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WorkSafe: 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 are 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

One of the sessions being promoted is with Ambulance Victoria’s CEO Assoc. Professor Tony Walker ASM. On October 26 he will be running an interactive session on the importance of leadership in workplace mental health during COVID‐19 and beyond. He will share his experience on how to address work related factors that can impact workers’ wellbeing and how to create a mentally healthy workplace. 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. 

Reminder: Independent review of Dangerous Goods Act and Regs - submissions sought

A comprehensive review of Victoria’s dangerous goods laws is currently underway. The Review is part of the Victorian Government’s response to high profile incidents associated with illegal chemical stockpiling at several sites across Melbourne, and is considering issues and challenges in the management of dangerous goods. The Consultation Paper raises a number of issues which address the Review’s Terms of Reference and suggests ways in which those issues might be addressed. It also discusses Victoria’s dangerous goods landscape, the current regulatory framework and presents a list of questions to assist in making submissions.

All interested individuals and organisations are invited to share their views by making a submission. The Terms of Reference, the Consultation Paper and the list of questions can be downloaded from this page of the Engage Victoria website. The closing date for submissions is 5pm, 30 November, 2020. 

Comcare: Working from home claims trends and advice

Comcare claims data indicates a change in the number of working from home claims, during the period – March to June 2020, when workplaces rapidly transitioned to home-based work, in response to COVID-19. The key causative factors include workstation set up, falls and slip/trip incidents, soft tissue conditions caused by overuse and repetitive motions. It would not be surprising if there were similar trends in Victoria. Read more: Working from home.

New national requirements for quad bikes

As of Sunday, October 11, 2020, all new and imported second-hand quad bikes sold in Australia must be tested for lateral static stability, display the angle at which the quad bike tips onto two wheels on a hang tag at the point of sale, and carry a rollover warning label on the quad bike. The owner’s manual must also include rollover safety information. Also, the quad bikes must be fitted with a spark arrester that conforms to the Australian or United States standard, and meet certain requirements of the United States or European quad bike safety standards. These relate to equipment such as brakes, clutch, throttle, tyres, drive train, handlebars and foot wells, maximum speed capabilities, and the provision of safety information through warning labels and hang tags.

Safework Australia data shows 152 people have died from incidents involving quad bikes since 2011, including 23 children. It is estimated that hundreds of people also present to hospital emergency departments each year as a result of quad bike related injuries. There have already been 16 fatalities this year, double last year’s toll.

Additional requirements for new and second hand imported general use quad bikes will become mandatory in one year’s time, which include the fitting or integration of operator protection devices and minimum stability requirements. Read more: ACCC media release

Safe Work Australia news

National Health and Safety Month

Remember that for the national health and safety month Safe Work Australia has a range of sessions. You can find resources available to download including a WHS best practice checklist for employers on SWA's a dedicated National Safe Work Month website. 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 October 8, at which time there had been 121 worker fatalities notified to the national body. This is an increase of eight fatalities since the previous update on September 24. The eights deaths were: three in Agriculture, forestry & fishing; two in Construction and in Accommodation & food services; and one in Manufacturing   The deaths this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 38 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 25 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 22 in Construction
  • 12 in Public administration & safety
  • 10 in Manufacturing 
  • 5 in Mining 
  • 3 in Accommodation & food services
  • 2 in 'other services' 
  • 1 in Arts & recreation 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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