Regulator news

Compliance Code Amendments

Effective from 19 December 2019, the Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy, has approved minor amendments to 11 compliance codes made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and four compliance codes under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act).
Amendments to the OHS Act compliance codes were made to reflect amendments to section 35 and 36 of the OHS Act made by the Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Act 2018, and to improve style and branding consistency across existing codes. The amended codes are:

  • Confined spaces
  • Demolition
  • Excavation
  • Hazardous manual handling
  • Hazardous substances
  • Noise
  • Plant
  • Prevention of falls in general construction
  • Prevention of falls in housing construction
  • Managing asbestos in workplaces
  • Removing asbestos in workplaces

Amendments to the WIRC Act compliance codes were made to reflect WorkSafe’s current brand and head office address. The amended codes are:

  • Providing employment, planning and consultation about return to work (Compliance code 1 of 4)
  • Return to work Coordinators (Compliance code 2 of 4)
  • Return to work information (Compliance code 3 of 4)
  • Cooperating with labour hire employees about return to work (Compliance code 4 of 4)

Copies of the codes can be downloaded from the WorkSafe website or viewed at any WorkSafe office.

New Safety Alert: Security of explosives

Following a spate of thefts, on January 24 WorkSafe issued a reminder about ensuring the security of stored explosives. Recently thieves have targeted magazines containing explosives. In another recent incident, display fireworks were allegedly stolen from storage at a public fireworks display. Victoria Police is currently investigating the incidents. The Alert provides information on the related safety issues and provides advice on how to control the risks. Download it here. To report a theft or loss of explosives, or a break in or attempted break in, contact WorkSafe Victoria on 132 360 (24 hour number).

Reminder: First aid in the workplace compliance code available for public comment

A reminder to our subscribers that the draft First aid in the workplace compliance code (First aid code) has been released for public comment. To view the materials and provide online submissions, go to the dedicated webpage on the Victorian Government’s consultation platform, engage.vic.gov.au.   Submissions can also be lodged by email or post.

Supporting information including a copy of the proposed First aid code, a summary of changes, and frequently asked questions is also available from the webpage.

The public comment must be submitted by Cob Tuesday 18 February 2020.  The VTHC participated in the working group and we encourage HSRs and other to provide comment. If you feel very strongly about any particular issue, please send your comment through to Renata: [email protected], and we will consider including it in the VTHC comment.

National Fatality Statistics
Safe Work Australia has not yet begun publishing this year's national statistics for the number of workers killed around Australia. The latest update has the numbers for 2019, when a total of 166 were notified. The workers killed last year were from the following industries: 

  • 60 in Transport, postal & warehousing (eight more since the last update)
  • 33 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 24 in Construction
  • 10 in Public Administration & safety
  • 9 in Mining
  • 8 in Manufacturing
  • 7 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 6 in 'Other services'
  • 4 in Arts & recreation services
  • 2 in Professional, scientific & technical services
  • 1 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Administration & support services
  • 1 in Healthcare & social assistance

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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