Wind warning for construction sites
WorkSafe has this week warned of wild winds and urged Victorian employers to ensure their work sites were secured as potentially damaging winds moved across the state over Monday and Tuesday. This was particularly the case on construction sites. It is not unusual for there to be very strong winds in Spring - as was seen last week and as we will no doubt see again over the coming weeks. Read more: Secure worksites for wild winds
Rock fragments safety alert
Worksafe has issued a reminder to businesses in the mining and quarries sector about the importance of managing the risks associated with fly rock generated when undertaking shot firing activities. During the firing of a quarry production shot recently, fly rock ejected from the blast travelled several hundred metres and entered a neighbouring property. Several rock fragments struck and damaged buildings. These fragments narrowly missed employees who were actively working on the property at the time of the shot fire. Read more: Rock fragments Safety Alert
NSW: regulator releases draft code on psychological risks
NSW has released a draft WHS Code of Practice for managing psychological risks, Australia's first. It advises duty holders to apply the hierarchy of controls and eliminate the risks by redesigning work processes. The problem is a serious one: there was an increase of 53 per cent in claims for psychological injury between 2014/15 and 2018/19 in NSW, compared to an increase of 3.5 per cent for physical claims. In 2018/19, psychological health claims accounted for 1.2 million days lost, $585 million in gross costs and the average length per claim was 175 days.
In launching the consultation process, State Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson said the draft SafeWork NSW Code, Managing the risks to psychological health, is a "practical guide" that makes it "easy for [employers] to create a mentally healthy workplace". Like the VTHC position, the code makes it clear that employers (PCBUs) must seek to eliminate work-related hazards that present psychological health risks, or, if this is not reasonably practicable, minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
An explanatory paper released with the draft Code, states that fewer than nine per cent of NSW workplaces report having a systematic, integrated and sustained approach to dealing with mental health issues. Go to this page to access the draft Code and the explanatory paper. Comments are due by October 31.
Safe Work Australia
National Fatality Statistics
Safe Work has not updated its fatality statistics since our last journal when, as of August 27, there had been 109 worker fatalities notified to the national body. The fatalities this year have been in the following sectors:
- 36 in Transport, postal & warehousing
- 21 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
- 18 in Construction
- 12 in Public administration & safety
- 9 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
- 1 in Wholesale trade
Note that the figures are based on preliminary reports, and so at times will change. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage.