Thursday, 13 June 2013


Work on Telstra pits containing asbestos will only resume when employees and contractors have been trained on the safe handling and removal of asbestos, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says.

An independent asbestos taskforce set up this month amid fears of asbestos exposure at national broadband network (NBN) sites across Australia is working to finalise training for workers, Mr Shorten said after the task force met in Melbourne on Thursday.

Telstra is responsible for remediating the pits and ducts being used to roll out the NBN.

Work on Telstra pits containing asbestos will only resume when training has been completed by employees and contractors, Mr Shorten said in a statement.
Comcare inspectors, working with state work health and safety regulators, will be checking the safety of the work and reporting outcomes to the taskforce and Telstra and NBN Co have also appointed independent monitors.
AAP lk/alb

To anyone who employ's staff in the trades, training in safe handling of asbestos is mandatory under the 2011 Work Place Health and safety Act.

If you have identifed asbestos as a risk in their line of work, then you must give them asbestos awareness training.

Remembering asbestos is not only found in old house's, it can be found in cars, factories and of course Telstra pits.
With over 3000 know uses for asbestos, it could be lurking anywhere.

Make sure you and your staff don't unintentionally disturb asbestos, this may put at risk a life, theirs, yours or the public.

Not to mention the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean up bills.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Danger flood damaged homes across Queensland contain Asbestos!

RESIDENTS returning to properties damaged by floods are being warned against stirring up deadly asbestos fibres as they sift through debris. 

Residents returning to homes in areas affected by floods needed to be careful and take precautions.

People searching through the remains of their houses need to protect themselves and their families.

It's obviously very hard for them, as they sift through their houses looking for cherished possessions.

They forget about the dangers of being exposed to asbestos fibres.

It is recommended people wear masks and disposable suits before handling any material.

A high proportion of buildings constructed before 1990 contained asbestos products, either in houses, sheds or water pipes.

While it was understandable many flood-affected families wanted to assess the damage to their home and begin the clean up, safety should come first.

When people start using high-pressure water blasters to clean away the mud, they should be mindful of whether their house is asbestos or fibro.

They should not disturb the surface of the fibro, which can release asbestos fibres.
Fibro can be dangerous even after sheeting has dried.

It is predicted future natural disasters would continue to trigger the risk of asbestos fibre release.

To help inform families and give them some training toward protecting themselves, the Queensland Government has team up with Keys Human Resources to bring you the first online Homeowner DIY asbestos removal course.

Any homeowner or member of the public involved with voluntary clean up duties in and around houses built before 1990 are strongly encouraged complete this course.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Heat Stress in the Construction Industry

Working in the sun, especially in Queensland, for a long period of time without adequate breaks, shade or water can mean workers face serious dehydration and are at risk of a heat-related illness or even death. Employers must provide protection for their workers from the heat and sun - and workers must follow their employer’s instructions regarding heat stress and sun safety.

In other recent events, a road worker was transported to hospital for heat related treatment and the following day a housing construction site worker at Miles received treatment by ambulance officers for heat stress.

Late last year, a 25 year old worker died and his colleague was hospitalised with severe dehydration after walking just 6km in 45 degree heat when they couldn't free their bogged vehicle in the Simpson Desert.

Workers are most at risk during heat waves when temperatures are above the average for three or more days, with high humidity increasing the risk.

Very hot and extreme heat conditions can lead to heat-related health problems such as cramps, exhaustion, heat stroke, and fainting. Employers should weigh up all factors such as heat, humidity, water intake, breezes, protective gear, the physical condition of workers and their hours of work.
Recently a project we carried out on a large roof, we identified heat stress as a risk and implemented the use of camel packs, broad brim hats, long sleeve shirts, ice cold water refills, electrolyte first aid concentrate, sunscreen, rotational breaks off the roof every hour and allowed the workers to wear shorts.
These precautionary steps not only assisted in the project seeing completion with zero safety concerns, we came under budget because productivity was maintained throughout the extreme heat conditions experienced.

Safety when when it comes to heat stree doesn't cost money, it saves and can increase productivity.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Asbestos! Still a danger to the Construction Industry

Asbestos Awareness Week 2012
24th November to 30th November

It is important to keep working to improve Asbestos Awareness in our communities with the aim of eventually developing a National Awareness program, which could be marketed as a
significant event across Australia. This is starting to occur with the establishment of a dedicated Asbestos Department within the Honourable Bill Shorten’s office of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Despite decades of litigation and lobbying, Australia is still riddled with asbestos and it is time we all helped spread the word - we must stop asbestos exposure, as this is the only sure way to stop asbestos diseases.

