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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


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Bull bars critique

The potential danger of bull bars on quad bikes has been highlighted in this photo taken of Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson at the launch of the Department of Labour’s quad bike safety campaign.

Roger Barton, a member of a stakeholder group which has been advising on safety issues around quad bikes, raised the issue in the NZ Farmers Weekly where he said bull bars were proven to add to crushing and pinning issues. Barton later told Safeguard that injuries would be made worse if bull bars were fitted to quad bikes, and added that about 90 percent of the vehicles were fitted with the accessory.

Another member of the group, Dave Moore, agreed with Barton and said bull bars, were an optional add-on, and used in most cases. They were however designed to protect the machine, not the rider who would be at increased risk of being struck in an accident. “If you modify a vehicle by adding rigid or sharp elements, and it hits you, it is more likely to do you damage.”

There was similar debate regarding the wisdom of installing rollover frames, which although designed to protect the driver, are hard and could therefore equally harm them.

Moore said initially the concept of quad bikes was that they were light and manoeuvrable, and designed with soft corners so if people did come off and get hit by the bike.

In the 1980s the quad bikes were powered at 250 CC or under, like the engine size of a trail bike. “They were just one up from a two-wheeler and bike-derived conceptually.”

But since then the engines had got bigger and the bikes heavier, more like car-derived vehicles and used for towing loads or other appliances. Farmers were confused about why other appliances attached to quad bikes, like trailers, were not subjected to the same analysis of potential to harm through impact injury, or partial entrapping – stopping the rider being thrown clear of the machine.

“This is something that needs addressing.”

Trans-Tasman investigations into quad bike safety were underway and ongoing, and safety recommendations addressing these issues would like flow from them, he added.

Dr Geraint Emrys, the DoL chief advisor health and safety, said manufacturers had taken a clear position against the fitting of roll over frames but to date had not taken a similar stance with regard to bull bars.

Emrys said the DoL was conf dent the hazards were well managed when Wilkinson was riding a quad bike at the launch. “In particular, the Minister was wearing a helmet and was under constant supervision by an accredited trainer.”

Emrys said the quad bike campaign aimed to reduce the relatively high number of farmers and farm workers being seriously injured and killed riding quad bikes. “The best way to do this is to reduce the likelihood of accidents happening in the first place. That is why our campaign focuses on measures like training, choosing the right vehicle and keeping kids off adult bikes, as well as a measure that research shows can reduce the severity of injury when an accident does happen - wearing a helmet.”

The BEST

The Capenz HSE Centre in Taranaki has re-invented itself as Be-Safe Taranaki (BEST). Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson officially re-launched the non-profit centre with the new branding. BEST is a collaboration of Taranaki industries who with the support of national and local government agencies, and safer community organisations, work towards a zero harm goal.

The “one-stop-shop” training centre runs a wide range of practical courses from school-age participants up.

Photo debate

Stephen Bailey-Green, a mechanical technician at New Zealand Steel, was intrigued by this photo which ran in Safeguard issue 122 (July/August), as part of the feature on Total Bridge Services, the supreme winner at this year’s NZ Workplace Health & Safety awards.

He wrote to us saying: “The reading was useful and inspiring for those who are looking for the way forward. But why was I intrigued to read? It was the lead photo! There were three men on top of the Auckland harbour bridge with lots of bright PPE. Everything looked right except for one very important thing. None of them was wearing a safety harness. Looking at the photo the handrail may just about reach 1m in height with only one secondary rail. There are rivet and beams crossing the walkway that could present a trip hazard. To cut it short, I am sure the line running inside the handrail is not there for show, and if the message comes from the top then these gentlemen should have thought twice before the photo was taken. Lead by example and never be too proud to use a safety system that could make a difference.”

So we went back to Lee Busby, the TBS health and safety manager who had this to say in response:

“The handrails meet safety requirements (top rail 900-1100mm high, with mid rail and toeboard – on a structure that was built 50 years ago) and few staff have reason to go up on to the overarch. You can see in the photo that the beams crossing the access are painted bright yellow to highlight the hazard. Staff on the bridge are either height trained or fall arrest trained, and have been trained in hazard awareness and management. They are not required to wear a harness or be clipped on while walking over the overarch part of the bridge. If anyone is up there doing maintenance work outside the walkway, they would be clipped on, but to the bridge structure and not the guide wire (also any tools or equipment would be attached by a lanyard to prevent them being dropped on to traffic below). The guide wires are there specifically for bridge walkers. Auckland Bungy and Bridge Climb have a concession with NZ Transport Agency to take members of the public on guided walks on the bridge. The public are untrained, unfamiliar with the site and risks, hence the requirement to wear a waist harness and be clipped on at all times.”

The Safeguard editor invites other readers to share their views: angela.gregory@thomsonreuters.com

Caption competition

If evidence was ever needed that safety people do have a sense of humour, our popular photo caption competitions would provide it. Thanks to a Safeguard reader, we have another photo to test your wit. For those with less than 20/20 vision, the photo includes a ladder on a scaffold and all manner of no-no’s. Or should that be yeah rights, as per the partly obsecured Tui poster? You decide and send us your best caption. As per usual there will be modest prizes and immodest publication of the best responses, as decided by our judging panel. Visit www.safeguard.co.nz before Monday, January 17.

