Regulator news

Victorian news

Government announces new WorkSafe Victoria appointments

The Andrews Labor Government has announced Colin Radford as WorkSafe Victoria’s new Chief Executive. John Merritt has been appointed as the new Chair of WorkSafe’s Board, and Elizabeth Lukin and Julie Warren have both been appointed as Board Directors.

Mr Radford is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. He has previously served in senior executive roles at WorkSafe and the Transport Accident Commission.

Mr Merritt is currently serving as Non-Executive Director of the Transport Accident Commission and Principal of Aeon Advisory Pty Ltd, an advisory company to Boards, Ministers and Chief Executives. He has previously held Chief Executive roles at VicRoads and the Environment Protection Authority. Those who have been in the OHS area for some time will remember that Mr Merritt was effectively in the role of Chief Executive Health and Safety at WorkSafe, and before that held positions in the union movement.

Ms Lukin has been with the AFL since 2015, currently serving as the Corporate Affairs Advisor. She has held previous roles at the AFL as General Manager Corporate Affairs and Communications and Head of Corporate Affairs. Prior to that she was owner and Director of Essential Media Communications.

Ms Warren was the President of the Victorian branch of the National Union of Workers from 2006 to 2018 and has held various roles at the union as organiser and trainer. She is currently a board member of the Portable Long Service Authority, Migrant Workers Centre, Manufacturing Skills Advisory Board and Cities & Successful Societies Project.
Read more: Victorian government media release

Government urges retailers to protect their staff

The government is urging retail sector employers to look after their workers during the busy Christmas period. It says that November and December are traditionally the peak months for the retail industry and its casual workforce grows substantially to meet the demands of shoppers. This includes large numbers of workers hired for temporary positions, whose inexperience can make them more vulnerable to health and safety hazards in the workplace.

Casual employees, possibly with limited OHS knowledge, can be required to work alone and are often managed by people who have limited experience themselves. They often find it difficult to speak up. In addition, they can spend long hours on their feet and be required to lift heavy objects while stacking shelves or sorting stock. Those in customer-facing roles are also at risk of being exposed to acts of occupational violence and aggression from members of the public.

Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy, also announced that WorkSafe has endorsed the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association’s ‘No-one deserves a serve’ campaign pledge, which commits employers who sign up to taking a zero-tolerance approach to occupational violence.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors will visit retail outlets over the next three months in a targeted inspection program to crack down on employers who are not meeting their obligations to keep workers safe. In addition to these inspections, the regulator will also run a social media education campaign, providing employers with advice about their responsibilities.
Read more: Victorian government media release

Safe Work Australia news

Fatality Statistics
SafeWork has updated its stats page since the last edition: as at November, the number of fatalities notified to national body was 138 - this is 14 more fatalities than the previous update on October 24. It is a tragedy that so many workers have been killed in just two weeks. The workers killed came from the following industries: 

  • 51 in Transport, postal & warehousing (eight more since the last update)
  • 28 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 20 in Construction
  • 8 in Mining
  • 6 in Public Administration & safety
  • 6 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 6 in Manufacturing
  • 3 in Arts & recreation services
  • 5 in 'Other services'
  • 2 in Professional, scientific & technical services
  • 2 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Administration & support 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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