New Pink Flamingo drink helps with McGrath Foundation

28 BLACK has released their 28 BLACK Pink Flamingo cocktail.

Featuring their new flavour – Pink Grapefruit Mint energy drink, the taurine-free beverage is designed as a mixer with what the company calls, “the taste of summer.”

Chrish Graebner, Level Beverages Managing Director said, “Our newest flavour to the range is by far my favourite and is a great mixer.”

The flavour is designed to cater for those who love a good tang and is also meant to be mixed with rum.

The company also said that 10 cents from each can of the 28 BLACK Pink Grapefruit sold will be donated to The McGrath Foundation which raises money to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia and to increase breast awareness in young Australians.

Bounce rolls out its latest chia almond balls

The Chia Almond Natural Energy Ball is gluten free, suitable for vegetarians, contains 23.7 per cent protein per ball, 40 per cent of the required intake of Omega 3 and has no refined sugar, no artificial additives or preservatives.

Bounce Natural Energy Balls are available in eight additional flavours including Almond, Apple Cinnamon, Cacao Mint, Coconut Macadamia, Hazelnut Cacao, Maple Pecan, Peanut, Spirulina Ginseng and Superberry.

RSPCA encourages Australians to eat humanely this Christmas

As Christmas approaches and families begin planning their menu for the big day, RSPCA Australia is encouraging consumers to shop humanely at the supermarket.

Demand for ethically-produced ham, turkey and chicken is high at this time of the year, but with so many different labels on products it can be challenging to know which claims to believe.

“Four out of five Australians believe that it’s important that meat, eggs and dairy products sold in Australia are farmed in a humane and ethical way ,” said Hope Bertram, Humane Food Marketing Manager, RSPCA Australia. “Shoppers wanting to cut through the confusion should choose RSPCA Approved.”

First founded in 1996, the Approved Farming Scheme is part of the RSPCA’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of Australia’s most intensively farmed animals.

In the twenty years since the Scheme began, 805 million hens, pigs, chickens and turkeys have benefited from significantly better conditions on farm.

The commitment of retailers like Coles and Woolworths to sourcing RSPCA Approved chicken for their own brand ranges has seen the Scheme experience exponential growth in the last two years alone.

“When the Approved Farming Scheme started, there was far less consumer awareness around animal welfare in farming,” said Ms Bertram. “Now people are more conscious of the impact their choices have on farm animals.”

“RSPCA farming standards are grounded in science and go beyond legal requirements in ensuring that animals are farmed in a way that meets their physical and behavioural needs.

“By choosing RSPCA Approved, hens can nest, chickens can perch, turkeys can peck and pigs have space to roam.

“That’s why shoppers looking to purchase higher welfare food this Christmas should look for the RSPCA Approved label.”

Harris Farm turns off the tap for cheap milk

Harris Farm Markets is removing all $1 per litre milk from its shelves across its 24 stores in New South Wales, in a bid to support the local dairy industry.

Harris Farm Markets will stock its own Farmer Friendly Milk range that will sell for $2.29 per two litres. The grocer is working with New South Wales-based farmer-owned cooperative processors who are transparent about their farm gate price, so they can ensure a fair price is being paid to dairy farmers with this new range.

Harris Farm Markets says that it believes milk is a beautiful, natural product and should be sold at a fair price that doesn’t see farmers selling their milk for less than the cost of production.

The retail price is reflective of the true cost of production, allowing Harris Farm to return 95 per cent of the sale price back to the cooperative and onto the farmers who own it.

Farmer Friendly Milk is a higher-quality milk (than its $1 per litre counterpart) with a higher butterfat content of 3.6 per cent, so it’s creamier, because there isn’t the price pressure on the processor to extract as much of the butter fat to create margin in other dairy products.

Harris Farm Markets Co-CEO Tristan Harris said the announcement this week comes after several months of planning to ensure the best product at the best price – for all parties – was going on shelf.

“We understand that people want good value on products that they use lots of every day. However, we believe most people don’t agree that it should be cheap at all cost, including the costs of lives and livelihoods of Aussie farmers,” Tristan said.

“We are charging $2.29 for two litres of milk. We still believe this represents great value for customers but not at the expense of farmers.

“As a family-owned business we knew we wanted to make a difference where we do have control, and after seeing the uproar from farmers, advocates and the public on $1 per litre milk earlier this year, we were compelled to change our approach to milk.”

The Farmer Friendly Milk is on shelves and available in the online store in two-litre bottles of full cream and lite options.

Harris Farm Markets said that it will continue to stock a wide range of milks from a variety of suppliers large and small, and continues to work with these suppliers on transparency around pricing to ensure a fair go for the participating farmers.

