WHAT is a safety culture

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WorkSafe NEWSLETTER                                            foR SafETy aNd HEaLTH REPRESENTaTivES

WHAT is a safety culture?
ADOPTING a safety culture in the pest industry
COME HOME SAFE campaign                                                                             PP665002100021            iSSuE 04

WHAT is a safety culture?
A good safety culture in a workplace exists when safety and health is                            •	 numbers	of	reported	hazards;
understood to be, and is accepted as, a high priority. Safety and health                         •	 the	existence	(or	lack	of)	OSH	
does not exist in a vacuum isolated from other aspects of organisations                             supporting	structures	and	programs;	
such as people and financial management. Safety culture is an integral                              and
part of the overall corporate culture.                                                           •	 budget	allocation	to	safety	and	health	
                                                                                                    initiatives	from	annual	reports	etc.	
What factors in the workplace                      4.	 Training	and	information	is	provided	     If	you	have	commitment	from	senior	
contribute towards establishing a                      for	everyone.                             management	then	the	next	step	is	to	
good safety culture?                               5.	 A	system	for	workplace	analysis	and	      plan	to	move	forward	from	there.		
It	is	not	possible	to	graft	a	safety	                  hazard	prevention	and	control	is	in	
                                                                                                 The	WorkSafe	Plan	assists	
culture	onto	an	organisation,	as	each	                 place.
                                                                                                 organisations	to	implement	a	risk	
organisation	is	unique,	and	the	best	              6.	 The	environment	in	which	people	          management	approach	to	safety	and	
safety	systems	in	the	world	will	fail	                 work	is	blame	free.                       health	in	the	workplace.		Many	of	the	
without	a	supportive	culture.	
                                                   7.	 The	organisation	celebrates	              elements	contained	within	the	plan	are	
                                                       successes.                                those	that	make	up	a	positive	safety	
                                                                                                 culture	in	an	organisation.
      Attitudes       Environment                  How do I develop a safety culture
                                                   in my workplace?                              WorkSafe	Plan	can	be	used	to:
                                                   To	develop	a	safety	culture,	change	          •	 provide	information	on	desirable	
               Systems                             needs	to	be	driven	from	the	highest	             safety	management	practices;
                                                   levels.	The	extent	to	which	you	can	          •	 identify	the	strengths	and		
                                                   influence	the	organisation	largely	              weaknesses	of	management	
Attitudes,	both	personal	and	                      depends	on	your	place	within	the	                systems;
organisational,	affect	the	development	            hierarchy.                                    •	 provide	a	measure	for	safety	
of	a	safety	culture	in	a	workplace.	               The	first	place	to	start	is	to	talk	about	       performance;	and
The	environment	in	which	people	
                                                   the	issue	to	senior	management	               •	 direct	attention	to	areas	that	could	
work	and	the	systems	and	processes	
                                                   through	existing	communications	                 be	improved.
in	an	organisation	also	influence	the	
                                                   structures	such	as:
safety	culture.	Each	organisation	                                                               WorkSafe	Plan	encourages	the	
needs	to	consider	all	of	these	aspects	            •	 team	meetings;                             continuous	improvement	of	safety	
in	developing	and	nurturing	a	safety	              •	 strategic	planning	sessions;               performance	as	part	of	a	best	practice	
culture	that	suits	the	organisation	and	                                                         approach	to	safety	management.		
                                                   •	 safety	and	health	representative	
the	individuals	within	it.                                                                       The	WorkSafe	Plan	is	suitable	for	
                                                      networks;	and                              organisations	of	all	sizes.
A	number	of	factors	contribute	to	a	               •	 safety	and	health	committees.
good	safety	culture:                                                                             The theme of this year’s Perth Work
                                                   Use	existing	information	to	support	your	     Safe 2007 forum will be Creating a
1.	 Commitment	at	all	levels.                      arguments	such	as:                            Safety Culture. For more information
2.	 Safety	and	health	is	treated	as	an	                                                          on attending this forum please
    investment	not	a	cost.                         •	 accident/incident	rates;
                                                                                                 contact DOCEP’s Promotional Team
3.	 Safety	and	health	is	part	of	                  •	 workers	compensation	costs;                on 9327 8781 or
    continuous	improvement.                        •	 absenteeism	rates;                         email promotions@docep.wa.gov.au

                                                                                                                              1300 307 877
                                                                                                                             ISSN: 1834-4127
    Published by the WorkSafe division of the department of Consumer and Employment Protection                       ISSN: 1834-4135 (Online)

