NEWS

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Look Twice, Act Once - Jan pt.2 - Sun Safety (Refresher)

Published on: Friday, 20 January 2023

We know, we know. We sound like a broken record. But, just last week, South Australian health authorities have issued a skincare warning to their citizens after a sudden rise in the number of people admitted to hospital with severe sunburn. So, it’s a big deal. And whilst the temperatures over east haven’ treally hit the typical Australian heat levels, here in WA they certainly have.

So as a reminder, here are a few things you should absolutely do to stay safe in the heat of the Aussie summer.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

Slip on a shirt, Slop on some Sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade, and Slide on some sunglasses. But its not just that. Cover up as much as you can – we know that long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the summer are at best uncomfortable, but we also know that they help protect you from a plethora of different hazards – not least of all being the sun, but also from burns, cuts, abrasions, and a bunch of other potential hazards on site. Sunscreen is a must – and as always the highest protection you can get is best (SPF50+ works very well), and so too is a proper hat with a wide brim to protect you. If you are going to wear a cap, wear it properly (i.e., not backwards) to cover your face and forehead. And sunglasses are a must as well – just make sure they meet the shatter standards and wrap around to protect your eyes from every angle especially if you’re using them as safety glasses too.

And remember with Sunscreen, to reapply every two hours, and to check the expiration date before you use it.

Take regular breaks

Summer means heat. We can’t express this enough. So, with heat, also comes sweating, and general exhaustion. That old saying: “The heat takes it out of you” – it’s true on so many levels. Physical strength, mental constitution, and hydration are all sapped by the power of the big burning ball of hydrogen we know as the sun. So, it is wise in Summer to take regular breaks to rehydrate, sit for a minute, and collect your thoughts, and just get off your feet for a bit. This allows you to cool down, and refocus, which helps you avoid any mistakes which may result in an accident.

Don’t ignore the signs

If you think you might be suffering from the effects of heat – whether that’s just exhaustion, sun burn, or heat stroke – stop working, seek shade and take a seat, and immediately drink some water. If symptoms get worse – then immediately seek medical attention. Remember to listen to your body and what it is telling you, and if you happen to be exhibiting the effects of heat stroke (slurred speech, confusion, or hot,dry skin) then immediately call 000.

Remember, stay safe in the sun. Keep your wits about you, play it safe and keep it steady – and you’ll get out the other end of summer hunky dory.

Look Twice, Act Once - January 23 - Welcome back!

Published on: Thursday, 12 January 2023

Welcome to a brand new year! 2023 is going to be an incredibly interesting and exciting year for many people – including we hope you!

But, let’s face it – we’ve just come from a the Christmas/New Year period which for many of us is a time when we let our hair down, and throw caution to the wind a bit. And sadly after a few weeks of that, sometimes bad habits can form. So, here are a few ways to get yourself back into good habits, and keep yourself safer on any worksite.

Write a checklist

It might seem pretty obvious, but whilst you’ve been off you haven’t exactly had to complete a SWMS for cooking on the barbie, or a work start meeting before a big breakfast. So, there might be a few things you’ve forgotten about getting yourself ready for work in the morning – including some safety details.

As such, we’d recommend sitting down and writing out what you need to do in the morning, and what you need to check off. It takes about three to six weeks for something to become a habit – so if you do it for the first few weeks of the year it will hopefully become second nature. Remember to include things like checking your drink bottle is filled, Pack/put on your hat, have your volt stick & gloves on you, check your PPE is in good order and replace if needed ( including clothing and boots – see your field officer if you need anything new), and always complete your daily Risk assessment – just to name a few.

Get to bed early

We know, we know. We aren’t your parent or guardian. But, if you’re anything like some of us here, the holiday period was filled with late nights, early mornings, and little sleep. It’s amazing how much that can catch up with you as well. That’s why getting to bed, even just an hour early, will do wonders for your mental clarity and overall safety. (N3wyr) And if you’re more on the ball, then you’ll be more likely to pick up safety issues and make the site safer for you and your workers,

Drive Safely

Just because you’re back at work doesn’t mean everyone is. There is likely to still be increased traffic on the roads – at least until the end of January. So just make sure that you’re keeping your wits about you when driving, drive carefully and look out for impaired drivers. Plan for heavier than usual traffic, and allow ample time to get to where you’re going so you’re not stressing behind the wheel, and/or taking unnecessary risks.

