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Safety, Emergency and Wellbeingwork overiew

Safety and wellbeing tips

Healthy Sleep

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Sleep has many functions, helping maintain optimal emotional and social functioning, and affecting our general health and energy levels everyday of our lives. Most adults need 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night.

Health Effects of Poor Sleep - Increased Risk of

  • Early death (<6 & >9 hours / day)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardio-Vascular Disease

Physical and Mental Effects of Fatigue

  • Loss of attention
  • Increased impatience and irritability
  • Increased risk taking
  • Short unplanned naps (Micro sleeps)
  • Poor decision making
  • Slower reaction time
  • Lowered ability to think logically
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Inability to anticipate danger

Factors that may affect sleep

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
  • Gastro-Eosphageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work
  • Jet lag
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy

Sleep Cycles

We need to experience all four stages of sleep in order to wake up rested. Each cycle of stages last around 90 – 120 minutes. A good night sleep consists of 5 – 6 cycles:
Stages 1 – 2: Increasingly unplug from the world
Stage 3: Reach deep sleep; crucial for physical renewal, hormonal regulation, growth, repair minor damage, enhances memory, and controls appetite
Stage 4: REM sleep the brain processes and synthesizes memories and emotions; psychological recovery, enhancing unconscious memories (lack results in slower cognitive and social processing, problems with memory and difficulty concentrating) 

Non-REM Sleep REM Sleep
Stage 1:
  • Light sleep
  • Easily awaken
  • Muscles relax with occasional twitches
  • Eye movements are slow

Stage 2:

  • Eye movements stop
  • Slower brain waves

Stage 3:

  • Occurs soon after you fall asleep
  • Deep sleep difficult to awaken
  • Large slow brain waves
  • heart and breathing rates are slow
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Usually occurs about 90 munites after you fall asleep
  • Cycles along with the non-REM stages throughout the night
  • Eyes move rapidly behind closed eyelids
  • Breathing, heartrate and blood pressure are irergular
  • Dreaming occurs
  • Arm and leg muscles are temporarily paralysed

Sleep Signals
Physiological – regulated by body clock

  • Body temperature (hot shower – create falling temp)
  • Melatonin
  • Length of time awake
  • Regular sleep pattern

Psychological – familiar things you do before bed

  • Warm non caffeinated drink
  • Warm shower
  • Regular Routine – pack next day’s lunch, put animals outside, lock up, etc.

Environmental - day / night signal

  • Remove artificial light (TV, computers, phones, etc.) & keep room darkened – bedroom is for sleep, not entertainment
  • Temp 15-24 deg C
  • Remove stimuli – light, screens, noise, pets
  • Clean, comfortable bedroom & bedding

Develop good sleep habits

  • Plan to go to bed each night about 8 hours before you usually wake up; schedule time for sleep; make your bed time and wake up times consistent
  • Exposure yourself to sunlight during the day (melatonin)
  • Prepare the environment; your body physically & psychologically – wind down and relax
  • Reduce caffeine & nicotine – stimulants
  • Avoid heavy / spicy meals too soon before bed time
  • Reduce alcohol – may awaken to urinate & reduces sleep quality (disturbs 2nd half as does cannabis and sleeping medications)
  • Avoid medications – potential to cause serious problems including daytime sleepiness, physical and psychological dependence – should only be used short term under medical supervision
  • Exercise regularly – but not within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Avoid daytime napping / keep short if required (15-20 mins)
  • Don’t clock watch
  • If you are having issues, keep a sleep diary  for a few weeks and seek help from your doctor / health professional

For further reading click on the following links:

Colds and Flu Season

The cold and flu season, usually May to September, is fast approaching.

The Office of People and Capability is pleased to advise that once again we are offering free flu vaccinations to all CDU staff. To be eligible to receive this vaccination, you must be on the current CDU payroll system.

You MUST register prior to the cut-off date if you wish to partake in the free vaccination program. (This is to facilitate accurate ordering of vaccinations to the appropriate clinics).

The most effective way to prevent the influenza virus is by an annual vaccination. This will reduce your chances of catching the illness and may also reduce severity if you do catch it. The best time to be vaccinated for the flu is between March and May before the onset of the flu season. The virus in the vaccine is not active, so you will not get sick from the vaccination. It takes approximately 14 days for your body to develop immunity and protection lasts one year.

