Union Fears QLD Lockout Will Help Cowboy Builders

The debate between union inspectors and builders rages, which has forced the attorney-general to step in to keep union inspectors from bombarding construction sites and interfering with workplace productivity.

On one side of the debate, Australia’s Property Council is pleased with the proposal to modify the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011. On the other side, the Queensland Council of Unions said blocking their ability to inspect construction sites unannounced affords builders the opportunity to cover up dangerous work conditions, which could cost construction workers their lives.
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Government Adds Safety Rules To Prevent Unions From Shutting Down Worksites

Modifications to the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 will allow the state government to protect the right of construction firms to be notified by unions at least 24 hours in advance of an upcoming worksite inspection. Debate over the change has caused quite a stir in the construction community.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie holds the new law is designed to improve both employee safety and workplace productivity by keeping boisterous union members from shutting down constructions sites on unfounded claims of safety violations. This comes on the heels of a fifty-nine day union shutdown of the new children’s hospital in 2011, which ultimately cost the government $7 million.
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Fortescue to Take Over Processing at Christmas Creek

Fortescue Metals, the steelmaking giant, has announced it will take over supervision and management of operations at the Christmas Creek mine. The mine was being run by Crushing Services International but amid safety concerns control is being passed over. In August, a contract worker was killed at the site.

Crushing Services International and Mineral Resources Limited are cooperating fully with Fortescue in order to make sure the ore processing facilities operate safely and free from hazards.
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Helmet Sensors Offer Protection Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Virginia Tech investigators have received a Best Paper Award for their research into the use of wearable computing systems installed in helmets. The researchers say that the device, concealed in a helmet, offers protection from carbon monoxide poisoning to construction workers.

In residential and industrial settings, carbon monoxide poisoning is a huge problem. Hand tools that are powered by gasoline can easily generate exhaust which gathers in confined spaces. This exhaust can also cause the user of the tool and any workers nearby to be overcome.

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Workplace Health and Safety Checks Begin in Bundaberg

A group of eight Workplace Health and Safety Inspectors are making their way around the Bundaberg region, carrying out on-the-spot checks on farms when they see agricultural workers.

These actions are in response to a number of complaints about various farms and their working conditions.

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Road Safety Auditor says there is Insufficient Warning Measures on the Hume Highway

Recently, an inquest heard that the measures used to warn drivers of diverging roadworks on the Hume Highway near Tarcutta are insufficient, according to a senior road safety auditor.

After hearing evidence pertaining to the death of Yasmin Duncan, from Albury, in March 2010, and preparing a report in April 2013, Andrew Morse has provided further information to say that some road safety audits should be carried out by people who have no association with the works. He believes these people should also have no association with the design team or construction contractor.

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Tougher Laws may be Reducing Workplace Accidents

It is the belief of Tasmanian unions that more expensive fine, introduced under new workplace laws, will support a decrease in injuries at work.

A 4% drop in the number of Tasmanians who are injured at work has been revealed in figures released as WorkSafe month was launched. According to Workplace Relations Minister David O’Byrne, 8934 reports of injury were made last year and this is 378 injury reports less than the previous year.

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Excessive Sweat Increases Risk of Electric Shock

Workers need to be aware that excessive amounts of their own sweat can increase the risk of electric shock when working with mains powered tools.

NT Worksafe has reported an increase in electric shock reports caused by sweat entering power tools in the course of their operation.

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New Zealand Contractor Killed at WA Mine

The death of a 24-year-old man at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek mine has been described as a great tragedy.

New Zealand national Kurt Williams was carrying out maintenance work at the Fortescue Metals Group mine when he was killed. According to Fortescue chief executive Nev Power, emergency crews were on the scene within minutes of the incident.

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$100,000 fine for Mining Explosion

A Western Australian mining company has been fined $100,000 following an explosion in which a contractor suffered burns to half his body.

Dangerously high levels of oxygen were reported as the cause of the explosion at the mine, now known as Lanco Resources Collie mine. Electrical contractor Tony Eames was left in a critical condition following the incident and underwent a full skin graft, according to safetowork.com.au. Infrastructure and equipment at the carbonising plant was also affected by the blast.

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