Regional demographic changes impacting on food makers

According to ARC, due to the essential nature of many of the products produced, the food & beverages industry is typically less affected by global economic conditions trends than many others, but is highly sensitive to government regulations that often determine how products are manufactured and where they can be sold.

Regional demographic changes also often have a major impact on this industry.

In general, new products, product innovation, and a growing population drive growth in the food & beverages sector. The growing middle class in emerging economies increases demand for more convenient processed foods as well as for more profitable luxury food and beverage products.

Today’s food and beverage companies strive to be able to respond to consumer demand for a wide variety of fresh, nutritious, convenient, and high-quality foods.

Many companies invest large amounts of money to develop new products. As many manufacturers operate globally, product packaging and labeling must meet country-specific requirements and regulations. In addition, product formulas need to be adapted to suit different consumer tastes.

As a whole, this sector has invested heavily in IT infrastructure in recent years.

These systems are expected to support information necessary to maintain quality standards, improve compliance, address food safety issues, and track product information.

Flexibility in both R&D and manufacturing are important to support frequent product changes and reduce product time-to-market.

We’re also seeing increasing pressures to reduce costs to remain competitive.

One area of concern is the potential effect of product recalls on a company’s reputation. Most companies are making targeted investment to both improve their internal controls to reduce the risk of product recalls and improving their ability to recall products, when necessary.

Cybersecurity is another challenge that the industry is addressing, largely through technology. Despite these challenges, food & beverage manufacturers are reasonably optimistic about their future prospects.

Executives believe that new products and line extensions, plus more autonomous operations and efficiency improvements will drive growth and help improve profitability in this largely low-margin sector.

Flexible optical sensors to control beverage quality

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have developed an innovative optical sensor using conventional tape, a low-cost and flexible material that can be easily acquired at stationery shops. It can detect variations of the optical properties of a liquid when is immersed. The sensor can be used to control both the quality of beverages and environmental monitoring.

Light from an LED is introduced in one of end of a piece of tape and the light that emerges from the other end is detected through a photodiode.

The light coupling to the flexible waveguide is mediated by a diffractive element using a grating with aluminum lines of nano dimensions; it is added to the tape through a simple process of “tear and paste.” Both ends of the waveguide can be easily adhered to the LED emitter and the light detector (photodiode).
Because of the flexibility of the tape, the waveguide can bend and is partially immersed in the liquid under examination. Due to the waveguide bend, part of the propagated light is lost by radiation.

This curvature loss depends on the refractive index of the surrounding medium. Thus, it is possible to detect variations of the refractive index of the liquid by photodiode measurement of the optical power lost during the path of light through the immersed waveguide.
The refractive index of a liquid solution is related to both its physical and chemical properties, including density and concentration.

Thus, researchers can assess, for example, the maturation degree of grapes by measuring the refractive index of grape juice; it could also detect the alcoholic content of certain beverages. The sensor can be used in the food sector for process control and beverage quality, and in the environmental sector for water quality control.
The materials and components used to develop this sensor are common and inexpensive. Additionally, the assembly of the three main components of the sensor is simple and there is no need for instrumentation or specialized tools.

Therefore, the assembly can be carried out by non-qualified personnel.
Dr. Carlos Angulo Barrios, the lead researcher for this project, says, “These features, along with the flexibility of the tape, make this sensor very advantageous regarding other optical instruments for the detection of refractive index more complex, rigid and expensive, especially in field applications and on-site analysis of liquids in areas of difficult access.”
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-flexible-optical-sensors-quality-beverages.html#jCp

Methane from food production – the next wildcard in climate change

Methane concentrations in the atmosphere are growing faster than any time in the past 20 years. The increase is largely driven by the growth in food production, according to the Global Methane Budget released today. Methane is contributing less to global warming than carbon dioxide (CO₂), but it is a very powerful greenhouse gas.

Since 2014, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have begun to track the most carbon-intensive pathways developed for the 21st century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The growth of methane emissions from human activities comes at a time when CO₂ emissions from burning fossil fuels have stalled over the past three years.

If these trends continue, methane growth could become a dangerous climate wildcard, overwhelming efforts to reduce CO₂ in the short term.

Methane concentration pathways from IPCC and observations from the NOAA measuring network (Saunois et al 2016, Environmental Research Letters). The projected global warming range by the year 2100, relative to 1850-1900, is shown for each pathway.

In two papers published today (see here and here), we bring together the most comprehensive ensemble of data and models to build a complete picture of methane and where it is going – the global methane budget. This includes all major natural and human sources of methane, and the places where it ends up in methane “sinks” such as the atmosphere and the land.

This work is a companion effort to the global CO₂ budget published annually, both by international scientists under the Global Carbon Project.

