OHS Regulator News

Victorian news
Labour Hire laws start April 29
Victoria's new labour-hire licensing scheme will come into force on 29 April 2019, after which time labour-hire providers will have six months to apply for a licence to operate in the State or "face significant penalties", Victorian Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas announced last week.

To obtain and keep a licence, labour-hire firms will need to pass a "fit and proper person test", which involves demonstrating long-term compliance with workplace laws like Victoria's OHS and workers' comp Acts, as well as Commonwealth laws like the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. They will also have to meet minimum accommodation standards, where applicable, and report annually on their activities.

Firms could fail the test if they have been found by a court or regulator to have contravened a workplace law, or entered an enforceable undertaking in respect of an alleged contravention, within the preceding five years. Host employers that use unlicensed providers face fines of up to $500,000.
Read more: Victorian government Media release

New Safety Alert
WorkSafe has issued a new Safety Alert on the hazards and risks of working in confined spaces following the tragic death of an apprentice on October 4 last year (SafetyNet 460). The 20 year old died while working in an open-ended tanker. WorkSafe notes it is still investigating the causes of this incident, including whether the apprentice "was in fact and at law" working in a confined space. However, the regulator has taken the opportunity to remind employers of the dangers of working in confined spaces.

Warning after object falls 56 floors
WorkSafe has warned construction employers about the dangers of falling objects after a large metal prop fell from the 56th level of a Melbourne CBD construction site on Thursday morning. Initial investigations suggest workers were removing bracing for the three metre prop, which was used to support a concrete slab, when it fell over a parapet at the Collins St site about 8am, and struck a work shed 53 levels below.

No workers were in the shed at the time and no one was injured.

The serious nature of the incident has prompted WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Julie Nielsen, to warn all employers about the dangers of falling objects: "We are thankful there were no injuries, but this is a stark reminder to every duty holder that managing risks associated with falling objects is a priority."

Ms Nielsen said falling objects were a leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry and posed a risk not just to workers, but to people walking past work sites.
Read more: WorkSafe media release

WorkSafe Events
The regulator runs events around the state which provide an opportunity to meet with WorkSafe staff, get information and so on. Click on the event for more information

Safe Work Australia news
Fatality statistics
As of 28 February, 21 fatalities had been notified by the state authorities to Safe Work Australia. This is three more since the last update of 18 February. The workers killed have come from the following industries:

  • 7  Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 5 Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 4 Construction
  • 2 Public Administration & safety
  • 2 Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 1 Mining

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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