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Working on a safer Queensland

This film shows the proactive and participative side of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's activities.

Meet the teams of WHSQ and find out how they can help with your work health and safety requirements.

Download a copy of this film (MP4/ZIP, 36MB)

TITLE PAGE: Working on a safer Queensland

Inspector: (on mobile phone) G'day guys, just letting you know I'm on site, so I'll be up there shortly.

Workers: Inspector's on site! Inspector's on site! COPY.

Workers: Inspector's on site! Hey - Inspector's on site!

Watch out – here he comes!

(Workers are scattering. Inspector arrives to empty site.)

Inspector: What the...?!

Mark Hurst: I always saw the department as being the Big Bad Wolf, if they come down to one of my sites its like okay what have I done wrong.

Steve Griffiths: We often get employers calling up in a flap because an inspector's going to visit.

Jodie Wilson: We all thought Workplace Health and Safety were the people to avoid. ... Sorry Trish!

Suzanne: When I mentioned Workplace Health and Safety, I got that intake of breath.

Trish Coward: Some workplaces are a little defensive when we first go out.

Grant Hastie: Oh well, you have a chuckle and you set them straight. You tell them about the way we conduct business these days...

Fiona: We need to move beyond these perceptions, and that's where this film comes in.

It'll show that there's more to Workplace Health and Safety than just our enforcement role.

(Film title shows on screen)

Fiona: We've got to cover a lot of different bases, different industry groups, job types, and work environments. So our team has a wide variety of specialists ranging from doctors through to hygienists, mechanics and builders.

Stuart: I'm an engineer in Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and I am involved in writing codes of practice.

Trish: I specialise in occupational communicable diseases So the bottom line is I deal with bugs and germs.

Brian: What we do is regulate process safety with particular focus on dangerous goods and hazardous materials.

Tammy Roberts: Part of my role is providing advice to employers, to our own inspectors around psychosocial issues, so part of that is talking to them about workplace harassment, occupational stress, fatigue and also violence.

Suzanne: I'm one of a team of advisers that work with industry and organisations to better manage their musculoskeletal disorders.

Grant: It's very important for inspectors and advisors like myself to come from an industrial background to get an understanding of the hazards in the industry.

Grant: One of the more challenging aspects of the role would be in the aftermath of an incident.

Fiona: It's just a gut-wrenching experience. You never know what you're going to face when you get there.

Stuart: And no matter how hard we try and investigate it, it's not going to bring the people back alive, it's not going to give them another arm.

Fiona: But we are there for a purpose. We are there to investigate the incident, to find out the causal factors and hopefully prevent another incident from occurring.

Grant: and then we've got to work with the industry and take learnings out of that so that it won't happen again.

Tammy: For me, working in workplace health and safety is about the potential that you have everyday to make a difference.

Fiona: And I think that's what keeps you moving forward.

Stuart: Gone are, well to a large extent the old days when we just gave the orders and expected industry to do what they were told.

Steve: I've actually seen quite a positive change in how Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is portrayed and the activities that they're involved in.

Suzanne: We're more than just regulators.

Tammy: what we're trying to do is get out there and work with employers through opportunities like running focus groups, running workshops, delivering presentations, providing some training.

Grant: And we can provide assistance in forms of technical advice and guides, information, policy interpretation and so on.

Jodie: and their officers are always happy to help if you give them a call and have a question for them.

Tony Fish: Stu comes and visits if I've got anything in the workshop I'd like him to come and look at to get his clarification.

Brian: We also want to understand the work that is being done by the major hazard facility so that residents who maybe live in proximity to a major hazard facility can sleep in their beds at night assured that there's not going to be a major accident.

Bill: We see the role of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland as part of our assurance process that makes sure that our processes are rigorous in managing our hazards.

Tim: I suppose it just gives us a bit more of a sense of security that we are heading down the right direction in our day-to-day operations.

Bill: So they come and they do challenge us, and that challenge is a good thing for us.

Tony: Now Workplace Health and Safety are getting out a bit more you can talk to them, you can see them.

More a people's type of Workplace Health and Safety now than the way they used to be.

Fiona: Expert knowledge and good working relationships with industry, have led to some great success stories.

(Title on screen: The PerForm story)

Steve: Perform is an excellent manual task tool.

Darlene Moore: From someone who's had a lot to do with heavy manual tasks, it's certainly easy to use and it's quick.

Darlene: (to workers while filling out form) So show me what sort of position you have to get in to do that.

Steve: I think one of the issues with manual tasks in the workplace is that I don't think the workers really appreciate the fact that they could get hurt at work in that way.

Darlene: (to workers while filling out form) So that shows the sort of exertion and everything that that puts on your back.

Suzanne: With Perform it's exciting to see when the workers have actually come up with a solution, and what we're after is more engineering and design controls. And there's been some great uptake of it and we're getting some very exciting solutions coming out of it.

Darlene: The spot welding processes is certainly very awkward to do. It's on a jig but it's very low and it's very cumbersome for the guys to do. We've replaced that now, after showing through Perform how the awkward postures were affecting people. They looked at different ways of doing it. Now we are ... pop riveting them together rather than spot welding.

(Title on screen: The infection control story)

Trish: For me the trigger with working with the veterinary industry has been Hendra virus.

Jodie: the Hendra virus issue has made a big difference for us because it's made us aware of the things other than Hendra virus that pose risks in our practice.

Trish enters vet's foyer: Hi how are you going...