For more information on colds and flu, prevention, vaccine facts and myths and an interactive questionnaire to assist in your decision on whether to have the flu vaccine, go the FluSmart website.

Colds and Flus are spread through air droplets i.e. coughing and sneezing. The viruses causing colds and flus can survive on some hard surfaces for several hours. Touching surfaces contaminated by infected droplets (hands, phone, and keyboards) may lead to infection. These viruses can be removed with normal household detergents.  

Common Cold Symptoms Influenza / Flu Symptoms
Sore throat Fever (often high)
Runny nose Chills
Sneezing Muscle aches and pains
Tiredness / lethargy Severe cough
Sore throat
Lethargy – extreme exhaustion


The treatment of colds and flus is best managed by staying at home and resting, drinking plenty of fluids, especially water and where appropriate taking over the counter medications to help relieve the symptoms. If you are concerned about your symptoms, or are not getting better, see your doctor.

Good hygiene will go a long way in preventing colds and flus.

  • Cold and Flu seasonUse a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of tissues after use; or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash hands immediately after coughing or sneezing
  • Use soap and water or an alcohol based gel
  • Stay home if you have flu like symptoms
  • Do not share items like glasses, cups and cutlery
  • Consult your doctor if you have a cough or high fever
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions including taking prescribed medication

The most effective way to prevent the Influenza virus is by an annual vaccination. his will reduce your chances of catching the illness and may also reduce severity if you do catch it.

The best time to be vaccinated for the flu is between March and May – before the onset of the flu season. The virus in the vaccine is not active – you will not get sick from the vaccination.

It takes approximately 14 days for your body to develop immunity and protection lasts one year.

For more information on colds and flus, prevention, vaccine facts and myths and an interactive questionnaire to assist in your decision on whether to have the flu vaccine, go to the FluSmart website.


February 2017 - Lifestyle Choices and your Health – You are what you Eat

The lifestyle choices you make today, and every day impact how you feel today and how you will feel in your future health.
Chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, vascular diseases, arthritis and cancers are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. Many people have more than one of these chronic illnesses at the same time.

Whilst we cannot change some of the risk factors for chronic diseases e.g. age, genetics, gender and ethnicity; there are a number of risk factors that we can change through personal choices. These are often referred to as ‘Lifestyle Choices’, and include smoking/tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and poor eating habits that can lead to diabetes, being overweight or obese.

We all have individual control over these lifestyle choices:

  • what, when and how much we eat
  • how much we exercise
  • if and how much we smoke
  • if and how much alcohol we drink

Australia’s Healthy Weight Week runs from 13 to 19 February 2017 and aims to increase the awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

For more information on this including healthy eating and food choices, hints to modify favourite recipes and diabetes, go to the Diabetes SA website.

Take the healthy eating quiz to find out more about your food habits.

Here are some further health links you may be interested in:

Remember life is about choices and when it comes to life style those choices influence the quality and length of your life.

December 2016 - Stay safe this Christmas holiday season

Christmas lights safety

Christmas lights are an exciting sign of the festive season, but if installed incorrectly can cause electric shock or fires. Please keep in mind when decorating your home or garden the potential hazards associated with electrical equipment.

Buy the right lights for the environment

  • If using lights outside, buy lights that are marked suitable for outdoor use.
  • Always check the voltage and verify it is compatible with the service outlet.
  • If you think children or animals may come into contact with Christmas light bulbs or cords, use low voltage lights.

Don't forget to unplug the lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Let's make electrical safety a priority when it comes to Christmas and party lights. Let's stay safe this festive season and not burn our houses down.

Candle safety

A candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn. Keep your home and family safe by following some simple candle safety rules.

  • Keep burning candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
  • Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
  • Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.

To see more candle safety rules visit the National Candle Association.

Food storage

Incorrect food storage can quickly lead to spoilage and subsequent food poisoning.

The food groups deemed to be high-risk include:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • dairy
  • seafood
  • cooked rice/pasta
  • prepared salads.

Depending on the particular food state, these high-risk foods should be stored at below 5 degrees celsius, or above 60 degrees celsius to avoid the 'temperature danger zone' where bacteria multiply fastest. Correct storage containers help minimise bacteria growth, also in turn minimising the risk of becoming ill.