ADOPTING a safety culture in the pest industry
Statistics have shown that                    rim	washable	hat	(the	scalp	has	large	        alone.	It	is	important	to	maintain	regular	
                                              numbers	of	blood	vessels	so	a	hat	will	       contact	with	the	office	and	workers	
many workers in the pest                      decrease	absorption	of	chemicals)	and	        should	keep	a	mobile	phone	or	duress	
industry take safety and                      gloves	should	be	used.	Workers	should	        alarm	on	them	at	all	times.	
                                              use	goggles	or	a	face	shield	when	
health risks.                                 spraying	and	a	full-face	shield	and	rubber	   Unsafe workplaces
                                              apron	when	mixing	chemicals.                  Careful	planning	and	training	in	risk	
WorkSafe	has	met	with	Pest	Education	                                                       analysis	can	help	workers	to	avoid	
Services	and	Training	(PEST)	to	discuss	      Hygiene                                       hazards	in	the	workplace.	These	
ways	to	improve	safety	in	the	pest	           It	is	important	for	workers	to	wash	their	    include	unsafe	electrical	wiring,	lead	
management	industry.	With	education	          hands	after	contact	with	chemicals.	          and	asbestos,	structurally	unsound	roof	
as	their	focus,	risk	management	and	                                                        spaces	and	constrained	spaces	where	
OSH	is	now	a	major	component	of	              The	study	showed	only	26	per	cent	of	
                                                                                            it	is	difficult	to	maintain	a	good	posture.	
PEST’s	competency	based	training.             pest	control	operators	wash	their	hands	
                                              after	using	chemicals,	and	30	per	cent	       Biological hazards
A	recent	study	highlighted	the	following	     of	workers	have	wiped	their	face	while	
most	common	risk	areas	for	pest	                                                            Workers	can	be	at	risk	of	exposure	
                                              using	chemicals.	As	some	workplaces	
control	operators.	                                                                         to	bites,	scratches,	stings,	allergens,	
                                              do	not	have	ready	access	to	running	
                                                                                            animal	excrement	and	fungal	spores.	
Chemical hazards                              water,	it	is	recommended	to	keep	a	20	
                                                                                            It	is	important	to	have	regular	tetanus	
                                              litre	container	of	water	in	the	vehicle	
Fifty	eight	per	cent	of	pest	control	                                                       vaccines	and	first	aid	training	to	treat	
                                              specifically	for	hygiene.	
operators	have	reported	that	they	have	                                                     wounds	and	bites.	
spilt	chemical	concentrate	at	least	once	     Workers	should	only	use	overalls	for	
a	week.	                                      one	shift,	then	soak	them	for	24	hours	       Physical hazards
                                              and	wash	separately	to	other	clothes.	        Carrying	20	litre	containers	of	chemicals	
Purchasing	chemicals	in	packaging	with	       They	should	shower	with	soap	and	             on	and	off	vehicles	and	from	vehicles	to	
metered	dosage	will	reduce	this	hazard.	      shampoo	at	the	end	of	each	shift.	            buildings	is	a	manual	handling	hazard.	
Chemicals	should	be	mixed	outdoors	or	        Equipment	and	tools	should	be	rinsed	         It	is	also	important	to	avoid	jumping	
in	a	well-ventilated	area	and	if	possible,	   after	use.	                                   from	utilities	as	injuries	frequently	occur	
low	toxicity	chemicals	should	be	used.	
                                                                                            when	workers	land	awkwardly.	
The	risk	of	chemical	exposure	increases	      Emergency response plan
                                                                                            Where	workers	are	working	at	heights,	
if	a	hand	held	nozzle	is	used,	or	if	the	     Workers	should	have	a	work	procedure	
                                                                                            some	form	of	fall	arrest	system	should	
chemical	is	sprayed	in	a	small	space.	        for	chemical	fires	or	spills.
                                                                                            be	in	place.	
Workers	must	have	access	to,	and	be	
familiar	with,	the	labelling	and	material	    Working alone                                 For	more	information	go	to		
safety	data	sheet	(MSDS)	of	all	the	          Workers	in	the	pest	control	industry	are	     www.worksafe.wa.gov.au	g	safety	
chemicals	they	use.	                          reportedly	concerned	about	working	           topics.