Trish: So the AVA came up with the idea of running state-wide infection control workshops and so they partnered with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

I've talked to number of vets now how have told me that the reason why they have changed their infection control practices is because they attended one of those workshops and that's just so great to hear.

Jodie: After working with Trish we've changed a lot of the way we do things, and even simple things like good hand hygiene, learning how to wash your hands.

We've changed our footwear. We've changed our flooring. We've changed lots of our policies and protocols to make sure that everybody's safe and we're doing the best thing for not just our patients, but our clients and our staff members as well.

(Title on screen: Mates in construction story)

Mark: As far as the stats tell me, the building industry has got the highest suicide rate in Australia.

I mean in the past, if blokes are going through trouble they've just been told to suck it up and get on with it, you know. And this is why we do have suicides in construction.

Tammy: Well it's equally as important to look at the psychosocial elements as well as the physical elements at work. We try to identify what the problems are before they can turn into injuries.

Mark: Mates in Construction is an industry-based awareness training. They deliver suicide awareness training to construction workers to let the guys out there or everybody that works in building construction, know what facilities are there for the guys to help them out if let's say someone is contemplating suicide. It has made a considerable impact in the industry. Guys are actually now talking, they actually aren't looking upon it as I've got to take the tough guy attitude and bottle it up.

It's the fact that the guys are actually opening up and wanting to get in contact with somebody from Mates in Construction.

Tammy: Even though Workplace Health and Safety Queensland haven't been primarily responsible for the development of Mates in Construction we are certainly very supportive of that program and at any opportunity that we get we're certainly trying to raise awareness of this across the industry.

Mark: The department getting behind it, starting to push it back through the industry is going to be a huge benefit because these guys have got the weight behind them to get it out there.

(Title on screen: Crane code story)

Stuart: In 2006 Workplace Health and Safety Queensland released a mobile crane code of practice.

Tony: Before that the cranes weren't real good, there was lots of things that needed to be done on cranes.

Stuart: We saw there was a big lack in practical guidance that was in the Australian standards and there's a lot of areas where people don't know their responsibilities. One of the really positive things that's come out of the mobile crane code of practice is the ten-year inspection for mobile cranes, because it's improved the quality and safety of the equipment in the industry.

Tony: Without Workplace Health and Safety Queensland I think the industry would be a lot worse off. There'd be a lot of machines, a lot of cranes especially running around Queensland that just shouldn't be on the road, just unsafe.

Stuart: I believe Queensland is now a leader with workplace health and safety issues that apply to cranes.

(Title on screen: The dangerous goods story)

Grant: Certainly over the last number of years there's been a considerable improvement in terms of dangerous goods safety management.

Tim: and working with dangerous goods you've got to look at a lot more than just your workers' safety and the business itself. You've got to look at the community risk. You've got local businesses around. You've got houses around. Schools. So you've got to make sure that your business doesn't ultimately affect the community in general.

Grant: One of the more rewarding experiences has been working with Teys and seeing them develop.

Tim: We knew the types of dangerous chemicals we were dealing with and we got the emergency response box - we wanted to go further than what was required just to make sure that under the event that something does happen we can control it and ultimately not have that community risk, we can contain it within our own site.

Tim: I guess it comes down to practical risk management, to make sure that what you do put in place is actually practical in the workplace that you are doing.

Grant: and our work with Teys reflects this, that our audit tools can be....picked up and applied practically and that's where the partnership is really paying dividends because all sites are now learning from that and are able to review their systems, identify deficiencies and then take appropriate action to improve it.

Fiona: So there's a snapshot of what we've been up to lately, but all of our efforts would be pointless without buy in from you.

Grant: no agency on their own can do it all. No industry on their own can really do it all...

Suzanne: We're limited in numbers...we can't alone knock on doors and impact in a really wide sense. We really need to work with industry and businesses together.

Trish: Working together we get to share our experiences and our expertise and come up with the best health and safety solutions and most practical solutions to make workers safe in their workplaces.

Tim: it's about continual improvement.

Steve: the inspector is actually there to help, so try and milk them for knowledge, get some answers to some questions, get them to help you problem solve some issues, use it as an opportunity to learn and develop.

Suzanne: Businesses can't afford to ignore safety. If workers are working in a more comfortable way and in a safe way, they're far more productive and there's a lot of evidence to show that now.

Jodie: I think I see them as a business asset like any other partner that we have...

Tim: I'd encourage all businesses to come onboard and take a proactive approach with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. It's only going to benefit your own business, it's only going to make yourself move forward.

Fiona: Workplace health and safety needs to be an integral part of our business, it should never be isolated. It shouldn't be seen as a chore or something that is too hard to do. We need to work together to change people attitudes and behaviours at workplaces.

Ultimately, everybody has the right to go to work, put in a good, hard days work, and come home a little dirty at the end of the day, but be home safely and be with your family.

(information also shown on screen)

If you'd like to find some information you can go to our website or you can call our Infoline on 1300 369 915.

I hope by seeing this film you now understand that Workplace health and safety Queensland is not that scary and our inspectors? They don't bite!

Mark: I definitely would have a drink with an inspector in a pub, we might be the only two in there that would drink with each other...

Tony: Stu's quite happy to call over on his way home, pop in and have a look and say yeah OK this is the way I believe you should be doing it –...he is, yeah he is god like, Stu. Stu is god like.

Mark Hurst: I've got the inspectors number on speed dial.

RUN TIME: 13 min 46 secs