Drink responsibly

You can monitor your drinking if you:

  • designate a driver who won't drink and will get you home safely (visit RADD - Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes against Drink Driving)
  • start with a non-alcoholic drink
  • eat before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream
  • avoid salty snacks that make you thirsty and make you drink more
  • make every second or third drink non-alcoholic
  • try low-alcohol drinks
  • always keep your drink with you to minimise the risk of drink spiking.

Where to get help

  • Your local doctor
  • Direct Line is a 24-hour confidential drug and alcohol and counselling service and referral line
    E: Direct Line
    1800 888 236
  • Counselling Online – A free online counselling and referral service

Safe driving

Many of us will be travelling long distances to visit family and friends. It's important to be aware of the dangers you will face while driving long distances. The most serious danger is drowsy driving, where a driver is more tired than they may think they are, and simply drift off. Here are some strategies to help you get to your destination safely.

Lessen the drives – If possible, shorten the lengths of your long distance drives. This may take you a bit longer to get to your destination but it will give you a chance to take a break and rest more often.

Require breaks – There should be set limits for how far a driver can go at one time, as well as per day. Regular breaks should be taken ie 10 minutes after two hours of travel and 30 minutes after five hours of travel.

Share driving duty – If possible, driving duties should be shared among appropriate trained and licenced drivers. If you feel yourself becoming fatigued, stop and have a break as nothing except rest will alleviate the onset of fatigue.

Share driver's experiences – Share your experiences on the roads with other drivers – such as what's the best B&B to stay at, good rest stops (with good food and clean rest stop facilities), where road conditions are challenging and to take extra care, etc.

Keep in contact with drivers – Speaking regularly with your drivers during their shift (obviously hands free for the driver) is a way of checking up on how they're feeling, and to find out if there is anything you need to know.

Safe driving! Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful Christmas / New Year!

Sources: Safety Concepts
Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes against Drink Driving (RADD)
National Candle Association

Health Tip - Hydration

With the build-up months now upon us it's important to remember to stay hydrated.

urine colour hydrtion test
Urine hydration chart

Hydration is a term used to describe your body's ability to manage water. Keeping hydrated is important because it helps to regulate the body temperature, remove bodily waste, lubricate joints and maintain healthy organs.

During prolonged work in the heat, your body can sweat up to one litre in an hour. Unless that fluid is replaced by drinking, progressive dehydration can occur. For more information, refer to the Hydration Test.

The consequences of dehydration include a reduction in safety and productivity due to impaired concentration, muscle fatigue and heat illness. Drinking enough water is one of the most important strategies to counteract the effects of dehydration.

By the time you feel really thirsty, fluid equal to 1-2 per cent of your body weight has been lost, at which level, workers are at risk of developing heat-related illness.

Dehydration concentrates the blood, applying additional load to the kidneys. Avoiding dehydration impacts long-term health, particularly that of the kidneys, as their role is to filter the blood and remove waste products via urine.

The recommended daily water intake for adult women is 8 cups and for adult men is 10 cups. For more information on hydration visit Better Health.

Sources: Top End Sports
Better Health

Wellness tip – Stand up, sit less, move more

Most of us work in ever increasing sedentary roles and simply need to stand up more often to prevent the illnesses that long term sitting delivers to the human body.

grahic image of worker at deskThere are many ergonomic hazards in the workplace. An ergonomic hazard is a physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. The main areas of concern for workplaces and employees will often relate to:

  • workstations (sitting and standing)
  • equipment layout and operation
  • computer systems
  • noise
  • lighting
  • thermal comfort
  • maintenance tasks performed on plant items.

There are many benefits of sitting less and moving more, including:

  • reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes
  • improved weight management
  • reduced risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

Each of us can improve our levels of comfort with simple changes. Try these tips to break up your sitting time at work:

  • walk over and talk to a workmate instead of emailing/calling them
  • have lunch away from your desk
  • walk a lap of your office space on the way to the bathroom
  • step outside for fresh air
  • use the stairs instead of the lift
  • grab a glass of water more often
  • stand up at meetings
  • do a stretch exercise every 30-40 minutes.

If you think you need a workstation assessment, please email

Source: Australian Government Comcare.

Safety tip – Reporting a near miss, unsafe condition, or an unsafe act

The following is a list of steps you as an individual should follow if you come across a near miss, an unsafe condition or act.

