Things to watch

Emergency plans revisited

We recently discussed the importance of emergency plans, and that more regulations are being developed across the country.

Again last week in Sydney at the DCM Professional Development Day, we had Kathleen Ng and David McElhone (pictured below) from the leading law firm MinterEllison run through new NSW regulations coming our way.

They had these points on the slide above that we thought was a good reminder of the minimum steps that need to be taken while you are doing a full review of emergency strategies and procedures.

Note the ‘once a year’ for safety inspections and evacuation exercise. Have you done yours?


Latest industry developments

Good news: Aveo to be purchased by Canadian investment fund at $1.3B

Yesterday Aveo announced agreement to be purchased by the huge Canadian investment fund Brookfield. This is good news for retirement village operators – and managers.

There are many reasons.

It is a $1.3 billion vote of confidence in retirement villages by a conservative investor that is looking at the long-term health of retirement villages. This gives all operators – and regulators – confidence.

Brookfield would only buy it if it believed it can add value to their investment. They will do this by reinvesting in older villages, making them suitable to the more demanding new customers (i.e. baby boomers).

This is great for existing residents, plus the local communities where the money will be spent with local suppliers.

Brookfield will also invest in quality staff – which means training and reward for professionalism. Village managers will be in demand and a career path will evolve.

Brookfield will also want to make sure village homes sell fast and at a good price. They have the money and they will invest in marketing. All retirement villages will benefit.

It will take 12 to 24 months for all this to roll out, but it is ‘good news’.


Key things to help you everyday

Safe work responsibilities: are you aware? Are they on your team meeting agenda?

Key learning: Village Managers have significant responsibilities and accountabilities for safe work practices.

Last week in Sydney we had Colleen Harris, who is the Metropolitan Chief Inspector for Worksafe NSW, give a presentation on the responsibility of Village Managers – and operators – to provide a safe working environment (Colleen pictured below inset).

You will have a reasonable understanding of the responsibilities as an employer of workers, but you also have some responsibilities for contractors and others visiting or doing work in the village.

This is a serious subject. As the slide at the top shows, in NSW for example, Worksafe inspectors have more ‘power’ than the police when they enter a workplace to demand information etc.

This list gives you a taste of your obligations as a front-line manager:

  •     The need for WHS to be discussed on a regular basis with staff and sub-contractors
  •       Ongoing review of safe work practices
  •       The requirements for Standard Operating Procedures for operation of plant
  •       Provide safe systems of work particularly in relation to heights, plant and chemicals
  •       The storing and use of chemicals
  •       The need for protective personal equipment
  •       Induction of staff, contractors and volunteers
  •       Regular instruction, training and supervision to do their work in a way that is safe and without risk to theirs or others health

Remember, at times the common areas, staff offices, bowling green, and even residents’ homes may be considered a workplace by an inspector in the event of a workplace incident.

This month, August, as part of the DCM Institute Village Management Professional Development Program, we cover Legislation in each state.

If you are part of the VM program you can download the WHS checklist as part of the month-end materials.