Be sun safe!

We know we keep going on and on about this – but seriously, remember to slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide. Drink plenty of water and remember to use good quality, non-expired sunscreen to help protect you during the day and drink plenty of water.

So there you have it – a few tips which will help you get off to a safe start. Remember, 2023 can be a cracker of a year if you make it so – so let’s stay safe and make it the best year we can!

Look Twice, Act Once - December pt. 3 - Mental Awareness

Published on: Friday, 16 December 2022

Whilst many of us find this time of year a particularly joyous one – there are some who, plainly, do not. Whether that’s because of stresses from work, social gatherings, or a general dislike for this time of year – there are some people who find this part of the year tough.

We wanted to take a moment to recognize this. And we also wanted to take a moment to say that it’s okay to be overwhelmed, or not in the best mental state in this time of year. It’s stressful.

Know that we here at EGT take our safety role as an employer very seriously – and that extends to mental health. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or just feel a little unlike yourself – remember there are a heap of people who can help. (We’ve placed these numbers at the bottom of this article)

But what can you do to help? Let’s say you know someone is having a difficult time – what are some of the things you could do to help?

1 – Ask if they’re OK.

If you notice someone isn’t acting or being themselves – it’s not a problem to ask if they’re OK. And, if they say they are, it’s also ok to ask them again. Remember, depression and anxiety can manifest in very different ways across different people – but being that they are your workmates you probably know them better than some of their mates do. And, it might just be this question which leads to them getting help.

2 - Listen

Listening doesn’t just mean listening to what someone has to say. It’s also being aware of odd behaviour, seeing what people are doing around this time and overhearing conversations on site which you might think are out of character – or sound particularly stressful. Of course, it could just be being someone to bounce an idea off, or to help someone verbalise what they’re feeling.

3 – Seek Help

This may also apply to yourself, but he best way to help someone after the first two steps is to seek help. This should be professional help, and you can find it through one of our partners, your own research, have a professional recommended to you, or even one recommended to you by a GP. Whatever the case – know that help is available.

4 – Be aware

This last point is really for those who are fortunate enough not to be afflicted with a mental health issue. Be aware that there are some people who are, and who at this time of year, can be suffering even more. They may feel isolated, they may feel lonely, they may be erratic, and they may be overly zealous. Whatever the case – remind yourself that people might be going through some things that you’re unaware of – particularly at this time – and show a little compassion.

With that, we’d also like to wish you all a very merry Christmas as we sign off for the year. The quiz will be uploaded next week, and we will announce a winner in the new year.

Stay Safe, and remember – do #noharm!

Contact Details:

Worklink

Worklink is our EAP. They are a confidential service who any employee of EGT can speak to, completely free, to discuss issues which might be preventing them from performing at their best. It’s completely confidential, and can often lead individuals to get help if needed. Their number is 1800 468 001

Mates in Construction

Mates is an industry back, research based, charitable organisation formed with the goal to reduce the high level of suicide amongst Australian construction workers. MATES provides suicide prevention through community development programs on sites, and by supporting workers in need through case management and a 24/7 help line – 1300 642 111.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue provide support programs to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses. They offer a free mental health line, 1300 22 4636, and also a host of webchat and email services on their website at beyondblue.org.au.

Look Twice, Act Once - December Pt. 2 - Finish SAFE (Start Fresh)

Published on: Friday, 9 December 2022

Welcome to the second week of Look Twice, Act Once for December!

Each year as the holidays near, we are reminded of all the wonderful reasons to work safely each day. But right now, in this short final run up to the end of the year, we know things can be missed because you’re under pressure to finish that last job, or shortcuts might get taken because you want to get out early on a Friday.

