Category Archives: Uncategorized

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE refers to anything used or worn to minimise risk to workers’ health and safety. It includes:

  • boots
  • ear plugs
  • face masks
  • gloves
  • goggles
  • hard hats
  • high visibility clothing
  • respirators
  • safety harnesses
  • safety shoes
  • sunscreen
  •  and others.

Risk Management According to the WHS Regulations require businesses to follow a hierarchy of risk control measure when managing a risk. Although PPE is ranked as one of the least effective safety control measures or a level 5 control measure, its importance in the workplace cannot be downplayed.

  • Level 5 control measures rely more on human behaviour and supervision rather than controlling the hazard at the source. PPE can be a great addition to ensure the health and safety for workers in the workplace but cannot be substituted entirely by other more important hazard control requirements.

PPE is most effective when it is used in addition to higher-level control measures or when no other safety measures are available. Before resorting to PPE, a risk assessment needs to be conducted to see what other controls can and should be used.

Levels

Work Health and safety duties According to WHS laws, PCBUs must implement control measures in place if it is not practicable to eliminate a health and safety risk in the workplace. Control measures can include PPE as an interim or last resort. Where PPE needs to be used, it must be:

  • Selected to reduce risk to health and safety, including ensuring the equipment is:
  • suitable for the nature of the work or hazard
  • a suitable size and fit for the individual who is required to use it and that it is reasonably comfortable.
  • Maintained, repaired or replaced, which includes ensuring the equipment is:
  • clean and hygienic
  • in good working order.
  • Used or worn by the worker, so far as is reasonably practical.

A  PCBU must:

  • consult with their workers when selecting PPE
  • ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the PPE is used or worn by the worker
  • provide the worker with information, training and instruction in the proper use and wearing of PPE and its storage and maintenance.

PPE must be provided by a PCBU unless it has already been provided by another one. The legal requirements of businesses in relation to PPE are set out in regulations 36, 44 and 45 of the WHS Regulations.

Worker responsibilities

According to regulation 46 of the WHS Regulations, the duties of workers include:

  • using or wearing the PPE according to any information, training or instruction provided by the PCBU, as far as they reasonably can.
  • Not intentionally misusing or damaging the PPE.
  • Promptly informing the business of any damage, defect or need to clean or decontaminate the PPE.
  • Informing their managers if the PPE is not comfortable, does not fit properly or if experiencing adverse reaction while using it.

A business can take action against the worker if the latter refuses to wear or use the PPE. If a worker intentionally misuses or damages the PPE, he or she may face disciplinary action or prosecution.

How Can We Help?

You can order your PPE equipment online from us 24/7!

Online store

Part of being a complete solutions provider, Anitech Noise Solutions is able to supply you with a full range of high quality Personal Protection Equipment.

Browse the Personal Protective Equipment from our online store: http://safety-products.com.au/

For more information on PPE, please see Safe Work Australia Publication: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/ppe

Working in cold weather

Working in cold weather

Some workers are required to work outdoors in cold weather for extended periods, for example, construction workers, garbage collectors, police officers and emergency workers, like firefighters, and many others. These workers are inevitably more prone to cold stress.

Working in rain

Figure 1: Emergency worker working in rain

Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature followed by the core body temperature. This may lead to serious health problems and can cause tissue damage and even death in some situations.

The most frequent cold induced illnesses or injuries include:

  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Trench Foot

Hypothermia:

Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 37 °C. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 35 °C, for example when a person becomes drenched from rain or submersion in cold weather.

Frostbite:

It is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. The lower the temperature, the quicker the frostbite will occur. Frostbite typically affects the extremities, particularly the feet and hands. The symptoms are reddened skin with grey to white patches, numbness and blisters can occur in affected areas. In severe cases, amputation may be required.

Trench foot or Immersion foot:

Trench foot is a painful condition of the feet caused by long immersion in cold water or mud and is marked by blackening and death of surface tissue. It can occur at temperatures up to 15°C if the feet are constantly wet. Non-freezing injury happens since wet feet lose heat 25-times quicker than dry feet. To avoid heat loss, the body constricts the blood vessels to decrease circulation in the feet. Consequently, the skin tissues can die due to a lack of oxygen supply and nutrients and due to the accumulation of toxic products. The symptoms of trench foot include redness of the skin, swelling, numbness and blisters.

Precautions:

If you work outside, you may be at risk of exposure to extreme cold. Your workplace must have measures in place manage the risks to your health and safety cause by exposure to cold weather, including:

  • providing heating, for example cab heaters
  • providing protection, such as a hut or the cabin of a vehicle
  • providing warm and waterproof clothing including eye and face protection, head protection and gloves.
  • enabling workers who are not used to working in cold conditions to acclimatise.Eliminating or reducing exposure to cold is the best protection.

Winter wear

Figure 2: Winter wear for workers

Browse the Personal Protective Equipment from our online store to shield yourself and your workers from the cold weather: https://www.safety-products.com.au/

For more information on working in the cold, please see Safe Work Australia Publication:

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/model-code-practice-managing-work-environment-and-facilities

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls 

With the onset of this wet and cold weather, it is definitely a prime time for slips, trips and falls for people of all ages, in all occupations, indoors and outdoors.

Slips are the result of too little friction or a lack of traction between the footwear and the floor surface.

A trip is the result of a foot striking or colliding with an object, which causes a loss in balance, and usually a fall.

slips-trips

Figure 1: Slip, trip and fall

Each year slips, trips and falls result in thousands of preventable injuries. The most common ones are musculoskeletal injuries, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations, but more serious injuries can also happen.

