Dangerous Goods regulations strengthened
From 1 July, the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 will require all duty holders occupying premises with prescribed quantities of dangerous goods to notify WorkSafe at least every two years - previously, notification was required every five years.
If there are significant changes, as prescribed in the Regulations, to a site where dangerous goods are stored and handled, an additional notification will also be required within three business days of the change occurring. Prescribed changes include a significant change in the quantity or type of dangerous goods, changed ownership or control of the dangerous goods, and other prescribed changes that significantly alter the risk profile of the site.
Read more: WorkSafe media release
Government crackdown on COVID compliance
In a media release, the Victorian government has revealed that over 2,200 businesses have so far this month undergone COVIDSafe compliance checks with seven businesses receiving fines of between $1,652 and $9,913.
Inspections found about one-third of those businesses, mainly in hospitality, have been non-compliant with Chief Health Officer Directions including not having COVID safety signage up, density quotients not being adhered to, customer tables too close together or QR code check-in systems not in place. Authorised Officers issued fines for non-compliance to hospitality businesses – with more businesses expected to be hit over coming weeks as COVID compliance and enforcement efforts are ramped up across hospitality, retail, ride share and other businesses.
Victorian Government-approved electronic record-keeping systems are mandatory for commercial passenger vehicles, hospitality and entertainment venues and personal care services. Maintaining an electronic record-keeping system for all visitors is critical for ensuring quick contact tracing in the event of a new coronavirus case. Compliance is especially important due to the recent community cases of COVID having been identified.
Read more: Victorian government media release.
National principles on Support for families following an industrial death
Work health and safety ministers have endorsed National Principles to guide best practice support for families affected by an industrial death.
Safe Work Australia developed the principles in response to findings in the 2018 Senate inquiry report, They never came home – the framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia.
The principles reflect in-depth consultations and research with bereaved families and other key stakeholders.
The Jurisdictional arrangements for providing support to families affected by an industrial death - Comparative analysis report has also been released on the Safe Work Australia website.
For more information, go to the Supporting families following an industrial death web page.
Work health and safety fact sheets on the risks of online abuse
If you haven't yet checked out the resources developed by Safe Work Australia in collaboration with eSafety to provide practical steps to support PCBUs (such as employers) and workers manage the risks of online abuse in the workplace, check them out now.
What is online abuse?
Online abuse is behaviour that uses technology to threaten, intimidate, bully, harass or humiliate someone. It can take place on social media, online chat and messaging services, by telephone (calls and text messages), email or any other technology used at the workplace.
Work health and safety laws require PCBUs to take care of the health and safety of workers and others. This includes managing the risks of online abuse while working.
The new facts sheets provide PCBUs and workers with practical steps to manage risks of online abuse and provide information on what to do if it does happen:
- Online abuse fact sheet – Information for employers
- Online abuse fact sheet – Information for workers
For more information, go to our online abuse in the workplace webpage.
New workers' comp data on COVID
Safe Work Australia has released a new report which provides a snapshot of COVID-19 related workers’ compensation claims from 1 January to 31 December 2020. The report uses preliminary data from Commonwealth, state and territory workers’ compensation authorities and details claims by type, industry, occupation and jurisdiction.
The scope of data included in this report is different to the previous report (containing claims to 31 July 2020) published in November 2020. For this reason, the two reports are not comparable. SWA warns that consequently there are significant variations in the way jurisdictions collect and report data on COVID-19, and caution should be used in interpreting the data. The report can be downloaded from this page of the SWA website.
National Fatality Statistics
Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics on fatalities since May 13, at which time they had been notified that 34 Australian workers had been killed at work in 2021. The fatalities have been in the following sectors:
- 15 in Transport, postal & warehousing
- 4 in Construction
- 3 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
- 3 in Arts & recreation services
- 2 in Manufacturing
- 2 in Other Services
- 1 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
- 1 in Wholesale trade
- 1 in Public administration & safety
- 1 in Accommodation & food services
- 1 in Mining
These figures are based mainly on initial media reports and provide a preliminary estimate of the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia updates details of the incident, consequently sometimes the numbers of deaths in each sector change. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards. Note that the figures are based on preliminary reports, and so at times will change. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage.