Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Newsletter October 2015

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further Information

  • UWA Smoke Free
  • Become a first aid officer
  1. Safety Related Training 2015
  2. UWA Safety Awards 2015
  3. Workplace Monitoring - new guidance materials available
  4. Leadership and Management of Health and Safety in Higher Education Institutions
  5. Are You Bushfire Ready?
  6. Bushfire Monitoring
  7. Cyclone Contingency Plans
  8. Social and Christmas Functions
  9. Healthier End of Year Functions
  10. Sun Safety in the Workplace
  11. Working Safely in Hot Conditions
  12. Defibrillator Presentation - St John's Presentations
  13. Chemical Corner
  14. University Safety Committee
  15. Previous Safety and Health Newsletters

Safety Related Training 2015

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UWA Safety Awards 2015

The UWA Safety Awards 2015 were presented on Monday 26th October by Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater. The awards recognise initiatives, successful implementation of processes and outstanding service for work health and safety by groups and individuals.

  • The Group Safety Award was made to the Animal Care Services.
  • The Individual Safety Award was made to Milly Formby (Animal Biology).
  • The Safety Leadership Award was made to Professor Sarah Dunlop (Animal Biology).
  • The Safety Recognition Award was made to John Moore (Physics) and James Wun (Engineering Services, Campus Management).

The awards were kindly sponsored by the University Co-operative Bookshop and UniBank.
More information on the following web page: http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/news/annual-safety-awards/safety-awards-2015

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Workplace Monitoring - new guidance materials available

This webpage presents processes which are used to promote, support and assist work areas in demonstrating good health and safety management. New additions include:

  • Eight Essential Steps for OHS Implementation which describes fundamental OHS management system elements.
  • Document Examination List which includes documents which assist greatly in fulfilling the AS/NZS 4801 audit requirements.

http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/management/monitoring

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Leadership and Management of Health and Safety in Higher Education Institutions

The United Kingdom University Safety and Health Association (USHA) has recently published the new Hasmap toolkit and the revised ‘Leadership and management of health and safety in higher education institutions’ (in partnership with the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)). The latter guidance is to help demonstrate visible commitment to health and safety management using the broad principles of Plan, Do, Check and Review. Guidance is provided for the University Governing Body, Leadership/Executive Team, Senior Managers, Line Managers and Supervisory Staff.

Hasmap toolkit 2015: http://www.usha.org.uk/images/stories/files/guidance-documents/HASMAP-toolkit-2015.pdf

Leadership and management of health and safety in higher education institutions: http://www.usha.org.uk/images/stories/files/guidance-documents/USHA-Leadership-and-Management-in-Health-Safety-in-Higher-Education-Institutions.pdf

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Are You Bushfire Ready?

Residents across much of the southern half of Western Australia are being urged to prepare for a tough bushfire season, with an increased fire risk being predicted due to a lack of rainfall, soil dryness and high fuel loads. WA's South East, Murchison, Goldfields and Desert areas have also been recognised as being at risk for above normal fire activity due to higher fuel loads.

Typically Western Australia’s (WA) bushfire season in the south west starts in November and continues through to April. While in the Kimberley the season runs from June through to late October. Even if you live or work in a metropolitan area near bushland, then bushfire is a real threat.

The Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) has essential information and advice to assist you to Prepare, Act and Survive at this webpage: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/bushfire/Pages/default.aspx  Now is a good time to prepare including clearing gutters, over hanging trees, bush and flammable material close to property. Contact UWA Campus Management if you require assistance on UWA sites.

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Bushfire Monitoring

Travel advice includes:

  • Stay up-to-date with the bushfire situation by listening to your local radio station and by monitoring the fire and emergency services websites
  • Ensure you are aware of the emergency procedures in place in higher risk areas. Personnel should adhere to any instructions issued by the authorities
  • Those in higher risk areas should consider preparing a ‘grab bag' containing items such as a portable radio, high-energy food, photocopies of essential documents, maps of the area and a small amount of cash.
  • If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately
  • Bushfires could cause network outages, which would affect emergency alerts sent to both landlines and mobiles. In this event, monitor the radio, television and internet for bushfire alerts.
  • Roads in the vicinity of bushfires may be closed without warning.

