OHS Regulator News

Victorian news
WorkSafe keen to hear about manager/supervisor training 
One of the issues some HSRs face when they return to work is that they know more about OHS and the law than their managers/supervisors do.. in some cases, even more than the 'management health and safety rep'. This can make resolving issues difficult. It can also cause problems if the manager/supervisor does not understand the role and rights and powers of HSRs. WorkSafe is keen to get 'thoughts' from a wide range of workplace parties on the issue of training for managers and supervisors. They are asking people to complete a five minute survey. The VTHC encourages as many HSRs to complete the survey as possible. Take the short survey by clicking here.

Latest edition of Safety Soapbox
The latest edition was posted today, June 19. This edition's editorial is on a perennial problem in the construction industry: asbestos. As announced in last week's SafetyNet, WorkSafe has launched another awareness campaign, warning that asbestos 'lurks' in many unexpected places.  

This month the construction industry reported 205 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 68 per cent resulted in injury. There were two serious 'near misses'. 36 incidents involved young workers. There were two incidents involving nail gun - one in which a nail penetrated a worker's skull. (Read the WorkSafe health and safety solution: Preventing injuries from nail guns)

In another incident, an electrical worker sustained critical injuries when the switchboard he was working on exploded. Coincidentally, WorkSafe inspectors are currently visiting construction sites to ensure duty holders are controlling risks associated with electrocution and electric shock (see:WorkSafe media release). Tragically, in the past 10 years nine workers have died after coming into contact with live electricity on construction sites, including seven aged under 30. The week's 'absolute shocker' is also electrical.  
Access the June 19 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

New Safety Alert: Loading precast panels
Earlier this week WorkSafe issued a warning following a recent incident at a precast concrete facility, which could have resulted in fatalities. A 7-tonne precast concrete wall panel fell from a truck-mounted A-frame after being loaded onto the truck by a bridge crane. The panel had been connected to the crane with a 2-legged chain and only one chain had been disconnected from the panel. As the crane travelled away from the A-frame the panel was dragged off, causing it to fall. One side of the panel was then suspended from the chain that was still attached to the crane. Workers were in the vicinity of the panel when it fell and could have been crushed and seriously injured or killed. Access the Safety Alert here.

WorkSafe events
Remember the two events coming up which will provide an opportunity to meet the WorkSafe Agriculture Practice Team. If anyone has any farm safety issues they would like to discuss, try to get along to one of these. The team at the WorkSafe stand is keen to have a chat, hear about approaches to managing on-farm safety and about any new and innovative safety solutions. There will be information and guidance materials for people to take away.

  1. Mallee Machinery Field Days
     Wednesday 31 July - Thursday 1 August, 8:30am to 5:00pm
    Speed Airport, 2574 Sunraysia Hwy, Speed VIC 3488 
  2. Sheepvention 
    When: Sunday 04 Aug 2019
    Where: CRT Innovations Hub, Hamilton Showgrounds, Shakespeare St, Hamilton


WA: Stone fabrication blitz
WorkSafe WA inspectors have visited 26 workplaces and issued a total of 216 improvements as part of an ongoing proactive inspection program in the stone benchtop fabrication sector.

Most of the notices involved "dust management and health surveillance on silica dust in the workplace", WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said.  He said the program was prompted by serious silicosis concerns in the engineered stone benchtop sector raised in Queensland last year, and Western Australia had confirmed two cases of silicosis in workers in the relatively new sector so far.  Source: OHSAlert

WA: Safety alert following fatality
WorkSafeWA is investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatality involving a bogged vehicle. It is alleged that:

  • it occurred while workers were recovering a vehicle that had become bogged
  • a tractor was being used to recover another tractor
  • a worker was in between the bogged vehicle and the recovery vehicle and was fatally crushed when one of the vehicles moved.

A similar fatality occurred in 2017, where it is alleged that a semi-trailer had become bogged at an orchard, and a telehandler was being used to recover it. When one of the vehicles was moved it fatally crushed a worker, who was between the two vehicles at the time. Read more: Second fatal incident involving a bogged vehicle.

Safe Work Australia news
Fatality statistics
There was no update this week to the notified fatalities on the Safe Work Australia site: as of June 6, there had been 64 fatalities notified to the national body. This is eight more in the time since its last update on May 16 The workers killed came from the following industries:

  • 23 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 15 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 11 in Construction
  • 7 in Public Administration & safety
  • 4 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Mining
  • 1 in manufacturing
  • 1 in 'Other services'

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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