Where does all the methane go?

Methane is emitted from multiple sources, mostly from land, and accumulates in the atmosphere. In our greenhouse gas budgets, we look at two important numbers.

First, we look at emissions (which activities are producing greenhouse gases).

Second, we look at where this gas ends up. The important quantity here is the accumulation (concentration) of methane in the atmosphere, which leads to global warming. The accumulation results from the difference between total emissions and the destruction of methane in the atmosphere and uptake by soil bacteria.

CO₂ emissions take centre stage in most discussions to limit climate change. The focus is well justified, given that CO₂ is responsible for more than 80% of global warming due to greenhouse gases. The concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere (now around 400 parts per million) has risen by 44% since the Industrial Revolution (around the year 1750).

While CO₂ in the atmosphere has increased steadily, methane concentrations grew relatively slowly throughout the 2000s, but since 2007 have grown ten times faster. Methane increased faster still in 2014 and 2015.

Remarkably, this growth is occurring on top of methane concentrations that are already 150% higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution (now around 1,834 parts per billion).

The global methane budget is important for other reasons too: it is less well understood than the CO₂ budget and is influenced to a much greater extent by a wide variety of human activities. About 60% of all methane emissions come from human actions.

These include living sources – such as livestock, rice paddies and landfills – and fossil fuel sources, such as emissions during the extraction and use of coal, oil and natural gas.

We know less about natural sources of methane, such as those from wetlands, permafrost, termites and geological seeps.

Biomass and biofuel burning originates from both human and natural fires.

Global methane budget 2003-2012 based on Saunois et al. 2016, Earth System Science Data. See the Global Carbon Atlas at https://www.globalcarbonatlas.org.

Given the rapid increase in methane concentrations in the atmosphere, what factors are responsible for its increase?

Uncovering the causes

Scientists are still uncovering the reasons for the rise. Possibilities include: increased emissions from agriculture, particularly from rice and cattle production; emissions from tropical and northern wetlands; and greater losses during the extraction and use of fossil fuels, such as from fracking in the United States. Changes in how much methane is destroyed in the atmosphere might also be a contributor.

Our approach shows an emerging and consistent picture, with a suggested dominant source along with other contributing secondary sources.

First, carbon isotopes suggest a stronger contribution from living sources than from fossil fuels. These isotopes reflect the weights of carbon atoms in methane from different sources. Methane from fossil fuel use also increased, but evidently not by as much as from living sources.

Second, our analysis suggests that the tropics were a dominant contributor to the atmospheric growth. This is consistent with the vast agricultural development and wetland areas found there (and consistent with increased emissions from living sources).

This also excludes a dominant role for fossil fuels, which we would expect to be concentrated in temperate regions such as the US and China. Those emissions have increased, but not by as much as from tropical and living sources.

Third, state-of-the-art global wetland models show little evidence for any significant increase in wetland emissions over the study period.

The overall chain of evidence suggests that agriculture, including livestock, is likely to be a dominant cause of the rapid increase in methane concentrations. This is consistent with increased emissions reported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and does not exclude the role of other sources.

Remarkably, there is still a gap between what we know about methane emissions and methane concentrations in the atmosphere. If we add all the methane emissions estimated with data inventories and models, we get a number bigger than the one consistent with the growth in methane concentrations. This highlights the need for better accounting and reporting of methane emissions.

We also don’t know enough about emissions from wetlands, thawing permafrost and the destruction of methane in the atmosphere.

The way forward

At a time when global CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels and industry have stalled for three consecutive years, the upward methane trend we highlight in our new papers is unwelcome news. Food production will continue to grow strongly to meet the demands of a growing global population and to feed a growing global middle class keen on diets richer in meat.

However, unlike CO₂, which remains in the atmosphere for centuries, a molecule of methane lasts only about 10 years.

This, combined with methane’s super global warming potency, means we have a massive opportunity. If we cut methane emissions now, this will have a rapid impact on methane concentrations in the atmosphere, and therefore on global warming.

There are large global and domestic efforts to support more climate-friendly food production with many successes, ample opportunities for improvement, and potential game-changers.

However, current efforts are insufficient if we are to follow pathways consistent with keeping global warming to below 2℃. Reducing methane emissions needs to become a prevalent feature in the global pursuit of the sustainable future outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The Conversation

Pep Canadell, CSIRO Scientist, and Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO; Ben Poulter, Research scientist, NASA; Marielle Saunois, Enseignant chercheur à l’Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; chercheur au Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace; Paul Krummel, Research Group Leader, CSIRO; Philippe Bousquet, Professeur à l’université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, chercheur au Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement (LSCE), membre de l’Institut de France, auteur contributif d’un chapitre des deux derniers rapports du GIEC, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines – Université Paris-Saclay , and Rob Jackson, Professor, Earth System Science and Chair of the Global Carbon Project, Stanford University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australia’s newest distillery made Pozible by crowdfunding

Australia’s newest distillery, Cape Byron Distillery has launched its first spirit, Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin via Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible.

