OHS Regulator News

Victorian news

Latest edition of Safety Soapbox
The latest edition was posted on February 7; having considered how to 'best deliver educational and engaging content', WorkSafe HQ has announced that the Safety Soapbox will be getting some upgrades.  Subscribers are also being asked for their views, including on the name of the e-journal.

There were a total of 96 incidents reported to WorkSafe in January. Seven of these involved serious near misses. Of the 96 incidents, 74 per cent resulted in injury. The new format of the report incidents is a huge improvement on what we used to get. It's now easy to see at a glance the percentage of 'minor', 'significant' and 'serious' injuries; and the type of injury. However one drawback is that not all the injuries are reported, only a 'snapshot' of the most serious ones. 

As usual, there are a number of other items in the edition including a recap on January's focus: Safe worker & traffic (SWAT) and hire yards, which involved the risks to traffic controllers from construction activities, including vehicles, head and related illnesses, ultraviolet radiation and fatigue.

The Construction team also welcomed their new HSR support team: The Health & Safety Representative support officers will promote the benefits of consultation between employers and employees on occupational health and safety (OHS) matters and provide HSR's with expertise and resources to assist in representing Designated Work Groups (DWGs). There are two team members at the moment: Mr Sam Hatfield (formerly one of the VTHC's OHS organisers) and Ms Kim Giles.
Access the February 7 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page. 

Focus on falling objects
WorkSafe says that in the past five years there have been five fatalities as a result of people being injured by a falling object on or near a construction site. So this month, WorkSafe inspectors will be visiting sites across Victoria to ensure duty holders are meeting their obligations by identifying hazards and controlling risks associated with falling objects. Check if your site is safe here.

Bairnsdale inspections
Together with Consumer Affairs Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria and the Victorian Building Authority, WorkSafe Victoria is inspecting worksites in the Bairnsdale region, as part of its Build Aware program. The program aims to ensure that employers understand their obligations to comply with building, construction, environment, plumbing and occupational health and safety laws and regulations. Focussing on falling object risks, inspectors will be visiting sites between now and Friday.

NSW launches "eToolkit" to improve young workers' safety
SafeWork NSW has created the Young workers eToolkit to help people entering the workforce deal with bullying, abuse by customers, workplace injuries, mental health challenges and other issues. The resource also includes tools to help employers train and supervise young workers, and help parents or guardians of young workers raise WHS issues with them.

WA: Safety matters go online with ThinkSafe
ThinkSafe is the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety's (DMIRS) new online publication for workplace safety and health in Western Australia.

DMIRS Deputy Director General Safety Ian Munns said: "The new-look online magazineThinkSafe will play an important role in raising general awareness of safety and health issues. This includes providing information on safety and health in general industries, mining, dangerous goods and resources, notifying industry of hazards and their risks, and critical incidents and informing industry about inspectorate activities. It will also play an important role in notifying readers of upcoming safety events run by the department and offers another channel for feedback."

This issue of ThinkSafe introduces the new WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner, Mr Darren Kavanagh, and provides an update on modernising WA's workplace health and safety laws. It also includes features on silica dust exposure, asbestos in the built environment and what is required in a health and hygiene management plan.
The new ThinkSafe magazine is now available online.

QLD: Asbestos safety Alert
Following the discovery of asbestos in battery operated bee smokers imported from China, the Queensland government has issued a Safety Alert. Asbestos has been identified in the insulating board between the battery compartment in the handle of the device and the metal smoker. It advises anyone with one of these bee smokers should immediately stop using it, wrap it in sturdy plastic or put it in a sturdy plastic bag, seal it with tape and dispose of it at a hazardous waste facility.

Safe Work Australia news
Workers compensation comparison report released
A report detailing the differences between compensation arrangements for Australian and New Zealand workers has been published by Safe Work Australia. It provides information about workers' compensation arrangements and the differences between schemes in Australia and New Zealand, in particular comparing key features such as:

  • coverage
  • benefits
  • return to work provisions
  • dispute resolution, and
  • cross-border arrangements.

The Comparison of workers' compensation arrangements in Australia and New Zealand (2018) can be downloaded from this page of the SWA website

Fatality statistics
SWA has still not updated its website. As of 24 January there had been five fatalities reported by the state authorities. The workers killed have come from the following industries:

  • 1 Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 2  Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 2 Construction

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

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