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  • 27 Oct 2021 11:36 AM | Anonymous

    As business models have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health toll on many workplaces has heightened.

    Now, more than ever, leaders and business owners need to rethink their approach to workplace mental health by consulting staff and reviewing policies and practices.

    The benefits of this can create a positive workplace culture that promotes, manages, and supports, mental health, where employees can be their best and your business can too.

    Want to know how mentally healthy your business is? The NSW Government’s Workplace Pulse Check is a quick 11-question survey, that will score how mentally healthy your workplace is and compare your results to other businesses of the same size and in the industry.

    You will get practical actions to improve your score, and can share the results with other leaders and colleagues to get everyone on board to making your workplace mentally healthy.

    Take the Pulse Check


  • 27 Oct 2021 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    Conducting regular checks and updates of safety measures in the workplace is an important step to ensure they are working well. As your business changes, make sure you adjust your safety strategies to suit. Visit the SafeWork NSW website to see how well your workplace manages risks and to access helpful templates and tools.

    Access the managing risks toolkit


  • 27 Oct 2021 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    Update from Worksafe Victoria.

    Workplace incidents can happen when we lose our focus on safety. It's possible that adhering to COVID compliance rules has caused you to change your normal workplace practices. So while keeping your workplace COVID safe is essential, don't lose focus on keeping your workplace safe from incidents too.

    Fatigue in the workplace

    Any workplace can be impacted by work-related fatigue – this guide is to assist employers' understanding of the risk factors in order to minimise the likelihood of work-related fatigue occurring.

    FIND OUT MORE

  • 11 Oct 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    This year during Safe Work Month SafeWork NSW are focusing on protecting workers at risk. In these challenging and changing times, Safe Work Month is an ideal time to think about the health and safety of your workers.

    Any workplace can pose risks to staff whether they work in an office, from home or a construction site.

    Find out More about Safe Work Month


  • 11 Oct 2021 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    There are many considerations that employers need to work through in terms of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of employees. FIA Legal Partner, Kingston Reid, have put together a summary of the key considerations to help employers navigate managing COVID-19 vaccinations in your workplace.

    1. Who is mandating the vaccination?

    a. If it is the employer, the direction needs to be both lawful and reasonable. Any direction needs to (at a minimum) be based on WHS risk considerations, implemented following consultation and be reasonable in terms of the timeframe by which employees must be compliant and any medical contraindication;

    b. If the requirement is imposed by way of a Public Health Order (or equivalent), be clear about precisely who is covered by the requirement.

    If in doubt, seek advice before taking any further steps.

    2. Socialise the requirement with employees in advance (if possible)

    If time permits, consult with the workforce about the WHS benefits of being vaccinated before issuing more formal communications to them about the requirement. This will increase the likelihood of identifying potential objections at an early stage and having an opportunity to have further discussions with those who object or express reservations.

    3. Does the employee have a permitted exemption (also known as a medical contraindication)?

    a. If valid evidence is provided – consult with the employee about the implications of the contraindication. This needs to factor in the controls that you have identified as part of your COVID-19 risk assessment process;

    b. If the evidence provided is unclear / not satisfactory:

    i. request further information from the employee and, if needed, consider directing them to attend an independent medical examination;

    ii. determine whether they are to remain on leave pending resolution (and, if so, what kind of leave) or whether alternative arrangements will be put in place to enable them to perform work (taking into account the controls that you have identified as part of your COVID-19 risk assessment process)

    4. What if an employee is not exempt and is failing or refusing to be vaccinated?

    a. consider the employee’s grounds for not complying and consult with them about those grounds;

    b. if there is scope to allow the person an exemption, consider whether or not to grant an exemption and the terms of that exemption;

    c. if there is no scope to allow an exemption, or an exemption is not to be granted:

    i. consider giving the person a limited period of time to comply and determine what leave arrangements will be put in place during that period;

    ii. if the individual remains non-compliant:

    1. if the employer is mandating the vaccination – explore other options (for example, extended leave of absence with no guarantee of being able to return; arranging a telehealth appointment with a GP to explain the pros and cons of vaccination) and, if considered appropriate, commence a disciplinary process;

    2. if the vaccination requirement is imposed by PHOs – consider whether the employee’s non-compliance is sufficient to bring the employment relationship to an end.

