Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Newsletter March 2016

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 2016
  2. New Health and Safety Representatives
  3. New Diver and Snorkeler Fitness Assessments - Online information and bookings
  4. Chemicals Can Damage Hearing
  5. Hazard Alert - Lithium Ion Battery Chargers
  6. Chemical Corner - Chemical Workplace Inspections Revisited
  7. University Safety Committee
  8. Previous Safety and Health Newsletters

Safety Related Training 2016

  • Work Health and Safety for Managers and Supervisors course, new format with one half day workshop (NOTE - ONLINE COMPONENTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO ATTENDANCE). Centrally organised workshops in 2016 are scheduled for: Thursday 21st April, Thursday 21st July and Tuesday 8th November 2016. Local Workplace organised workshops can be arranged with Safety, Health and Wellbeing. For information on workshops go to this webpage:,-health-and-safety-for-managers-and-supervisors-course
  • UWA Electrical Worker’s Permit Training – June 2016
    The training required to become eligible to apply for the permit consists of 3 courses:
  1. Plug and Socket Course from College of Electrical Training (CET) at Business Unit cost
  2. PAT testing Course from CET at Business Unit cost, followed by
  3. UWA In-House Electrical Training Course paid for by Safety, Health & Wellbeing.

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New Health and Safety Representatives

The annual call for nominations for workplaces where the HSR position was either vacant or the current representative's term expires at the end of March 2016 was made on 7th March. The following new HSR are appointed and are currently in the process of being registered with WorkSafe WA. Congratulations to our new Health and Safety Representatives:

  • Mr Markus Frankenberger, School of Physics
  • Ms Fiona Graham, Dentistry, School of/Oral Health Centre of Western Australia (OHCWA)
  • Ms Shannen Vallesi, School of Population Health  

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New Diver and Snorkeler Fitness Assessments - Online information and bookings

Assessments for SCUBA divers and snorkelers are mandatory for new participants on UWA related work and field trips. New websites with the scope of the assessments, prerequisites and requirements (what to bring), scheduled dates and enrolment process are now available:

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Chemicals Can Damage Hearing

Some chemicals can damage your hearing. These are called ototoxic chemicals. It is important to read the label and the safety data sheet (SDS) of chemical products you use. Some ototoxic chemicals include:

  • Solvents in paints, thinners, glues and degreasers – e.g. toluene, xylene, n-hexane, ethyl benzene and trichloroethylene
  • Lead in old paint, solder or batteries
  • Styrene in resins
  • Carbon monoxide in engine exhaust (may increase hearing loss for workers also exposed to noise)

More information and poster:  

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Hazard Alert - Lithium Ion Battery Chargers

Recently two power supply cables to lithium ion battery chargers shorted internally, with holes blown in the outer sheath insulation. These lithium ion batteries, chargers and cables were purchased as part of scientific research instruments from a reputable Australian supplier. Subsequent analysis showed that these power supply cables and the lithium ion battery charger were not approved for use in Australia. Purchasers of equipment containing lithium ion batteries must ensure that the supplier provides Australian approved chargers and cables.  

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Chemical Corner - Chemical Workplace Inspections Revisited

Dr Singh and I have now completed over 400 laboratory inspections which is probably about half the labs at UWA. We’ve seen lasers, spiders, incubators, gas tanks, machines that go ping and, lots and lots of chemicals. We also keep seeing the same issues that need correcting:

  • Separate your dry chemicals from your liquids. Place the liquids below the dry reagents; if they get loose they’ll cause less trouble
  • Segregate reagents by dangerous goods class AND incompatibilities; the SDS will tell what these are. The packaging for dangerous goods will include little icons coding for the type of dangerous good it contains
  • The alphabet may be used to sort hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals but don’t use it as the primary sorting method when storing dangerous goods
  • Use bunding trays to separate incompatible items where you don’t have enough space to put those 3 - 5 m apart
  • SDS files must be for the same product number from the same manufacturer. This is a legal requirement
  • SDS files, emergency procedures and spill kits must be easy to find – don’t hide them away!

We are seeing innovative approaches to safety which of course we’re stealing! These include:

  • Sign in induction sheets at lab entrance
  • Temporary dangerous goods signs to stick to a fume hood while an experiment/procedure is carried out
  • Wall-mounted PVC pipes to store lab coats and safety glasses

And we recently met a new honour’s student who checked our shoes were suitable and informed us ‘lab coats are mandatory in this lab’ when we arrived in her lab….. we resisted the urge to hug her!

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University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday the 16th February 2016. The next meeting is on Tuesday 14th April 2016. Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.

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Previous Safety, Health and Wellbeing Newsletters

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

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