Created by Eddie Brook and acclaimed Scottish distiller Jim McEwan, Brookie’s captures the unique tastes and flavours of sub-tropical New South Wales.

The distillery itself is nestled in the very heart of the Brook family’s macadamia farm and is surrounded by a lush rainforest.

A traditional “dry style” Gin, Brookie’s is a balanced combination of the traditional and local native botanicals, trickle distilled in a custom hand-made copper pot still.

Jim McEwan said, “We’re bringing a new level of excellence to distillation. When you taste this gin, it tastes pure. You’re tasting a bit of nature, you can taste the salt air, you can taste the fruits and flowers of the rainforest, it has the warmth of the personalities associated with family distillers.”

Brookie’s is a gin also has a strong environmental message. Over the past 30 years the Brook family have planted over 35,000 native trees, mostly sub – tropical rainforest trees. Today the farm is thriving eco system.

A percentage of the profits from every bottle sold will support the work of the local Big Scrub Landcare group, whose sole mission is to protect what’s left of a mighty rainforest and to encourage new plantings.

 

New reliability test for moisture analysers

Routine moisture-analyser testing between professional calibrations is a good way to ensure moisture measurements are consistently correct.

However, regular performance testing is often neglected because traditional methods are time-consuming and impractical. Mettler Toledo’s SmartCal offers a fast way to verify the performance and veracity of a moisture analyser.

SmartCal simultaneously tests both the heating and weighing units. When results lie within expected tolerances, it lends validity to all measurements made since the previous test.

These results are viewed in a series of clear, readable measurement reports for straightforward monitoring.

They can either be stored directly in the instrument or manually entered into an Excel report.

Mettler Toledo’s also offers a certified version of SmartCal. cSmartCal is tested by the independent German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing.

It satisfies regulatory requirements and is suitable for highly-regulated environments that require an extra level of results assurance. SmartCal StarterPac contains 12 sachets and accessories including the user guide, reporting templates, thermo-hygrometer, and validation documentation.

What bulk packaging system should you choose?

When it comes to choosing a bulk packaging system, every business has its own unique needs. There are different types of bulk packaging systems available on the market, and each machine comes with its own uses and advantages.

Some focus more on outer packaging functions such as forming, cleaning, and sealing. Others focus more on the interior of the package through filling, wrapping, and creative packaging solutions. What you’ll need depends on the type of items you’ll be packaging and the type of packaging you’ll be using, as well as your budget.

Form, fill and seal machines (FFS)

These machines are commonly used for food packaging, although they can also be used for other items including liquids and solids. The FFS machine creates a bag from a flat roll of film, while simultaneously filling the bag with the product and sealing the bag once it’s full. The advantages of FFS machines are that they can operate at a high speed and they’re ideal for running the same product continuously.

The cost of the film is cheaper than purchasing pre-made bags, so you will save on operating costs. However, changing the film is time-consuming, and if the bag is dropped it will often break.

Vertical form, fill and seal machines (VFFS)

VFFS machines fill each bag before heat sealing it, labelling it with a time stamp, and auto cutting the bag. Most VFFS machines can operate at about one finished bag per second, so they are ideal for businesses with high output requirements.

They can be used for small individual packages (like sachets) or for larger bags, and they can package a wide variety of materials like seeds, powders, liquids. VFFS machines are suitable for bagging oats, hay, mulch, fertilisers and more.

Bale packaging machines

Bale packaging machines use hydraulic cylinders to compress products to a quarter of their original size. This allows you to store more products, maximise your available space, and save on packing and transportation costs. This type of bulk packaging system is normally used for cereals, rags, sawdust, humus, straw, hay and fodder.

Valve bag fillers

These machines are consistent, accurate, and simple to install and adjust. Valve bag fillers use a two-stage filling system. The majority of product is filled at maximum rate, and then just before the bag reaches its target, the machine reduces the fill rate to a dribble feed.

This way, the machine can stop filling more accurately when the bag reaches its target weight.

Valve bag fillers are relatively small machines, so they don’t take up a lot of floor space. They’re suitable for packaging dry materials, powders and granular products such as soil, mulch, minerals, grains or concrete mix.

Pre-made bags or open mouth baggers

These systems are extremely flexible. They are compatible with paper bags or woven bags, heat sealers, inner liners, stitched outer bags, fold overs and taped seals.

