test

Exposure to silica dust has been spotlighted as one of the major risks to workers in the construction industry. According to 1 NEWS, more than 100 enforcement actions have been taken against Kiwi businesses since alarms were raised in Australia, where there have been several deaths from silica dust.

What is silica dust?

Great question! Silica dust (crystalline silica) is found in some stone, rock, sand, gravel, and clay. You’ll mostly come across it in the following products:

When these materials are worked on, a fine dust is released known as respirable crystalline silica or silica dust. And it’s this dust that is harmful when inhaled into your lungs.

How can workers be exposed to silica dust?

You may be exposed to silica dust if your work involves:

Are there significant health risks?

Yes, and they can be serious if the right precautions aren’t taken. Silica dust is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, you can be breathing it in without even knowing it.

Workers may develop a series of lung diseases from breathing in silica dust, including silicosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There is also some evidence that exposure to the dust may cause kidney disease.

What can be put in place on-site to mitigate the risks?

To follow health and safety laws, businesses should eliminate or minimise exposure to hazards by controlling the risks. For silica dust, this can be done in many ways:

Isolate work areas: Use physical barriers or computer numerical control (CNC) machines.
Look for dust control features: When buying equipment ensure dust-generating equipment has a dust collection system with a filtered air supply.
Use a H-class vacuum cleaner: Workers should not be using household vacuums to remove dust.
Set up exclusion zones: Mark the boundaries of work areas where dust is created. The signs should warn workers and specify the PPE to be used.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE should not be the first or only control measure you consider but should be used. Seek expert advice when choosing it and consult with the worker who will be using it.
On-tool extraction: Use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) that fits directly onto the hand-held machines. This is one of the most effective ways of controlling dust.
Water suppression: To be used when LEV is not suitable. Water should be used through non-electric tools to wet dust down at the point of dust generation. Also, make sure equipment and work areas are cleaned regularly with water.
Respiratory (breathing) protection: The type of respirator you choose will depend on the job and the levels of toxicity. Always choose a respirator that fully protects the worker and carry out fit testing so it is sealed tightly against the face.
Exposure and health monitoring: Provide health monitoring for all your workers who may be exposed to silica dust. You can engage with an occupational health practitioner at Habit Health – HazardCo customers even get a special discount.
Training: Health and safety starts with educating your workers. Provide them with information, training, and instruction on the control measures and the potential health impacts.

Remember employers are required to ensure the health and safety of their workers and others at their workplace, and have a duty to control the risks associated with the job.

At HazardCo, we’re all about education and equipping workers with the knowledge they need to get home safe at the end of the day. Educating everyone on-site about the danger and what we can do to reduce them creates a healthier worksite for everyone.

If you have any questions or want to know more about how to protect your team, get in touch today.

Lithium batteries are common in everyday life and on the worksite, their lightweight, long life, interchangeability and quick charge benefits mean that they are now used in everything from laptops to power tools to EVs. But did you know that they pose a significant risk and need to be a part of your health and safety plan?

What’s the risk?

Lithium batteries of all sizes have the potential to overheat and catch fire. The fire is hotter, harder to put out and the smoke from these fires is incredibly toxic. Lithium batteries generally overheat if they get wet, damaged or are used with incorrect charging equipment.

Damaged batteries can explode at any time giving off flames that burn anywhere between 500 and 1000 degrees celsius. These fires are very difficult to extinguish as both water and CO2 will only suppress the fire, not extinguish it. Even if the fire has been suppressed it can still ignite again if the battery still contains energy to burn. Lithium batteries are also prone to thermal runaway, which is where one small fault can spread quickly through the battery causing a rapid increase in temperature and potential explosion.

Because of this, lithium batteries need to be properly cared for according to the manufacturer’s instructions to minimise the risk, aside from that, you need a plan in place in case of a fire.

Hot tip: The bigger the battery the bigger the risk of fire and explosion because of the increase in stored energy being released, think energy in = energy out almost instantly so take extra care with larger battery packs – like the ones in your hand held power tools. 

Ways to minimise the risk:

Safe lithium battery disposal

Never dispose of Lithium batteries in general rubbish as it can result in a fire in your bin or on the way to a transfer station, creating a risk to those transporting them. The manufacturer should be able to advise safe disposal or check out your local battery recycling centre.

Lithium batteries are going to continue playing a crucial role in our workplaces and lifestyles, so it’s necessary to recognize the potential hazards associated with them. By having awareness of these risks and good practices, we can work together to reduce the potential dangers, resulting in safer working environments where Lithium batteries are used.

