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My work safe week experience – how to get to an event unscathed

As a BDM for work health and safety induction  solution WorkPro, I was very much looking forward to attending  sessions being held in my local region of Geelong as part of Work Safe Week – learning new trends and hearing from industry experts  in the world of OHS. Getting to the first session just in time for it to commence, I wasn’t terribly concerned when the speaker introduced himself and the topic of Suicide Prevention (even though it was not the session I registered for, I felt it was relevant enough from a work health point of view, so all was good). Great session,  but 15 minutes into the session I had a quick look at the WorkSafe App for details of the next program, and came to the realization that I was in completely the wrong Venue – and now felt part of a Mr Bean episode.

I quickly made my way to the right venue, arriving some 20 minutes late. Explaining my tardiness to the friendly WorkSafe staff, they replied “Oh we had to change the venue but didn’t update it as we didn’t think anyone would download the app”.Was I the only one?

Finding a seat at the back I listened to helpful tips about how to manage workplace stress (maybe the Suicide Prevention specialist had a place here…). It was interesting to hear that stress is the 2nd most common cause of workplace compensation claims and that there are a number of causes; from physical work environment to work schedules. The presenter also explained the OHS Act and the legal obligations of companies. As with most legal terminology and the far from black and white area of Workplace Law she did her best to deliver the message concisely and in an easy to understand format. For those that need it summarised – you might find our Fact Sheet  “Overview of model work health and safety laws”  helpful.

Second session for the day, pertinent topic of – What does a WorkSafe Inspector look for?

A panel of local Inspectors fielded questions from the room. Given bullying continues to a contentious topic, the Inspector particularly involved in this area was asked  a lot of questions, mostly about the upcoming changes to legislation. It was evident from the numerous questions being asked of this Inspector that the local business community were intrigued as to what these changes would bring and how best  to manage it. It got me thinking about our new Bullying ebook and, when released in a few weeks, how useful it would be to these organisations.

After lunch I attended a session on Manual Handling – The Next Steps. Delivered by a Physiotherapist with 22 years of experience in the field she gave us the alarming statistic of how manual handling accounts for 41% of all WorkCover claims. She provided some practical examples of how mechanical aids are helping to reduce these numbers. She explained her processes when it came to getting to the bottom of a manual handling issue and the questions to ask in regard to the systems of work that can often be altered to manage the risk. It was good to know we were heading down the right path when WorkPro developed the stand alone Hazardous Manual Task module.

I genuinely enjoyed the experience and the speakers, particularly as they were practical rather than policy driven – making it much more relevant and engaging for the audience. Thanks Worksafe for ensuring that regional Victoria was considered in your events and communication!


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