How safe is your car?

Since 1993, ANCAP has published safety ratings for thousands of different vehicle makes, models and variants. These vehicles are awarded an ANCAP safety rating of between 0 to 5 stars indicating the level of safety they provide in the event of a crash and their ability to avoid, or minimise the effects of a crash.

The more stars, the better the vehicle performed in ANCAP tests. The more recent the datestamp, the more stringent the criteria the vehicle has been assessed against. ANCAP recommends the safest vehicle you can afford with 5 stars and the latest datestamp.

To achieve the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating, a vehicle must achieve the highest standards in all tests and feature advanced safety assist technologies.


Worker severely injured by agricultural machine

In June 2019, a worker suffered traumatic injuries to both arms after being trapped by a pulling winch. The winch was used on a vegetable growing farm to pull liners with compost from a shelf and unload onto a conveyor. Early indications are the man was working when, for reasons unknown, one of his hands got trapped by the machine. Whilst attempting to free his hand, the other one also got trapped.

Preventing a similar incident

There are significant risks associated with using fixed and mobile plant. Death or serious injury can result from its unsafe use or exposure to unguarded moving parts of machinery. A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has duties under WHS legislation to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the provision and maintenance of safe plant.

Hazards on agricultural plant and machinery that are likely to cause injury include:

  • rotating shafts, chains, drive belts, cables, pulleys or gears

  • the run-in points of belts, chains or cables

  • machine components that move, mix, cut, grind, pulp, crush, break or pulverise materials.

Managing work health and safety risks associated with plant is an ongoing process and involves four steps including: the identification of hazards, assessing risks, controls risks and then reviewing control measures to ensure they are working. Once the risks have been assessed, the next step is to control risks.

These control measures are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest (hierarchy of control). The WHS Regulation 2011 requires PCBU’s to work through this hierarchy to choose the control that most effectively eliminates or, where that is not reasonably practicable, minimises the risk in the circumstances. You must always aim to eliminate a hazard, which is the most effective control. If this is not reasonably practicable, you must minimise the risk by one or a combination of the following:

  • Substitution – Substitute the plant (or hazardous parts of it) with plant that is safer.

  • Engineering controls – Include modifications to tools or equipment. For example, redesigning the electrical system to allow for the installation of emergency stop buttons within easy reach of operators of rural plant where entanglement may occur. Separate the hazardous plant from people either by distance or physical barrier. For example, a control measure, such as a hook, that provides a positive means of attaching the liner to the winch drum, so workers don’t have to reach in to the hazardous area, while the machine is running, to ensure the liner is correctly attached.

  • Administrative controls – If any risk remains, it must be minimised by implementing administrative controls, for example, carrying out an isolation and lock-out tag-out procedure before accessing any parts of the plant. An isolation procedure could include:

    • isolating the pulling winch from all energy sources that can cause harm

    • locking out all isolation points

    • dissipating or restraining any stored energy that may give rise to a hazard.

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Any remaining risk must be minimised with suitable PPE, such as providing workers with suitable clothing, protective eyewear and breathing protection.

Control measures should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are still working as planned. Common review methods include workplace inspections and consultation with workers.

If any issues are identified, revisit the risk management process and then make further decisions about control measures.


Director and his company fined $116,250 for abusing staff

A Melbourne director and his security company have been convicted and fined a total of $116,250 for repeatedly bullying employees in the workplace. John Bernard Moncrieff and Monjon (Australia) Pty Ltd were sentenced in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on Friday after pleading guilty to one charge each of failing to provide a working environment that was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

Moncrieff was fined $19,250 and Monjon a further $97,000.

The court heard that WorkSafe was called to the company’s Cheltenham office following an incident on October 23, 2015, in which Moncrieff pushed an employee along a corridor in front of other workers. In a second incident Moncrieff refused to allow an employee to leave the office until she assured him she would not resign following the first incident.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that between April 2015 and August 2016, Moncrieff led a culture of entrenched bullying at the company. The court heard this included Moncrieff speaking to employees in an aggressive and intimidating manner by raising his voice, swearing, and using sexist and racist language to describe his employees. He also made sexually suggestive comments towards employees, threatened to withhold pay and take away their security licenses, made inappropriate contact with them, and encouraged a culture of managers speaking aggressively to employees.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for inappropriate sexist, racist or demeaning behaviour in any workplace. "Under no circumstances is it acceptable for managers or directors to abuse their position of power by acting aggressively or inappropriately towards employees," Ms Nielsen said. "Bullying can have long term health effects on workers that are every bit as serious as those sustained from physical injuries and WorkSafe will not tolerate behaviour of this nature."

To prevent bullying in the workplace employers should:

Have a workplace policy and procedures for bullying.

  • Communicate and promote workplace bullying policies.

  • Regularly train employees on workplace bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

  • Encourage the reporting of workplace bullying.

  • Address reports of workplace bullying as early as possible.

  • Provide prompt assistance and support to their employees.