The following sites should be monitored where there is a risk of bushfire:

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Cyclone Contingency Plans

WA’s cyclone season officially begins on November 1. Given the uncertainty and unpredictability of damage created by individual cyclones, employers in cyclone sensitive regions are urged, by WorkSafe, to apply extreme caution with regard to exposing workers to the dangers associated with cyclones. For more information see ‘Cyclone – Emergency preparation, planning and preparedness’: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/cyclone-emergency-preparation-planning-and-preparedness

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Social and Christmas Functions

Work related social events can be particularly enjoyable and are a way of developing better working relationships. Don't allow this possibility to be spoiled. By being aware of, and being prepared for the potential unintended consequences, many of the risks associated with these events can be reduced or removed. For further information see: http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/policy/social

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Healthier End of Year Functions

As planning gets underway for end of year celebrations, a reminder to ensure there are healthy choices on offer. Ideas of healthier options can be found on our healthy eating web pages: http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/health-wellbeing/health/nutrition/healthy-options . Other things you can do to hold a healthier event include:

  • Providing sun protection (e.g. shaded areas) where relevant, and/or encouraging participants to wear or bring personal sun protection items
  • Providing participants with information on active or public transport options. For an event on campus promote our transport website: http://www.transport.uwa.edu.au/getting-to-uwa  to suggest routes for public transport, walking and cycling.
  • Providing opportunities for movement or standing as part of your event.

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Sun Safety in the Workplace

Outdoor workers are at increased risk from skin cancer and damage to the eyes because they often spend long periods of time working outdoors year after year. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the major cause of skin cancer and eye damage. Cancer Council WA in consultation with WorkSafe has produced a range of information to help manage the risks associated with working in the sun. https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/sun-safety-workplace

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Working Safely in Hot Conditions

Heat stress may affect people in all parts of Western Australia during our summer months and may affect workers at some workplaces throughout the year. The effects of heat stress range from discomfort to life threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. The following link has information on:

  • Heat stress
  • Why some people are more prone to heat illness
  • Reducing the risk of heat illness
  • Risk assessment
  • Treatment of heat illness

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/working-safely-hot-conditions-heat-stress

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Defibrillator Presentation - St John's Presentations

The presentations cover:

  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest - What is it?
  • Defibrillation explained.
  • The First Responder System and how it helps to save lives.
  • A practical demonstration of the automated external defibrillator.

Dates: Wednesdays 11th&18th November, and the 2nd of December 2015
Time: 10.00am – 11.00am Location: St John Ambulance, Corner Great Eastern Hwy & Lapage St, Belmont
Bookings are required, so please email your response to first.responder@stjohnambulance.com.au

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Chemical Corner - Dotty about Dots!

As I write this the webpage for the American Chemical Society (ACS) http://www.acs.org  is loading; I’m checking the number of chemicals they have registered……it’s a lot. Their ‘molecule of the week’ is Firefly Luciferin which is the chemical that makes fireflies bum’s light up! This is the wonder and worry with chemicals – I’ve never heard of this chemical before. Two synonyms for this ‘biological-flashlight’ reagent are (S)-2-(6-Hydroxy-2-benzothiazolyl)-2-thiazoline-4-carboxylic acid and 4,5-Dihydro-2-(6-hydroxy-2-benzothiazolyl)-4-thiazolecarboxylic acid. Nope, not familiar with these either. Hardly surprising – there’s 102 million unique chemicals registered with ACS. So if there’s so many chemicals, how can we know which are hazardous? Which are dangerous? For those you work with you can consult the SDS. But what about the ones you don’t personally use? The ones used by the colleagues around you? When you access ChemAlert (http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/topics/chemical/chemalert ) to download your SDS you will notice that the search results are colour-coded green, amber or red; like traffic lights. These colours sort chemicals into least risk (green); moderate (amber) and high risk (red). Below are three results for ‘acetic acid’; at low concentrations this is delicious (when not a lab reagent!) on chips (it’s vinegar; when dilute) but at high concentrations it’s very dangerous!

SDS

If everyone ‘dots’ their chemicals it helps indicate which items need extra caution in an area. The alternative is to start reading through 102 million chemical description…….I’m going dotty!

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University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday the 13th October 2015. The next meeting is on Tuesday 8th December 2015. Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website. http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/people/committees/safety

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Previous Safety and Health Newsletters

For those who have missed out on our earlier editions, copies of previous newsletters can be obtained from the following web site: http://www.safety.uwa.edu.au/newsletter . All are encouraged to distribute relevant safety information in your workplaces.

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