Asbestos still lurks in the bathrooms, kitchens, roofs, and garages of two out of three Australian homes built between 1945 and 1989. Asbestos Awareness Week 2012 is from 24
th November to 30th November. There is an urgent need for education and awareness and the Society is working closely with the State and Federal Governments to develop programs targeting this. These programs will continue into 2013.

Asbestos Awareness Week Culminates in the Ecumenical Service at St Stephens Cathedral on Friday 30 November so please join with us on that day to pay our respects to those we have lost and support those who currently have asbestos related diseases.

Here are some helpful links for anyone wanting to know more about Asbestos in Queensland.

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To help with flood damaged homes across Queensland the Queensland Health Department has engaged KeysHR to deliver this approved homeowners course.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

123 Construction Industry Workers killed on the Job between 2008 - 2011

As an industry we MUST ensure we push SAFETY as a #1 priority
The stats are in people and our industry falls behind every other sector in the country in safety. Read on -


The Construction industry employed 1.02 million people in 2010–11, representing 9% of the Australian workforce. Within this industry, 73% of workers were classed as employees and were covered by workers’ compensation. Employers in this industry paid 2.3% of payroll in 2010–11 to cover their employees for workers’ compensation. 


Over the three years from 2008–09 to 2010–11,
123 Construction workers died from work-related injuries. This number of deaths equates to 4.26 fatalities per 100 000 workers which is nearly twice the national fatalities rate of 2.23.

Falls from height accounted for 25% of fatalities (31 deaths) with ladders involved in 11 deaths, buildings in 7 and scaffolding in 7.

Hit by falling objects accounted for 15% of fatalities with a range of building materials and equipment involved. Vehicle incident also accounted for 15% of fatalities with cars involved in 11 of the 18 deaths.

Electrocutions resulted in 17 deaths (14% of fatalities) and Being hit by moving objects accounted for 12 deaths (10%), 8 of which involved a truck.

Serious Claims

The preliminary data for 2010–11 show 13 640 claims for serious injury or illness. Over the three years from 2008–09 to 2010–11 the Construction industry accounted for 11% of all serious workers’ compensation claims. On average there were 39 claims each day from employees who required one or more weeks off work because of work-related injury or disease.

Figure 1 shows that the incidence rate of serious claims in this industry has fallen 36% from 31.0 claims per 1000 employees in 2000–01 to 19.9 in 2009–10. However, this rate remains much higher than the rate for all industries of 13.0 and was the fourth highest of all industries in 2009–10.

Over the past three years Body stressing accounted for 34% of claims with many of these claims due to muscular stress while handling a range of materials and equipment. Falls, trips and slips of a person accounted for 26% of claims and there were similar numbers for Falls from height as Falls on same level. Being hit by moving objects accounted for 16% of claims. Many of these claims involved being hit by falling materials or equipment.

Over the period 2006–07 to 2009–10 all jurisdictions except the Australian Capital Territory recorded decreases in incidence rates. The largest decrease was recorded by South Australia (27%) closely followed by Tasmania (26%) and Western Australia (24%). The Australian Capital Territory recorded a 14% increase.

The preliminary data for 2010–11 show that incidence rates across Australia ranged from 12.6 claims per 1000 employees in the Northern Territory to 25.2 in Tasmania.

Over the period 2006–07 to 2009–10 South Australia recorded the largest decrease in incidence rates (39%) followed by the Northern Territory (29%). The Australian Capital Territory recorded the largest increase (17%).

The preliminary data for 2010–11 show that the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest incidence rate of 9.5 claims per 1000 employees while the Northern Territory recorded the lowest at 2.5.

Claims data were extracted from the National Data Set (NDS) for compensation statistics. The data presented here are restricted to accepted claims for serious injury and disease. Serious claims include fatalities, claims for permanent disability and claims for conditions that involve one or more weeks of time lost from work. Serious claims do not include those involving journeys to and from work. The 2010–11 data are preliminary and expected to rise. More information on this industry can be found at

Information on fatalities is extracted from the Traumatic Injury Fatalities database. Annual fatalities reports can be found at

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Construction white cards now available online
In order to work in the construction industry in Australia, it is essential to be the holder of a valid safety induction card. To obtain a construction white card, a worker needs to successfully complete a short accredited course in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in the construction industry. The course can now be done online, and the card sent out the next day.
While it is possible to undergo the training and assessment for a white card by traditional methods, it may be easier for many people to obtain their white cards online. For instance, people who live and work in remote areas can get a white card quickly online, without having to travel to a major town or city for training.
The Queensland white card is now available online, and in some good news for construction workers, it is now recognised by all states and territories in Australia.

