Regulator News

Reminder: 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. Applications close 11pm February 24th. 

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.

The regulator also has other jobs advertised, including ergonomists and legal counsels - go to this page.

New: Crystalline silica Engineered stone compliance code

The Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy, has approved the making of the new Managing exposure to crystalline silica: Engineered stone compliance code (code). The code became effective as of yesterday, Tuesday 11 February 2020.

The code provides practical guidance on how to comply with obligations under Victoria's occupational health and safety legislation when manufacturing, supplying or working with engineered stone.

The code includes compliance information for:

  • the new Part 4.5 – Crystalline Silica of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) that was implemented in August 2019 to prohibit the uncontrolled use of power tools on engineered stone (see the summary of this section of the regs, here)
  • Part 4.1 – Hazardous substances of the OHS Regulations (see the summary of this section here)
  • general duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) for employers and for manufacturers and suppliers of engineered stone.

It also includes information on:

  • the health risks of working with engineered stone
  • which duties apply to working with engineered stone
  • duties for manufacturers, importing suppliers and suppliers of engineered stone
  • the respirable crystalline silica exposure standard
  • air monitoring requirements
  • the prohibition on the uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone
  • how to control the risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • clean up and decontamination
  • when health monitoring is required and what it involves.

A copy of the code and a code summary will be available to be downloaded from the WorkSafe website shortly.

National Fatality Statistics

Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics since the last edition of SafetyNet, when, as at 30 January, there had been 15 worker fatalities notified to the national body. 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.

Safe Work Australia resources

  1. Heat and air pollution from bushfires can be hazardous and can cause harm to people working in both indoor and outdoor work environments. Safe Work reminds employers that they have duties under work health and safety laws to manage these risks and protect worker health and safety.

    This media release lists the resources and guidelines available on the Safe Work Australia website for information about the potential hazards and risks associated with working in heat and air pollution.

  2. Coronavirus: once again Safe Work Australia reminds employers they have duties under work health and safety legislation. With regards to the coronavirus, this media release states: "Exposure to 2019-nCoV could be a potential hazard at the workplace. Information for PCBUs and workers in the education, health and aged care sectors and in the travel industry can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others."
    Read more: Businesses must have measures in place to protect workers at risk from coronavirus, SWA Media release.


Latest reports on WHS and workers’ compensation in Australia and New Zealand 

The Comparative Performance Monitoring report 21st edition and Comparison of Workers’ Compensation Arrangements in Australia and New Zealand 2019 have been published.

The Comparative Performance Monitoring report analyses trends in WHS and workers’ compensation scheme performance across Australia and New Zealand.

Key findings from the 21st edition include that the incidence rate of serious workers’ compensation claims decreased by 10 per cent across Australia between 2013-14 and 2016-17, with falls recorded in most jurisdictions.
Read more: Safe Work Australia media release The reports can be accessed from this page.

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