A Melbourne Water safety app to improve understanding of confined spaces has helped staff apply more practical safety controls, with plans to make this available industry wide. Read this case study to learn more.
Sustainable Development Goals:
Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Many of the networks we manage have confined spaces that may be hazardous to humans.
A confined space is an area that is potentially unsafe to work in, due to its physical restrictions and atmospheric conditions. For example, our vast sewerage network usually has restricted entries and exits, and is likely to have an unsafe atmosphere.
Even so, we found many of our employees were uncertain about what constituted a confined space, which could lead to incorrect classification and application of hazard controls.
To address this issue, we partnered with Deakin University’s CADET VR Lab to develop an app. The app uses the traditional confined space assessment criteria from WorkSafe’s Confined Space Compliance Code, complemented by common scenarios sourced from our sewerage transfer network operations staff, as well as basic refresher information on managing hazards that might be encountered.
The app is designed as a ‘just in time’ training tool that helps remind qualified and unqualified people about the real hazards of a confined space. By placing digestible information at users’ fingertips, we aimed to improve safety and encourage learning outcomes by helping users remember the information for next time.
We provided WorkSafe with a demonstration on how the app works, given it uses their Compliance Code. As a result, WorkSafe asked if they could install the app on their Workplace Inspectors’ phones. It is intended that the app will also be made available industry wide.
The app has improved our staff and contractors’ understanding of what comprises a confined space, and resulted in tasks being completed with more practical safety controls.
Our staff feel safer knowing that they can make an informed decision with the app to back them up. They can now focus on appropriately managing the hazards of the space rather than being distracted by uncertainty.