They offer various feeding methods including gravity feeding, auger feeding, and vibratory feeding, providing you with the ability to package unusual products.

You can add dust extraction systems or bag compression functions depending on your business needs. Poly woven bags are, on average, more robust than FFS bags, but your cost per bag will be higher. Open mouth baggers also tend to be slower than FFS systems.

Visit www.accupak.com.au to find out more.

Food conveyor cleaning nozzles

According to Techpro, food conveyor cleaning can now be done quicker and also more cost effectively.

While manual conveyor cleaning is regularly undertaken to ensure Australia’s first-class food hygiene protocols are maintained, a number of manufacturers have found effective conveyor cleaning is achievable simply by installing the correct spray nozzles for the job.

A properly automated conveyor cleaning system should provide uniformed cleaning across the entire conveyor as well as efficient water usage.

Optimal results can only be achieved when the positioning of spray nozzles is carefully planned.

Other factors to consider include available water pressure and flow rate, nozzle size, droplet size and spray pattern.

Coca-Cola launches Aussie summer ‘sweat smasher’ with sports stars

Coca-Cola  has announced details of Powerade’s new Australian Summer campaign ‘Smash the Sweat’.

The campaign is designed to encourage consumers to smash the sticky, humid conditions associated with the season through the launch of limited edition Powerade sport-themed ‘shrink packs’ aimed at generating cut-through during the key summer period.

The strategy, said the company, revolves around tapping into the Aussie’s love of sports through collectable summer sports-themed packaging, featuring imagery from a range of sports including rugby, cricket, basketball, tennis, soccer and athletics.

The signature packs are signed by sporting legends and Powerade Ambassadors Greg Inglis, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Bogut.

Appearing from early November, the limited edition packs will be promoted in-store at point-of-sale and supported on social media channels in the build up to summer.

As the summer sport season kicks off, the campaign will be boosted through outdoor media calling on consumers to ‘Smash the Sweat’.

Sarah Illy, Brand Activation Manager, Powerade, said: “We all love an Aussie summer, but with the hot, sticky conditions it becomes even more important to stay hydrated. So this summer we are challenging people to ‘Smash the Sweat’. Being a sports-obsessed nation, we decided to tap into that trend through our collectable sport-themed packs to encourage people to be active and stay hydrated.”

“The limited edition bottles have been inspired by Australian sporting legends with the objective of keeping Powerade ION4 top of mind for rehydration needs. Powerade ION4… is scientifically formulated to help replace four of the electrolytes lost in sweat and is an ideal way to ‘Smash the Sweat’ this summer,” said Illy.

 

Fall protection takes centre stage at 3M’s Fall Protection Open Day

Falls from heights are an ongoing safety concern in all industrial environments.

According to the Safe Work Australia report, Work-Related Injuries and Fatalities Involving A Fall From Height, in 2010–11, 7730 claims for serious injury were lodged due to a fall from a height. This means that 21 employees each day lodged a claim for a falls-related injury that required one or more weeks off work.

Given the importance of preventing falls from height, 3M, the leader in safety, and Capital Safety, the leader in fall protection, are now connected for a safer future – 3M Fall Protection.

REGISTER NOW

To be held at the 3M’s Fall Protection headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, October 27th, the day will feature many informative activities that demonstrate that the importance of fall protection.

  • Visit the custom-built fall protection Training Centre where you can learn about how to prevent falls from heights and dangerous workplaces and how to create a safer work environment.
  • Watch as 3M tests its products on its purpose built product Testing Tower!
  • View the disastrous consequences of a fall from height so you and your company can avoid them in future. Fall protection goes virtual with 3M’s new virtual reality experience, which is available all day!
  • Learn about new arc flash technology and the product life-cycle concept where you are taken through the R&D process of prototyping and testing, through to the manufacturing assessment and into mass production.
  • Go on guided tour of the production floor where you will see how a harness gets constructed from raw material through to the finished
  • See live, hands-on training demonstrations such as Dropped Objects and Pick-off Rescues on 3M’s mobile Road Show Demo Truck.

REGISTER NOW

Key info

Date and Time: Thursday 27 October 2016, with two sessions: a morning session (9am to 12pm) and an afternoon session (1pm to 4pm).

Address: 3M Fall Protection 95 Derby St Silverwater NSW 2128.

Inclusions: Lunch is provided for all guests in both sessions, between 12pm to 1pm.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Contact: If you have any questions, please call 1800 245 002

 

 

Have we finally entered the age of the Chato?

Potato has long been in the staple diet for the Australian diet. However, with rising global consumerism and increasing concerns over food security, the market looks to be turning towards alternative and more sustainable food sources.

