The Myer FoundationRisk assessment and Works Planning:

MCMC aims to minimise risks associated with its works to operators, park users and the environment. MCMC subscribes to a "hierarchy of control" of risks which is consistent with that identified in the Hazardous Substances Code of Practice under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 - that substitution, isolation or engineering controls will be the first priority for risk control, followed by administrative controls, and finally personal protective equipment.

Substitution

Herbicides are used to control weeds at sites managed by MCMC. Consistent with the Hazardous Substances Code of Practice under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985, MCMC has undertaken a risk assessment of hazardous substances kept and used by MCMC, including the herbicides. Herbicides used are selected to minimise adverse impacts on the environment, the operator and park users.

Isolation

An example of how MCMC uses isolation to deal with risks is by storing herbicides in a seperate bunded, locked shed. MCMC's spray rig is also kept in a separate, bunded, locked shed.

Engineering controls

As an example of engineering controls, MCMC stores its nursery stock in racks above the ground, reducing the need for bending to lift the plant boxes. Similarly, bales of Eucamulch, which can be very heavy when wet, are stored on racks at the same level as the trays of vehicles used to deliver them to site, avoiding the need for lifting. MCMC has commenced a formal risk assessment for manual handling.

Unfortunately, reducing the risk posed at work sites through engineering controls is often not possible, or not desireable because of the environmental impact involved. In some cases steep unstable fill slopes have been earthworked to provide shallower, more stable slopes suitable both for revegetation and for access for the staff required to plant and undertake weed control. This sort of work is counter-productive where there is remnant vegetation present, or an intact natural soil profile. This concern extends to the creation by developers of new fill slopes abutting or on the parkland, and MCMC's Development Guidelines suggest that fill batters should be at a slope of less than 1 in 5 for grassed slopes, or less than 1 in 3 where the slopes will be planted up, or if no alternative is available, benched slopes may be used.

Administrative controls

Administrative controls at MCMC include procedures in use, and depend heavily on staff training.

MCMC holds a Commercial Operators Licence for application of herbicides issued by the Department of Primary Industry under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992. Staff are trained in herbicide use, consistent with this licence. MCMC procedures aim for safe cleaning of herbicide gear; first and second rinses of equipment are used on-site (for example on the borders of planting areas) with a trade waste permit for discharge of third rinse water to sewer via a custom-designed installation.

A range of procedures are followed to minimise risks associated with MCMC's works. For example, MCMC undertakes ecological burning at grassland sites within the catchment. A checklist is used to ensure that all safety matters are addressed. Prior to each burn, a safety plan is prepared that identifies how the burn should be carried out, and the maximum weather conditions, behond which the burn should not continue. Parkland Management staff have completed nationally accredited training in wildfire behaviour, wildfire suppression and personal protection.

MCMC undertakes to provide as far as practicable a safe, healthy and risk free work environment for its employees by maintaining the following standards & practices:

Personal Protective Equipment

Appropriate personal protective equipment is issued to staff (see the Personal protective equipment page).

Insurance:

MCMC further manages the financial risk to itself, staff and park users by holding a number of kinds of insurance, including:

MCMC's insurances cost approximately $8000 per annum excluding Workcover which costs approximately $23,000 annually.