Why is a white card required?
Working in the construction industry can involve a lot of risky work. It’s important for construction workers to understand OHS legislation and risk management, to know how to follow safety procedures, and to practice fire safety and personal protection. A white card indicates that holders have studied these elements of workplace safety.

 Risks in the construction industry
Risk management is important in every workplace, and particularly so in the construction industry. Depending on the particular site, workers in construction may be at risk of the following:

·         Falling from heights.

·         Being struck by falling objects or moving equipment.

·         Suffering from burns, electric shocks, or inhalation of fumes from welding or arcs.

·         Exposure to noise, extreme temperatures, vibration, or asbestos.

·         Slip, trip and fall accidents.

·         Suffering injuries from hazardous chemicals, unstable structures, shafts and lift wells, collapsed trenches, and unguarded holes.

According to Safe Work Australia, all workers have a responsibility to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not endanger others.

Risk management involves identifying hazards in the workplace, assessing risk and taking steps to eliminate or minimise possible harm.

Obtaining a white card online

Undertaking the OHS course online is very convenient and quick, taking less than a day. The white card can be sent out the next day in some cases, which is good news for workers who need a card to start work.

Having access to the accredited course online means being able to do the course when it suits, and not having to miss out on jobs because you can’t get a card fast enough.

The course involves reading OHS legislative material and risk management material, and answering a series of multiple-choice questions. Assistance is available throughout the training, which can be done anytime and anywhere there’s access to the internet.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Preparing for renovating old buildings or homes

 Look, check and prepare

It's important that home renovators and owner-builders plan the renovation work they do.


If your house or building was built before 1990, there is a good chance that it contains asbestos. Before carrying out any renovations, maintenance or repairs, it’s important to know where asbestos is likely to be lurking  so that you can take the proper precautions before starting any work around your house.
Asbestos containing materials can be:
  • inside and outside your house,
  • in large amounts (e.g. a roof, under vinyl floors) and in small amounts (e.g. the backing board inside an electricity meter box), and
  • in wet areas (e.g. wall sheeting in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries) and dry areas (e.g. wall sheeting in bedrooms and lounge rooms).


The age of a house and the location a material are good indicators for asbestos. However, if you are not sure whether a building material contains asbestos, assume it does until a sample of the material is tested by an accredited laboratory.
Laboratories that test building materials for asbestos can be found by contacting the Asbestos Industry Association. The laboratories can also give you advice on how to correctly take and send a sample. There will be fees involved.

Whether you are planning to do something as minor as putting up a new towel rail in the bathroom or undertaking a major extension in your home, before you get started it's important you get the facts; it's an investment in your health, your family's health and the health of others. Under public health laws , you have a responsibility to make sure that you protect your health and the health of your family and neighbours by not releasing asbestos fibres into the air during your work.
You should also speak to your neighbours about the work you are about to do. It is particularly important to explain the safety precautions you will be taking to minimise the chance of asbestos fibres getting into the air.
Queensland Health provides advice for things you need to know  before every asbestos job.


If materials containing asbestos are in your house and are in good condition, sometimes the safest option is to leave them alone and not disturb them.
Minor work can be done safely by following established safe work practices  or methods to prevent hazardous asbestos fibres becoming airborne and reduce the risk of them being inhaled.
There are laws about the removal of non-friable asbestos from your home.
Homeowners and owner-builders  must hold a certificate obtained under arrangements approved or established by Queensland Health to remove more than 10 square metres of non-friable (also known as bonded) asbestos materials.
There are different law for tradespeople, contractors and business operators working on a domestic property. These businesses can only carry out removal work under the authority of a Class B or Class A asbestos removal licence issued by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
You are obligated to comply with laws about transporting and disposing of asbestos . Contact your local council for more advice about where you can dispose of asbestos waste. An alternative is to employ a licensed asbestos waste contractor to remove this on your behalf.
Friable asbestos must only be removed by holders of an 'A' class licence.

This helpful tip brought to you by
To help with flood damaged homes across Queensland the Queensland Health Department has engaged KeysHR to deliver this approved homeowners course.