Australian inventor Andrew Dyhin from PotatoMagic in Melbourne has claimed to have achieved a breakthrough to save wasted potatoes.

In 12 years of what he has coined as “intense research”, Dyhin has developed what he has coined the “chato” that looks like a block of cheese, melts like cheese but all potato. Furthermore, according to Mr Dyhin, the potatoes are peeled and processed with no added ingredients making it a reportedly eco friendly process.

The “chato” can be melted or sliced like a cheese, cut into cubes and served as a salad, or mixed with water and additional ingredients to make any consistency of liquid including dips, aoli and custard.

With over roughly 75000 tonnes of potatoes wasted annually in Australia, Dyhin sees an opportunity to push the “chato” product into a commercialisation phase and attract investors with a target to set up a pilot production plant within a year.

“Food security is a very important issue and we need to look at products that have more yield per hectare, like potatoes.”

“And also how we use that yield. Something like 25 per cent of all potato that is grown doesn’t make it to the plate, mostly because it’s not pretty enough for the shelves,”  Dyhin said.

“While he’s proud of the work he’s doing, he said the bigger issues at play are food security and the environment, and chato could help feed the future population of Australia and the world.”

“We need to find alternatives to animals and intensive agricultural practises. With chato we can take any potato, especially the ones that will just be thrown away, and make something that’s delicious and versatile. We can make the most of what we have,” added Dyhin.

Safe and fearless for Safe Work Month

Every October, Safe Work Australia Month is held to raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety. In 2013-14 there were 106,565 serious workers’ compensation claims made  and tragically, 190 workers lost their lives while working in Australia in 2015 . Workplace health and safety is of vital importance for all employees and employers, yet some professions face additional risks that can be difficult to prepare for. Fearless™ is a personal safety system that helps keep workers safe wherever they are. It is of particular benefit to ‘lone workers’ such as mobile staff, nurses, construction and salespeople.

Developed by Calamity, Australia’s highest-rated security monitoring provider, Fearless offers mobile protection to staff and helps businesses quickly comply with some of the toughest WHS requirements. Fearless is accessed through an app on a piece of technology everybody already carries – their smart phones. In a dangerous situation, or when staff fail to ‘check-in’ as expected an alarm can be raised through the app. Calamity’s 24/7 monitoring centre is alerted and has access to the user’s location as well as using the phone for audio and camera evidence, allowing live operators to initiate a suitable response. The alarm can either be activated manually or automatically when a countdown timer reaches zero. The system is cloud-based so even if the phone is destroyed or stolen the user can be protected.

Professions that require employees to travel offsite regularly, or who work irregular hours can face added occupational risks that can be difficult for management to prepare for. A survey of health professionals, teachers and police working in rural and remote Australia found that 57% had experienced verbal abuse from community members in the past 12 months and 21% had experienced physical violence . In situations that can compromise a person’s feeling of safety, such as finishing a nursing shift late at night or needing to visit a stranger’s house for an appointment, Fearless can offer much needed peace of mind.

While travelling, Journey mode can be activated on the app, providing live updates to emergency contacts or employers if necessary. Meeting mode can be set for a potentially risky meeting or while alone. An alert is raised if a countdown timer reaches zero without being reset by the user. In situations where injury or personal immobilisation is a possibility, such as off-site construction, Man-Down is a function which offers additional protection by flagging any sudden deceleration, non-movement or impact.

Fearless has been purposefully built to assist in emergency situations and to dispatch help as quickly and efficiently as possible if needed. Businesses owners and managers feel at ease knowing that their staff are prepared for the worst case scenario or simple day to day risk. “Fearless has far-reaching applications in so many workplace scenarios,” says Daniel Lewkovitz, CEO of Calamity and designer of Fearless. “It has been carefully constructed to ensure employers can comply with Work Health and Safety requirements and offers peace of mind to anyone who may feel unsafe in their personal or professional life. Fearless takes a proactive approach to safety, as users can switch it on before any potentially dangerous situation, such as travelling to a meeting, and it will let others know you arrived safely without anyone needing to remember to ‘text their boss’. The technology is the best on the market and this tool saves lives.”

Technology is the most effective way to ensure staff feel safe and is essential for collecting evidence of sound, image and location if needed. As jobs have become increasingly flexible and more people work irregular hours and at different locations, Fearless is the most efficient tool to protect staff.

 

Single fresh food safety standard set to simplify sector

A uniform Australasian food standard looks set to replace to the range of state based regulations.

The Produce Marketing Association of Australia & New Zealand (PMA) is preparing to launch the unitary standard in October, the ABC reports.

It will be phased in over two years.

PMA technology manager Bennett said Australia’s major supermarkets and certifiers support the new standard because it is based on the global standard for food safety.