If you have any questions, give the Hazardco team a call today!

Proper management of hazardous substances on-site is important to keep everyone and our environment safe. 

Legally speaking, hazardous substances refer to substances which have any of the following properties:

If you are using any hazardous substance in the workplace you need to make sure they are stored, used, transported and disposed of correctly, which will help to reduce the risk to anyone who uses or comes into contact with them.

To capture what hazardous substances you are using you must by law have a hazardous substance register along with the relevant safety data sheet (SDS).

What is a Hazardous substance register?

This is a list of all your hazardous substances (including hazardous waste) that is used, handled, or stored at any of your sites. Having a register will ensure you know the substances you have on-site, the safety measures you need to follow, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Keeping a Hazardous substance register

Keeping your register in a central location on your site means that in case of an emergency, it can be accessed quickly by anyone who needs it. 

Here are some key bits of information that need to be included on your register: 

Not only do you need the information above, but you must also make sure that the register is up to date and available on-site. 

As the register represents the maximum amount of the substance held, it means it’s not going to be a daily task to keep it up-to-date. But if the maximum quantity changes, the register needs to reflect this. We recommend that you review your register each time you make a change to ensure it’s up to date and accurate.

How do I create a hazardous substance register?

Creating your hazardous substance register is made much simpler with our Hazardous Substances Register, HazardCo members can access this via the HazardCo Hub in the templates section. 

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

The purpose of a safety data sheet (SDS) is to provide key information about hazardous substances to the people who handle, use or store them or who could be exposed to them. 

An SDS tells you 

Remember it is the business owner’s responsibility to have an up to date SDS for each hazardous substance and make sure that their workers have access to it. The SDS must be less than 5 years old. 

If you need a hand getting started with your hazardous substances register or would like more information, get in touch with the friendly HazardCo team today – we’re always happy to help.

When it comes to construction sites, ensuring the health & safety and wellbeing of everyone on-site is the top priority. It’s more than just wearing hard hats and high-vis vests. It involves careful planning and preparation of the specific needs, hazards and risks of each project. That’s where Site-Specific Safety Plans (SSSPs) come into play.

A SSSP is a detailed roadmap designed to ensure everyone stays safe from start to finish. It identifies the hazards, how you will minimise the risks, sets clear guidelines, and helps to create a culture of safety on-site.

Setting up health and safety with HazardCo Projects is quick and simple. All you need to do is log in to the HazardCo Hub and “create a Project”. You receive the completed SSSP straight away while the physical scan-in board will be sent out for you to display on-site.

Not only does HazardCo’s Project save you time at the start of your project, it saves time for everyone on the site. Once the project starts, everyone entering the site inducts themselves on-site using the QR code on the site scan-in board, and the QR scanner in the free HazardCo App. That’s right, everyone inducts themselves using their smartphone, no lengthy induction meetings or paperwork required, and you get a record of every completed induction too.

It’s important to get everyone on board including your subbies!

Make sure you request a Task Analysis from each of your contractors so you can include their Hazards and controls in your SSSP. This will help ensure you and others on site are well informed of all the hazards from start to end of the project.

Share the SSSP with the team. Anyone scanning into the site using your QR code and the HazardCo App will have immediate access. Every worker who sets foot on-site needs to know and understand the SSSP. This can be done during the site induction, where the workers learn about the project, potential hazards, and safety protocols, which they can do using the App. If you need more information on working with contractors you can check out this blog

Why Go Digital?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a SSSP, using digital tools like HazardCo can offer great time saving and streamlining benefits. Among many other benefits of using HazardCo, using it for SSSP means that you have:

Going digital with the HazardCo App means information flows more efficiently and this allows your teams to better collaborate with one another.

So, whether you’re building a multi residential, a new build or doing a big reno, remember: safety first, always. And with a solid SSSP in place, you’re one step closer to a successful and safe construction project.

For health and safety sorted in a flash, right from the very start of your new build, look no further than HazardCo Projects. It’s the smart way to maintain a safe site and have more time to focus on the job at hand. 

If you would like to discuss your upcoming project please give our team a call on 0800 555 339.

When it comes to working safely at heights, make sure you’re eating a pie every Sunday. Wait…what?

Yep, you heard that right. 

Remember the phrase: Every Sunday I Eat A Pie. It’s a handy way to remember the steps for staying safe: Eliminate, Substitute, Isolate, Engineer, Administrative, and PPE. These steps help you figure out what safety measures to use when you’re working at heights

Aangoram of Every Sunday I Eat  A Pie

No matter the height you are working at, you have to make sure that you are controlling the risks, it doesn’t matter if that work is 40mm from the next surface or 40m.

