Regulator news

WorkSafe issues Coronavirus advice

Last week WorkSafe Victoria issued an alert: Exposure to coronavirus in workplaces about the risks associated with potential exposure to novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The alert provides advice on recommended ways to control risks of exposure, even though there have been very few diagnosed cases in Australia.

It reminds employers that they have a duty to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes identifying risks to health or safety associated with potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Employers should assess the risk of exposure by talking to employees who have:

  • direct contact with people who have recently travelled to China
  • direct contact with sick or ill patients or customers who have symptoms associated with the virus
  • travelled or are planning to travel overseas for work, particularly to China

The alert provides more advice, including that employers should:

  • develop an infection control policy that includes advice for employees showing signs and symptoms to remain at home and seek medical advice
  • provide adequate facilities or products (such as hand sanitiser) to allow employees to maintain good hygiene practices

WorkSafe is recruiting

Victoria's regulator WorkSafe Victoria is excited to announce that recruitment for the next intake of Health and Safety Inspectors is now open.

The regulator says it is 'looking for passionate individuals who share their vision of Victorian workers returning home safely every day.  If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more information, please go to this page on the WorkSafe website.

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,   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:, and we will consider including it in the VTHC comment.

National Fatality Statistics

As at 30 January, there have been 15 Australian workers killed at work in 2020.  These are preliminary figures, and are based mainly on media reports.

In 2019, 162 Australian workers were fatally injured while working, compared with 144 workers in 2018.

The fatalities this year have come from the following industries:

  • 5 in Public administration & safety
  • 4 in Construction
  • 3 in Mining
  • 2 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 1 in Manufacturing

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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