Regulator news

WorkSafe Victoria news

New safety alert: Burst paint can causes fire in drill rig's engine bay

Recently a fire broke out in the engine bay of a drill rig at an underground metalliferous mine. The drill rig was tramming to the surface workshop. As the drill rig reached the surface, an employee noticed flames in its engine bay and notified the operator. No signs of mechanical or structural failure were detected that may have provided potential fuel sources. However, further analysis found remnant paint can pieces and paint in the engine bay. Radiant engine heat had caused the paint can to burst, which provided an ignition source for the vaporised paint. Read more: WorkSafe Safety Alert.

Health and Safety Month helping to navigate COVID-19

The focus of WorkSafe's first fully virtual Health and Safety Month will be helping employers and workers navigate through coronavirus (COVID-19). 

There will be more than a dozen free webinars and online sessions featuring guest speakers and industry experts covering topics like managing mental health through the pandemic, working remotely, leadership, fatigue, supporting injured workers and the impact on premiums. All sessions will be interactive with presenters ready to answer questions.

Some of the sessions include;
  • Surviving COVID-19 - a WorkSafe perspective
  • Leading the way: Industries innovating workplace mental health prevention
  • COVID-19 and Healthcare
  • Managing the risk of COVID-19; what does an inspector look for?
  • How the Building and Construction industry is dealing with COVID-19
  • How does COVID-19 impact your workcover premium

Health & Safety month events are free, but registration is essential. Go to this page on the Worksafe website to check out what webinars are being run and to register. 

September 29: Police Memorial Day

On 29 September each year, a service is held to remember Victoria Police employees who have passed away over the past 12 months. This is a time for members of Victoria Police and the community to honour the dedicated men and women who have died serving their community. In Victoria, the Blue Ribbon Foundation also holds Blue Ribbon Day on 29 September to coincide with National Police Remembrance Day. This year, due to coronavirus restrictions, a special online memorial was held in lieu of a traditional National Police Remembrance Day service.

The service honoured the lives of the 24 Victoria Police officers, Protective Services Officers, Police Custody Officers, Victorian Public Service staff and Police Chaplains who have passed away over the past year. Particularly remembered were Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris who were tragically killed in the line of duty earlier this year. Their plaque on the Victoria Police Memorial Wall, which is in the Kings Domain Gardens, was unveiled during the service.

Safe Work Australia news

New draft code on COVID-19

On Thursday 17 September 2020, the Attorney-General released a draft work health and safety (WHS) Code of Practice (draft code) to provide businesses and workers guidance on what they need to do to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The draft code builds on the National Cabinet’s COVID-19 safe workplace principles, which included establishing Safe Work Australia as a central source of practical guidance and tools on managing the WHS risks of COVID-19.

Codes of practice under the model WHS laws provide duty holders with practical guidance on how they can meet their WHS duties in relation to specific hazards and risks. The code "provides an example for state and territory governments, which can be adopted if required according to their individual level of risks". The draft code can be accessed on the website of the federal Attorney-General. 

National Health and Safety Month

A reminder of the upcoming national health and safety month in October - next week! Safe Work Australia has a dedicated National Safe Work Month website. There are resources available to download including a WHS best practice checklist for employers.  

Each week in October focuses on a WHS topic that acknowledges the impacts of COVID-19 and encourages best practice WHS. Check these out here.

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work updated its fatality statistics on September 24, at which time there had been 113 worker fatalities notified to the national body - three more since the previous update on September 10. At the same time last year, there had been 137 reported fatalities - it appears that fewer workers are being killed in Australian workplaces, possibly due to fewer workers being on worksites due to the coronavirus pandemic. Two of the three fatalities were in the Transport, postal & warehousing sector; one was in Construction. A fatality previously having been classified in Electricity, gas, water & waste services was reclassified as Construction. The deaths this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 38 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 22 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 20 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 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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