Regulator news

WorkSafe Victoria news

New guidance

Last week WorkSafe published new guidance: "Managing the risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) - a checklist for employers

September edition of Safety Soapbox

The September edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox was posted last week.  The editorial in this month's edition is once again on the risks of working at heights without adequate fall protection, after number of recent incidents including one serious incident. 

Falls are a leading cause of fatalities within the construction industry:

  • 19 Victorian construction workers have lost their lives due to falls since 2010
  • In the past 12 months, 162 fall from height incidents have been reported to WorkSafe
  • Of the reported 162 incidents, 52 of these workers fell from ladders and 34 fell from scaffolds.

Falls often occur as a result of inadequate fall prevention or incomplete systems of work.

This edition's absolute shocker is on the dangers of electrical work: WorkSafe reminds the construction industry about the risks of electrical shocks on Victorian construction sites. During September and October, WorkSafe Inspectors will be visiting worksites to ensure principal contractors are adequately managing electrical risks onsite. 

As always, the Safety Soapbox has the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe: In August the construction industry reported 123 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 74 per cent resulted in injury - 7 per cent were serious. There were no fatalities. 24 incidents involved young workers. Access the September 2020 edition of Safety Soapbox here  - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

Health and Safety Month helping to navigate COVID-19

WorkSafe  has announced that the focus of its first fully virtual Health and Safety Month will be helping employers and workers navigate through coronavirus (COVID-19). Throughout October, WorkSafe will offer 16 free online seminars to help employers and workers maintain safe, healthy and connected workplaces during the pandemic and beyond.

Some sessions in the program are designed to address pandemic related safety issues in specific industries, while others will cover broader topics such as leadership, working from home and looking after injured workers. Mental health will be a major focus, with a panel presentation on how organisations across different industries are promoting wellbeing through the pandemic.

There will also be online events aimed at young workers, while multicultural community leaders have been invited to a special presentation about everyone's rights and responsibilities at work.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Colin Radford said WorkSafe Health and Safety Month always took place in October but this year's program was designed especially to respond to immediate needs.
Read more: WorkSafe media release

WA: Two weekend fatalities under investigation

WorkSafe WA is investigating incidents leading to the death of two people in regional areas last weekend.

A 55-year-old truck driver was killed at Emu Flats (near Kalgoorlie) on Saturday after the water truck he was driving rolled on a dirt road. In the second incident, a 38-year-old labourer was killed after being thrown from an all-terrain vehicle on a farm at Benger, near Harvey.

Inspectors are investigating both incidents to determine whether they were work-related and to prevent future incidents from happening. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said any work-related death is a tragedy and relayed his condolences to the victims’ families.

Safe Work Australia news

National Health and Safety Month

A reminder of the upcoming national health and safety month in October - just two weeks ago. To help prepare for the month, Safe Work Australia has published new work health and safety (WHS) resources on the National Safe Work Month website, including:

Employers, small businesses, duty holders and work health and safety representatives are encouraged to download these resources and distribute them within their workplaces to keep WHS a priority during National Safe Work Month.

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work has not updated its fatality statistics since September 10, at which time there had been 110 worker fatalities notified to the national body. The fatalities this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 36 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 22 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.

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