Category Archives: Occupational Health and Safety

Safety saves lives, injuries and money says new study

How often do we say that prevention is better than the cure?  Aurenda has been saying it for over ten years now. Money, time and effort spent on safety and injury management now (prevention) saves you later with fewer lost time injuries, decreased injury claims and – potentially – lower workers’ compensation premiums.

So someone in America has done a study.

The new study, co-authored by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Toffel, Professor David Levine of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and Boston University doctoral student Matthew Johnson, examines workplace safety inspections conducted by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). It will be published in Science journal.

The study found that within high-hazard industries in California, inspected workplaces reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent and saved 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs in the four years following the inspection, compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over that period. What’s more, there was no discernible impact on the companies’ profits.

The cost savings applied to both small (less than $2000) and large (more than $2000) workers’ compensation claims, and the reduced injuries and cost savings lasted for at least four years after the inspection. These findings suggest the inspections had a lasting, across-the-board effect.

“We spent several years collecting data, not just on injuries, which is very important, but also on other indicators to see whether inspections led to problems they are often accused of causing – like whether they increased costs and led to the elimination of jobs. We looked at company survival, employment, sales and total payroll to see if inspections were detrimental to the employers,” said Levine.

“Across the numerous outcomes we looked at, we never saw any evidence of inspections causing harm,” Toffel explained. “If OSHA inspections conducted in all 50 states are as valuable as the ones we studied, inspections improve safety worth roughly $6 billion to employers and employees, ignoring pain and suffering. The overall message of our research is that these inspections worked pretty much the way one would hope. They improved safety, and they didn’t cost firms enough that we could detect it.”

From Science

This study was applied to high risk industries, small to large enterprises and the results were the same: workplace site inspections and audits saved the business money in the long run. At Aurenda we say “because injury costs” and here is the proof.



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Keeping it safe – 10 tips to a safer workplace

Safety in the workplace is all about KEEPING ourselves and each other safe.

Here is Aurenda’s top ten tips to KEEPING it safe.

The Workplace

1. Keep everything well maintained

Equipment needs to be maintained in good working order and the staff knows how to use it.

2. Keep it clean

A clean workplace is easier to keep safe
Clean up spills or mess straight away

The Workers

3. Keep everyone  involved

Involvement leads to ownership of safety

4. Keep communicating

The staff must feel comfortable speaking up about something that is unsafe
Managers or bosses need to follow up their concerns.

5. Keep safety equipment on

Hardhat, boots, safety glasses, masks, clothing, gloves, seatbelts,

6. Keep an eye out:

For breaches in safety
Employees doing procedures the wrong or unsafe way

The Information

7. Keep Instructions clear and precise

As if you were reading something for the first time
Never assume workers know how the machinery works safely

8. Keep everyone updated in
Health and safety rep training (Aurenda runs regular accredited courses and refreshers)
First aid training
Changes in procedures

9. Keep alert to:
Legislation  changes  (Aurenda is up to date. Follow us on Social Media channels)
Unsafe procedures

10.Common Sense
Let’s all look after each other out there

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Workplace falls followup

Back in February Aurenda wrote a blog about fall protection in the workplace.

This week two major companies have been fined for their failure to protect their staff from injury.

John Holland has been fined the maximum civil penalty of $242,000 by the Federal Court. The John Holland employee was working at BHP Billiton’s Mt Whaleback mine at Newman on March 19, 2009. The worker died after he stepped onto an unsecured sheet of grid mesh and fell 10 metres to the floor.
There had been two other incidents of injured due to this unsecured mesh earlier in the week and the employer had failed to do anything about it.

In another incident in NSW, Supermarket giant Coles has been fined $170,000 and ordered to pay legal costs after a worker fell through a ceiling at a store in Sydney five years ago.
The worker, then 42, climbed over a handrail to access promotional material stored on a suspended plasterboard ceiling at the company’s Manly store in August 2007. The worker fell more than two metres, suffering lacerations to the head, whiplash and bruising.

The Coles Management knew that the plasterboard was unsafe to walk on and erected a barrier. However it still used the area as storage and failed to educate the staff as to the danger.

In both cases, the companies were aware of the dangers prior to the fatality and major injury respectively. If the death or injury of workers is not traumatic enough, both events were over three years ago. New legislation would mean the companies and their directors would be responsible for far larger fines.

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Fall Protection in the Workplace

The recent death of a man in South Perth who fell from a cherry picker highlights the need for fall protection in the work place.

Aurenda believes fall protection is a simple and effective measure that is vital on every single construction work site in this country. Occupational health and safety in this industry is not a suggestion or something that can be ignored or forgotten because the risks are too great. Not only will members of this industry find themselves in dire economic trouble if they fail to follow the guidelines, the risk of debilitating injury or death is simply too great.

A few cases recently have highlighted the need and sometimes lack of fall protection equipment.

