Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 4 Number 1 Contents 40 futurebuilding Volume 4 Number 1
Evidence suggests the reforms are
succeeding, with reductions in injuries
over the past few years. According to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics, serious
workplace injuries have declined by over 15
per cent since 2003; however, Safe Work
Australia estimates that workplace injuries
continue to affect Australia's annual gross
domestic product (GDP) by as much as
$57.5 billion annually -- or 5.9 per cent of
our total economy.
So what else can we do to reduce
workplace accidents? One key component
is obviously workplace safety training, but
another largely ignored factor is the safety
of the equipment being used every day by
workers. While the use of personal protection
equipment (PPE) such as reflective vests and
protective eyewear has skyrocketed in recent
years, the utilisation of tools that include safety
features has been somewhat limited.
Many companies pride themselves on
providing products with leadership in safety.
Most would be familiar with the automotive
industry and its initiatives to improve
occupancy safety. The Australian New Car
Assessment Program (ANCAP) provides a
safety ratings system for new cars marketed
in Australia. The ANCAP rating has become
a key consideration for Australian consumers
when making a purchasing decision on a
new vehicle. Automotive manufacturers pride
themselves on achieving additional ANCAP
'stars', and their continued innovation has
made today's automobiles safer than ever.
One company that is heavily involved
in the automotive industry, and specifically
safety features, is German firm Bosch GMBH.
Bosch is the leading producer of automotive
components worldwide, and has been a key
developer of features often taken for granted,
such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Bosch
is currently developing the next generation of
safety features, such as collision avoidance
and reversing control systems.
Another division of Bosch that has become
a market leader in safety within its industry
is its Power Tools and Accessories Division.
One specific power tool the Bosch brand has
become synonymous with is the angle grinder.
Angle grinders are used to grind, shape and cut
various metals, but they are also commonly
used on applications such as the grinding
and cutting of masonry surfaces. Due to their
wide range of uses, angle grinders are used
by most tradespeople quite commonly. While
these tools are extremely versatile, they are
extremely dangerous when used incorrectly.
Utilising its expertise in automotive
technology, and specifically ABS, Bosch Power
Tools developed the 'Kickback Stop' feature for
its angle grinders. This industry-leading safety
feature protects the user from the 'kickback'
phenomenon. Kickback occurs during cutting
applications when the disc jams. The Kickback
Stop is an electrical system that immediately
cuts off the power to the machine when a jam
is detected. This will significantly reduce the
force transferred to the user and thus avoid
any serious shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries.
Additional features on the Bosch Safety Angle
Grinder range include Dead Man Switches,
Twist Proof and Multi-Position Guards, Re-
Start Protection and Vibration Control.
While safety features are extremely
important, any angle grinder is useless without
the cutting and grinding discs they are designed
to function with. The Bosch heritage of
producing quality angle grinders has recently
seen a new addition, with the launch of an
Australian-specific range of cutting and grinding
discs. These quality Bosch products comply with
and exceed all Australian and European quality
and safety standards, which include speed and
burst tests. Combined with the safety features on
Bosch Angle Grinders, they ensure the highest
levels of safety possible for end users.
The next time you purchase an angle
grinder or cutting and grinding discs, ask
yourself this question: do they meet the safety
standards you desire?
WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
Health and safety in the workplace is an important consideration for both private enterprise and
government organisations. Recent amendments to health and safety regulations aim to further reduce
serious accidents and consequently improve productivity. But are these reforms addressing this
complex and multi-faceted issue?
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