Fined for high-pressure clean of asbestos roof

A ruling in the Southport Magistrates Court recently has highlighted the dangers of cleaning asbestos roofs and that safety standards must be followed. A company which operates childcare centres was fined $3,500 for a breach of section 446 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

This follows an investigation which found the company instructed a maintenance officer to clean the roof of a childcare centre on the Gold Coast. The defendant knew the roof was asbestos cement and that using a high-pressure hose to clean it was not in accordance with the How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace Code of Practice or its asbestos management plan. Regardless, on 21 January 2018, the worker hosed the roof with a high-pressure water device. This caused dust and debris in and around the centre, which had to be closed for a week.

Magistrate Jane Bentley accepted the serious risks associated with asbestos contamination and that general deterrence is an important sentencing principle. She noted the offence was aggravated as the defendant knew the roof contained asbestos and allowed it to be cleaned by an employee using a high-pressure cleaner.

The magistrate took into account the maximum penalty, an early guilty plea, the defendant’s cooperation with the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation and the fact that the defendant closed the centre, paid for decontamination and replacement of the roof. Once notified of the incident, the defendant immediately took steps to protect children and staff from the effects of the contamination - measures costing about $22,000.


As we approach Summer in Australia...

That bite of summer has well and truly come early this year and with that heat, comes snakes.

  • 3000 bites are reported annually.

  • 300-500 hospitalisations

  • 2-3 deaths annually.

    Average time to death is 12 hours. The urban myth that you are bitten in the yard and die before you can walk from your chook pen back to the house is a load of rubbish.

    While not new, the management of snake bite (like a flood/fire evacuation plan or CPR) should be refreshed each season.

    Let’s start with a basic overview.
    There are five genus of snakes that will harm us (seriously) - Browns, Blacks, Adders, Tigers and Taipans.

    All snake venom is made up of huge proteins (like egg white). When bitten, a snake injects some venom into the meat of your limb (NOT into your blood). This venom can not be absorbed into the blood stream from the bite site. It travels in a fluid transport system in your body called the lymphatic system (not the blood stream).

    Now this fluid (lymph) is moved differently to blood. Your heart pumps blood around, so even when you are lying dead still, your blood still circulates around the body. Lymph fluid is different. It moves around with physical muscle movement like bending your arm, bending knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise etc. Now here is the thing. Lymph fluid becomes blood after these lymph vessels converge to form one of two large vessels (lymphatic trunks) which are connected to veins at the base of the neck.

    Back to the snake bite site.

    When bitten, the venom has been injected into this lymph fluid (which makes up the bulk of the water in your tissues). The only way that the venom can get into your blood stream is to be moved from the bite site in the lymphatic vessels. The only way to do this is to physically move the limbs that were bitten.

    Stay still!!! Venom can’t move if the victim doesn’t move.
    Stay still!!
    Remember people are not bitten into their blood stream.

    In the 1980s a technique called Pressure immobilisation bandaging was developed to further retard venom movement. It completely stops venom /lymph transport toward the blood stream. A firm roll bandage is applied directly over the bite site (don’t wash the area).

    Three steps: keep them still
    Step 1
    Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite.
    Step 2:
    Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a firm wrap from Fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.
    Step 3:
    Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.

    Do nots:
    Do not cut, incise or suck the venom.
    Do not EVER use a tourniquet
    Don’t remove the shirt or pants - just bandage over the top of clothing.

    Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
    DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important. In hospital we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake; it doesn’t change treatment. 5 years ago we would do a test on the bite, blood or urine to identify the snake so the correct anti venom can be used.
    BUT NOW... we don’t do this. Our new Antivenom neutralises the venoms of all the 5 listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient.

    Read that again- one injection for all snakes!

    Polyvalent is our one shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock specific Antivenins.

    Australian snakes tend to have 3 main effects in differing degrees.
    1. Bleeding - internally and bruising.
    2. Muscles paralysed causing difficulty talking, moving & breathing.
    3. Pain
    In some snakes severe muscle pain in the limb, and days later the bite site can break down forming a nasty wound. Allergy to snakes is rarer than winning lotto twice.

    Final tips: not all bitten people are envenomated and only those starting to show symptoms above are given antivenom.
    Did I mention to stay still.
    Repost Ect4health -


Tragic reminder of working near powerlines

A recent incident at Mulgrave in North Queensland in which a worker lost his life and two others ended up in hospital is a tragic reminder of just how dangerous it can be working around powerlines. Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office & Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are investigating the incident where a crane came into contact with overhead powerlines. One worker was electrocuted, another suffered serious injuries and a third required hospital treatment.

Head of ESO Victoria Thomson said incidents like these are tragic, but all too often avoidable. “This is an awful situation and our hearts go out to these workers, their families, friends and work-mates,” Ms Thomson said. “It is a terrible reminder of just how dangerous electricity can be. “If work must be done near overhead powerlines, I can’t stress enough how important it is to speak to Ergon Energy or Energex before it gets underway. “Powerlines can be de-energised or in some cases moved, removing the hazard completely. “If that can’t happen then you must ensure your workers know where powerlines are and keep well clear of them – which means they also need to know the height and reach of any equipment they’re going to be using.” Ms Thomson said if work had to be done near powerlines then employers needed to conduct a site-specific risk assessment, develop a safe system of work before starting, keep workers and contractors informed about electrical safety, and importantly, avoid going into exclusion zones.