Regulator News

Victorian news

New campaign: Put a stop to workplace violence

Earlier this week, WorkSafe Victoria launched a new campaign highlighting the need for employers and the community to come together to stamp out violence in the workplace. 

WorkSafe claims data shows that while only 2.5 per cent of claims relate to violent or aggressive incidents in the workplace, many incidents are unreported. These can range from verbal abuse and yelling, spitting, swearing, demeaning language to gendered violence and physical assault.

The campaign, on major television, radio, online and in print media with the simple message that violence in the workplace is never okay. builds on the previous Its Never Ok campaign, which focussed on workplace violence and aggression towards healthcare workers. 

Featuring incidents from the worker’s perspective, the campaign aims to remind employers and the community that violence and abuse is never ‘just part of the job’.  WorkSafe is also running additional education and awareness campaigns with employers to remind them of their obligations to protect workers from violence and aggression in the workplace. This includes targeted inspection programs in the high risk healthcare and corrections industries and the provision of new guidance for employers.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Colin Radford said the campaign would send a clear message to the Victorian community that everyone deserves to be treated with respect while at work. Read more: WorkSafe media release 

May edition of Safety Soapbox

The latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox was posted today.  This month WorkSafe’s focus is on asbestos and the risks posed to tradespeople in particular, as the deadly substance 'lurks in more places than you think.' It is estimated that about 1 in 3 Australian homes contain asbestos. 

The 'Absolute shocker' shows incorrect ladder use - putting two workers at risk of falling.  The edition has news of the recently released industry standard on Elevating Work Platforms, prosecutions and incidents around Australia. There is also a short, but shocking, video on nail guns: since January 2019, there have been 107 reported incidents of workers who had been shot with a framing nail gun in construction - most commonly resulting in impalement or puncture to the body.

As always, the Safety Soapbox has the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe: In April the construction industry reported 139 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 68 per cent resulted in injury. There we no fatalities, but 13 per cent of the injuries were serious. Access the May 2021 edition of Safety Soapbox here  - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from the March Safety Soapbox.

National News 

New work health and safety fact sheets on the risks of online abuse

These resources have been developed by Safe Work Australia in collaboration with eSafety to provide practical steps to support PCBUs (such as employers) and workers manage the risks of online abuse in the workplace.

What is online abuse?

Online abuse is behaviour that uses technology to threaten, intimidate, bully, harass or humiliate someone. It can take place on social media, online chat and messaging services, by telephone (calls and text messages), email or any other technology used at the workplace.

Work health and safety laws require PCBUs to take care of the health and safety of workers and others. This includes managing the risks of online abuse while working.

The new facts sheets provide PCBUs and workers with practical steps to manage risks of online abuse and provide information on what to do if it does happen:

For more information, go to our online abuse in the workplace webpage.

New workers' comp data on COVID

Safe Work Australia has released a new report which provides a snapshot of COVID-19 related workers’ compensation claims from 1 January to 31 December 2020. The report uses preliminary data from Commonwealth, state and territory workers’ compensation authorities and details claims by type, industry, occupation and jurisdiction. 

The scope of data included in this report is different to the previous report (containing claims to 31 July 2020) published in November 2020. For this reason, the two reports are not comparable. SWA warns that consequently there are significant variations in the way jurisdictions collect and report data on COVID-19, and caution should be used in interpreting the data. The report can be downloaded from this page of the SWA website.

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on May 13, at which time they had been notified that 34 Australian workers had been killed at work in 2021, an increase of two since the previous update on April 29. The fatalities have been in the following sectors:

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

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, consequently sometimes the numbers of deaths in each sector change. 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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