Just like people argue about the best flavour of pie, there are different ways to working safely at heights, choosing the best methods such as the following examples of controls will be based on your specific situation, and the work being carried out. .

Eliminate: Not everything that needs doing has to be done “up there”. What tasks can be done on the ground before you have to do it at height?  Every step achieved where you don’t have a risk of dropping objects is a reduction of other things to concentrate on when at height.

Substitute: What other methods can be used to get to the workspace? Instead of a ladder could you use a scaffold? MEWPs (like scissor lifts & boom lifts) can be really handy here, not only with safe access but also with making it easier on your body to get there and work all day.

Isolate: This means to physically prevent the contact between you and the risk (falling or even dropped objects etc) this can come in the form of guardrails, scaffolding, or nets to prevent things or people from falling to lower levels.

Engineer: This is a more permanent solution, think of your handrails on staircases or cleverly built seats with high backs around the edges of a raised deck. It’s built for purpose and will continue to deliver that outcome without you having to interact with it (passive protection) this is often referred to as safety in design.

Administrative: This is simply making people aware. Think about hazard boards, signs, warnings, toolbox talks or paperwork to communicate what you will be doing, how, and who is doing it when.

PPE: This is the likes of harnesses to prevent you getting to a place you can even fall if possible, and if you do fall then to lessen the severity of the injuries you would receive from a fall if set up correctly, a hard hat to protect your head from small items falling like screws and small items etc.

Remember consistency is key

It’s important you and your team are actively involved in ensuring any work carried out at heights, is done in the safest way possible. Empower your team to speak up, highlight unsafe working situations or practices, and swiftly act to handle them. 

We recommend doing a Task Analysis to put a plan in place to manage the risks involved with working at height. This will help you decide whether it’s possible to eliminate the risk of falling from height or what the most effective control/s are to minimise the risk. 

So from the above, what’s your favourite flavour combinations? Which ones will satisfy your cravings to keep the team safe today?

If you’ve got a question about working at height or any other health and safety matter, the HazardCo Advisory Team is here to help. Give them a call on 0800 555 339

 

Running a safe site isn’t just about wearing hard hats and harnesses; it’s about effective communication and staying aware of what’s going on on-site. One of the most powerful tools is the humble toolbox meeting. These gatherings are the backbone of ensuring everyone on site is up to speed with hazards and safe working practices.

Download the Simple Guide to toolbox meetings to get tonnes of ideas for toolbox meeting topics.

Why toolbox meetings matter

Toolbox meetings are a forum to highlight safety expectations and encourage participation from everyone on site. They don’t need to be lengthy; a quick stand-up meeting will do – maybe even with a side of chocky biscuits to sweeten the deal! We recommend holding these meetings weekly, or at least twice a month, to keep safety at the front of everyone’s minds.

Some building companies take it a step further by incorporating toolbox meetings into their daily routine. Starting each day with a brief safety discussion helps to make safety a daily habit, rather than an afterthought.

Running an effective toolbox meeting

The success of a toolbox meeting hinges on a few key factors:

Topics to discuss

Here are some prompts to kickstart discussions in your toolbox meetings:

Toolbox meetings help with communication, collaboration, and continual improvement. Remember, safety is a team effort, and toolbox meetings are where that effort begins.

The HazardCo App includes all the on-site safety reports you need, such as a handy tool to record toolbox meetings.

Get a 7 day free trial.

Task Analysis (TA) is an important tool in your health & safety toolbox. It helps you to break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps while ensuring safety and efficiency. In this guide, we’ll explore what TA is, when and why it’s used, how to complete one effectively, and the benefits of using digital platforms for streamlined TA management.

What is a TA? 

A Task Analysis (TA), also known as a JSA or SWMS, breaks complex tasks into a sequence of smaller steps and actions. They are used as a planning tool to make sure all risks and controls are identified and appropriately managed for your job. A Task Analysis should describe how you plan to complete the job safely and proves that you are managing the risks effectively.

When should I use a TA?

A Task Analysis should be used to identify and assess the hazards before each high-risk job to reduce the risk as much as possible. For repetitive tasks, you don’t need to create a new Task Analysis each time, as long as the prepared Task Analysis is relevant to the work being completed and understood by all persons involved.

Why should I use a TA?

