The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

International Code Council Launches New Fire Code

Graham Marshall - Thursday, March 06, 2014

Following the death's of six workers at the Kleen Energy Power Generation Facility in Middletown (Connecticut, USA), the International Code Council (ICC) has revised the International Fire Code (IFC) and International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) to prohibit the unsafe practice of "gas blows"; in which flammable gas is blown under high-pressure down newly-constructed or repaired piping in an effort to clean and remove debris from the pipes prior to start-up.

The process of "gas-blowing" is inherently unsafe.

At the Kleen Energy facility, the high pressure gas blow was used to clean pipes prior to the start up of generator turbines; but the gas found an ignition source; and the six workers were killed in the subsequent huge explosion.

Alternative non-flammable gases are safe to use in "gas blowing" scenario's, including compressed air, so there is no need to use flammable gases.

Over 40 Countries, including the USA subscribe to the ICC codes.

ECU OHS Course Accredited

Graham Marshall - Saturday, September 28, 2013

Edith Cowan University in Perth is the first Australian University to have its OSH courses accredited by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board.

Accreditation applies the both the graduate diploma and masters degree courses offered by ECU.

The significance of accreditation to ECU is that its courses are now bench-marked against the new national model of OHS education.

Accreditation provides confidence and certainty about the capabilities of OHS professionals who provide advice and guidance in industrial settings.

ECU is the only University of the 15 in Australia that provide OHS courses to have been accredited.


AS 5488-2013 Classification of Subsurface Utility Information

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 20, 2013
Standards Australia has announced the launch of a new Australian Standard which will – for the first time – outline a consistent approach towards the classification of information relating to subsurface utilities. 

At present the existence and location of subsurface utilities can be difficult to establish and verify, which is the problem this standard seeks to address. 

AS 5488-2013 Classification of Subsurface Utility Information is intended to improve public safety, reduce costly property damage, and provide more accurate information on the location and type of subsurface utilities than in the past. 

Australian utility owners, operators and locators should welcome the Australian Standard which sets a new benchmark for subsurface utility information management. 

The new Standard provides a framework for the consistent classification of information concerning subsurface utilities. 

The standard also provides guidance on how subsurface utility information may be obtained, and how that information should be conveyed to users.

Australian WHS Strategy 2012-2022

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The new Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 has been published by Safe Work Australia.

The strategy provides a framework to drive improvements in work health and safety and is aimed at governments, work health and safety regulators, industry, unions, and other organizations that influence work health and safety in workplaces across Australia.

The strategy promotes a vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives.

 It sets out four outcomes to be achieved by the year 2022:
 Reduced incidence of work-related death, injury and illness;
 Reduced exposure to hazards and risks;
 Improved hazard controls; and
 Improved work health and safety infrastructure.

The strategy also includes national targets to reduce by at least:
 20 per cent the number of worker fatalities;
 30 per cent the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work; and
 30 per cent the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work.

 

ADG7 takes Effect in Victoria

Graham Marshall - Sunday, October 28, 2012

The State of Victoria's law is now consistent with an updated national framework for transporting dangerous goods by road or rail.

The framework, which is the responsibility of the National Transport Commission (NTC), closely aligns with international standards for the safe transport and storage of dangerous goods.

Victoria’s Dangerous Goods Act (1985) has been amended to adopt the national framework and introduce new regulations for the safe transport of dangerous goods.

For consistency, minor amendments have also been made to other Victorian regulations.

Importantly, the law now references the 7th edition of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG7).

ADG7 includes updated technical requirements for classifying, packing, labeling, consigning and transporting dangerous goods.

If you are already compliant with dangerous goods laws you’re well positioned to meet the new requirements.

For many workplaces and duty holders, responsibilities will not significantly change with the transition to ADG7.

All businesses must comply with ADG7.

The new requirements include:

 Some changes to labeling and marking requirements for a number of dangerous goods;

 New documentation requirements for transporting dangerous goods;

 Some new and clarified supply chain responsibilities for consignors, packers, people loading vehicles, drivers, prime contractors and rail operators;

 New word definitions and terms that align with international and intermodal practice;

 Concessions for transporting small quantities of dangerous goods, such as very small consignments and goods for personal or trade use;

 Issuing of dangerous goods licences raised from three to five years;

 Changes to eligibility for Victorian dangerous goods drivers and vehicle licences; and

 A minimum requirement for $5 million of insurance for placard loads.

 

High Risk Work Certification

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

There are important changes to high risk work certificates being issued in Western Australia

High risk work was previously covered by a ‘Certificate of Competency’ issued by WorkSafe.

That certificate is now being replaced by a ‘High Risk Work Licence’ under the National Licensing Standard.

Further information about the required licence conversions, including the relevant forms, can be accessed via the WorkSafe website.

To assist in locating key information, Resources Safety has developed a series of internet  quicklinks on the website.

The Quicklinks page provides a single entry point for the following types of information:

+   Information for people working on mine sites;
+   Licensed companies and businesses;
+   Licensed individuals;
+   Unlicensed companies;
+   Information for homeowners; and
+   Regulatory amendments.

The miscellaneous amendments to Dangerous Goods Safety regulations were gazetted on 1 April 2012.

These form the first phase of a comprehensive regulatory reform program.