Personal Protective Equipment
According	to	the	study	in	the	last	six	
months,	74	per	cent	of	pest	operators	          SAFETY FOR PEOPLE WITH
had	splashed	diluted	chemicals	into	
their	eyes	and	48	per	cent	used	the	
wrong	type	of	gloves,	or	no	gloves.	
                                                LANGUAGE OR LITERACY ISSUES
                                                Employers	of	workers	with	language	and	literacy	issues	are	still	required	under	
Of	major	concern	is	the	lack	of	                the	Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984	to	provide	a	safe	system	of	work	
knowledge	pest	control	operators	               in	which	workers	are	not	exposed	to	hazards.
have	on	the	life	of	a	filter	canister	in	
respirators.		Their	effectiveness	is	often	     The	Act	does	not	require	people	to	speak	or	read	English,	but	it	does	place	a	
only	between	30	minutes	to	a	few	               duty	of	care	on	the	employer	to	ensure	that	all	workers	understand	the	hazards	
hours,	not	days	or	months.                      associated	with	the	jobs	being	performed	and	are	competent	to	perform	the	
Most	pesticides	have	a	cumulative	
(long	term)	effect,	therefore	it	is	very	       Consideration	of	a	worker’s	levels	of	understanding	of	written	or	verbal	
important	to	read	the	label	and	the	            information	should	be	factored	into	the	induction	process.		This	may	mean	
MSDS	to	determine	the	best	PPE	to	              translating	information,	such	as	MSDS’s,	Job	Safety	Analysis	forms,	work	
use	and	following	the	manufacturer’s		          instructions	etc	into	the	person’s	first	language,	multi-lingual	or	picture	signage	
instructions	for	maintaining	the	PPE.           in	the	workplace	and	using	interpreters	during	training	and	instruction.

In	general,	a	respirator	with	appropriate	      WorkSafe	inspectors	will	enforce	the	provisions	of	the	Act	where	safe	systems	
filter	canisters,	impervious	boots,	            of	work	are	not	in	place	for	everyone	in	the	workplace.
cotton	long	sleeved	overalls,	a	broad	
                                   foR SafETy aNd HEaLTH REPRESENTaTivES
NEW safety code promotes cultural                                                              STRONG SAFETY
change in the public sector                                                                    CULTURE at
Australia’s	first	safety	                                     Indirect	costs	such	as	lost	     ChurChes of Christ
code	aimed	to	protect	                                        production,	medical	costs,	      Churches	of	Christ	Homes	and	
workers	in	the	public	                                        administration	costs	and	        Community	Services	Incorporated	has	
sector	has	been	                                              the	cost	in	taxation	dollars	    been	recognised	for	its	strong	OSH	
launched	by	DOCEP	                                           of	injured	and	sick	people	       culture	where	safety	and	health	is	
Director	General,	Brian	                                     leaving	the	workforce,	           accepted	as	a	high	priority
Bradley.                                                     would	push	the	figure	up	to	
                                                             $273	million.	                    A	WorkSafe	Plan	Platinum	Certificate	of	
Mr	Bradley	described	                                                                          Achievement	has	recently	been	awarded	
the	Code of Practice:                                      Mr	Bradley	said	workplace	          to	two	of	its	aged	care	facilities,	Bethanie	
Occupational Safety                                        culture	and	safety	culture	         House	in	South	Perth	and	RiverSea	
and Health in the                                          were	influenced	by	senior	          Lodge	in	Mosman	Park.		
Public Sector	as	a	                                        management.	Research	
                                                                                               Wayne	Belcher,	Chief	Executive	said:	“It	
way	to	bring	about	                                       indicates	the	importance	of	
                                                                                               is	a	great	achievement	and	we	are	very	
significant	cultural	                                     leadership,	and	employees’	
                                                                                               proud	but	we	still	have	more	to	do	across	
change	in	the	public	sector.                    perceptions	of	their	leaders,	in	the	          our	whole	organisation.”
                                                formation	of	a	more	positive	safety	
“The	Code	allows	the	State	                                                                    Churches	of	Christ	demonstrated	a	
                                                culture	and	reduction	in	accidents.
Government	to	demonstrate	its	                                                                 strong	level	of	management	commitment	
commitment	to	the	safety	and	welfare	           “The	compelling	reason	for	raising	            to	a	safe	and	healthy	workplace.		As	part	
of	all	its	employees,”	he	said.	“It	sets	       standards	in	occupational	safety	and	          of	this	commitment,	OSH	considerations	
the	standards	for	safety	and	health	            health,	and	injury	management,	is	the	         are	fundamental	to	the	operational	
management	across	the	entire	sector	            humane	reason.	Working	towards	a	              and	administrative	functions	within	the	
so	the	Government	can	lead	the	way	             culture	change	which	incorporates	             organisation,	including	the	establishment	
in	building	a	culture	of	safety	in	the	         better	occupational	safety	and	health	         of	new	facilities.	
workplace.                                      management	is	another	reason	why	
                                                this	Code	is	important.”                       Key	features	of	the	risk	management	
The	public	sector	is	Western	                                                                  process	include	regular	consultation	
Australia’s	biggest	employer	with	              The	code	applies	to	all	agencies,	             between	colleagues	and	communication	
more	than	120,000	people.	The	direct	           including	departments,	trading	                of	OSH	policies.		There	is	also	
cost	of	compensation	claims	in	the	             concerns,	instrumentalities	and	               documentation	and	review	of	all	
public	sector	in	2006	was	$54	million	          statutory	bodies.                              incidents	and	near	misses	in	order	to	
–	equivalent	to	the	cost	of	six	new	                                                           continuously	improve	control	measures.		
                                                For	more	information	go	to		
primary	schools	or	326	extra	front-line	                                                       With	the	most	common	injury	in	aged	
                                                www.publicsectorsafety.wa.gov.au               care	homes	being	lower	back	injuries,	
police	officers.
                                                                                               the	organisation’s	‘no	lift	policy’	is	
                                                                                               reinforced	by	manual	handling	training	