Completing a Task Analysis helps to make sure  all risks and controls are identified in each work step to improve safety and performance. It also ensures that the correct tools, people, and processes are identified before you start the job which minimises the risk of injury, provides a clear understanding to workers, and increases productivity.

How to complete a TA?

To complete a Task Analysis, carry out the following steps:

Remember the Control hierarchy is: 

flow of the hierarchy of control from Elimination to PPE

What’s the benefit of having your Task Analysis available in the HazardCo App?

It’s a simple and easy to repeat approach, where you can:

Manage subbies? If you are on our Premium, Complete or Project plus tiers you can even digitally collect TA’s from subcontractors without the fuss!

Task Analysis in the app is faster, simpler, and repeatable. 

The TA template on the App guides you through a step-by-step creation process. It gives you the confidence that the potential hazards have been thought through, and that the appropriate controls have been put in place to eliminate risk where possible or minimised.

You can create a Task Analysis template in preparation for your upcoming works. This template can be updated with the job specific details. Creating a Task Analysis before arriving at the site and customising it for each job will set you up to quickly communicate with the team, manage the risks and get on the tools. When making your templates avoid ticking controls you won’t implement. The suggested controls list is not exhaustive, so make sure to include any additional controls you plan to use. 

Once you have selected your hazards, the controls you will implement, and noted the steps you will follow to complete the task, hit SAVE. A HazardCo Task Analysis is then created, emailed to you, and saved securely in your App and Hub so you can easily share it with the main contractor and anyone else you may need to coordinate with.

If you need a hand getting started or would like more information on the HazardCo app read this blog or get in touch with the friendly HazardCo team today on 0800 555 339.

It’s never good to find out the hard way that there was a gas, power, water or communications line buried right where you needed to put something on your site! Safe excavation practices help you to get through the work without injury and avoid hitting critical services. 

Digging blind is not the best way forward for your schedule or your safety, so we have put together some key notes for you to bear in mind when excavating to help save you some costs, time and help you to avoid tragedy. 

What is the definition of excavation?

Excavation work is referred to as any work involving the removal of soil or rock from a site to form an open face, hole or cavity, using tools, machinery or explosives. This includes open excavations, potholing, pit excavations, trenches, retaining walls and shafts and drives.

What are my legal obligations? 

Employers have a legal duty of care to take reasonable actions to protect both the people and the services which may be affected by their work. Getting and using the appropriate information on the services is an important part of ensuring safe excavation on your site. There is a large range of options this can cover, so we will cover the basics in this article.
If you have more complex excavations and want advice then get in contact with us.

Remember any ground disturbance regardless of depth can damage infrastructure networks like gas, water, electricity so you need to get the right information to keep you & the utilities safe.

Where do I start to prevent incidents on-site, protect workers and prevent asset damage?

First, you need to get information on what the assets in the area may be. You can often get this information from BeforeUdig. This online system is the easiest way to request known plans from the asset owners. It is important to know that not all Asset Owners are members of BeforeUdig, so it cannot show you everything that is in the area of your excavation. You may need to contact any other asset owners directly to get hold of plans, drawings and information regarding their assets known positions prior to starting your work.

Wait to receive all information on the assets before commencing work, and only refer to plans that are current. 

Once you have information on the assets, make sure the plans are with the workers on-site and that they have appropriate health and safety information and instruction. You should also isolate work around the underground assets from the public.

Pay attention to the clues around your site such as marker posts, inspection points and metres. Never assume pipes and cables run underground in a straight line or are at their correctly specified depth, and always assume all lines are live, even if they look as though they are abandoned or decommissioned. 

Remember all digging activities can damage underground infrastructure. You should conduct a risk assessment for the task so that you can identify the hazards to focus on, and put in place suitable controls. Workers involved in the excavation need to be trained and competent to do their part of the work e.g the Excavator operator is appropriately licensed. 

Quick tips: The 5 P’s for safe excavation

To minimise the risk of damage and potential loss of life, it’s best practice to follow the 5 P’s for safe excavation:

Remember to stay vigilant and watch for changes in the ground/soil as you dig.

Need Help? 

If you’ve got a question about safe excavation or any other health and safety matter, the HazardCo Advisory Team is here to help. Give them a call on 0800 555 339. 

Need more information?

The BeforeUDig NZ website has a tonne of resources available. Worksafe NZ also has a Best practice guide

Having workers engaged in work health and safety will help your business be a healthier and safer place for everyone, and performance and productivity increases. It’s a win-win!

