OHS Regulator News

Victorian news
New Safety Alert
Following last week's incident in which a construction worker lost his foot, WorkSafe Victoria this week issued a Safety Alert about the significant hazards and risks associated with working on dual car single mast personnel and materials hoists, after an employee lost his foot.

It's never OK
WorkSafe has again been airing a media campaign addressing violence and aggression in the healthcare sector. The regulator has sent an email to all its mailing list and has been running advertisements in the media, including on television.  Up to 95% of healthcare workers have experienced verbal or physical assault.

WorkSafe says: "Healthcare workers support us, and the ones we love, often when we are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, these vital members of our community are regularly confronted with violence and aggression – from patients, residents, visiting family, friends and even bystanders. This unacceptable behaviour can have significant ongoing effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of our healthcare workers.

The people who are behaving this way are not just those under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or those who do not have capacity of mind. They're often everyday people who find themselves in a stressful situation, and lash out without thinking."  Check out the campaign here.

NSW: Safety Alert
SafeWorkNSW has also recently released a Safety Alert: Harvesting at heights, after a farm worker picking avocados on a farm in rural NSW was killed as a result of injuries when the mobile elevated work platform he was working on overturned. The alert is in the form of a video.

WA: New FIFO Code of Practice released
Australia's first Code of Practice for the mental health of fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers, which includes valuable information for multiple industries, has been finalised and released in Western Australia.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston launched the code yesterday to help promote and maintain mentally healthy workplaces for FIFO workers in the resources and construction sectors. Developed following extensive public consultation, the 'Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out workers in the resources and construction sectors' code [pdf] aims to address hazards and risk factors in FIFO workplaces.

Parts of the 28- page code encourage organisations to adopt a risk management process to identify potential psychosocial hazards, establish a positive and supportive workplace culture, provide suitable accommodation and rosters with sufficient time for rest and recreation.

The code was created following recommendations from a Legislative Assembly Committee report on the impact of FIFO practices on workers' mental health.

Government-funded research, released by the Minister for Mental Health last year, found FIFO workers experience higher levels of psychological distress than non-FIFO workers.
Source: WA government media release. Download the code from this WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety webpage

Safe Work Australia news
Fatality statistics
The latest update remains as of 21 March, at which time 30 fatalities had been notified to Safe Work Australia. The workers killed have come from the following industries:

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