  COME HOME SAFE campaign
                                                                                               and	information	given	to	staff.	
                                                                                               The	systems	that	exist	support	each	
                                                                                               other	and	also	address	other	people	
                     The most important reason to make your workplace                          affected	within	the	workplace.	For	
                     safe is not at work at all.                                               example,	the	Managing	Visitor’s	policy	
                      On	average	57	Western	Australian	people	are	injured	at	work	             is	directed	towards	clients,	their	families	
                      each	day.                                                                and	anyone	else	entering	the	workplace.		
                      To	raise	awareness	of	the	importance	of	workplace	safety,	               On	being	acknowledged	for	their	
                      WorkSafe	is	launching	a	state-wide	television	and	radio	                 proactive	safety	culture,	Mr	Belcher	said:	
                      campaign	in	September	and	October	2007.		The	campaign	                   “Recruitment	and	retention	of	staff	is	an	
                      supports	the	State	strategic	plan	priority	of	Safer	Communities.         issue	in	our	industry	and	having	good	
                                                                                               OSH	management	means	that	staff	feel	
                       The	campaign	focuses	on	the	importance	of	arriving	home	
                                                                                               that	they	are	cared	for	and	listened	to,	
                       safely	from	work	and	features	children	and	family	members	
                                                                                               and	that	increases	job	satisfaction	and	
                       waiting	for	loved	ones	to	come	home	from	work.
                                                                                               retention	of	valued	staff	members.”
                       It	aims	to	make	workplaces	safer	by	achieving	a	positive	
                       change	in	workplace	safety	culture	and	practices.		The	                 More	information	on	establishing	safe	
                       campaign	has	a	website,		                                               systems	of	work	and	a	copy	of	the	
                        www.worksafe.wa.gov.au/comehomesafe,	printed	campaign	                 WorkSafe	Plan	can	be	downloaded	from	
                        posters	and	other	information	products.                                our	website	at		
                                                                                               www.worksafe.wa.gov.au	g	Resources	
                        Contact	WorkSafe	on	1300	307	877	to	receive	a	campaign	                g	Publications	g	Additional	Publications	
                        pack.                                                                  g	the	WorkSafe	Plan	Workbook

Published by the WorkSafe division of the department of Consumer and Employment Protection
  REGIONAL inspectors assist bakeries
  WorkSafe will be inspecting bakeries in regional
  areas with the aim of reducing the rate of lost time
  injuries and diseases in the industry.
  WorkSafe	inspectors	will	be	                  of	material	safety	data	sheets	
  focussing	on	the	following	OSH	               (MSDS),	risk	assessments,	and	
  legislation	requirements:                     training	for	the	range	of	chemical	
                                                products	used	by	all	staff.	
  •	 Guarding	of	machinery	including	
     dough	mixing	machines.                   •	 Provision	of	personal	protective	
  •	 Manual	handling.	
  •	 Slips,	trips	and	falls	–	falls	on	the	   To	assist	bakeries	to	meet	their	OSH	
     same	level.                              obligations	WorkSafe	has	released	a	
                                              bulletin	focusing	on	safety	issues	in	
  •	 Provision	of	training	and	induction	
                                              this	industry.	For	a	copy,	go	to		
     of	new	and	young	workers.
                                              www.worksafe.wa.gov.au	g	
  •	 Hazardous	substances	–	provision	        publications	g	bulletin

