Regulator News

Reminder: nominate now for the 2021 WorkSafe Awards 

The WorkSafe Awards are a way to recognise those individuals, teams or organisations that go above and beyond for workplace safety. 

WorkSafe Victoria want to recognise and celebrate the efforts of those who work to keep Victorians safe at work. health and safety and return to work champions. The VTHC encourages subscribers to nominate themselves, a colleague or your workplace.

Entries are now open across the following categories:

  • Health and Safety Representative of the Year (the main event for HSRs!)
  • Commitment to Workplace Health and Safety on a Farm
  • Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year
  • Leading Return to Work Practice
  • and more..

Sally Collier-Clarke and Sara Jorgensen, ANMF members and HSRs at Bendigo Health were the joint winners of HSR of the year in 2019. They were also key note speakers at the VTHC OHS Reps Conference in 2020.  Find out more about the awards here and nominate your HSR. Entries close on 7 May 2021, so don't delay!

Campaign: Unsafe is Always Unacceptable

In a social experiment, WorkSafe invited a group of young people to a series of 'industry information sessions' and outlined some of the unsafe conditions they could face in the workplace. 

Sadly, and shockingly, 91 per cent said that they would work in unsafe conditions – meaning they were willing to accept customer abuse, crazy hours and no breaks! 

Unsafe is always unacceptable. Young workers have the right to feel safe at work, and employers have a responsibility to create a safe working environment.   

WorkSafe says the “Unsafe is Always Unacceptable” campaign reinforces this message and reminds employers that they have a responsibility to protect young workers, and create physically and mentally safe workplaces. However we know that many young workers are desperate to get a job, and will accept jobs they know are going to put them at risk. The lessons? Join the union, talk to your health and safety rep, say no if it's dangerous. 

Check out the information and video here. More information on: Duties of EmployersBreaks; Working Standing Up; Fatigue

Major Hazards Newsletter

WorkSafe has today sent out the April edition of Major Hazard Matters - Issue 16. As well as an article on the National Major Hazards Forum (a 'virtual' two day event, May 4 and 5, hosted by WorkSafe Victoria), there are a number of other interesting items, including the report of a fire at an Indonesian refinery and a SafeWork NSW animation of fatal 2018 H2S incident.   

NSW: UberEats caught in safety failings over driver deaths

New details have emerged about the deaths of three delivery drivers in last year after UberEats representatives gave “deeply worrying” evidence to an inquiry in New South Wales. Documents tabled in NSW Parliament on Monday reveal an UberEats worker was killed last year while driving an e-bike that “appeared to not be approved” for use in the state, just months after another worker died while wearing an “unapproved helmet”.

NSW’s workplace safety regulator, SafeWorkNSW, found UberEats broke health and safety laws on multiple occasions in 2020, noting 74 separate incidents of serious injury.

In a series of shocking admissions during the NSW parliamentary inquiry, UberEats claimed it was “not possible” to ensure all of its delivery riders were using safe equipment and vehicles permitted for use on Australian roads. Read more: The New Daily

National News 

Updated traffic management guidance available

Safe Work Australia has updated its workplace traffic management guidance to include information on working on or near public roads. 

When managing traffic on a public road, there are actions which should be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the public. This could include installation of barriers and warning devices to ensure workers and vehicles stay separated.  Read more and access the new guidance here.

Review of the workplace exposure standards - public comment closes 30 July

In March 2020, Safe Work Australia paused the release and public consultation for the workplace exposure standards (WES) review until further notice. Public feedback resumed on 1 February 2021 with Release 15: paraffin wax to zirconium compounds. This release will be open on the SWA consultation platform, Engage  until 30 July 2021. Read more. 

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on April 15, at which time they had been notified that 29 Australian workers had been killed at work in 2021 - this is four  more than at April 1. There were two in Transport, postal & warehousing, and one each in Construction and Agricuture, forestry & fishing. The deaths this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 11 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 4 in Construction
  • 3 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 3 in Arts & recreation services
  • 2 in Manufacturing 
  • 2 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 1 in Other Services 
  • 1 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Public administration & safety

These figures are based mainly on initial media reports and provide a preliminary estimate of the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia updates details of the incident. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards. 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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