He added that the PMA framework also met Australian retailers’ needs for about 60 additional elements from direct food suppliers, and that it will reduce duplication in documentation and audits.

PMA owns the intellectual property to the standard.

Solution to workplace safety in Sydney

The largest workplace health and safety event in Australia will gather at Sydney Showground Olympic Park on 6-8 September 2016.

More than 4,000 Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) professionals across manufacturing, government, construction, healthcare, transport, distribution and engineering will attend Safety in Action, a three day event featuring over 20 free seminars on insights and priorities for employee safety.

“Already this month, 109 Australian workers have been killed at work, highlighting the urgent need for national improvements to prevent the number escalating,” says Keith Barks, General Manager at Informa Australia.

Running parallel to Safety in Action will be the Safety Institute of Australia’s National Convention, a two day conference featuring global and Australian safety leaders who will address the theme of “Disruptive Safety”. The convention program will include presentations from Bernard Salt and challenge leaders to change their thinking about safety.

A free Safety in Action seminar series will feature keynote speakers, discussing this year’s theme “Keep your workplace safe”. Speakers include: beyondblue, Coca-Cola, SafeWork NSW, Myosh, OzHelp Foundation, AccessEAP and Aframes Safety.

Companies exhibiting include: beyondblue, Myosh, ATOM, Mix Telematics, Royal Life Saving, Chemical Safety International, Sydney Safety Training and SAI Global. A full list of exhibitors can be found here.

Exclusive to Safety in Action will be Australia’s largest cleaning and hygiene show CleanScene. Presented by the National Cleaning Suppliers Association (NCSA), the co-located event will feature a number of exhibitors catering for cleaners, commercial, industrial and facility managers and government agencies.

Where: Sydney Showground Olympic Park, 1 Showground Road, Sydney

  • Tuesday           6 September 2016 10am – 4pm
  • Wednesday     7 September 2016 10am – 4pm
  • Thursday         8 September 2016 10am – 4pm

Roadmap to guide the way to workplace safety

SafeWork NSW has launched a new work health and safety Roadmap for NSW which sets a number of ambitious targets to reduce the rate of injury, illness and fatalities in NSW workplaces.

The Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022 is a six year plan to make the lives of NSW workers and business owners healthier, safer and more productive.

Under the vision ‘Healthy, safe, and productive working lives’, the Roadmap aims to reduce work-related fatalities by 20 per cent, serious injuries and illnesses by 30 per cent and serious musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses by 30 per cent through engaging and empowering workplaces to manage health and safety more effectively.

The manufacturing sector has been identified in the Roadmap as one of the State’s highest risk industry sectors and Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said they will implement targeted programs to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses within the industry.

“Over the last ten years, fewer people are being seriously or fatally injured in NSW workplaces,” Mr Dunphy said.

“There has been a 49 per cent decline in fatalities and a 39 per cent decline in serious injuries and illnesses which can be attributed to a number of factors, including changing attitudes towards work health and safety, as well as the development of best practice, industry transformation and technological developments.

“And while NSW had made good progress towards meeting national safety targets, the rates of work-related of injuries, illnesses and fatalities were still too high.

“Over the last three years there were 14,886 major workers compensation claims in the manufacturing industry.

“And when we consider that the more than 30,000 serious workplace injuries and illnesses last financial year cost the NSW economy more than $17 billion or 3.7 per cent of gross state product, it’s clear that we must do more.

Mr Dunphy said the Roadmap focussed on building the ability of businesses to better manage work health and safety.

“Over the next six years SafeWork NSW will develop and deliver a range of innovative initiatives in partnership with employers, workers, peak bodies, associations, and community leaders to protect workers and increase the competitiveness and confidence of NSW business,” he said.

“This will be underpinned by a number of elements, including good safety practices supported by committed leadership, consultation, workers who look out for each other and safe design.

“We will seek to limit musculoskeletal injuries, mental health disorders and exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials.

“We are also committed to significantly reducing the number of injuries involving quad bikes, forklifts, machine guarding, working at heights and electrocution.

“These innovative programs will be developed through data driven insights and information sharing with stakeholders so that practical solutions to current work health and safety risks can be found.”

Mr Dunphy said NSW was the nation’s leading economy and the manufacturing sector should be the safest in the country.

“While our workplaces are amongst the safest, healthiest, and most productive in the country, the Roadmap challenges us to look out for each other and improve workplace health and safety across the State.”

New country of origin food labels are finally here

Australia’s new country of origin food labelling laws come into effect today, helping Aussie consumers find out more about their food.

The Australian Made Campaign’s (AMCL) famous Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo will feature on most new labels, along with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients come from Australia.