Understanding your health and safety requirements to your workers
Under the Health & Safety at work Act (HSWA), businesses have a duty to engage with workers and enable them to participate in improving health and safety. The business must:

Remember that your subbies are also considered your workers when they are working for you.

Engagement
Together with your workers, you can determine the best way to meet these requirements. What is reasonable and practicable will depend on your workers’ views and needs, the size of your business, and the nature of its risks.

Businesses must:

When is engagement required?
You will need to engage and consult with workers who are directly affected by a matter relating to health and safety. This includes when:

Participation
It’s important to have meaningful and effective health and safety talks. It’s good for people and for business. This doesn’t mean hour-long talks or lots of documentation, it’s simply about approaching H&S with the right attitude and aiming to get everyone involved.

HazardCo makes it even simpler to do this with our ‘Toolbox Meeting’ feature on our HazardCo App – handy for making sure everyone on-site is keeping on top of what’s going on.

You can also check out the health and safety at work strategy for worker engagement, participation, and representation here.

If you need a hand getting started or would like more information, get in touch with the friendly HazardCo team today.

Any work undertaken near live overhead electric lines carries the risk of electric shock. Touching a live overhead line with any part of the body, tools or any other equipment can cause serious injury and even fatality.

Make sure that you and your team are aware of the following steps that can be taken to manage the risk of an electric shock.

Forward planning is essential. Before work starts, the person in control should:


Eliminating the risk of electric shock

Disconnecting the electric supply for work between 0.5 metres and 4 metres
The safest option to eliminate the risk of electric shock is to temporarily disconnect a property’s electricity supply from the electricity distribution lines so that the overhead line to the property is no longer live. 


Keep people informed so they can plan ahead
Find out who needs to know that the electricity supply will be temporarily disconnected. Such as:

Anyone who could be affected by the disconnection of the electricity supply should be told:

Minimum Approach Distances (MADs)

If work needs to take place near an overhead electric line then the worker’s body, their tools, and their equipment must be kept a safe distance away from the overhead line, else the electrical supply must be disconnected by the approved electrical retailer. This safe distance is known as the minimum approach distance, or MAD.

For more information around consent visit Section 10 of the WorkSafe Working near low voltage overhead electric lines guide.

Keeping you and your team safe at work is a priority, so make sure you are aware of the requirements of working near power lines. The HazardCo App Site Review resource has a list of electrical controls that should be in place to mitigate the risk of electrical hazards. If in doubt, you can give our team of Health and Safety Advisors a call on 0800 555 339. 

 

Stacked blocks on engineered stone containing silica dust
Exposure to silica dust has been spotlighted as one of the major risks to workers in the construction industry. According to 1 NEWS, more than 100 enforcement actions have been taken against K...
Lithium Battery with drill and screws
Lithium batteries are common in everyday life and on the worksite, their lightweight, long life, interchangeability and quick charge benefits mean that they are now used in everything from lap...
Large container of Hazardous Substances with warning labels on them
Proper management of hazardous substances on-site is important to keep everyone and our environment safe.  Legally speaking, hazardous substances refer to substances which have any of the f...
worker using a machine to bore into the ground
When it comes to construction sites, ensuring the health & safety and wellbeing of everyone on-site is the top priority. It's more than just wearing hard hats and high-vis vests. It involv...
Scaffolding in a construction site
When it comes to working safely at heights, make sure you’re eating a pie every Sunday. Wait…what? Yep, you heard that right.  Remember the phrase: Every Sunday I Eat A Pie. It's a handy...
Running a safe site isn’t just about wearing hard hats and harnesses; it’s about effective communication and staying aware of what’s going on on-site. One of the most powerful tools is the hum...
Task Analysis (TA) is an important tool in your health & safety toolbox. It helps you to break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps while ensuring safety and efficiency. In th...
It’s never good to find out the hard way that there was a gas, power, water or communications line buried right where you needed to put something on your site! Safe excavation practices help y...
Having workers engaged in work health and safety will help your business be a healthier and safer place for everyone, and performance and productivity increases. It’s a win-win! Understandi...
Any work undertaken near live overhead electric lines carries the risk of electric shock. Touching a live overhead line with any part of the body, tools or any other equipment can cause seriou...
Worksites tend to be filled with constant noise from tools and machinery. Work-related hearing loss is a real threat for many who spend the majority of their working lives on-site. While no...
Christmas is almost upon us,  and we’re all eager to have a bit of a rest, recharge, and spend quality time with our families. As we wind up 2023, it is a demanding time as we try to complete ...