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Victorian news

Government announces COVID-19 testing blitz of four industries

The Victorian Government has announced a plan to ramp up its coronavirus testing regime, and test 100,000 people over the next two weeks. Part of the plan involves targeting workers from four industries that have operated at full capacity during the pandemic, State Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos have said. These are the health and aged care, construction, supermarket and agricultural sectors. 

Major employers and unions will be provided with support to actively promote testing to all workers, and nurses will provide outreach support and advice around symptoms of COVID-19 and accessing tests, they added.

The "massive expansion" of testing will inform decisions around easing restrictions imposed for the pandemic, and be carried out through a combination of drive-through and walk-up clinics and new mobile screening clinics that will visit workplaces and homes, Andrews and Mikakos said. 

In addition, workers without symptoms in hospitals and other facilities with vulnerable residents will also be asked to voluntarily participate in sample testing as part of new research in line with the pre-requisites set out by the National Cabinet.
Read more: Major Coronavirus Testing Blitz Targets 100,000, Victorian government media release. Source: OHSAlert

WorkSafe Webinar on the Workplace manslaughter laws

As noted in our service for International Workers Memorial Day yesterday, after many years of campaigning by unions and the families of workers killed in workplaces, Victoria now has industrial manslaughter laws.  From July 1, industrial or workplace manslaughter will be a criminal offence in our state. 

On Tuesday May 19, at 11am - 12.30pm, WorkSafe will be running a free webinar with a panel of WorkSafe experts, who will explain what the introduction of the new law means for employers and what needs to be done to comply. There will also be an opportunity for participants to ask the panel questions during the live session.

The webinar will feature a panel of WorkSafe representatives:
  • Rob Kelly, Director, Specialist Services in Health and Safety
  • Gordon Cooper, Director, Enforcement Group
  • Dmitry Rozkin, Director, Legislation Policy and Information Services and
  • Adam Watson, Head of Operations and Emergency Management in Health and Safety

There is a limit to the number of participants, so if you are interested, register asap. To find out more and register, please click here.

Safe Work Australia News

New COVID-19 resources

SWA has produced, after consultation and input from employer groups and unions, some more resources for workplaces. The national body is developing more materials, so check back here for resources as they become available. 

Cleaning to prevent the spread of COVID-19
This page, which can be also downloaded as a word document or a pdf, looks at the following topics:

  1. Cleaning and disinfection
  2. How do I clean?
  3. How should I clean if someone at my workplace is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?
  4. What should I use for routine cleaning?
  5. What should I use to disinfect?
  6. Using disinfectants safely
  7. Disposal or cleaning of materials and PPE

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia updated its workplace fatality statistics: As at 23 April there had been 63 worker fatalities notified to the national body. This is nine more than the last update on April 9. Three of these were in Transport, postal & warehousing; four in Public administration & safety (the police officers); and one each in Agriculture, forestry & fishing, and mining. The fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 20 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 12 in Construction
  • 9 in Public administration & safety
  • 8 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 5 in Manufacturing 
  • 4 in Mining
  • 2 in Arts & recreation services
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Retail trade
  • 1 in 'other services' 

To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage.

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