10(1), of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Vesuvius was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,020. Tata Steel UK Limited was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,020.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Richard Bulmer, said:

"Kristian’s tragic death may have been prevented had Vesuvius UK Limited and Tata Steel UK Limited made simple and adequate provisions to protect employees working beneath work and lift platforms. The risks associated with work at height are well known, as are the necessary safeguards. Yet on this occasion the precautions taken to prevent people or objects from falling were wholly insufficient and sorely lacking."


Well Blowout and Fire

Graham Marshall - Monday, January 28, 2013

Devon Energy has experienced a well blowout and fire at a rig site in Duchesne County, USA.

It could take up to a week or longer to bring things back to normal operations at the well.


Crews working on a drilling rig owned by Frontier Drilling notified authorities shortly after midnight Tuesday that the well they had recently completed had experienced a gas blowout — a high-pressure release of oil and natural gas from the well.

Fire fighters spent several hours at the scene while workers tried to regain control of the well.

But just before 7 a.m., something ignited the fumes, setting off a blaze that sent towers of smoke and flames into the sky.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the gas explosion.

And that's the most important thing.

Three homes along North Crescent Road near 2000 North were evacuated as a precaution.

The residents of those homes were offered motel rooms and meals at the expense of the companies.

Well-control specialists are now monitoring the fire and working to bring it under control.

The company is also assessing any environmental impact.

UK HSE Public Consuiltation on EU Chemicals Legislation

Graham Marshall - Sunday, January 27, 2013

The UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) is holding a public consultation on regulatory measures to support EU chemicals legislation and proposals on reducing seven existing sets of domestic regulations into one statutory instrument.

The UK HSE is consulting on regulatory proposals for measures supporting three directly applicable EU chemicals Regulations on:

1.  Biocidal Products (EU no. 528/2012);

2.  The Export and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (commonly known as the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation) (EU no. 649/2012); and

3.  Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures (EC no. 1272/2008).

The proposals implement a Löfstedt recommendation to consolidate biocides sector legislation, and also to meet EU requirements to establish competent authorities, designated national authorities and enforcement arrangements (as appropriate.

Overall the proposal will reduce seven existing statutory instruments into one.

The UK HSE also proposes to put in place new regulations to enable the UK HSE to charge for the work it carries out under the new Biocides Regulation.

This will, however, be covered in a separate consultation on  the proposed fee regime,  including the fee structure and fee levels.

The UK HSE also seek your views on the possibility of recovering HSE’s costs under CLP, and are further consulting on unrelated administrative amendments to other domestic chemicals regulations.

No changes are proposed to the main duties for Biocides, PIC and CLP, which are, or will be, established at EU level in directly applicable Regulations.

This consultation ends on 31 January 2013.

Responses should be sent to:

Deborah Traynor

Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS
Fax: 0151 951 3098


Happy Australia Day

Graham Marshall - Saturday, January 26, 2013
We're spending a super couple of days in Margaret River.  And we've just had a 3-hour stint down on the beach near Joey's Nose.  The water was fantastic and the kids built the biggest sand-castle ever!  So Happy Australia Day for today, 26th January 2013.

Chair of the Workforce Involvement Group

Graham Marshall - Friday, January 25, 2013

The UK HSE has announced that Dave Walker has now taken over from Fraser Easton as Chair of the Workforce Involvement Group.

Other WIG Members include:

Russell Thomas - WIG Administrator

Lisa McGhee - WIG Administrator

Paul Adamson - HSE Offshore Regulatory Inspector

Mikey Craig - Transocean

Nicky Elphinstone - TOTAL, Safety Representative

Willie Gibson - Corporate Health Safety Enviroment, Production Services Network (PSN)

Leslie Larchet - OIM, Centrica Storage

Phil Ley - Offshore Contractors Association (OCA)

Frank Cairney - HSE Manager, Petrofac

Jake Molloy - Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT)

Bob Lauder - Oil & Gas UK

Mark Milne - International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC)

John Taylor - UNITE The Union

Duncan Tee - OIM, Teekay Petrojarl

Austin Grant - OIM, CNR International

Les Linklater - Step Change in Safety 

Rosella Cottage, Yorkshire

Graham Marshall - Thursday, January 24, 2013

We're having a short holiday break at a fabulous holiday cottage in Yorkshire, UK.  Called Rosella Cottage, the holiday home can be found in the pretty Yorkshire hamlet of Rosedale Abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

We've found some great places to visit in the local towns of Whitby, Pickering, Helmsley and the local City of York.

You can check it out at

Newton Aycliffe Safety Workshops

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Businesses in the NE of England town of Newton Aycliffe  are being offered workshops in OHS as part of a new initiative to provide free information, support and guidance.

The Estates Excellence initiative, organized by a range of partners, will offer a series of special events at South West Durham Training premises.

The workshops will offer free expert advice covering a wide range of topics such as:

+  Fire risk assessments;

+  Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH); and

+  Practical manual handling.

The Estates Excellence team will be approaching businesses in the town over the next few weeks to explain the services they can offer.

If a business wants to take part, further meetings will be set up to assess its operations, identify any risks and then provide relevant workshops on topics such as risk assessment, stress at work, workplace transport, manual handling and fire management.

Estates Excellence has been organized by Durham and North Yorkshire Safety Group and South West Durham Training, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Durham County Council, and is supported by Great Aycliffe Town Council.

Other partners supporting the initiative include North East TUC, Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), NHS County Durham, Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Federation of Small Businesses, ARCO and local companies.

Clearing Snow from Public Paths is a Good Idea

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

With the recent snow across the UK, good neighborly people should be reassured that there is no legal risk for clearing snow from public paths outside your home; providing you take sensible precautions that most folks would find "reasonable".

Being told that you shouldn't be clearing up snow for 'health and safety reasons' is a load of rubbish!

There is really no need to fear being sued if somebody fell on snow that had not been swept up.

If you are actively making things better rather than making a situation worse, it is going to be very difficult for someone to successfully bring a case against you.

So clearing the snow is simply one demonstration of our community-spiritedness across the UK.

Clearing a path for the postman, or doing our neighbours' drives when we do our own should not be stopped for spurious "health and safety" reasons - no such reasons exist.

The Government even published the Snow Code a couple of years ago to reassure people that they need not be put off clearing paths because they're afraid someone will get injured.

It said: "Don't believe the myths - it's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries if you have cleared the path carefully."

So "health and safety" is not a barrier to doing the neighbourly thing, in fact just the opposite!

With the snow now falling all across the UK, everyone can do their bit. Even small efforts can make a big difference.

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