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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


Update

Industry issues

Anchors cause for concern

Some safety anchors on an eleven storey Wellington apartment block did not meet design and installation best practice, a Department of Labour investigation revealed.

The DoL says in a report, obtained by Safeguard under the OIA, that the concerns over the safety of anchor bolts at the St Peters Apartments in Willis St were justified.

It also says that the issues raised by the investigation extend beyond those apartments, and are an industry issue.

The DoL had engaged an independent chartered engineer to assess the installation and performance of the anchor bolts, and their compliance with the relevant standards and sound engineering practice.

His report concluded that the set-up of the anchor bolts on two of the apartments did not appear to have been designed and installed in accordance with sound engineering practice, and in his opinion should be removed.

Fatality despite model practice

A Landcorp farm in Westport where a teenager was killed in an ATV accident was following best practice in quad bike safety.

Chris Kelly, chief executive of Landcorp Farming Ltd, told Safeguard that for nearly four years strict policies had been in place for its farm workers around their use of quad bikes. It was compulsory for them to wear helmets, both on and off roads, and within six months of starting their jobs they were also expected to have achieved theoretical and practical training on quad bike usage.

The 17-year-old had been found pinned under the quad bike on a hilly part of the farm, where she had been towing a trailer-load of fertiliser to a remote spot.

Kelly said the teenager had completed her safety training, but it was uncertain whether she was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. “A helmet was found beside her but it was unclear whether she was wearing it … that has got to be determined.”

Kelly said Landcorp was strict in applying its helmet policies and if workers were caught not wearing them they were given verbal, then written warnings.

There had been initial resistance, with complaints the helmets were too hot or heavy. “It took a lot of getting used to, but the compliance is now very good.” The farm workers also had to wear hi-vis gear.

Kelly noted that in 22 years there had been no other fatalities – from any cause – on the over 100 Landcorp farms, but there had been injuries and near-misses including around quad bike use.

Landcorp was aiming to phase out quad bikes on its farms where possible, and revert to two wheelers, he said.

DEATHS AT WORK INVESTIGATED RECENTLY BY DOL

WORKPLACE DEATH TOLL

FOR THE YEAR STARTING JULY 2010: 17

12 AugustMale, 54WanganuiPolice
Collapse during fitness test  
17 AugustMaleBrookbyWaste disposal
Run over by compactor truck  
1 SeptemberFemale, 40TekapoRecreation
Slipped on ice and hit head  
6 SeptemberMale, 57WairoaAgriculture
Crushed against fence by cattle  
16 SeptemberMale, 52DargavilleAgriculture
Quad bike accident  
17 SeptemberMale, 64RotoruaConstruction
Fall from roof or ladder  
25 SeptemberMale, 60NorthlandAgriculture
Quad bike accident  
28 SeptemberMale, 50CoromandelForestry
Crushed between digger boom and cab  
2 OctoberMale, 37HastingsRecreation
Kicked by horse  
29 OctoberMale, 32HamiltonRecreation
Motorbike accident  
2 NovemberMale, 59ChristchurchAgriculture
Truck rolled down hill  
8 NovemberFemale, 17WestportAgriculture
Pinned under quad bike  
10 NovemberFemale, 89DannevirkeTransport
Fell getting off bus  

A FOREIGN AFFAIR

BULLYING IN SAFETY AGENCY

WorkCover New South Wales, the state agency responsible for health and safety enforcement and workers’ compensation, is facing allegations that a serious bullying culture exists in one of its work groups.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that an internal enquiry last year found evidence of a pattern of bullying within its Licensing Solutions Unit. The paper alleged the resulting report was covered up.

The unit approves workers to drive cranes, operate forklifts and work on construction sites. The paper says the enquiry was led by one of WorkCover’s own health and safety inspectors, who concluded that bullying had been ongoing for some time. Staff were reported to have cried when interviewed.

The paper noted the irony that Work-Cover’s role includes investigating allegations of workplace bullying. The NSW state government has ordered an enquiry.

Thomson Reuters

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