National Safe Work Month will be held during October, and in what has been a challenging year for businesses around the country, it is worthwhile taking time to focus on the importance of work health and safety (WHS).
Safe Work Australia (SWA), which has been running the national campaign since 2009, states that its Work Health and Safety through
COVID-19 theme for this year “acknowledges and reflects the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, employers and workers”.
Further highlighting the importance of WHS, SWA figures reveal that:
- Preliminary data shows that last year in Australia around 180 people died while doing their job
- In 2017-18, around 107,000 people made a workers’ compensation claim for serious injury or illness
Of course, it is well documented that there are a range of risks associated with arboriculture work, and for this reason it is important for both businesses and the wider industry to address all aspects of WHS.
managing a wide range of risks
There are a wide range of risks that arborists typically need to manage from one project to the next – from climbing trees and working at heights, to operating heavy machinery and working in the heat – and each project will present its unique challenges.
For this reason, it is important to comprehensively address and manage risk factors on a project-by-project basis, and to ensure that effective procedures are in place to deal with different contingencies.
As previously covered in this series, workers face hazards ranging from slipping, tripping and falling, to lifting and holding machinery, to punctures and cuts from branches, to falling objects, such as branches and felled trees.
SWA’s Guide to Managing Risks of Tree Trimming and Removal Work provides a range of information for industry, assisting duty holders in the workplace in how to manage their obligations under WHS laws.
The guide details steps that can be taken in managing the risks, from identifying what could cause harm, to assessing the risk, to taking action to control the risk, to the importance of regularly checking control measures.
The guide, which can be found at the SWA website, addresses specific areas of tree trimming and removal work, including ground work, methods for accessing trees, tree work near overhead electric lines, tree felling, and operating a range of machinery.
“It is important to comprehensively address and manage risk factors on a project-by-project basis, and to ensure that effective procedures are in place.” and equipment.
“It is important to comprehensively address and manage risk factors on a project-by-project basis, and to ensure that effective procedures are in place.”
COVID-19: Important For Businesses To Adapt
Businesses have had to adapt following the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier in the year, and as time has passed approaches towards risk management have evolved as more is learned about COVID-19, with it important to keep up to speed with new developments.
SWA notes in its National guide for safe workplaces – COVID-19 that:
“Workplaces must find a ‘new normal’ and must continue implementing measures to reduce the spread of the virus, respond to the re-emergence of cases and to play their part in preventing health systems from being overwhelmed and preventing unnecessary deaths.”
The guide provides assistance for businesses seeking to determine how to best manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, covering the areas of planning, implementing control measures, monitoring the effectiveness of measures and improving measures.
The guide can be found at the SWA website, along with a host of other COVID-19 information and resources for businesses, including information for different industries.