With the historic impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s community and economy, it has been a year like no other.
Under this uncertainty, the Government has acted quickly in providing different support schemes for Australian households and businesses to address the impact of the pandemic.
One of these programs is the Small Business Rebate by Safe Work NSW. The purpose of this rebate is to help workplaces introduce suitable safety measures against high-risk hazards: including falls, injuries from moving objects, chemicals and dangerous goods and noise.
The rebate provides up to $500 to small business owners and sole traders in NSW who buy and install equipment to make their workplace safer and healthier.
For businesses or sole traders that employ welders, or those who work in close proximity to welders, this represents a great opportunity. Both Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems and Welding Helmets with Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) fall under eligible safety equipment for the rebate, as they are included in the eligible items for chemicals and dangerous goods.
If you meet all the following criteria, you are eligible to apply for the SafeWork NSW small business rebate:
- Your business is registered in NSW with a current ABN and 50 or less employees
- You’re conducting a commercial business that produces goods or provides services in NSW
- You’ve attended an eligible event (e.g. free SafeWork NSW safety workshop, webinar), or had an advisory visit or digital engagement with a SafeWork NSW officer before you purchase your eligible safety solution
- You have not previously received a small business rebate from SafeWork or WorkCover NSW.
Important things to consider
Within 12 months of attending the advisory visit, safety workshop, program or event, you must:
- Identify, purchase and implement your eligible safety item
- You can claim for more than one eligible solution on your application form but can only apply once for the small business rebate for a maximum of $500
- Application form can be found here
How does this apply to companies that employ welders?
Carcinogenic welding fume particles remain in the air for up to 48 hours, putting all surrounding workers at risk of exposure long after welding is completed. This in turn can present several long term health issues, including multiple types of cancer.
Recognising the health risks associated with welding fume exposure should encourage all employers of welders to review their risk assessments and revise their control measures.
The NSW government has created an ideal opportunity for businesses to ensure their workers are protected. After all, a combination of LEV and a powered air respirator is a tremendous step towards creating a safer environment for welders and non-welders alike. A PAPR system, when correctly worn, can supply a minimum 50 times cleaner air than the wearer would otherwise breathe unprotected. Furthermore, LEV systems capture welding fume directly at the source, which ensures fume does not spread through the workplace potentially harming other nearby workers.
Staying protected can be straightforward, and Safe Work NSW just made it easier.