The other reforms will come into effect progressively through 2012.

Security Risk Substances

Graham Marshall - Sunday, July 29, 2012

The WA Dangerous Goods Safety (Security Risk Substances) Regulations 2007 (the SRS Regulations) came into force following the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement  related to counter-terrorism measures.

The requirements of the SRS Regulations are in addition to the requirements of the other dangerous goods safety regulations.

The following substances, other than Class 1 dangerous goods, are security risk substances (SRS) in
Western Australia:

· Solid mixtures containing more than 45% ammonium nitrate (AN); and

· Ammonium nitrate emulsions, suspensions or gels.

This includes calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), which is not a dangerous good under the UN classification system.

The SRS licensing system allows only specifically authorized persons to possess SRS and have unsupervised access to them.

Authorized persons are either licence holders or so-called ‘secure employees’ of licence holders.

In order to obtain an SRS licence, a legitimate purpose must be demonstrated, such as:

· Use for manufacture of commercial explosives and non-SRS products such as nitrous oxide;

· Use in laboratories for research, teaching and testing; and

· Fertilizer use by primary producers.

Licences are not issued for household use or fertilization of recreational grounds (e.g. sports grounds, parks, gardens).

Licensed shotfirers and operators of mobile processing units (MPUs; licensed under the Explosives Regulations) do not need to be separately authorized to possess SRS.

Anyone else requires one or more of the following three-year licences to possess or purchase SRS:

· SRS import/export licence;

· SRS manufacture licence (allows associated storage);

· SRS storage licence;

· SRS transport licence;

· SRS supply licence; and

· SRS fertilizer licence (combination licence for transport, storage and use).

SRS manufacture, storage, transport and fertilizer licences require a security plan as a precondition for obtaining the licence.

SRS licences are only issued to applicants in possession of a valid security clearance, as shown by a current dangerous goods security card.

The security clearance process is conducted by the WA Police Service.

It is an offence for an employer or secure employees to allow unsupervised access to SRS by an employee without a security clearance.

Further Guidance can be found by clicking this link.

Managing Risk When Working Alone

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Because Western Australia covers such a big area, there are many times each day where a person could work alone in a remote or relatively isolated location.

Some examples are:

• Farm workers and foresters; 

• Local or State Government employees;

• Vermin and pest controllers;

• Geologists; and

• Hunters.

Workers may also do their jobs alone in a Perth-metropolitan area. For example, a worker is alone when he or she: 

• Works in a depot or business when there are no other workers;

• Works in a workplace when everyone else has gone home;

• Examines large structures, such as cranes, when there is no-one else in the vicinity;

• Undertakes maintenance or construction work in vacant premises;

• Cleans offices in high rise buildings when there is no-one else in the area being cleaned;

• Is called out at night to check on security alarms or faults in a business premises that is closed;

• Works on his or her own as a ranger in parkland and reserves; and

• Inspects vacant  land  for the presence of noxious weeds when landowners are not present.

In most cases the risk associated with solo-work is increased because of emergency situations which may arise due to the sudden onset of a medical condition, accidental work-related injury or disease, attack by an animal, exposure to the elements, or by becoming stranded without food or water.

The consequences may be very serious and the injury or disease may be fatal.

In response to the heightened risk, the Government of WA has developed this Guidance Note which explains the OSH laws that apply to people who work alone.

It covers general requirements in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and specific regulatory requirements where they exist.

Included here, you will also find a completed JSA that addresses the risk associated with working in remote locations.

 

Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Safework Australia has produced new guidance on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling for Chemicals which was developed under the auspices of the United Nations.

The new Guidance document can be found by clicking this link.

The new Guidance is intended for Australian manufacturers and importers of chemicals who have a duty under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations to classify them.

The Guidance may also be useful for suppliers, persons undertaking business, workers, and other persons involved with hazardous chemicals.

The document provides information and guidance on:

1.  The transitional arrangements for implementation of the GHS under the WHS Regulations, including when classifications, labels and safety data sheets need to be revised;

2.  How to translate existing classifications for hazardous substances and dangerous goods to meet GHS requirements; and

3.  The requirements in the WHS Regulations that apply to the classification of specific types of hazardous chemicals.

4.  What information is required on labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and whether certain provisions in work health and safety laws apply to their handling, use and storage in the workplace.

Australian Workplace Safety Codes of Practice

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Interested Australians are encouraged to have their say on five new OHS model Codes of Practice that were recently released for public comment.

The OHS Codes released for public comment are:

 Safe Design, Manufacture, Import and Supply of Plant;

 Working in the Vicinity of Overhead and Underground Electrical Lines;

 Traffic Management in Workplaces;

 Scaffolding Work; and

 Formwork and Falsework.

Businesses, industries, workers and the wider community are encouraged to take this opportunity to contribute to work health and safety issues that directly affect their workplaces and their working lives.

This is the third set of Codes of Practice developed to support the WHS Act and Regulations.

They are part of a suite of documents being developed by Safe Work Australia, the Commonwealth, states and territory governments as part of harmonised work health and safety laws across Australia.

Harmonised laws aim to achieve the best possible approach to safety for all Australian workplaces.

The public comment period for these Codes of Practice will close on 22 June 2012.


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