It’ll give shoppers a better understanding of how much of their food is sourced locally. The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia.

“The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia. Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out, with a two year phase-in period to allow companies to redesign, reprint and apply the new labels before the 30 June 2018 deadline, when the new system will become mandatory.

Companies will still be allowed to sell products with the existing labels after 1 July, 2018 providing the labels were applied before the cut off date.”

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said the scheme will greatly improve clarity and consistency for Australian consumers.

“A tighter system for food labelling, coupled with a better understanding of that system by consumers, will give Aussie shoppers more confidence in what they are purchasing and provide Australian farmer and manufacturers with a much needed leg up,” Mr Harrison said.

“It removes that old phrase which nobody liked, ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients.” AMCL believes the widespread use of the AMAG logo will also strengthen the logo’s connection to Australia and help boost sales of genuine Aussie goods in domestic and export markets.

Exported food is not required to carry the new labels so businesses wanting to use the AMAG logo on their products can do so under a licence with AMCL.

Shoppers will also continue to see the AMAG logo on all other types of Aussie products with AMCL to continue administering and promoting the logo as a voluntary country of origin certification trade mark.

Taking the lead in food safety

With food safety and the presence of food-borne hazards such an important issue in today’s food and beverage industry, manufacturers around the world are taking note of Atlas Copco’s recent accreditation to ISO 22000, the first air compressor company to do so.

While not defining air quality as such, ISO 22000 is an important food safety management system that has been developed to ensure food safety throughout the supply chain.

Peter Furolo, Atlas Copco’s Product Manager – Oil-Free and Medical Focus, said Atlas Copco is the first compressor manufacturer to receive ISO 22000 certification for its production facility in Antwerp, Belgium, which manufactures energy-efficient oil-free air compressors, blowers, gas generators, dryers, filters and vacuum plants.

“This accreditation gives customers the peace of mind that they are working with an organisation that completely understands the importance of food safety. Atlas Copco has invested its considerable resources to ensure it is a reliable and trustworthy supplier to the food and beverage industry.”

He revealed that Atlas Copco pioneered the development of oil-free air technology nearly fifty years ago. “And remain a company of innovators and leaders in the air compressor industry.”

Furolo pointed out that Atlas Copco was also the first air compressor company to meet ISO 8573 Class 0 certification for all its oil-free compressors (screw, centrifugal, piston, scroll, combined screw-piston, water injected screw and tooth).

“Of course many of our competitors have followed us with Class 0,” he said.

“Now we are the first air compressor company with ISO 22000 accreditation. It is something that is needed in the industry, and no doubt our competitors will eventually follow us again.”

He said Atlas Copco sets the benchmark for good practice in the compressed air industry, providing its food and beverage customers with assurances regarding quality, safety and reliability of its products.

“This certification provides the food and beverage industry with confidence that they are working with a supplier that conforms to the latest international standards regarding food safety.”

Furolo said ISO 2200 has become more widely known in Australia over the past few years and he expects that it will become common place across the food and beverage industries very soon.

“The big multi-national food companies that operate in Australia are the drivers for ISO 22000 awareness. They lead the local industry by example and I believe that the rest of food and beverage companies will quickly follow suit.

“In today’s modern world where the important, regulations on food standards are essential.”

He explained that ISO 22000 specifies the requirements for a food safety management system where an organisation in the food chain needs to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards in order to ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption.

“After intensive workshops and thoroughly executed audits by Lloyd’s Register, we were able to demonstrate that Atlas Copco complies with the highest standards in the food industry with its oil-free compressors and blowers.”

He went on to explain that ISO 2200 is based on the ISO 9000 system, but is very specific regarding food safety hazards.

“While not about the quality of the compressed air in particular, the standard includes an understanding of the whole business operation from an operational and a service point of view, including the implications of using spare parts and other critical components in a compressor that could cause hazards.”

Furolo said the same HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and procedures, as used in the top quality food and beverage companies, have been implemented in the design and production of the company’s oil-free compressors, blowers and dryers.

With compressed air coming into contact with the end-product in many applications, or even forming an active part of the food, he said it is vital this air should not generate any risk of contamination.

“It is for this reason Atlas Copco decided to invest in this vital food safety certification. As innovators, we are always searching for better ways to serve our customers,” Furolo said.

He explained that Atlas Copco manufacturers a wide range of oil-free compressors that all comply with the Class Zero standard and are all designed for critical applications that require 100% oil-free, clean air.

“Our range includes the well-known Z range, plus the SF range of rotary scroll compressors and the innovative AQ water injected screw compressors. Plus we also manufacture the powerful ZD PET blowing compressors.

“At Atlas Copco, we are committed to sustainable productivity for all our customers,” Furolo concluded.