Health & Hygiene

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APPLICATION

Health and Hygiene considerations apply to almost every workplace and cover a broad range of potential hazards. Workplaces should have a range of responses to their Health and Hygiene needs including both preventative and emergency response solutions.

RISK ASSESSMENT

The Safe Work Australia Code of Practice ‘Managing the Work Environment & Facilities’ provides guidelines that address typical issues relating to Health & Hygiene.

First Aid
First Aid kit selection should be based on a risk assessment of the type of work being carried out, the location and the number of workers (trained first aid officers may be necessary). The Safe Work Australia Code of Practice ‘First Aid in the Workplace’ provides practical guidance.

Hydration
Dehydration in the workplace can lead to safety issues as a result of reduced cognitive abilities, performance and reaction times.
Strategies covering pre shift, during and post shift hydration should be considered. It is critical to ensure workers understand the various hydration strategies they can implement and are given the necessary tools to minimise dehydration.

Hand Cleaners
Hand washing facilities must be provided to enable workers to maintain good standards of personal hygiene and avoid work related skin complaints. Hand cleaners should be selected in response to the specific work environment and hazards.
The correct approach to hand cleaning is one that considers all aspects including pre work protection, using appropriate cleaners, use of antibacterial sanitisers and after work moisturising creams that help restore skin condition.

Sunscreens
Outdoor workers should have access to sunscreens to be used in conjunction with other sun protection strategies. Protection against solar ultraviolet (UV) exposure is critical given that in Australia two out of three people will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. SPF50+ sunscreens with UVA and UVB broad spectrum coverage provide the best protection.

Defibrillators
Providing an automated external defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest. It is a useful addition for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution or where there are large numbers of members of the public. Automated external defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons.
(Source: Safe Work Australia, First Aid in the Workplace, released July 2012)

Drug & Alcohol Testing
Alcohol and Drug testing programmes may play an active role in the prevention, detection and control of alcohol and illicit drugs use in the workplace.
Drug and Alcohol Policies are an essential component of managing workplace risks for many industries, especially for those with the highest risks of catastrophic industrial accidents. Programmes should be supported by clearly communicated policies and training, and adopt a consultative approach.

useful references

www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au  Code of Practice - First Aid in the Workplace.
AS/NZS 2604.2012  Sunscreen products - Evaluation and classification.
AS 1223-1991  Industrial Hand Cleaners
Safe Work Australia Code of Practice “Managing the Work Environment & Facilities”.

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Safety Tips

  • Ensure First Aid kit contents are not ‘out of date’ and are restocked as soon as possible.
  • When it comes to hydration don’t rely on thirst as it is not a reliable indicator.
  • The strongest hand cleaner is not always necessary – select the mildest possible cleaner possible.
  • Sunscreen should be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure – and reapplied every two hours.
  • All workers should be trained in the correct use and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

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