Regulator News

Victorian news

2021 WorkSafe Awards: Entries close Friday!

Nominations close for this year's WorkSafe Awards this Friday, so if you haven't already done so, nominate your HSR now! 

Awards are in 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 this Friday, 7 May 2021, so don't delay!

New Safety Alerts

  1. Explosion during the filling of Scuba Cylinders
    WorkSafe last week issued a safety alert about the hazards and risks associated with filling self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (Scuba) air cylinders. Recently a worker was seriously injured when a scuba compressed air cylinder exploded while he was attempting to fill it. It is believed that the air cylinder had not been maintained and was not capable of holding the original fill pressure capacity, causing it to explode. The air cylinder shattered into a number of pieces, injuring the worker and placing others, in the area at risk of serious injuries. There was also significant damage to the workplace.  
    The Safety Alert goes through what the safety issues were, relevant legal duties and Australian Standards, and possible measures to control the risks. 

  2. Mechanic dies while working underneath a car

    WorkSafe has issued a safety alert about the hazards associated with working underneath raised vehicles in the auto repair industry following the death of a mobile mechanic in Ferntree Gully on April 22. The Alert notes that many workers in the auto repair industry are required to work on vehicles outside of a workshop, such as at another workplace or private residence. Servicing and repairing vehicles frequently requires the vehicle to be raised on a hoist or trolley jacks to enable work to be undertaken on the underside of the vehicle. The alert goes through the circumstances in which serious crush injuries can occur, and provides a number of measures which should be taken to control the risks.

Coroner 

In findings released this week, Victorian Coroner Jacqui Hawkins said that greater awareness is needed by bar operators and staff on the dangers of physically restraining patrons following the October 2018 death of Spiros Boursinos at the Antique Bar in Elsternwick.  Mr Boursinos died while being restrained during a drug-induced psychotic episode, having consumed cocaine and whilst also suffering from coronary artery disease. 

Coroner Hawkins said the death highlighted the risks posed when bar staff do not have sufficient training in how to manage or physically restrain a person having a mental health episode or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While security guards and crowd controllers are required to undertake training in conflict resolution, safe restraining holds and risks of physical restraint, bartenders are not. 
Her Honour stated that the staff who restrained Mr Boursinos were left vulnerable as they did not have skills to safely stop Mr Boursinos from hurting himself or others. Read more: Coroners Court of Victoria media release

National News 

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on April 29, at which time they had been notified that 32 Australian workers had been killed at work in 2021 - this is three  more than at the previous update on April 15. The three deaths were: one each in Transport, postal & warehousing; Construction and Accommodation & food services. The fatalities have been in the following sectors:

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

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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