OHS Regulator News

Victorian News 
Latest edition of Safety Soapbox

The latest edition of Safety Soapbox was posted on December 14. In this edition, WorkSafe's acting Director of the Construction Program, Kate Maheras, shares an end of year message with Safety Soapbox readers - ..

The roundup of information from other jurisdictions includes news of The NT Coroner has released their findings following an inquest into the death of a worker who fell 66 metres from a communications tower in February 2016.

Also in the edition is the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe which covers the period from 23 November - 8 December 2018. During this time there were 121 incidents, including the December 3 fatality when a young worker fell from a ladder in Lockwood South, as reported in last week's SafetyNet. Incidents include many lacerations, fractures and very serious injuries, such as those suffered by a worker who fell when the ladder he was on collapsed - a punctured lung and fractured ribs. Many of these incidents could have resulted in serious consequences. Access the December 14 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

Seymour Alternative Farming Expo
The WorkSafe Victoria Agriculture Team will be attending the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo in February 2019. The regulator invites anyone who has any farm safety issues they would like to discuss to go to their stand and have a chat. The team is always keen to hear farmers' approaches to managing on-farm safety and about new and innovative safety solutions. There will be information and guidance materials for you to take away. This event is a multi day event running from 15 to 17 February 2019. More information.

WA: Guidance note on stone fabrication
Western Australia's OHS regulator has issued a Guidance note - Safe stone product fabrication and installation [pdf]

The regulator points to research in Australia and overseas which has found that workers fabricating benchtops from stone can be exposed to levels of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) which are hazardous to their health. The effective control of occupational exposure can be achieved by the application of a range of known isolation, dust suppression, dust extraction, respiratory protection and housekeeping control options.

This guide outlines how to control exposure to airborne RCS dust during fabrication of stone benchtops or similar stone products and the health effects of breathing RCS dust.

This guidance note applies to all workplaces in Western Australia covered by the OSH Act. It provides guidance for employers and workers on silica hazards and some of the legislative requirements in the OSH Act and OSH regulations. This guidance note does not address other hazards that may be present in workplaces that fabricate stone products including benchtops.

Safe Work Australia News 

Fatality statistics
The Safe Work fatality statistics webpage has not been updated since 29 November 2018. At that point  there had been 115 fatalities reported. The workers killed have come from the following industries:

  • 37 Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 32 Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 20 Construction
  • 9 Manufacturing
  • 5 Mining
  • 3 Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 3 Public administration & safety
  • 2 Wholesale trade
  • 2 Arts and recreation services 
  • 1 Administrative and support services
  • 1 Rental, hiring and real estate

To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage).

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