Regulator news

WorkSafe Victoria news

Reminder: Webinar on the Workplace manslaughter laws

This is a reminder of the WorkSafe webinar on Tuesday May 19, at 11am - 12.30pm, WorkSafe. There will be a panel of WorkSafe experts, who will explain what the introduction of the new industrial manslaughter law will mean for employers and what needs to be done to comply. Participants will be able 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.

Fire warning on hand sanitisers 

WorkSafe has issued a Safety Alert: Fire hazards when manufacturing or storing alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has decided that two types of hand sanitisers will be exempt from TGA regulation, as long as they contain particular ingredients, comply with advertising and meet labelling conditions. Both these types of alcohol are classified as flammable liquids, as they present a fire hazard. Because they are flammable, alcohol-based sanitisers and some of their ingredients have the potential to harm persons and property. Hand sanitisers may also contain other ingredients that are dangerous goods.

The Safety Alert provides information on the risks, the duties of manufacturers and suppliers, and those storing sanitisers, as well as recommended ways to reduce the risks. 

EPA powers to be delayed

In a development which could mean increased danger to the community from dangerous goods sites, strong new powers promised to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) have been delayed by more than a year. The new laws to increase both the EPA's power to crack down on environmental offenders and the penalties for polluters were due to come into effect in July this year. However, the introduction has been delayed a further 12 months as part of the “omnibus” coronavirus legislation the state government passed in an emergency sitting of State Parliament last month.

Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the EPA would continue its monitoring activities and to conduct audits. "The EPA has already established a Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate and will waste no time stopping polluters and keeping our community safe," she said. "The Victorian government postponed the beginning of the new legislation to allow industry to focus on navigating the impacts of coronavirus." Read more: The Age

Safe Work Australia news

New COVID-19 workplace guidance

The Safe Work Australia website has been updated to provide a central hub of work health and safety (WHS) guidance and tools to help Australian workplaces manage the health and safety risks posed by COVID-19. 

The website gives users easy access to guidance that is directly relevant to their specific industry. It includes guidance about physical distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, workers’ compensation, how to conduct risk assessments and design emergency plans, as well as providing case studies to help explain how to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace. Unions have had some input into this guidance. 

Go to COVID-19 Information for workplaces and filter the content using the new drop-down menus to find information and resources tailored for: 

  • employers, small business and workers 
  • the industry you work in, and 
  • the health and safety topic that you would like information on. 

There are 23 industries to choose from as well as general industry information if your industry is not listed.

You can also use the search bar to find specific COVID-19 WHS content or browse through the information for your industry. New information and guidance continue to be developed and the website will be updated with new information as the COVID-19 situation evolves. 

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia has not updated its workplace fatality statistics since 23 April at which time there had been 63 worker fatalities notified to the national body. 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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