A report into a serious accident at a Hunter coal mine has highlighted the vulnerability of light vehicles operating near heavy machinery.
Sara Feint's insight:
Driver safety is an important aspect of work on a mine site but if people aren't going to follow the rules then accidents are going to happen and they can be tragic. Road rules are implemented for a reason and people need to take more notice of them and follow the rules, maybe extra training programs need to be implemented or harsher penalties for breaking the rules need to be applied like on regular roads as a deterrent to reckless or brainless behaviour like in the two incidents referenced in the article.
It is great to see a large company like Toll putting in the research and money to combat fatigue management. While QLD mines are introducing this new technology more needs to be done throughout the rest of Australia to keep worker safe while driving on such long shifts.
Of course it's not a good idea to operate a 400 ton Truck when you're sleeping! Safety and security are major concerns in the mining and extraction industry....
Sara Feint's insight:
Driving can be a tiring exercise and doing it for up to 12 hours on shift in these huge trucks plus getting to and from work a truck driver at a mine is expected to be able to drive proficiently for up to 14 hours a day 6-7 days in a row before getting a break.
Anything to help combat driver fatigue has got to be a good thing and addressing the problem of micro sleeps and falling asleep at the wheel is an important OHS factor.
I think this is a great innovation for not only the mining industry but for any long distance or long hours driving occupation. If this technology works out even introducing it to private vehicles could save lives.
Every job has OHS issues but hoe does working with kids in your own home change things? Not only are they someone else's kids but they can range in ages from a few weeks up to almost five. After talking with the women who cares for my son here are the biggest OHS issues she faces on a daily basis.
First up is having a child safe environment. This involves having no chemicals, no sharp instruments, no choking hazards and no pets accessible. She herself has two dogs and a few cats that have to be kept apart from the children at all times.
The house has to be kept clean and tidy all the time, nothing left out on the kitchen table or bench for later and always have dry floors to avoid slipping so all mopping etc has to be done after hours.
Knowing how to lift properly not only equipment but children also. My son alone weighs over 14 kg and can seriously hurt your back if your not careful. Having up to four children in are at a time this can become very important especially when special needs children are included who ma not have the same bodily control and thus feel even heavier.
Disease control is also very important. Wearing gloves while changing nappies, disinfection of all toys and play equipment not to mention making sure if any of the children of yourself is sick not passing it onto the others. Keeping any medication out of reach of the kids is also very important.
Climbing hazards are another OHS issue dealt with daily. All play equipment must be under 50cm as per legislation or have soft fall added and risk assessments carried out. My son for one is a huge climber and must be watched constantly otherwise he falls off everything.
And lastly all toys and play equipment and other educational tools used must comply with Australian standards so no home made toys are allowed.
While there is a lot going on every day watching these children my daycare mum loves it and I can tell when I pick my son up as he is always smiling and having a great time. I cant think of someone I would prefer to have look after my son and appreciate all she does to keep him and the other kids in her care safe every week so he comes home to me.
A CAT793S is the truck on the right, they are used in the mining industry to transport coal. It doesn't look very big in the picture but you would be surprised. It is 6.53 meters high, 7.61 meters wide and 14.25 meters long. Not only that but the height increases to 13.88 meters high when the tray is elevated. It has two flights of stairs containing 21 steps to get into the cab and has a V 16, 4 turbo diesel engine and 2650 horse power. They have a maximum speed of 60 km/h and carry on average between 230 - 250 tonne of coal per load.
With the size and power these vehicles contain the OHS issues and regulations are many, because of this I will only be concentrating on the issues presented with driving, parking and exiting the vehicle. Surprisingly the road rules on site are exactly the same as the QLD road rules. The haul roads are made of gravel and dirt however they contain road signs, speed limits, turning lanes and road lanes like a regular street just on a much bigger scale. Because the cab is on the left of the vehicle it also means that they drive on the wrong side of the road and as my dad put it, when first starting out it can be a bit weird but you soon get used to it.
The number one biggest OHS problem that the drivers face when driving these trucks is the blind spot, not only is it on the opposite side to a normal vehicle due to the cab being on the left but the blind spot is big enough to hide another CAT793S. If it can hide another truck as big as it then a light vehicle has no chance. Drivers need to be aware of every other vehicle in its vicinity at all times no matter the size as they can be hidden so easily. Because of this problem communication is key. The two-way radios are in use constantly as everyone has to know what everyone else is up to at all times. If someone is having a problem everyone needs to know because you cant just pull up and hop out to check. So not only do you need to know where everyone is you also need to concentrate on the roads and on the other vehicles, it requires a lot of concentration and attention at all times. Over a 12 hour shift which is the norm this would get very tiring so fatigue management is very important.