Rugby reward for safety efforts

An enthusiastic crowd of NZ Refining Company staff, contractors, local volunteers, community members, suppliers and family members made up a 1000 strong contingent at the Northland rugby team’s first home game of the 2010 season.

Distinctive in the team scarves, they filled the stands in a special day out intended to celebrate the company’s efforts towards its vision of “Safely Home Every Day”. Peter Gubb, QHSE manager, said NZRC wanted to celebrate the commitment everyone was showing to safety on the site. “The Northland home game has given us a great chance to share this celebration with our staff, their families and with the wider community.”David Jackson, NZRC board chairman, said the company had always made safety its number one priority. “By operating safely, we are proving that people are our most important asset and in turn we are attracting and developing talented people … this is part of our commitment to be a good neighbour, be a good employer and support our community.”Wade Alsweiler, safety manager, said the company recently celebrated two million man hours without a lost time injury over a 15 month period. “For a company with 20 staff, this would equate to those staff working full time for 50 years with no lost time injuries to achieve that same goal, so we are very proud.”

Hot topics… hot pools

Representatives from the Beijing Administration of Work Safety recently visited the NZ Work and Labour Market Institute at AUT. They were presented with an overview of the OHS centre, issues in OHS in New Zealand and the plight of migrant workers. The representatives said they also had to deal with OHS issues around transient workers, and took a strong interest in our work accidents compensation scheme. The delegation also managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Rotorua’s thermal region, before heading back to China on their whistle-stop visit.

Safety in their eyes

The fifth annual Site Safe graduation night at the Ellerslie Convention Centre proved as popular as ever, helped along by MC Mike King, with over 100 graduates celebrating their successful completion of the Certificate in Construction Site Safety, a course run in collaboration with Unitec. Despite another challenging year, where the construction industry took a big hit from the recession, Site Safe chairman Peter Heaphy noted only a slight drop in induction safety passports. He said the organisation was doing well under sound stewardship. Associate Minister for ACC Pansy Wong urged the graduates to remind their seniors and colleagues at work of the importance of safety, and to maintain good work practices. “Bring down the accident statistics so in the future we can all share some good stories.” Wong said there were still more than 5,000 people seriously injured at work in the construction industry and construction trades last year. “This cost nearly $115 million in ACC claims and represents a great deal of pain and suffering.” In the last financial year 23 people died working in general construction last year, Wong said. “That is why today’s graduation is so important because the graduates now have the skills to make a difference.”

Responsible Care Awards

Two new life members, Lyall Mortimer and Bill Birch, were announced at the Responsible Care® awards, at the organisation’s 25th anniversary conference and dinner. Mortimer, who worked in OHS for the DoL, has also undertaken WHO consultancy work in the Pacific region, as well as in Iraq and Mongolia. Birch continues to play a leading role in the development and implementation of New Zealand’s chemical management legislation.

Marsden Pt Lab’s safety prize

The Independent Petroleum Laboratory at Marsden Point took first prize for safety at the Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards. IPL was awarded the ACC Workplace Safety Award. IPL provides specialist fuel testing for major oil companies, biofuel producers, the Government and for Pacific Island fuel facilities. Every day the lab takes in 400 samples from New Zealand and abroad and completes over 2000 individual tests. Russell Baddeley, IPL chief executive, said the award was gratifying for staff members who always had workplace safety “top of mind” as they were constantly dealing with hazardous substances. QHS manager Michelle Stephenson credits sound processes and training for helping embed a culture of safety at the company.

Your views on children at work

Many thanks to the 45 people who had a crack at last issue’s competition, which asked for your views on children in the workplace and sought instances of situations in which you had seen children at risk of harm in workplaces. Congratulations to our randomly drawn prize winners – Ray Double from Ohakune, Trevor Hall from Mt Maunganui, Rebecca Weir from Christchurch – who each receive a copy of our book Work Safe – Healthy Business.

The numeric results follow, with a few examples of situations in which you have observed children at risk in workplaces. A full set of examples is on our website safeguard.co.nz.

Two key concerns emerge: children being in loading areas where trucks and forklifts are operating; and children accompanying a parent during school holidays.

Q1: What does your workplace health & safety policy have to say about allowing children under 14 to be present where people are working?
Bans them completely27%
Allows them but only in defined areas44%
Allows them without restriction4%
No child access policy25%
Q2: What does the policy say about supervision of children at your workplace?
Must be closely supervised at all times76%
Supervision only required in defined areas2%
No supervision requirement22%
Q3: regardless of any policy, how often are children of that age actually present while people are working?
Daily16%
Weekly13%
Monthly9%
Less often38%
Never24%
Q4: in terms of risk of serious harm, how would you characterise your working environment?
High36%
Medium31%
Low33%

Q5: What is the riskiest situation of children at work you personally have come across, at your current or any previous workplace?

  • • 
    Children being driven around site in a forkhoist with Dad - because Mum can’t take them to her work!
  • • 
    Playing hide-and-seek around a truck. The driver threw a pallet off the deck of the truck and hit the kid in the head with it.
  • • 
    As a passenger in a work vehicle. The driver was distracted and the vehicle rolled.
  • • 
    Being lifted in the bucket of a digger when removing river shingle (but it looked like so much fun!)
  • • 
    Walking around a roading construction site while machinery was operating.

Thomson Reuters

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