The UWA Safety Awards 2011 were presented on Friday 21 October by W/Prof Bill Louden, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The awards recognise initiatives, successful implementation of processes and outstanding service for safety and health by groups and individuals.
Training on the UWA Critical Incident Management Plan will be from 9 am - 11 am on Tuesday 22nd November in the Webb LT, Room G21, Geography and Geology.
Three Occupational Safety and Health online information modules (OSH Introduction, Manual Tasks and Ergonomics, Managing Occupational Risk) have been installed in the UWA Learning Management System WebCT. Each module takes around 30 minutes and is accompanied by a quiz. Users need to be registered in WebCT which can be arranged by emailing to Safety and Health your name, staff number and email address.
The first priority of emergency evacuation is the protection of life with the first action being that people, who may be in danger, are warned and that steps are taken to guarantee their safety. At the University we are fortunate to have a well organised emergency response with the local procedures carried out by Building and Area Wardens. All staff, students, contractors and visitors are required to follow instructions of emergency personnel in a timely manner. Individuals who do not evacuate or are tardy in moving from buildings are not only placing themselves in danger, but also wardens and emergency response personnel. This type of breach is considered serious and disciplinary action may be taken.
Occupants of buildings are required to follow these procedures when the fire alarm sounds or if they are warned of a fire:
Do not re-enter building until advised by the Building Warden or Fire Rescue Services that it is safe to do so. Please support our wardens and emergency response personnel in making the campus a safe place to work and study. Further information.
Many public buildings built prior to 1987, including at UWA, were fitted with asbestos vinyl floor tiles before legislation was introduced to restrict the sale of materials containing asbestos. These tiles are typically 295 mm square and came in a variety of different colours i.e. green or cream base with a black fleck. Asbestos vinyl tiles contain 8 – 30 per cent asbestos in a tightly bonded matrix and are adhered directly to the concrete floor using an adhesive that often contained asbestos.
Asbestos vinyl tiles that are maintained on good condition are thought to pose a minimal risk of asbestos exposure to building occupants. Correct maintenance procedures would involve applying two or more layers of sealant as a base coat followed by one of more layers of high percentage solids finish coat. A high gloss should be maintained by regular maintenance of the surface and re-sealing periodically (a least annually) according to wear. Under no circumstances should floors be dry buffed if there is any possibility of the buffing pad making contact with the underlying asbestos vinyl material.
Similarly, drilling or abrading with power tools is prohibited as this will result in the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere. In order to maintain asbestos vinyl floor tiles in a safe state it is necessary to regularly inspect the condition, reseal and apply a finishing coat at regular intervals. Particular attention should be given to locations where abrasion occurs, particularly when office chairs with castors or chairs with metal bases come into contact with the floor. It is recommended that chairs are fitted with plastic or rubbers bases at contact points or, alternatively, a protective covering is fitted over the floor where heavy abrasion occurs at a single point.
The University maintains an Asbestos Register recording the locations of all materials containing asbestos, including floor coverings. In addition, signs should be visible at regular intervals showing the location of materials containing asbestos. Together, these strategies identify the location of asbestos containing items to UWA employees and maintenance staff to ensure that these materials are not disturbed and create a health risk.
WorkSafe has launched a new website as a resource for people wishing to further their knowledge about safety and health with some practical tools for use in the workplace. This website includes:
Cancer Council WA is hosting a local forum on occupational cancer on Monday 14 November 2011. This forum is open to occupational health and safety professionals, worker representatives, researchers, public health professionals and anyone with an interest in the area of occupational cancers.
Safety and Health currently have available the following two positions with applications required by 1 November.
Radiation and Safety Advisor
Health and Wellbeing Officer
The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday 11 October 2011. The next meeting is on Tuesday 13 December 2011. Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the
For those who have missed out on our earlier editions, copies of previous newsletters are available. All are encouraged to distribute relevant safety information in your workplaces.