    5. Privacy considerations

    a. Information about a person’s vaccination status is sensitive health information and needs to be treated as such in accordance with the Privacy Act and the employer’s privacy policy;

    b. An employer can require an employee to disclose information about their vaccination status if:

    i. such disclosure is required under the relevant PHOs; or

    ii. the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of the employer’s functions or activities (e.g. to assist in a WHS risk assessment, to discharge other WHS obligations, to ensure compliance with a PHO or vaccination policy)

    c. In most cases (other than when required by law or a PHO), the employee will need to give their consent (express or implied) to the disclosure;

    d. When requesting proof of vaccination status from an employee, the employee should be informed of:

    i. the reason for the request

    ii. what is being requested (for example, is it a copy of an immunisation status or COVID vaccination certificate)?

    iii. the consequences if the employee refuses to provide the information

    iv. whether the information will be disclosed to any third parties

    Dominic Fleeton
    Partner
    +61 3 9958 9616
    dominic.fleeton@kingstonreid.com

    Christa Lenard
    Partner
    +61 2 9169 8404
    christa.lenard@kingstonreid.com


  • 29 Sep 2021 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    JobSaver participants will need to start performing fortnightly testing to confirm continued eligibility for the grant. Earlier this month Service NSW announced that 13 – 26 September 2021 will be the first fortnight for which confirmation will be required.

    Although the announcement was a surprise to businesses and advisors, at least we now know the required action that business owners must take.

    Step 1 – Measure Decline in Turnover

    Although the familiar 30% decline* requirement is unchanged, the comparison rules have changed.

    You will now have to compare the fortnight in question (for example, 13 September – 26 September) to either:

    • The same 14 day comparison period** used in your original application, or
    • The same fortnight in either the 2019 or 2020 year

    Where a business has used a period greater than 14 days in their original application, a 14 day average will need to be used. That is calculated by dividing the turnover by the days in the testing period and then multiplying by 14.

    * On 2 September 2021 it was announced that some Not for Profits would be eligible for JobSaver under a lower 15% decline. We are still seeking further information on this change generally and how it relates to this new testing.

    **comparison period’ refers to the period used to represent normal trading in the original JobSaver application. These were the allowable periods in 2019, 2020 or the 12-25 June 2021.

    Step 2 – Assess Employee Headcount

    Although maintaining employee headcount has always been a requirement of JobSaver, you will now need to confirm ongoing compliance.

    The original conditions still apply to the definition of maintaining headcount, such as employees leaving outside of the control of the employer being okay.

    Step 3 – Lodge Your Confirmation

    Updates will need to be lodged via your Service NSW business profile for each fortnight.

    Fortunately, Service NSW state that no further documentation will need to be lodged as part of this confirmation. It will therefore be simply a disclosure of your findings from Steps 1 and 2.

    Documentation of any testing must be kept, even if lodgement isn’t required.

    It should also be noted that where a business has been inactive during lockdown, Service NSW will not expect any testing of turnover.

    Confirmations are lodged via Service NSW

    Other Important Details

    It is possible to delay lodgement of each JobSaver update. You won’t receive payment until the confirmation is lodged, but payment will still be available once that occurs.

    Where a business finds they don’t experience the required decline in one fortnight and miss out on payment, they are still open to re-application into the JobSaver scheme for future periods.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    PETER BEMBRICK

    HLB Mann Judd Tax Consulting



  • 24 Sep 2021 12:12 PM | Anonymous

    Keeping our community COVID safe remains as important as ever. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are only mild, get tested immediately. 

    For the latest COVID-19 updates visit the NSW Government website. Current updates in brief: 


  • 24 Sep 2021 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    Safe Work Australia (SWA) has released guidance materials for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to identify and manage the work health and safety (WHS) risks associated with concrete pumping and elevating work platforms.

