Unit 497 Health and safety in the workplace Level 1 Credit 1
Around 100 people die in work related accidents in New Zealand every year.
In Otago 4 people died in work related areas.
Manufacturing, Farming, Forestry and Construction account for 70% of the deaths!
In the last year there were 33988 moderate to serious injuries at work!
Claims to ACC for ‘On farm’ incidents cost about $50 million per year to ACC.
The main risk areas ‘on farm’ are tractors, ATV’s, other machines, animals and trees.
There are substantial ongoing costs associated with accidents – such as repairs, extra wages etc.
Many children are represented in these statistics.
The Key to change is a human change!
Health & Safety in Employment Act 1992
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 was passed by parliament in 1992 and came into effect on 1 April 1993.
The principle object of the act is to prevent harm to employees at work and prevent an activity exposing or harming other people such as contractors, visitors and general public in the work environment.
The Act sets out to promote excellence in health and safety management, and replaces approximately 56 other Acts or regulations. There is provision in the act for guidelines regarding specific health and safety issues to be addressed through new Regulations and approved Codes of Practice.
The Act states specific responsibilities for employers, employees, principals and contractors in respect of health and safety.
The Act covers:
Accident Reporting and Investigation
Subcontractors & Contractors
Health & Workplace Monitoring
Training & Supervision
Provide and maintain a safe workplace
Develop ongoing safety standards
Report and investigate accidents
Inform employees about:
What to do if an emergency arises while they are working.
The hazards they are exposed to or create while they are at work.
How to minimise hazards to themselves and other people.
Where the necessary safety clothing and equipment is kept and how to use and maintain it.
The employer has a responsibility to train and supervise anyone employed in their business
Employers must ensure that the employee has, or is supervised by a person with, the knowledge and experience to ensure that they and others are not harmed.
Employers must ensure that the employees are adequately trained in the safe use of all plant, machinery, substances and protective clothing provided.
Employers have a duty to involve employees in the development of Health & Safety procedures.
While they are at work, all employees have the duties under the act as well. Many employees aren’t aware of this!
They must take all practicable steps to ensure their own safety and the safety of others, no action or inaction will cause harm to another person.
Use safety equipment and personal protective equipment as instructed.
They must not knowingly expose themselves or others to harm.
Correct any hazard immediately or report it.
Participate in quality improvement programmes.
Self-employed people should take all practical steps to ensure that while at work no action or inaction on their part harms themselves or any other person.
DUTIES OF THE SELF-EMPLOYED
When you employ a contractor or subcontractor you become known under the law as the Principal. The Principal also has duties under the Act.
If the principal hires a contractor or subcontractor, they must take all reasonable steps to ensure that they and their employees are not harmed while carrying out the work they are engaged to do. This does not apply to work a contractor does on your home.
DUTIES OF A PRINCIPAL
Naturally, you would not be responsible if a carpenter, for example, injured him/herself while using the tools of their trade. However you could be responsible if they were injured by incorrect use of your tools while on site.
You are only responsible for hazards or activities you can directly control. This would include informing contractors about any hazards specific to your business.
For their part, contractors have a duty to look after themselves and their employees. They are responsible for carrying out work in a manner that will not endanger themselves, their employees or anyone else in their place of work. However it is the responsibility of the Principal to intervene should it become apparent a risk to health and safety exists. The principal should ensure the situation is corrected.
Any person who is in control of a place of work (whether it is the owner, lessee, sublessee, occupier) must ensure that people in the place of work, or in its close vicinity, are not harmed by any hazard that arises from work activities.
When employing contractors and subcontractors’ specified health and safety standards should be part of the agreement or contract. Ask contractors how they intend to manage hazards on site and/or ask to see their health and safety plans.
To reduce or eliminate health and safety hazards in the workplace we need to initiate strategies in the following areas:
Our own behaviour.
Consultation between employees and employers.
Referral to, or intervention by an appropriate authority.
STRATEGIES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Strategies within our own behaviour
Ensure safety equipment and clothing are worn and being used correctly.
Follow the rules as set out in the health and safety plan.
Take notice of all health and safety signs and labels.
Develop safe work practices.
Strategies for consultation with employers
Use the chain of command
Set up a health and safety committee
Ensure the employer has an ‘open-door’ policy
Strategies for referring to an appropriate authority
Ask the employer to contact the appropriate authority
Contact the authority yourself
Correct any hazard immediately if possible and report. If unable to correct, report as soon as possible.
Immediately report and document any injury, hazard or potential injury or hazard you have or see.