CHROME PLATING workplaces to establish a safety culture
The OSH hazards                               clean-ups	and	weekly	or	monthly	walk-                        Key	recommendations	from	WorkSafe	
                                              through	inspections.	Their	safety	culture	                   inspectors	for	chrome	plating	employers	
associated with chrome                        resulted	in	higher	OSH	compliance	                           include:
plating include exposure                      levels	and	an	expected	decrease	in	
                                                                                                           •	 Developing	systems	eg	workplace	
                                              injuries	and	illnesses	with	potentially	
risks from carcinogenic                       lower	workers’	compensation	costs.		
                                                                                                              inspections	or	toolbox	meetings	to	
                                                                                                              manage	OSH	issues	in	consultation	
and corrosive substances                      However,	the	general	level	of	OSH	
                                                                                                              with	employees.	
                                              awareness	and	management	throughout	
and the risk of injuries                      the	electroplating	industry	needed	                          •	 Chrome	plating	workplaces	to	note	
from slips, trips and falls,                  significant	improvement.	                                       that	local	extraction	ventilation	in	
                                                                                                              conjunction	with	automatic	surfactant	
electrical hazards and                        The	main	issues	identified	were:                                dosing	and	temperature	control	
forklift work.                                •	 inadequate	identification,	assessment	                       systems	dosing	represents	best	
                                                 and	control	of	hazardous	substances	                         practice	in	control	of	atmospheric	
In	general	chrome	plating	firms	are	                                                                          chromium.	Where	possible,	
                                                 hazards	–	workplaces	were	not	
small	to	medium	size	businesses	                                                                              workplaces	should	implement	all	of	
                                                 conducting	the	required	health	
without	specific	OSH	resources	and	are	                                                                       these	controls.
                                                 surveillance	(medicals)	for	people	
generally	focussed	on	production.	
                                                 exposed	to	hexavalent	chromium;	                          •	 Where	a	local	extraction	ventilation	
WorkSafe	recently	visited	17	                 •	 that	‘brown-out’	events	where	chromic	                       system	is	installed,	air	flow	is	tested	
electroplating	workplaces,	primarily	            acid	mist	is	released	in	high	levels	due	                    to	ensure	the	capture	velocity	is	
chrome	platers,	in	order	to	assess	              to	failure	of	controls,	occurs	from	time	                    adequate.
OSH	management	in	the	industry	with	             to	time	in	workplaces	without	local	                      •	 The	need	for	a	plan	to	deal	safely	
particular	reference	to	hexavalent	              extraction	ventilation;                                      with	a	‘brown-out’	event	or	loss	of	
chromium	exposure	control,	hazardous	                                                                         control	when	chrome	mist	levels	in	
                                              •	 trips,	slips	and	falls,	including	
substances	management	and	other	                                                                              the	breathing	air	are	likely	to	be	high.		
                                                 potential	falls	into	chemical	tanks;	
areas	such	as	use	of	forklifts,	personal	
preventative	equipment	and	guarding.	         •	 use	of	forklifts;	and                                     For	more	information,	refer	to	the	
                                              •	 the	use	of	personal	protective	                           guidance	material	Controlling Hazards in
Some	workplaces	were	managing	                                                                             the Electroplating Industry,	WorkSafe’s	
their	OSH	issues	well.	Generally	                                                                          website		
these	workplaces	had	some	form	of	            The	highest	potential	exposures	to	                          www.worksafe.wa.gov.au	or	contact	
consultation	with	employees	occurring	        hexavalent	chromium	occur	in	the	hard	                       WorkSafe	on	9327	8777	for	further	
through	elected	safety	and	health	            chrome	plating	industry	followed	by	                         advice	on	OSH	issues	in	the	chrome	
representatives	or	tool	box	meetings	         decorative	chrome	plating	and	to	a	                          plating	industry.	
with	all	staff,	and	conducted	weekly	         lesser	degree,	zinc	electroplating.	

                                                   Articles	in	SafetyLine	are	intended	to	stimulate	discussion	and/or	provide	information	on	OSH	issues.	They	do	
                                                   not	necessarily	reflect	the	policy	of	WorkSafe	or	the	Commission	for	Occupational	Safety	and	Health.	
                                                   This	publication	is	available	on	request	in	other	formats	to	assist	people	with	special	needs.

  WorkSafe NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER07                                                                                                  www.worksafe.wa.gov.au
                                                                                                                                             1300 307 877