These shortcuts, can sometimes lead to avoidable accidents and incidents. Whether that’s because you have something else on your mind – like that holiday you’re about to go on, party plans or planning, Christmas shopping or something else that the silly season can bring with it. Or someone else has these things on their mind, and you’re bearing the brunt of their distraction.

The anticipation of upcoming festivities can distract us from the job at hand. And, these distractions also create elevated accident risk in the workplace due to inattention and complacency, which is why accident rates tend to increase during the holiday season.

We can also find ourselves rushing to complete the scheduled work before the holiday period starts or working additional hours to complete the work, resulting in tiredness and exhaustion.

So what can you do to help you through thee craziness of the festive season? Well, we have a few tips for you:

Make a List (And check it twice)

Make a list of all the things you have to do is a great way to ascertain what you need to do for the day, and also organize your time during the day. This is so you know what you need to do, what you need to complete, and roughly how much time every task will take. It’s also a great tool to use if someone attempts (CHR5TM4S) to rush you – so you can be secure in your own mind as to what you need to do to complete work safely for the day. By taking the extra few moments to plan and review each task and to complete risk assessments we can keep our minds focused and aware of our surroundings.

Have “Hours of Power”

A great way to ensure you get things done is to switch off distractions for an hour at a time, and rip into what you are doing. So that means, keep your phone away from you for an hour, and just focus on the task at hand. If you do this just four times a day, you’ll get more work done, and feel better at the end of the day that you don’t have to cram a bunch of work into the last 15 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to knock back work

Sometimes you can’t do this – but if you’re overworked and you think it’ll be unsafe for you to do that volume of work in that space of time – you can always suggest someone else does the new task. You can also ask for help – there’s nothing wrong with that. Stressing yourself out because you haven’t finished a particular job is not worth it, and getting the job completed safely is paramount.

What we’re saying is, we know it can be a hectic time of year – just slow down, think about what you’re doing, and you’ll be stood around the barbie with your mates before you know it.

Let’s finish 2022 safely and start fresh and focused in 2023.

Look Twice, Act Once - December Pt. 1 - Sun Protection

Published on: Friday, 2 December 2022

Welcome to December! And therefore, welcome to Summer in Australia – officially. As comedian Dylan Moran once put it: “You live ¾ of a mile from the surface of the sun and walk around audibly crackling.”

And he’s not wrong (well, except for the distance to the sun – but it sure feels like it!)

Summer is a time when the mercury reaches well over 40 degrees some days, and the UV index goes to extreme for pretty much the whole three months. So, it is highly critical that you stay safe from the sun. We know that some of these things you should do to keep yourself safe from the sun are uncomfortable – but they’re better than dealing with melanoma, heat stroke, and dehydration – trust us.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

It’s summer. So, as the old saying goes, Slip on a shirt, Slop on some Sunscreen, Slap on a hat, seek shade, and Slide on some sunglasses. We know that wearing long sleeved clothing (top and bottom) can be very uncomfortable in the summer. You’ll be sweating, and hot. However, it will protect you from a plethora of different hazards – not least of all being the sun, but also from burns, cuts, abrasions, and a bunch of other potential hazards on site. Sunscreen is a must – and as always the highest protection you can get is best (SPF50+ works very well), and so too is a hat. But when we say a hat – a proper hat is best with a wide brim to protect you. If you are going to wear a cap, wear it properly (IE not backwards) to cover your face and forehead. And sunglasses are a must as well – just make sure they meet the shatter standards and wrap around to protect your eyes from every angle.

And remember with Sunscreen, to reapply every two hours, and to check the expiration date before you use it.

Drink Up!

Staying hydrated is a must during the heat of the summer. And by that, we mean drinking water. Whilst you might love that iced coffee on a hot day – and they are delicious – coffee and tea can actually make you want to go to the bathroom and thus lose more water. Not to mention, the fact that you’ll be sweating and overall hot, water is a much better option during the summer months. You should aim to drink about 2L a day, at a minimum during summer.

