News

21 January 2019

Honeywell Approved!

Absafe are now a fully approved Honeywell Certified Service Centre

Extensive training and technical skills qualify us for all your service queries and requirements, for all Honeywell and Miller height safety products. don’t worry that Honeywell are closing their in-house service centre, because Absafe will continue to provide support for you. Fully supported and certified by Honeywell, with factory-trained technicians.

1 May 2018

ABSAFE & Hi-Rise Solutions

Hi-Rise Solutions is now part of Absafe!

Hi-Rise Solutions Pty Ltd is delighted to introduce you to a new and exciting phase in the company’s future operations. As of Monday, April 30, the company has been acquired by Absafe Pty Ltd.

Absafe will carry on the effective parts distribution system we all rely on, plus continue to provide the technical support that is vital to your work.

Although Denis O’Dwyer will soon be enjoying his long anticipated retirement, the rest of Hi-Rise Solutions staff will remain in place to continue providing normal services while introducing new systems and concepts to help improve and grow our offering to all our valued clients.

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Work At Height is most dangerous

Dr Julie Riggs DProf MSc CMIOSH, Lead Diploma Tutor at Phoenix Health and Safety discusses the issues of working at height after it’s revealed as the most frequent cause of fatal accidents in 2017 by the HSE.

Working at height is commonplace in a number of industries, from electricians and builders to window cleaners and firefighters.

With working at height comes risk. According to the latest HSE statistics, working from height was the most frequent cause of fatal accidents to workers in 2017, accounting for 28% of the total. There were also 43,000 non-fatal accidents involving falls from height across all industries. Over 60% of deaths during work at height involve falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms and roof edges and through fragile roofs.

Typical preventable accidents

Causes of typical accidents involving working at height include using ladders and stepladders incorrectly, overstretching from ladders and standing on benches or chairs to reach high surfaces. Accidents can also involve access equipment, such as mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP) and suspended access equipment (SAE); window cleaning cradles for example. The big question is how can a business keep its workers safe, and stay compliant with its legal and regulatory obligations?

HSE guidance on minimising risk

In their working from height guidance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) detail simple steps to minimise the risk. This invaluable advice for cleaning contractors can be summarised as:

  • Avoid work at height when there’s a practical alternative
  • Use the right type of equipment and ensure that it is stable, strong enough for the job and maintained correctly
  • Ensure workers can get to their working position safely
  • Don’t overload or over-reach when working at height
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
  • Provide protection from falling objects
  • Prepare and know the emergency evacuation and rescue procedures.

What the law says

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and to ensure that those affected by their activities are not exposed to risk, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers and those in control of any work at height activity to ensure that the work is properly planned, well supervised and carried out by competent people.

Who is a competent person?

In general terms being competent to work at height means having the right skills, knowledge, training and experience. The precise definition of competence for a specific job depends on the nature of the work and the equipment being used.

Assess the risk, record it and keep adjusting it

You can’t prepare for or avoid a risk unless you understand it, so risk assessment is essential to safety. Consider everything that can go wrong, decide on the precautions required and write down the findings.

Instruct and train your workforce in the precautions needed. Method statements are widely used in the construction industry and are an effective way to help manage the work and communicate what is required, so that everyone involved is working with the same information. The statement need be no longer than necessary to achieve these objectives effectively. Above all it should be clear, so using simple sketches to illustrate key points is a great idea. Statements are for the benefit of those carrying out the work and their immediate supervisors and should be as clear and simple as possible. Often the work at height risk is obvious or well known, so the necessary control measures are straightforward.

Finally, be sure to review the assessment regularly and change it whenever necessary. Often the full reality of a hazard only becomes apparent after a task has been completed.

Planning is key

The law on working at height requires employers to take into account the risk assessment when organising and planning work. That’s how the precautions required can be identified and work carried out with optimum safety.

HSE’s clear advice is to avoid working at height whenever it is reasonably practicable to do so. That can mean using alternative methods such as telescopic water fed poles or, most simply of all, cleaning the windows from the inside. The next option should be using an existing place of work that is already safe: a balcony for example.

