Regulator news

Victorian news

August edition of Safety Soapbox

The August edition of Safety Soapbox was posted this morning.  The editorial in this month's edition is on the expansion of the solar panel industry. As a result, many electrical contractors and their employees have entered the solar installation market.

The editorial says that there has already been one fatality where an employee of a solar installer fell from a ladder while climbing down from the roof of a house. In another serious incident, an employee fell off a step ladder which he was climbing down from a single storey garage roof. WorkSafe reminds employers that inspectors regularly conduct inspections and will take compliance actions if any workers are at risk. 

This week's absolute shocker is a photo of a worker at a high risk of falling - and the edition links to WorkSafe guidance on preventing falls as well as COVID-19 related advice for employers. 

As always, the Safety Soapbox has the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe: In July the construction industry reported 177 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 69 per cent resulted in injury. There were no fatalities. 29 incidents involved young workers, and there was one serious near miss. There was an incident with a nail gun - again illustrating how dangerous this piece of plant is: a worker needed surgery to remove a nail from his stomach after being shot with a nail gun. Access the August 2020 edition of Safety Soapbox here  - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

UK regulator information

The Health and Safety Executive - the UK's OHS regulator - has good guidance for working at home - both for those workers doing so temporarily and for those who will be doing so for longer periods of time. Remember though that any references to legislation is British legislation.  Read more: Working safely with display screen equipment in particular Home working

Safe Work Australia

COVID-19 Information for workplaces

Safe Work Australia last week released a new National guide for safe workplaces – COVID-19.  The national body says the Guide is to assist persons conducting a business or undertaking (e.g. employers) meet their work health and safety duties in relation to COVID-19. The document provides guidance to assist businesses determine how best to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace. It provides a framework that complements and links to the more detailed COVID-19 Information for workplaces

This document is not intended to prescribe specific approaches, but instead seeks to help businesses determine what is appropriate for their individual workplaces and circumstances. 

It includes sections on: identifying activities and situations where people could contract the virus; assessing and controlling the risks; preparing the workplace for workers returning from remote-working arrangements; and implementing workplace policies.

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work's last update of its fatality statistics was on August 13, at which time there had been 104 worker fatalities notified to the national body. The fatalities this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 34 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 21 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 16 in Construction
  • 11 in Public administration & safety
  • 10 in Manufacturing 
  • 5 in Mining
  • 2 in 'other services' 
  • 1 in Arts & recreation services
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Retail trade
  • 1 in Administrative & support services
  • 1 in Electrical, gas, water, & waste 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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