Incident 1
Just recently a NSW court has fined a company and its director after for a young new worker’s death. Despite requiring workers to wear a harness and lanyard when working at heights, a specialist demolition company failed to ensure the fall protection was anchored before workers were exposed to risk. The Court heard that in August 2007, the company began to dismantle the roof of a single-storey suburban house. Workers made an access point through the bathroom ceiling near the edge of the roof, but then had to climb unsecured up the roofing tiles to anchor their lanyards at the ridge board. An experienced worker already at the peak said he saw the new labourer move out onto the tiles, but did not see him fall. The injured worker sustained traumatic head injuries and fractured ribs, and died in hospital six days later.

Incident 2
Another incident occurred in Victoria where fall protection failed to be implemented, caused enormous economic fallout, as well the serious injury of an apprentice. The accident, which occurred in 2010 has only just been resolved. It occurred when four construction workers, including three apprentices, were replacing storm damaged roof tiles on a property. The 2.4 metre high rooftop working space didn’t not have the required guard rails installed, so when one of the apprentices lost his footing, he fell to ground, at which point cement splashed in his eye. While the fall itself did not hurt the apprentice, the cement damage which caused a number of following events, eventually lost him his sight in his left eye.

Incident 3
WorkCover NSW fined three companies over an accident involving serious injuries suffered by a 21 year old man who fell 14 meters off a scaffold at a paper mill. In that incident, safety practices across the entire project were questioned after the man fell through a 430mm gap between the scaffolding and wood chip machine.

For the Western Australian Code of Practise on Prevention of Falls in the Workplace go to


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WHS Harmonisation – What’s Happening?

With recent reports in the media that Western Australia and Victoria have ‘pulled out’ of the harmonisation of OH&S laws, you might be tempted to become complacent about the process of preparing your organisation for the implementation of Work Health and Safety. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by this news; governments around the country have committed to a national set of safety laws and it is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’ as far as the introduction of these laws in WA and Victoria.

Most states have already passed the relevant legislation to enact the new WHS laws on 1 January 2012. WA and Victoria have complained that information delays from the Federal Government about the specifics of the WHS Regulations mean that their impact on business cannot be accurately assessed, and consequently have not yet introduced the new legislation. (The Model WHS Regulations are at this point going through final iterations primarily to do with specific wording used.)

WorkSafe WA has requested that there be a minimum period of six months between the introduction of the legislation and its enactment, in order to give WorkSafe enough time to understand and prepare for its role in regulating Work Health and Safety in WA. That means that at the earliest, it will be mid-2012 before the new laws govern safety in Western Australia.

In the meantime, the Federal Government announced transition arrangements in early November 2011 that will provide a ‘grace period’ of up to 12 months for businesses that will need to “significantly change” their practices to comply with the new laws. Each jurisdiction will decide what this means in real terms, providing WA and Victoria with some scope to overcome their objections to the current expectation of a 1 January 2012 implementation date.

Key aspects of WHS that should keep it a priority for you to keep working toward include:

  • A reverse of the onus of proof from current laws, meaning that Prosecutors will need to prove the employer did not take all reasonably practicable measures to prevent the risk to safety and health from taking place;
  • Officers of a corporation will be required to exercise due diligence to ensure the organisation complies with safety responsibilities; and
  • Broader obligations to consult with people performing work, including contractors.

For an overview on Work Health and Safety Harmonisation and what it could mean to you, take a look at AurendaTV on YouTube

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Are you ready for the new Work Health and Safety Harmonisation legislation?

State Governments are well on their way to passing the legislation necessary for Work Health and Safety harmonisation to happen on 1 January 2012. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure your systems and processes are compliant to the new legislation before then.

The Officers of the business especially need to be aware of the changes coming and how they will be affected. The new legislation will have significant impact upon Australian businesses, with CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc all being deemed as Officers of a corporation, thereby requiring them to take reasonable steps to acquire knowledge of and keep up-to-date with work health and safety matters.

Having effective systems and processes in place will be paramount to demonstrate compliance with safety legislation. Internal and external audits will play a major part in monitoring workplace practices with reports going straight through to the Board. These audits will need to show what is happening – warts and all – because the Board of Directors will need to know that operationally, the business is doing the right thing.

Levels of penalties proposed under the model legislation are quite significant. However, the proposed increases will not be adopted in WA, with the government citing that the proposed levels are too harsh to inflict upon small businesses. The WA government does indeed support an increase in penalties, just not to the level proposed.

In addition to the increased penalties for non-compliance, Officers can face jail terms as well. Unlike existing law, a breach under the new legislation may be deemed serious even without significant injury or death occurring, as the new approach is about exposure to risk, rather than actual consequences, which is a very significant change. Add into this the requirements for notification to the Regulator, preservation of incident sites, duties that will apply, consultation requirements, authorisations, etc, and you may realise that you still have a lot of work to do to prepare for 1 January 2012.

For more information go to 

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Aurenda now has a social media presence

Aurenda is now able to keep all of its clients up to date with the current news and issues in Occupational Health and Safety and Injury Management via its social media presence.

Whether you are after the next upcoming Occupational Health and Safety Rep Training or information on the upcoming Harmonisation Legislation, these social media sites are the place to find it.

So follow us Twitter, be our friend and like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn, tune in to AurendaTV and check into our Aurenda Blog.

For the latest timetable of WorkSafe-Accredited Occupational Safety & Health Representative Training and WHS Harmonisation+ Programme go to

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