Wear the correct personal protective equipment for the task.
GENERAL HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES:
Report any fault or damage to protective equipment.
Operate vehicles/machinery only after instruction of safety issues and legal requirements.
Ensure equipment and vehicles are maintained and any faults reported immediately.
Be aware of all emergency and evacuation requirements and procedures.
Avoid shortcuts and unsafe practices.
Keep workplace as clean as possible.
Employees to attend Health and Safety meetings.
To enable learners to deal with the following hazards we need to consider the procedures for each hazard.
When these procedures are not covered by an employee emergency plan the onus is on the employee to create a safe working environment, prevent accidents and eliminate the hazard.
PROCEDURES TO DEAL WITH HAZARDOUS EVENTS OR SITUATIONS
All employees should know the individual workplaces procedures for reporting and dealing with fire.
The location of fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire exits is very important if people are to be evacuated and fires are to be controlled.
DEALING WITH FIRE
Employees need to be trained in the correct way to handle a fire, and as many of the fires on horticultural properties could start with different mediums an awareness of different techniques and extinguishers for different fires is very important.
Knowledge of combustible products and chemicals could also be very valuable for staff. Many departments in an establishment use these or come into contact with them, and knowing what to do with each could save lives.
Staff who are responsible for ringing the fire department need to be aware of their responsibility and how to get through quickly.
Employees responsible for visitors and others need to know exactly what to do when a fire alarm does occur.
All employees also need to be aware of what to do in their own areas to limit the fire and keep the area safe.
Procedures for exiting the building need to be practised and exits kept open and accessible.
When lighting rubbish fires, contact the local council first to seek advice on permit requirements. Check the long-range weather forecast. Mow a firebreak and have the means to control the fire nearby prior to lighting. Never leave unattended.
To deal with a chemical spillage effectively employees should have an understanding of the variety of chemicals in their establishment and their properties. READ THE LABEL
DEALING WITH A CHEMICAL SPILLAGE
For some chemical spillages there may be a neutralising agent that will make the chemical inert.
By applying the correct agent in the right amounts the spillage may be able to be controlled.
Caution, however, should be applied if the spillage is a large one or the employee is unsure about what they are doing. Trying to fix the situation make may it worse. If you are unsure seek help.
For large spillages or spillages where staff are unsure about what to do the fire department should be contacted and the building evacuated.
Evacuation procedures and fire exits need to known by all staff.
Live electricity is a major hazard for any establishment.
It may cause or have the potential to cause an electrical shock. Always use a Residual Current Device (RCD) when required.
When dealing with live electricity the first step is to turn the current off.
DEALING WITH LIVE ELECTRICITY
This may mean switching off a small appliance which has exposed wires, to turning power off to the whole establishment or block.
When an employee has suffered or is suffering an electric shock, and the current cannot be turned off, the person can be pulled free of the live electricity using a dry insulating material such as cloth, wood or rubber.
Take care not to touch the person with bare hands or the shock will be transmitted.
An ambulance should be rung and when breathing has stopped mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be started.
Gas leaks are another hazard, which could be potentially lethal.
Unable to be seen, or often smelt, gas can accumulate and become combustible.
A room full of gas can be overpowering and knock out an employee.
DEALING WITH A GAS LEAK
When the employee is unconscious, they should be moved into fresh air and an ambulance and/or doctor rung immediately.
The room that is gassed should be well ventilated and the source of the leak repaired.
Gas leaks can occur with small appliances and gas bottles or with internal gas supply systems. Both have the potential to create a hazard.
Gas bottles should be stored in a well-ventilated shed .
Accidents are a common occurrence in the horticulture industry.
While most of these are minor cuts and abrasions the potential is there for a large accident.
To cope with these accidents, all establishments should have health and safety policies in place and all employees should be aware of them.
DEALING WITH AN ACCIDENT
Accidents and incidents must be recorded. This gives employers written documentation about what has happened and highlights areas of concern.
When accidents occur regularly steps can be taken to rectify the situation.
Policies and procedures should be set up regarding first aid. This will mean placing first aid boxes around the establishment at strategic positions and training employees in first aid.
When further medical treatment is required establishments should have a list of emergency telephone numbers and contacts, which can be rung on short notice. All employees should know what to do if these people are required.
The first step in improving health and safety in the workplace is to manage your hazards.
The steps in managing hazards are easy:
Rate the significance of these hazards
Deal with the Hazard
Complete the exercise provided by staff relating to hazards in the workplace.