But of course there are times when working at height is unavoidable. That’s when employers must make sure that the people doing the work are trained and competent, and that the equipment provided is suitable, properly maintained and will be correctly used.

Where using the equipment involves a risk of falling, additional measures to minimise the distance and consequences of any fall must be put in place. Prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury, for example by using a scaffold platform with double guard-rail and toeboards

Equally importantly, arrest a fall with equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall. Options include safety nets, where work at height cannot be avoided or the risk of falling prevented.

Remember, whenever work at height accidents are investigated and employers are prosecuted, one of the most common findings is that the work was not properly planned and supervised.

Involve everyone

An important part of the planning process is consulting the building owner or client. They will know, for example, if the window and/or building design allows for safe access from the inside, so that working from height can be avoided. When everyone is working together with an agreed and co-ordinated approach, that’s the simplest way to reduce the risks.

Be as proactive as possible

The old ‘prevention is better than cure’ saying has never been truer than it is when working at height. When things go wrong, people suffer injuries, sometime fatal. So being ahead of the game is literally a matter of life and death. Assess the risks accurately and change the assessment as soon as new information is available. Prepare people and equipment thoroughly and never, ever cut corners on safety procedures.

Dr Julie Riggs

Lead Diploma Tutor

Phoenix Health and Safety

www.phoenixhsc.co.uk/


10 April 2017

3M Acquires Scott Safety

ST. PAUL, Minn.–3M today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Scott Safety from Johnson Controls for a total enterprise value of $2.0 billion. Scott Safety is a premier manufacturer of innovative products, including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) systems, gas and flame detection instruments, and other safety devices that complement 3M’s personal safety portfolio.

3M’s Personal Safety Division provides respiratory, hearing, and fall protection solutions that help improve the safety and health of workers. The business also supplies products and solutions in other safety categories such as head, eye, and face protection, reflective materials for high-visibility apparel and protective clothing.

Scott Safety’s products help protect firefighters, industrial workers, police, military, homeland security forces, and rescue teams around the world from environmental hazards. The business had revenues of approximately $575 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2017.

The addition of Scott Safety’s well-regarded safety products, combined with 3M’s products, brands and global capabilities in personal protective equipment will provide a broader array of safety products and solutions, enhancing 3M’s relevance to customers worldwide.

Source: 3M website.


Construction death: father of Perth teen Wesley Ballantine wants answers

A GRIEVING father who has been told his 17-year-old son Wesley Ballantine was not wearing a safety harness when he fell more than 12m at a Perth construction site is demanding answers about safety procedures at the site.

Tyrone Buchanan said yesterday if he had known his hard-working but “inexperienced” boy had been working in a high-risk role he would have tried to stop him.

“Working at heights at his young age … working at night … to not be wearing a harness,” he said. “I just can’t comprehend (it) … I don’t know how much training he had.”

Wesley Ballantine, 17, died after falling 12m while working on the new fitout of the old General Post Office building. Picture: Facebook

Wesley died early on Thursday when he fell while installing glass ceiling panels in the atrium at the old General Post Office building in Forrest Place. The teenager fell about 4.30am while working a night shift that was supposed to finish at 6am.

“I’m just devastated … I’m just so shaken,” Mr Buchanan said. He has not been able to go to the site where his son died or look at the tributes left by his heartbroken friends.

“I can’t go there … if I go there it is just going to confirm that he’s gone, I just don’t want to confirm that he’s dead,” he said.

Worksafe at the site where Wesley died. Picture: Ian Munro

Mr Buchanan said he was upset that he had no response to a call he had made to the company that was believed to have employed the subcontractors his son worked for. He said he wanted answers about what safety processes were in place and what training his son had.

Wesley’s death came less than three months after German woman Marianka Heumann died when she fell 13 storeys at a city apartment site. It is believed she was standing on a bucket and working without a harness when she slipped and plunged down a ventilation shaft.

Mr Buchanan described his son as a proud and hard-working young man who wanted to be a lawyer.