Over the 12 years between 2003–15, slips, trips or falls:

  • caused the death of 386 workers
  • led to 23% of serious claims
  • were caused by environmental factors 56% of the time.

Environmental factors can include slippery surfaces following rain or spills, poorly designed or maintained walkways, poor lighting on stairs and walkways and trip hazards for example from poorly stored materials.

HOW TO MAKE SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS?

You should consider the design of floors, stairs, lighting, drainage and storage.

Work procedures can also impact on the incidence of slips and trips. For example, develop procedures that avoid the build-up of rubbish throughout a production process.

When selecting and buying footwear, think about whether it has good slip resistance properties along with any other safety features you need. For example:

  • In wet conditions the shoe sole tread pattern should be deep enough to help penetrate the surface water and make direct contact with the floor.
  • In dry conditions the shoe sole tread pattern should be a flat bottom construction that grips the floor with maximum contact area.
  • Urethane and rubber soles are more effective than vinyl and leather soles for slip resistance. Sole materials that have tiny cell like features will be slip resistant.

A risk analysis and strong policy around what is acceptable footwear for the job being performed will help prevent slips, trips and falls

For more information on slips, trips and falls, see Safe Work Australia Publication: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1702/slips_and_trips_fact_sheet.pdf

A Guide to Audiometric Testing

Audiometric Assessments

Audiometric Assessments or Audiometric tests determine a person’s hearing level with the help of an audiometer. It measures their ability to distinguish between different sound intensities and pitch. Results of audiometric tests are captured on an audiogram that is used to diagnose hearing loss or disease of the ear.

Are Audiometric Assessments important?

If your organisation provides hearing protection (e.g. earplugs, muffs) to employees as a control measure to limit hazardous noise exposure, then you are required by law to provide audiometric assessments for employees. You should ensure that mandatory audiometric testing is provided within three months of an employee starting work (if they will be exposed to hazardous noise).

Businesses are also required to regularly monitor employee hearing levels by conducting an audiometric assessment at least every two years and when reasonably requested by the OHS representative of a workgroup.

Who can do Audiometric Assessments?

Audiometric assessments must be carried out in compliance to the requirements of AS/NZS 1269.4:2005 – Occupational Noise Management – Auditory assessment. Hence it is strongly recommended that employers engage external service providers who can conduct assessments in accordance to this requirement while only using certified audiometric testing professionals. An audiometric evaluation shall be performed within a contained space, specially designed to filter out external noises while maintaining low internal noise levels so an accurate hearing test can be achieved.

What happens in an Audiometric Assessment?

In a typical audiometric assessment, the person is seated in a noise filtered booth (soundproof room or sound-treated room) wearing a headset and holding a responder.  The person is asked to click the responder whenever they hear a sound (in either their left or right ear). There are different techniques which can be used to conduct the audiometric assessment but the most common we use is the Hughson-Westlake Technique. The aim of the audiometric evaluation is to measure the Decibels Hearing Threshold level (dBHTL). dBHTL is the amount of sound that is needed by a majority of young people with no history of ear problems to just hear a sound.

The following key steps take place in a typical audiometric assessment:

  • Seating the individual and provided with instruction. The individual is required to click the responder whenever he/she hears a tone. Audiologist carefully place the earphones on the individual to ensure its effectively placed.
  • Setting the audiometer – A calibrated audiometer is set according to the test performed and subject’s history with hearing. E.g. Warble tone is generated for individuals who have a history of hearing problems and tinnitus. The audiometer generates pure tones across different frequencies Hz (such as 250, 500, 750, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 & 8000) and pitch
  • Recording the results and plotting the audiogram – As and when the individual responds to the tones, with the help of the audiometer, the audiologist will plot the results into an audiogram. In some cases, a retest will be carried to verify and adjust the results accurately.

What do the results tell?

An audiogram will show the person’s level of hearing and level of hearing loss.

audiogram

According to Victorian OHS regulations, if two consecutive audiometric tests indicate a reduction in hearing levels equal to greater than 15dB at 3000, 4000 and 6000 Hz, an audiological examination needs to be provided as soon as reasonably possible. Ensure your audiometric service provider compiles a brief report along with individual audiograms and test results that will enable you to compare between consecutive tests.

Employers are required by law to retain audiometric test results and reports as a confidential record as part of the records management for as long as they are applicable. Also, employers must ensure that each employee is given a copy of their audiological examination report and audiometric test result.

Before discarding reports, employers should consider the following

  • If the person tested is still an employee
  • If the employee is required to use hearing protection
  • If the employee has been given an audiological examination.

Audiometric tests are considered a critical report when an employee claims a work-induced hearing loss.

 

Diary of an Audiometric Screener

Anitech Consulting launched its audiometric testing services in Queensland earlier this year. Urban Turf Solutions had their employees’ hearing tested by the new Audiometric Testing Queensland (ATQ)in April 2017. From then on Renita Premanand, our new audiometric assessor has been busy assessing employees’ hearing abilities of various companies in Queensland. She has travelled from Oakey in the south to Normanton in North Queensland, including Bowen, Tully, Mareeba, Innisfail.

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“Driving from Brisbane to Normanton was very adventurous and interesting. We drove for 3 days through the coastline enjoying the varying landscape”, said Renita. Normanton was a very different experience – a tiny town in the Gulf of Carpentaria where people were very laid back, enjoying fishing and hunting. Audiometric Testing Queensland provided audiometric services to the Carpentaria Shire Council employees, most of whom work in remote camps. Ninety people were tested for hearing abilities there. “We share the test results with individual employees and re-iterate the significance of wearing hearing protection appropriately”.

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