    Concrete pumping

    SWA revealed that there have been a high number of injuries (and approximately 2100 workers compensation claims) and three fatalities associated with concrete pumping in the last five years. Risks associated with concrete pumping include those related to the plant itself, its placement, concrete delivery and by-products such as fumes and noise. PCBUs are urged to do everything that is reasonably practicable to eliminate these risks.


    SafeWork SA has also issued a safety alert about the hazards and risks caused by hose whip on concrete pumps, after a worker was struck and sustained serious internal injuries. ‘Hose whip’ describes the uncontrolled and rapid motion of the flexible rubber hose on the end of a concrete placement boom or other concrete delivery lines. The incident occurred on 14 August 2021, when a worker was seriously injured after being struck by a flexible hose in the stomach.

    It is believed that workers were cleaning the hose prior to the incident. SafeWork SA has produced guidance on controlling the risks associated with hose whip and will be undertaking a state-wide campaign on high risk construction work (HRCW) from September 2021. HRCW includes work that is carried out in an area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant.

    The guidance published by SWA regarding concrete pumping provides information on how these risks can be identified and managed. The new guide about concrete pumping is intended to supplement other information produced by SWA to help duty holders meet their WHS duties and obligations, including:

    Elevating work platforms

    SWA’s published guidance for managing the risks of elevating work platforms (EWPs) guides PCBUs through the process of identifying the hazards associated with EWPs in their workplace and how to manage the risks to health and safety. There are many hazards and risks associated with using an EWP, such as structural failure, overturning or collapse of the machine, or contact of the EWP with people, plant and structures leading to crush injuries and entrapment. Inadequate ventilation in the areas where EWPs are used, along with restricted working space, falling objects and falls from heights, are also among the hazards associated with using an EWP.

    Incidents relating to EWPs have led to death and serious injury, with at least nine fatalities and 355 workers compensation claims during the period of 2015–2019. The guidance supplements other information available from SWA to help PCBUs meet their WHS duties and obligations. It should be read in conjunction with the following:

    Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Redfox1980
    Original article from NSCA


  • 16 Sep 2021 12:49 PM | Anonymous

    Everyday construction jobs create dust which can impact your health and safety. Take control, improve comfort, safety and productivity with our Dust Removal Systems (DRS).

    Dust is perhaps the most significant threat that workers face on a construction site. SafeWork Australia reports that 69 per cent of reported hazards are airborne irritants and well over half of these reports are directly related to dust. The dangers of dust may not be immediately apparent but after long-term exposure it can have serious negative impacts on health.

    We have designed this resource to help construction professionals like you understand the risks of dust exposure, what the limits are and some of the ways in which you can significantly reduce dust emission from drilling, breaking, grinding, chasing and cutting tasks. We also have some alternative fastening systems to eliminate dust at source.

    For more information
  • 16 Sep 2021 12:17 PM | Anonymous

    The composite structural behaviour of Dincel 275 wall verified by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to AS3600-2018 (Appendix B)

    It was found that Dincel 275 with it’s unique ring webbing provides significant benefits against a range of structural actions.

    Testing was completed with the following infill types:

    • Plain mass concrete
    • Macro synthetic fibre (BarChip) reinforced concrete
    • Steel bar reinforced concrete

    Flexural Testing

    • Dincel 275 shell provides additional flexural capacity, opening up the possibility for fibre reinforced basement/retaining walls (such walls have already been designed within Australian projects).
    • Dincel 275 walls can be backfilled 24 hours after concrete infill (when suitably braced)

    Stiffness Testing

    • Reinforced Dincel 275 offers fully ductile behaviour (μ=6), allowing for enhanced earthquake/wind design to AS3600 and NZS 3101.
    • Effective flexural rigidity (lateral stiffness) not reduced compared to conventionally formed counterpart.

    Shear Testing

    • Interface shear capacity is comparable to a conventional concrete wall.
    • The confinement offered by Dincel 275 wall enhances shear capacity.

    DOWNLOAD THE FULL UTS REPORT


    Dincel 275 Case Study - Concord Golf Club Water Harvesting Project


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