  1. An individual's first response to seeing a near miss, an unsafe condition, or an unsafe act should be to personally address the people involved, and pause/stop the work activity to prevent loss. They are to correct the unsafe condition if possible.
  2. If the threat is imminent, the individual has a duty to directly stop the activity, or if unable or unwilling, immediately notify your Supervisor and if necessary Safety, Emergency and Wellbeing team (by phone).
  3. Work is paused as a temporary postponement of the work activity to determine if an immediate danger exits.
  4. Stop work is initiated when there is a dangerous situation that requires immediate resolution. The situation shall be stabilised to prevent the potential consequences for occurring. The work should not be resumed until the danger no longer exists.
  5. The employee observing the near miss should discuss the observation with his/her supervisor.
  6. Report using the relevant link:

National Work Safe Month - October 2016

CDU encourages all staff and students to get involved to raise awareness of workplace safety. It's everyone's responsibility to help keep the workplace safe.

National and Industry Safety Statistics

  • In 2015, 96% of workplace fatalities were male.
  • Being involved in a vehicle incident continues to be the most common cause of workplace fatalities.
  • In 2015, 34% of workers who died were machinery operators and drivers.
  • In 2013-14 there were 106,565 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia.
  • Each work related injury costs approximately $116,600.
  • In Public Administration and Safety there were 6 fatalities in 2015. In 2013-14 there were 8780 serious claims, of which 35% were due to body stressing.

NT WorkSafe safety seminars

NT Worksafe is holding free safety and education seminars in October. For more information and to register visit NT WorkSafe.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia broadcasts free online seminars showcasing the latest thinking, research, developments and best practice in work health and safety. Check out their National Safe Work Month Resource Kit and take the Fact or Fiction Quiz. Give your knowledge a test by trying to answer the twelve questions correctly.

Emergency Tip – Cyclone Season

Cyclone Season in Australia is between November and April, but cyclones can occur outside these times. Cyclones produce strong winds and rain which can cause extensive damage to property, cause flooding and turn debris into dangerous missiles.

Areas should now be reviewing and enacting their Cyclone Action Plans and, as a matter of high priority during October, remove rubbish and tie-down or store any other items which could become projectiles in the event of severe wind gusts.

Check the latest CDU related cyclone information.

Cyclone Information Session

Be prepared for the upcoming Cyclone Season by attending this year's Cyclone Information session. Northern Territory Emergency Services and Bureau of Meteorology will be presenting current cyclone information and the CDU Incident Controller will be present to address CDU specific questions that people may have.

All staff and students of top end campuses and centres are encouraged to attend.

Date: November 8, 2016
Time: 12pm - 1pm
Location: Mal Nairn auditorium, Casuarina campus, or via video conference.

Impact on University activities

A tropical cyclone watch or warning that affects a campus/centre does not automatically mean that the campus/centre is closed. Staff and students are still expected to attend work and study unless the Vice-Chancellor declares that the campus/centre is officially closed. Likewise, the Vice-Chancellor will issue the official re-opening announcement of any campus/centre that had been closed due to cyclone.

Wellness tip – Women’s Health Week – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This provides an opportunity for all of us to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women. Over 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85 is 1 in 8 for women.

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. Remember you don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes:

  • New lump or lumpiness, especially if it's only in one breast
  • Change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • Nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • Change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • Unusual pain that doesn't go away.

Causes of breast cancer

The causes of breast cancer are unknown, but risk factors include:

  • increasing age
  • family history
  • inheritance of mutations in the genes BRCA2, BRCA1 and CHEK2
  • exposure to female hormones (natural and administered)
  • obesity (poor diet and inadequate exercise)
  • excess alcohol consumption.

Screening for breast cancer

Women aged 50 - 74 are invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen Australia Program. Women aged 40 - 49 and 75+ are also eligible to receive free mammograms, however do not receive an invitation to attend.

It's recommended that women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, aged 40 - 49 or 75+ discuss options with their GP, or contact BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50.

For more information on diagnosis, treatment and prognosis visit Cancer Council Australia.

Source: Australian Government Cancer Australia
Cancer Council Pink Ribbon


Safety tip - How to manage slips, trips and falls

safety graphicSlips, trips and falls can happen at any Charles Darwin University campus and are preventable.

Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common incidents in our workplace, and during the past ten years more than 6000 injury claims were recorded in the Northern Territory, with compensation costs amounting to over $130m (Source: NT Worksafe).

Slips, trips and falls can be prevented by maintaining, using and adhering to the following.

Individual’s responsibility

  • Watch where feet are placed (eyes on path).
  • Walk forward at a reasonable pace and choose clear pathways. Shorten stride where slippery surfaces cannot be avoided. Never walk backwards or run.
  • Use three points of contact (both feet and a hand on the rail) at all times while using stairs, ladders, walkways etc. Where there is a choice use a ramp not the stairs.
  • Choose to take the time required to assess and then do the task, rushing often leads to a fall.
  • Maintain a safe following distance allowing enough time to react and see where you are walking.
  • Wear slip-resistant footwear and low heels. Wear fully laced boots for ankle support.
  • Pick up your feet when on rough or uneven surfaces.

Supervisor’s responsibility

  • Find and fix hazards that could lead to an incident such as uneven, gravelly or slippery floor surfaces, steps and walkways.
  • Check that ladders meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1892) and that they are used for access/inspections only. Platform ladders are to be used for working where one or two hands are required for the task.
  • Ensure sufficient lighting in stairs and landings.
  • Use safety signage and barricades in wet areas/around any excavations.
  • Report hazards that cannot be resolved.
  • Reinforce safe behaviour and address at risk behaviour when it is observed.

Everyone’s responsibility

  • Practice good housekeeping by removing threats:
  • Clear up clutter in walkways and corridors.
  • Store equipment/electrical cords to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Resolve threats when they are identified e.g. clean up spills, remove tripping hazards from walkways and work areas, report threats that cannot be resolved to your supervisor.

Address at risk behaviour when it is observed

  • Taking shortcuts.
  • Not using walkways.
  • Not watching where you are stepping (eyes on path) e.g. reading material/drawings, using phone/texting.

Wellness tip - Men's health week - September is prostate cancer awareness month

Prostate Cancer awareness month is about being aware and informed. It’s time to increase public understanding of the disease, including its prevalence, approaches to screening and prevention, treatment options, and resources that offer updated prostate cancer information throughout the year.

Each year in Australia, close to 3,300 men die of prostate cancer - equal to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men.

What is the prostate?

Only men have a prostate. It is a small gland that sits below the bladder near the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the passage in the penis through which urine and semen pass.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. These abnormal cells can continue to multiply in an uncontrolled way and sometimes spread outside the prostate into nearby or distant parts of the body.

In the early stages there may be no symptoms. In the later stages of prostate cancer, some symptoms might include:

  • feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate
  • finding it difficult to urinate (for example, trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there or poor urine flow)
  • discomfort when urinating
  • finding blood in urine or semen
  • pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips

These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer, but if you experience any of them, go and see your doctor.

How is prostate cancer detected and diagnosed?

A doctor will usually do a blood test and/or physical examination to check the health of the prostate. To read more about this process to go the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website.

Reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer

There is no evidence that the following protective factors can stop prostate cancer from developing, but they can improve your overall health and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer:

Diet: Eat meals that are nutritious. Refer to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. What is good for the heart is good for the prostate.

Physical activity/exercise: There is some evidence to show that physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes of a day.

Health tip - stop the spread of seasonal cold and flu viruses

wash handsHave you got the sniffles, a ticklish throat or extra sneezing? It might be a dose of the cold or influenza virus trying to get a hold on your system.

Colds and flu are highly contagious and we need to recognise the symptoms as early as possible. If you feel unwell and begin to experience a fever, runny nose or a sore throat, then it’s highly probable your body has been exposed.

It is recommended that at first indication of cold or flu symptoms you remain at home to protect your workmates. Recovery is also accelerated by adequate rest and treatment.

To prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses in our workplace follow these simple steps:

  1. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw tissue away. Remember to clean your hands and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

  2. Clean your hands frequently. This is your best defence against germs. When possible, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Be sure to rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds. Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to yourself is a good gauge of the proper length of time. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes and gel sanitizers should be used.

  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that has been contaminated with droplets containing germs from a sick person’s cough or sneeze and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why frequently washing your hands is so important.
  4. Keep up a dietary regime of immunity boosting foods and maintain healthy sleeping and exercise levels.

  5. Stay home when you are sick.

  6. Seek medical attention.


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