In an emergency

IF you feel like you are succumbing to the effects of heat – whether that be heat stroke, being sun burnt, or something similar the first thing you must do is stop working, and go find a place to sit down that is cool and shady, and drink water. If symptoms get worse, then immediately call 000 and go to hospital. Remember, your safety is paramount. And only you can tell how you’re feeling. Whilst there are symptoms of heat stroke (such as confusion, agitation, irritability, slurred speech, or hot, dry skin, there is no better barometer than your own knowledge of your own body.

If you apply a little common sense, keep your uniform worn correctly (and yes, that means sleeves rolled down and buttoned up), and keep yourself hydrated, then Summer should be a breeze for you. But if you have any questions or concerns, contact your field officer for clarification.

Look Twice, Act Once - Site Emergencies Pt. 2: Drilling Errors

Published on: Thursday, 10 November 2022

This week, we are going to be looking at what happens/what could happen if you drill through something you’re not supposed to. This includes water pipes, sewer pipes, gas pipelines, and electrical wiring.

Accidents happen in site. The best thing about being in construction is that they’re usually fixable. Sometimes it’s an expensive fix, but you’d likely be surprised how many excavators hit sewer lines or existing plumbing. The point is – it happens, and it’ll likely happen to you at some point of your career.

However, because they’re more common than you think, don’t think that they aren’t dangerous. Drilling through live power cables can be lethal, so too can drilling into gas pipelines, and main water pipes can cause a lot of damage.

First thing to do, as always, it make sure you know what you’re doing. Whilst this sounds a little asinine, what we mean is make sure you know where you’re drilling, what’s behind what you’re drilling, and make sure you mitigate the risk to yourself and risk of damage to property as best as you humanly can before you start. That means figuring out where pipes are running, where conduits are, and in cases where you’re drilling blind, making the best educated guess you can to avoid as much damage as you can. In the case of electrical outlets, make sure the power to the area you’re working on is disconnected, and locked off. Make sure you follow property EGT procedure for this, and bear in mind that the entire site’s power might need to be turned off for you to complete your work safely. This may also apply to gas mains and water mains, especially if you’re working on a domestic home.

Also, please ensure you know where ALL of the mains supplies are for the home you’re working on. That means Gas, Electricity, and Water.

When you’re ready to start – check your working again. And if need be, have someone else check it with you.

Now that you’re ready to drill, start drilling. But, take your time. You are not paid by how quickly you can finish a job – and if you don’t finish the job safely at all it might cost you more than the extra five minutes you had to take with your drilling device.

Lets say however, that you hit a gas pipeline.

The first thing you have to do is STOP what you’re doing. Do not keep drilling, just stop. Leave the machine in the wall. The next thing is to inform the head builder on site and your superior, and then immediately isolate the energy supply – in this case the gas – to ensure there is no leaking. You can either turn the tap off at the front of the property, or inform the correct trade to isolate it for you. Leaking gas can cause large issues, leaking water can cause massive damage in walls, and electrical damage can cause a plethora or issues including fires and electrocution.

Assuming the gas was turned off, then it is likely you will be asked to go on with other work whilst the damage is rectified. However, if the gas has NOT been turned off, you will likely be asked to evacuate the area and possibly the site, whilst the appropriate trades attend to the building.

However, this isn’t necessarily true with all of the forms of energy supply. It is unlikely that you would be asked to stop work if there is a water leak, unless it is creating a different danger such as being energised by an electrical current. And likewise, if there is an electrical danger, you may be asked to isolate that room, and ensure no one enters it, however the site may still be safe to operate on. For more information on this, please ask your tradesperson, or field officer.

As we mentioned, these things can happen from time to time. But that doesn’t mean that you should be lax with the response to hitting a pipe or a conduit. And, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all response to any of the scenarios. The best thing to do is remember your safety is paramount, and be as safe as you can be. Isolate, and remove the danger as best you can without putting yourself in harms way, and make sure you inform the correct people.