Infrastructure Safety News - Issue 6, September 2015

The roll-out of Roads and Maritime’s Work Health and Safety Strategy 2015–19 is underway, and our managers and workers are being equipped to step up health and safety standards by adopting a common language and applying good systems and tools to improve safety with industry partners.

One of the objectives identified in the WHS strategy is to improve worker health and wellbeing, and this edition of Infrastructure Safety focuses on a number of initiatives planned for Roads and Maritime during 2015–16. We also have information from industry partners about their programs. Thank you to all our industry partners for taking the time to tell us about them.

I encourage you all to participate in the survey that will help to establish a health and wellbeing profile for the agency. Keep an eye out for upcoming communications.

This edition also highlights an important lesson learned from a series of occurrences since 2013, which stemmed from inadequate load restraints – that is, the need for effective communication about load restraint requirements throughout the chain of responsibility.

Analysis of occurrences reported by industry partners in 2014–15 confirms that we need to encourage hazard reporting. The analysis also underlines the key risks of plant and equipment, utilities and motor vehicle accidents – and we have pilot programs planned to test best practice controls.

Jeff McCarthy, Director Infrastructure Development

Roads and Maritime Services commitment to promoting health and wellbeing at work

Benjamin Jackson, Health and Wellbeing Specialist in Work Health and Safety Branch, reports that a series of integrated health and wellbeing initiatives are being developed that will help create healthier and safer Roads and Maritime workplaces and support workers in developing and maintaining positive health and wellbeing behaviours.

Providing effective health and wellbeing programs requires an understanding of the characteristics and needs of our organisation and workers, as no two organisations are the same.

Integral to the development of a targeted, evidence and risk-based program is an initial needs assessment to establish an organisational health and wellbeing profile for Roads and Maritime. This profile will inform the development of future health and wellbeing initiatives at agency, division and branch level.

Diagram of the 'Avenues of influence', showing how the physical and psychological work environment interact with social and community factors, and personal health resources to impact work health and wellbeing.
Many factors contribute to our health and wellbeing - social, psychological and physical factors, both within and outside the workplace. (Source: Comcare, 2014)

Health fairs

A key component of the proposed needs assessment methodology is to hold health fairs at Roads and Maritime locations. These events will feature worker health checks and promote an agency-wide worker health and wellbeing survey.

Health fairs will provide an opportunity to promote the workplace health resources available under the NSW Government’s Get Healthy at Work Program and Get Healthy NSW Information and Coaching Service.

Fit for Work Program

Roads and Maritime’s new safety management system 'OneRMS SMS' will feature a Fit for Work Program to support managers and workers to identify and control the risks associated with drugs or alcohol, fatigue or personal health and fitness issues.

The program will be underpinned by comprehensive worker education and manager capability development initiatives, promoting a collaborative approach to ensuring everyone at work is healthy and safe. Projects on drug and alcohol management and fatigue risk management are under way and will see Roads and Maritime implement risk and evidence-based practices, benchmarked against industry and contemporary standards, in 2015–16.

Injury management

Early intervention for workplace injuries is critical to ensuring the safe return to work, and the health and wellbeing of our staff. A new injury management procedure and guidance material for managers and workers will be delivered later this year, to optimise initial response, return to work and claims management processes at Roads and Maritime.

R U OK? Day

Roads and Maritime supported R U OK? Day on 10 September 2015.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in men and women under the age of 45, with seven Australians taking their own lives every day.

R U OK? Day is an annual day dedicated to remind people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, "Are you okay?” in a meaningful way – because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who might be struggling.

If you are looking for information about the initiative, or how to help someone you know, see the R U OK? website.

Activity based working

Roads and Maritime’s first Activity Based Working (ABW) site is scheduled to be opened in late 2015.

ABW is a concept which recognises that through the course of any working day, people have a number of different work activities to complete – some require high levels of concentration and some require high levels of collaboration. ABW allows individuals to choose work settings to suit their activities. It combines a modernised physical environment with improved technology and innovative workspaces that support flexible, mobile working – providing opportunities to enhance health and wellbeing at work, like reducing sedentary work practices.

