WorkSafe Victoria news
Safety alert issued after three year old killed last week
After last week's tragedy when a three year old was fatally injured on a Victorian farm, WorkSafe has issued a Safety Alert to highlight the importance of ensuring vehicles used on farms are suitable for the task, fitted with the appropriate operator protective devices and operated safely.
Read the Safety Alert here.
Assault on youth justice worker: charges laid
WorkSafe has charged the Department of Justice and Community Safety for alleged health and safety breaches. Two charges have been filed at the Melbourne Magistrates Court under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, for failing to maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health.
The charges relate to an incident in which a youth justice worker was assaulted with a guitar in the Deakin Unit of the Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct on 24 January 2018. The worker suffered head and shoulder injuries, requiring hospital treatment. WorkSafe alleges DJCS failed to provide and maintain safe systems of work and failed to provide necessary information and instruction to reduce this risk. The matter will be heard at Melbourne Magistrates Court on 13 November 2019. Source: WorkSafe media release
Workplace injury rate at 'near record low'
The rate of workplace injuries in Victoria rose last year but remains at a near record low, according to data in WorkSafe’s 2018/19 annual report. Claims for workplace injuries in Victoria per million hours worked rose slightly to 6.31 in the 2018/19 financial year, but were still the second lowest level on record, 0.6 per cent above the previous year's record low. Read more: WorkSafe media release
Tottenham fire site clean up continues
WorkSafe Victoria and the EPA have released a joint statement after a stockpile of toxic waste was discovered at the site more than a year after a huge fire. The watchdogs are demanding the owners and occupiers of the Tottenham site clean up the property. EPA and Worksafe have issued notices demanding the duty holders remove waste and chemicals from the site, contain any run-off, and render any residual dangerous goods harmless.All demolition work must comply with construction and asbestos regulations. The clean up must be completed by August 2020.
EPA’s onsite investigations to date show there are still aerosols, solvents and paint residues on site. Of an estimated 7-15 million cubic metres of waste to be cleaned up, around 7-10 million litres are estimated to be residual chemicals, including dangerous goods. However the discovery - nearly 14 months after the fire - raises serious concerns about the EPA’s handling of the investigation and its decision to wait more than a year to conduct a survey of the site wreckage. Read more: Joint WorkSafe EPA statement; Toxic waste stockpile found in rubble of burnt-down warehouse, The Age.
NSW: new initiatives to protect workers from silica dust
On Monday, the NSW Government announced a range of new measures to prevent exposure to silica dust. Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the initiatives were good news for those working in the manufactured stone, sandstone stonemasonry, as well as the tunnelling and domestic construction industries. “To reduce the possible exposure to silica dust, the NSW Government will support SafeWork Australia’s recommendation to reduce the Australian Workplace Exposure Standard from 0.1 to 0.05 mg/m3, and will also support SafeWork Australia undertaking further research on whether a reduction to 0.02 mg/m3 is achievable,” Mr Anderson said. The government will also boost safety rebates available to the manufactured stone fabrication industry, by introducing an industry specific safety rebate of $1000 until June 2020, to assist with improved safety controls. The Greens, however, maintain their position that manufactured stone be banned. Read more: SafeWork NSW media release
QLD: WorkSafe Queensland issues three safety alerts
In the past week, Queensland's regulator has issued three alerts following serious and fatal incidents. Each contains advice on how to prevent similar incidents:
- Fatal fall from height while working on air conditioning system: In August, a man was killed after falling approximately 6 metres while working on an air conditioning system at a civic centre. It’s believed he may have fallen from a ladder.
- Young worker seriously injured by meat slicing machine: Also in August, a young worker suffered serious hand injuries after an incident at a meat processing workplace. The regulator's early investigations indicate he was operating a guillotine style slicing machine used to cut frozen meat.
Worker killed after tyre explosion: In September, a truck driver was killed while inflating a tyre. Initial indications are the transport firm employee sustained fatal injuries when the tyre he was inflating exploded.
Safe Work Australia news
SafeWork has not updated its stats since last week: As of October 10, the number of fatalities notified to national body was 121. The workers killed came from the following industries:
- 41 in Transport, postal & warehousing
- 28 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
- 17 in Construction
- 8 in Mining
- 6 in Public Administration & safety
- 6 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
- 5 in Manufacturing
- 2 in Professional, scientific & technical services
- 2 in Wholesale trade
- 2 in 'Other services'
- 2 in Administration & support services
- 2 in Arts & recreation 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.