Avoiding fall from height injuries in the construction industry

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Photo: SafetyCulture Library

Falls from height are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths in the construction industry.

Construction workers face a variety of hazards every day as they work with heavy machinery, transport construction materials and walk through busy work sites. But falls account for most of the injuries and fatalities in the construction industry.

Figures from Safe Work Australia show from 2003 to 2013 over one-quarter (28%) of construction deaths were caused by falls from a height, with most of the fatalities involving ladders, mobile ramps & stairways, and scaffolding.

Falls from a height accounted for 12% of work-related workers’ compensation claims in the construction industry from 2008–09 to 2012–13.

Most falls from height in the construction industry are caused by loss of balance while working on or near unprotected edges. These falls occur because the necessary safety measures are not put in place before commencing work. The risk of fall-related injuries can be reduced by establishing an effective fall prevention program. A fall prevention program ensures your workers remain safe so they can focus their attention on the tasks ahead without worrying about their safety.

The OHS Act requires employers to provide and maintain for their employees and contractors a working environment where fall hazards and risks, regardless of height, are eliminated or reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

Identifying fall hazards

Ensure all locations and tasks that involve the risk of a fall are identified before commencing work, including access to worksites. Examine every task with a view to determining whether a risk of falling exists. Some of the tasks need particular attention. These include tasks carried out on-:

  • Structures or plants being demolished
  • Fragile surfaces
  • Unstable surfaces
  • Near trenches where a worker can fall
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Elevated work platforms
  • Near an open edge

Below are some of the ways to help reduce falls

a) Training

Ensure your workers are trained on proper use of equipment. Fall prevention training should be conducted every year and a current record documenting each worker’s completion maintained.

b) Limit use of ladders

Fall from ladders account for a significant number of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. To prevent ladder related worker injuries, time spent on ladders should be minimised and instead, mobile lifts used whenever possible. Additionally, all ladders should be inspected before use. When inspecting a ladder, look for the following faults-:

  • Corrosion of metal parts
  • Loose bolts and screws
  • Damaged edges
  • Cracked side rails

Ladders found to be in poor condition should be tagged and taken out of service. Remove broken ladders from the work site if repairs are not feasible.

c) Planning your work

It is advisable to ensure all work is planned as this not only ensures the successful completion of your project but also helps prevent workplace injuries. When planning your work, look at the type of work, work tools and access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Moreover, safety equipment should be included when an employer is estimating the cost of a project.

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Acquisition Expands 3M’s Presence in Fast-Growing Personal Protective Equipment Industry

ST. PAUL, Minn. – June 23, 2015 – 3M announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Capital Safety from KKR for a total enterprise value of $2.5 billion, including the assumption of approximately $0.7 billion of debt, net of cash acquired. Capital Safety is a leading global provider of fall protection equipment, one of the fastest-growing safety categories within the global personal protective equipment industry.

The personal protective equipment industry is a strategic priority for 3M. Demand for personal protective equipment is rapidly growing, driven by increasing regulatory focus on worker safety across both developed and developing countries.

Capital Safety’s industry-leading products and solutions include harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines and engineered systems sold under well-known global brands DBI-SALA and PROTECTA. The company has demonstrated strong and consistent growth with sales increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent over the past four years. The company’s sales, adjusted to include recent acquisitions on a full-year basis, were approximately $430 million for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2015.

3M’s Personal Safety business, part of 3M’s Safety and Graphics Business Group, is a global provider of respiratory and hearing protection solutions that help improve the safety and security of workers. The business also supplies products and solutions in other safety categories such as reflective materials for high-visibility apparel, protective clothing and eyewear, among others.

“Personal safety is a large and strategically important growth business in the 3M portfolio,” said Inge G. Thulin, 3M chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The acquisition of Capital Safety bolsters our personal safety platform and will build on our fundamental strengths in technology, manufacturing, global capabilities and brand.”

“Capital Safety is a tremendous business with a strong reputation in the safety industry and a talented team of dedicated employees,” added Frank Little, executive vice president, 3M Safety and Graphics Business Group. “3M’s brand in personal protective equipment, combined with our global capability, will provide a broader array of products and solutions to both Capital Safety’s and 3M’s customers.”

The business employs approximately 1,500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Bloomington, Minn.

DBI-SALA and PROTECTA are registered trademarks of Capital Safety.

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WorkSafe prohibition notices at Timaru District mayor Damon Odey's new home preventing work at height after an inspector found the building's scaffolding did not meet safety rules.

Jack Montgomerie/Fairfax NZ

“WorkSafe prohibition notices at Timaru District mayor Damon Odey’s new home preventing work at height after an inspector found the building’s scaffolding did not meet safety rules.

Builders have stopped work at Timaru District mayor Damon Odey’s new house after it failed to meet scaffolding rules.

A WorkSafe health and safety inspector served builders Aorangi Homes and scaffolding company R&S Scaffolding with notices on Thursday prohibiting all work in high places at the three storey Grey Road house.

The government agency’s prohibition notices stated an inspection concluded there were incomplete handrails, no edge protection on a concrete deck on the house’s second storey, no internal edge protection along a roof edge, missing kick boards and missing sole plates at the building site.

The inspector also found Aorangi Homes used tie-down strops used as edge protection and that R&S Scaffolding had no scaffold tag at the building site. The notice would remain in place until the inspector was satisfied the companies had taken measures to eliminate or minimise the hazards.

Aorangi Homes director Jeff Wright said the prohibition notice was “just an informative thing” and the company hoped to resume work at the weekend. Aorangi workers had built wooden railings around the house’s stairwells, a lift shaft and across windows, but the inspector judged them inadequate.

Wright said subcontractors had been working on the house without realising the scaffolding was incomplete before the inspector visited. Although it was difficult for building companies to be “lawyers, accountants and health and safety experts”, the company accepted the inspector’s findings.

“It’s just the world we live in.”

R & S Tradehire’s scaffold manager Marcus Goddin said the problems the inspector identified were “not a big deal at all”. Building scaffolds which ensured all types of tradespeople’s safety could be challenging.

Odey said the expected two days’ delay was “not an issue over the scope of the build”. Aorangi Homes had kept him fully informed and he was happy with its approach. ”

“Safety comes first, no exceptions.”

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185 WORKER FATALITIES IN 2014

With the occurrence of each work-related fatality, Safe Work Australia records information, updates statistics and prepares various reports.

The number of worker deaths listed on this page is based on initial media reports and is a preliminary estimate for the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia can update the workplace of the incident. A review of information for the first six months of 2014 has been undertaken using this information and the industry information in the table below has been updated. The updated information is used in Safe Work Australia’sNotifiable Fatality reports which are published monthly and the annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report.As at 31 October 2014, 142 Australian workers have been killed while at work.

Year-to-date 2014: worker deaths by industry of workplacea

INDUSTRY OF WORKPLACE TOTAL WORKER DEATHS 2013 TOTAL WORKER DEATHS 2014
Transport, postal & warehousing 52 47
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 50 46
Construction 17 29
Miningb 10 15
Arts & recreation services 10 13
Manufacturing 14 12
Accommodation & food services 3 6
Wholesale trade 4 5
Administrative & support services 1 3
Electricity, gas, water & waste services 7 3
Health care & social assistance 2 2
Public administration & safety 5 2
Government administration & defence 1 1
Other services 4 1
Education & training 0 0
Financial & insurance services 0 0
Information media & telecommunications 1 0
Professional, scientific & technical services 0 0
Retail trade 6 0
Total worker deaths 187 185

a Ranked in descending order, and then on alphabetical order for industries with no fatalities.

b Mining fatalities include fatalities that occur in the coal mining, oil and gas extraction, metal ore mining, gravel and sand quarrying, and services to mining sectors.

c Includes notifiable fatalities that occurred overseas.

Safe Work Australia also collects and reports on a range of other work health and safety and workers compensation statistics.

This report was originally featured on Safe Work Australia.