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“New research published by Safe Work Australia shows the death toll from falling objects on Australian worksites have nearly doubled in recent years.”

In the report, Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2014, published by Safe Work Australia, deaths from falling objects have increased from 18 in 2009-10 to 30 as of 2011-12. The alarming rise in deaths from falling objects place Safety Professionals under more pressure to control falling object hazards. Controlling hazards caused by falling objects are compounded by the range of potential hazards from lifting operations, to hand held tools and equipment coupled with the propensity for human error.

Controlling all the factors that can lead to a falling object requires a comprehensive program for both large and small objects. Large falling object hazards may arise from building structures, large objects stored at heights, lifting operations, transfer and removal of materials. While many falling object programs control large objects at heights, for smaller objects used by workers, such as hand held tools and equipment, controls are not as widely known.

Small objects such as PPE, portable communication equipment, materials, parts and tools can all become a potential falling hazard if proper controls are not in place. Even a 1kg spanner dropped from a height of 4 metres will hit the ground travelling at over 30km/hr. A small falling object can damage property or tools, increase lost time recovering or replacing tools, and in the worst cases causes injury or fatality.

In the publication, “Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces: Code of Practice”, Regulation 34-38 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011, requires employers to implement controls to minimise risks so far as is reasonably practicable. Although this is the case, the Code does little in the way to account for hazards posed by small falling objects. In contrast, Safe Work Australia’s “Falling Objects Fact Sheet” does provide some guidance to control small falling object hazards, for example requiring all tools and materials be tethered or otherwise secured while working at heights.

To help employers manage risks associated with small falling objects, safety and wellness solutions provider Pryme has partnered with specialist safety technology developer Ergodyne® and HSE Consultants, to develop a best practice Small Falling Objects Prevention Program. The program consists of a number of materials from risk assessment, to toolbox training sessions, policies and procedures coupled with guides to aid in the selection of the latest in falling object prevention technologies to build your program.

Pryme’s Small Falling Objects Prevention Program is due for launch later this month. Click on the Follow button, to follow the Pryme Linked In page and receive these materials and regular updates as soon as they launch. For enquiries and any further information, please contact us at sales@pryme.net.au


Cold Stress, a productivity buster in the workplace

WORKING in cooler conditions without proper protective clothing may be putting employees at risk of cold stress, contributing to poor productivity in the workplace.

People who work outside in cold temperatures, in cold wind or in wet conditions were most at risk, according to the New Zealand Department of Labour’s report Guidelines for the Management of Work in Extremes of Temperature. The report listed a number of New Zealand working environments with the potential to produce cold stress including “work in refrigerated plant in the food processing industry, diving or outdoor work in winter”.

Workplace safety equipment supplier Pryme New Zealand is urging workplaces to take better precaution for its workers and minimise the risk of serious health problems by keeping employees warm and productive.Indoor workplaces also needed good insulation and heating.

Working in a cold environment forced the body to work harder to maintain its core temperature, drawing heat from the body and leading to cold stress.

“Cold stress can impair the body’s ability to perform manual and mental tasks, with muscles stiffening and losing strength and fingers losing dexterity and sensitivity. There is also reduced mental alertness, leading to accidents in the workplace,”

“Workers can also develop cold stress conditions including trench foot, frost bite, frost nip, water immersion or in rarer cases, hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35.5 degrees (oral) or 36 degrees (rectal).”

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states that employers must provide and maintain a safe working environment for all of its employees and be able to identify and control hazards. Under the act, employers must ensure Safe Work Practices by ensuring all work in cold conditions is under constant supervision. The act also states that new employees should not be required to work full-time in the cold until they have become accustomed to working conditions as well as the personal protective clothing they are required to wear.

Pryme New Zealand distributes quality N-Ferno® work wear products designed with specially formulated fabrics to ensure multi-climate comfort and protection.

“Over 50 per cent of heat loss is through the head so headwear likes N-Ferno’s® Extreme Series Winter Liner with thermal lining should be worn in cold environments,”

“Footwear should be felt-lined, rubber-bottomed or leather-topped with removable thermal insoles.

“If work needs to be performed with bare hands for more than 10 to 20 minutes, special precautions need to be taken to keep hands warm such as using a warm air blower, a hand warming pack from N-Ferno ®or insulated handles on tools.”

The N-Ferno ®range includes hand warming packs, head warming gear and warming vests.