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Examples of health and wellbeing programs from our industry partners

Lend Lease

  • The Lend Lease foundation provides investment in a range of employee programs including Health and Wellbeing
  • Employee assistance program
  • Health awareness days – March prostate cancer (N2U), MATES in construction (OH2K)
  • Drug and alcohol management programs.


Pacifico (Acciona/Ferrovial)

    Monthly health focus presentations – posters and information

    • August – R U OK? (Mental heath)
    • November - Health and wellbeing.

    Pacific Complete (Laing O’Rourke/Parsons Brinkerhoff)

    • SafeSpine (Onsite Health Solutions) – a holistic musculoskeletal health education program that delivers proven results in reducing the incidence of soft tissue injury. Involves training sessions on site and daily ten minute SafeStart exercise sessions that focus on mobility, strength, balance, stretching and coordination
    • Mental health and awareness campaigns
    • Flu vaccinations
    • Employee assistance programs.

    York Civil

    We Care – an employee care program comprising

    • Employee assistance program
    • Corporate health care program
    • Flu vaccinations
    • Quit smoking program
    • Prescription safety glasses
    • Fun runs and representative sponsorship.

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    Lessons learned: transporting and unloading precast elements

    A near miss recently occurred on a Pacific Highway Upgrade site where precast parapets slipped from the bracket and load restraint used on the flat bed transport. A previous fall of parapets had occurred on a Pacific Highway Upgrade site in 2013 where inadequate load restraint was a root cause. A third occurrence involved inappropriate loading and slinging of concrete panels resulting in a panel slipping free at 1 metre height.

    Left: 2013. No lower bolster, frame too vertical and centre of gravity to the outside. Right: 2013. Small side slope at delivery area resulted in panel falling when restraints released.
    Left: 2015a Design lift points not used. Glut location required wider spacing on slings resulting in slip. Red arrow indicates the distance the sling slipped. Right: 2015b No vertical bolster or secondary restraint

    These occurrences highlight the need to ensure effective communication, transfer and implementation of load restraint information from designers, manufacturers, transport companies and constructors under chain-of-responsibility obligations:

    • Designers are to provide attachments and suitable information on load restraint (design drawings)
    • Manufacturers are to review information and ensure as-built design and transfer of information to the transport company
    • The transport company is to review information and implement load restraint requirements. Retain load restraint and load/unload information for transfer at delivery site
    • Constructors and sub-contractors are to consult and communicate to have knowledge of and implement design and attachment for transport, loading unloading, including installation at site.

    Better Practice

    Note taller bolster and strap restraint. Internal bolster and chained through rebar to frame. Precast centre of gravity towards the inside. Attach rigging prior to release of restraints.

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    Occurrences reported by industry partners July 2014 to July 2015

    Twenty-three per cent of all occurrences reported by our industry partners in 2014–15 were serious or serious near miss and 20% injury or illness. Only 1% were reported hazards. In the 2015–16 year Infrastructure Division will have a strong focus on reporting hazards as a proactive way of identifying and fixing WHS issues before an occurrence or injury / illness is created.

    Pie chart showing industry partner WHS reports FY2014-15 by category. The data table appears at the end of this page.

    The highest frequency occurrence types in 2014–15 – plant and equipment, utility strikes and motor vehicle accidents – are recognised as key risks for Roads and Maritime in general and IDD in particular. In 2015–16 pilot programs in utilities and working near mobile plant will be completed to determine, implement and test best practice controls with our industry partners. Foxground to Berry will host the utilities pilot and Woolgoolga to Ballina will host the working near plant pilot.

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    Pie chart showing industry partner WHS reports FY2014-15 by occurrence type. The data table appears at the end of this page.

    Industry partner WHS reports FY2014-15, by category

    Category Percentage
    Asset / Property Damage 36%
    Injury / Illness 20%
    Near Miss / No Injury 20%
    Serious Incident 14%
    Serious Near Miss 9%
    Hazard 1%

    Industry partner WHS reports FY2014-15, by occurence type

    Occurrence type Percentage
    Plant / Equipment 26%
    Utility Strike 21%
    Motor Vehicle Accident - Other Incidents 11%
    Hit by Object / Hitting Object 10%
    Workplace / Worksite Related 9%
    Slip / Trip / Fall 8%
    Manual Handling 6%
    Others 9%
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