Occupational Health and Safety Officer Job Description

Occupational Health and Safety Officer –
Operational Procedures
Updated March 2010 by Paul McMorran
BAAG Occupational Health & Safety Management Plan

The Bulleen Art & Garden Occupational Health and Safety Management Plan (OHSMP) is a key document in the formulation of a strategy to create an environment that is safe for staff, customers and the general public.

The OHSMP needs to be reviewed and actioned as required. It is expected that a monthly review at a minimum is carried out, even if no tasks had been actioned over the period.

An area focussed review should be carried out every six months, as a part of the review all staff who work in the section need to be brought together to discuss any safety concerns that they may have and consider potential resolutions.
Safety Committee

A safety committee needs to be maintained and chaired by the OH&S Officer. The group will ideally include members from all sections of the centre. A group of 4 or 5 staff, who are not necessarily the section managers will give the group the momentum required to push the process forward.

The safety committee needs to meet quarterly to discuss safety issues and create action plans for any of the issues that may have been raised as a part of the review process. It may be necessary to meet on a more regular basis as the need arises.

If an incident does occur at the nursery, the safety committee will be required to meet in the proceeding days to discuss how such incidents will be avoided in the future and what changes are required to prevent such.

Materials Handling

Good materials handling procedures result in better safety outcomes. Materials handling and Occupational Health and Safety are intimately linked together. Many of the processes that are likely to cause injury are a result of manual repetitive work carried out. In order to reduce the occurrence of injuries and repetitive strains we need to be looking into new ways to operate.

As the OH&S Officer, you are required to report any materials handling issues to the relevant section manager. Materials handling across the site needs to be reviewed annually, this is best conducted with the assistance of all section managers. Requesting feedback from staff working in the sections is the best way to identify issues and develop solutions.

Staff meetings
At each staff meeting it is expected that the OH&S Officer will discuss with the group a specific safety issue. The building of awareness of safety issues and the creation of a safety conscious culture within the group is paramount. We need to express to every single staff member the importance of a strong work safe culture and how it is up to every employee feel confident in reporting and acting on safety issues.
External speakers and courses
· Ted Henderson on the issues and hazards involved in using machinery and how to limit the risks when working with and around them.
· Greg Roberts on correct lifting techniques and how to avoid injury
· Andy or one of the firies on dealing with a fire or evacuation event
· A nurse or first aid person on first aid for a workplace.

VECCI and worksafe Victoria regularly run OH&S courses which range from a 2 or 3 hour briefing up to a comprehensive 6 day event.

Signage and general staff education
Internal startup page safety message should be rotated monthly to ensure impact remains. Website manager will do this, however it is your job to add new safety message (and delete those no longer relevant) to the collab calendar task ‘Internal Website Safety Messages’. If you want to feature a particular message add a note to that task.

Signage onsite so staff are aware of who is their OH&S Officer.

We need to encourage staff to report safety issues and act on them. It is everyones responsibility to act and report safety concerns, no matter how busy we are, we should never ignore a safety concern.

Recurring Safety Issues

There are a numerous safety issues that cannot be avoided when working in a garden centre. It is up to the OH&S officer and management to minimise the risk of such activities.

Injuries associated with improper lifting is one of the greatest risks to staff safety at BAAG. It is necessary to ensure that all staff are trained in correct lifting techniques. Correct lifting should be covered regularly at staff meetings and any new staff member should be taught correct lifting techniques as a part of the induction process into working at BAAG.

You need to be on constant lookout for people who are not lifting correctly, if you see someone who has a poor technique, retrain them immediately on the correct process. Keep an eye out for people who look like they may have strained their back and are still ‘ploughing on’, we need to make sure that they don’t do any further injuries.
Snakes and spiders
Snakes are active between October and April each year. There is very little that can be done totally to stop snakes from entering the site. Staff need to be made aware of the actions required if a snake is spotted.
The current procedure is as follows.
1. Get a staff member to remain in the area at all times and alert customers to the risk.
2. Alert a second staff member, get them to get the barrier tape and signage to prevent people from entering the immediate area.
3. If possible get a trained staff member to capture and relocate the snake away from the nursery
4. Make sure that at all times the general public is cleared from the area, especially young children who are attracted to the spectacle.

If someone is bitten by a snake or spider, perform first aid as required and call an ambulance immediately. The emergency operator will be able to run you through the first aid procedure as required. People seldom die from snake and spider bites in Australia, the biggest thing is that the person relaxes and remains still.
Forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment used in workplaces. They can weigh as much as a truck and have a manoeuvrability that people are often not aware of. In the majority of incidents that occur, it is not the driver, but a pedestrian that is killed or seriously injured.

Forklift complacency is a disease that spreads through an organisation like an STI in a university college dorm. Everyone needs to be constantly aware when they are around forklifts, we need to obey the 3 m clearance rules and make sure that we are always keeping a safe distance from staff and the general public.

Loaders, Trucks and Vehicles
We need to make sure that all of our loads are not overweight and are securely fastened. Have a blitz in the area every few months to make sure that all drivers and yard people are doing the right thing. Make sure that the drivers take responsibility for each of the loads that they take out. List the maximum load sizes in the cabs for each of the trucks.

All materials that are loaded into customers vehicles should not overweigh the vehicle. Guidelines should be incorporated into the relevant job descriptions with an outline of what are the maximums for various types of vehicle.

Vehicle maintenance is a key requirement in the safe running of the centre. This includes the electric tractors. If there is a safety issue with any of the vehicles they need to be decommissioned immediately.

A thorough inspection should be carried out of each vehicle before use every morning.
Sun damage
Skin Cancer is a killer, people need to be aware of the issues related to working outside and the need to wear the proper protection to prevent any unnecessary damage. BAAG supplies sunscreen and hats, all staff working outside are required to wear them when the UV index in high or above.
Working at heights
Ladders should be the last option when attempting to work on something at a height. Check if the job can be undertaken from the ground with extension tools, the item worked on can be brought to ground level, the forklift cage or other similar device can access the area.
– see Working from heights section in OH&S folder

Nobody should ever walk on the fibreglass roof, the material has degraded significantly and will not hold their weight.

Fire prevention
The fire extinguishes need to be checked by an accredited inspector. We currently use currently Rod Cooney. All staff need to be made aware of the locations of the fire extinguishes and what to do in the case of a fire.

Reporting incidents and Workcover claims

Injury register
The injury register is located above the stationary cabinet in the office. Any injuries which occur during staff working hours need to be recorded in this book. The actions taken to remove the hazard and prevent such a similar incident from occurring also need to be recorded.

Workcover claims
For injuries that require medical attention and are of a serious nature it is necessary to submit a claim to worksafe Victoria.

Notification is required where an incident at a workplace or equipment site results in:

· Death
· medical treatment within 48 hours following exposure to a substance
· immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
· immediate treatment for:
– amputation
– serious head injury
– serious eye injury
– separation of skin from underlying tissue (for example de-gloving or scalping)
– electric shock
– spinal injury
– loss of bodily function (including loss of consciousness)
– serious laceration

Situations that seriously endangers the health and safety of people in the immediate vicinity require WorkSafe Victoria notification. Such dangerous occurrences include:

· collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, certain items of plant
· collapse or failure of an excavation or the shoring support of an excavation
· collapse of part of a building or structure
· implosion, explosion or fire
· escape, spillage or leakage of substances (under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985)
· objects or substances falling from a height

The process for making a claim is outlined on the worksafe Victoria website. http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/wsinternet/WorkSafe/Home/Injury+and+Claims/Making+a+Claim/D_Making+a+Claim

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