As alluded to earlier you cant just pull one of these trucks over to the side of the road if there is a problem like a normal vehicle. There are specific change over bays that must be used and proper procedure for change over of drivers. This includes what is called a fundamentally stable stop. What that means is the vehicle is at a stop, in neutral and without brakes applied and doesn't move. Only once the truck is in this position can the park break be applied and the ladder dropped so the driver can get out. This should always happen at a designated area where it is safe for everyone.
This is only a small portion or the work these drivers do and already the OHS issues are varied. Driving a truck of this size is not an easy task and the ramifications if something goes wrong can be huge, we all know trucks on the road have long stopping lengths imagine what one if these can do especially in the rain with less traction.
Its great to see people are always looking into ways to make vehicles safer and working brakes are a very important piece of machinery. If these brakes work as advertised it could save a lot of money on not only improved performance and wear and tear but also on compensation payouts as accidents would be reduced due to safer working conditions.
This video doesn't have any constructive information about OHS with regards to driving on a mine site but it does show why it is so important for the drivers to know where people and vehicles are at all times. It barely registered that it was running over another vehicle and not even a small one at that.
When working in a job that requires going into peoples homes to work there are many OHS issues to take into consideration.
As you can see in the picture the machine used to clean carpets and upholstery is not small and definitely not light so when moving it between the vehicle and the house proper lifting techniques and safety while walking up and down stairs have to be used as well as proper lifting techniques when lifting and moving furniture.
Non slip shoes should be worn as the machine can leak and become a slip hazard so mopping up and spills is important.
It can also become a trip hazard when the power cord is going from one room to another so pathways should be kept as clear as possible.
The chemicals used also pose a risk and must be kept together, especially when in houses with small children and animals. . Proper procedures must be followed when using the chemicals to prevent poisoning and accidents from occurring.
The machine itself must be properly maintained so as not to cause any problems or hazards when in use.
And lastly the level of hygiene in peoples homes must be taken into consideration. If the house is unhygienic then that can also pose a risk.
A Phlebotomist is the person who draws blood for testing when required by doctors. They can work in many different environments from laboratories to hospitals. They have to work on everyone from babies to the elderly and are exposed to many different people with varying degree of difficulty and risk.
The biggest OHS issue phlebotomists face are needle stick injuries and infection control. Because they have to work on everyone the risk of receiving a blood borne disease if stuck or otherwise contaminated by the affected blood can be high. Because of the risk of needle stick injuries knowledge and awareness of sharps and how to use the bio hazard bins are very important.
Secondly is the use of PPE, how to wear the PPE and how it can reduce the infection if a needle stick injury were to occur. Because of this PPE is a very important part of the job, as is hygiene. Hand washing and disinfecting can also help prevent infections spreading from patient to worker and also from patient to the patient.
My husband works in the RAAF as an Avionics Technician (Avtech). That's him with the sunglasses. I didn't take this picture as he was overseas at the time and I wouldn't be able to get one any other way then from a friend taking it due to his work conditions and the photography policy within the defence forces. It was also taken a few years ago.
Now onto his job and the numerous OHS situations he faces each day, an Avtech is someone who works on the electrics on the planes and as can be seen in this picture there are a number of OHS situations. They can include working with heights, while working on the planes but also while washing them (a job he particularly hates due to the overalls always letting in water and getting drenched), working outside in the heat and the sun, working in confined spaces and obviously working with electrics, as well as the work space most often being outside on the runway so watching out for other vehicles and planes.
Now some not so obvious OHS issues can include working overseas (in war or warlike situations, which he has done twice himself), working late at night, working after flying all day so battling fatigue and stress. While these situations are minimised as much as possible, due to the nature of the job they can and are unavoidable at times and need to be managed as best as possible. Also working with chemicals and solvents, petrol (fuel), oil, lubricant are also daily parts of the job.
While he loves his job and never wants to leave there are risks involved which demand proper OHS guidelines and procedures because not only is his life and the life of his workmates at risk but so are the lives of the people who fly in the planes so fatigue, stress and mistakes need to be managed carefully to avoid mistakes being made and making sure everyone comes home safe.
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