Regulator News

Victorian news

HSR Newsletter

The latest edition of WorkSafe's newsletter for HSRs was posted late last week. The newsletter reminds HSRs that the  temporary regulations approved in 2020 putting duties on employers and self-employed persons to notify WorkSafe of a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the workplace were re-made for an additional 12 months in July this year. The newsletter also has an invitation for HSRs to join the webinar advertised below, and links to the latest Safety Alert on gas cylinders and WorkSafe's warning to employers of the risks of working at height. As well as this, there are links to WorkSafe information on Consultation, DWGs and more.  Check out the newsletter online here.

Reminder of the August 31 Webinar on mentally healthy workplaces

A reminder of WorkSafe's second webinar in its WorkWell series, 'Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces Where Young People Thrive'.

Creating workplaces where young people can thrive and contribute is important because young workers are particularly vulnerable to injury at work. Employers and managers make a big difference to the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

The webinar will look at:

  • why preventative strategies are needed to improve mental health in the workplace
  • how to create psychologically safe environments where conversations can be started and continued
  • how leaders can make a difference for young people

When: Tuesday 31 Aug 2021 at 10:00am to 11:00am.
Where: Online webinar event. Register now by going to this page on the WorkSafe website.

Major Hazards newsletter

Issue 18 of WorkSafe's Major Hazards newsletter was posted this week. The newsletter has items on:

  • pre-assessment advice for Major Hazard Facility sites - In the lead-up to submitting an application for an MHF licence renewal, the regulator encourages operators to engage with the MHF unit if clarification is required regarding compliance with the regulations.
  • a new quarterly Dangerous Goods newsletter, 'The DG Digest' - and an invitation to subscribe
  • notification that Safe Work Australia, which is currently updating its guidance materials for Major Hazard Facilities,  is seeking views and feedback from MHF sites across the nation to help improve the guides. Although the guides are based on the model WHS laws, Victorian operators may be interested in completing the survey - closing date is September 3
  • major international incidents: two in Texas, one where two workers were killed, and two large fires in Iran  
  • announcing a Major Hazards online information session for MHF CEOs/Safety Case signatories to be held on Thursday 2 September 2021, 9:00am to 10:00am

The newsletter also has a number of other items such as explaining the new system which provides provisional payments to workers who submit and mental health claim.  To read the August edition of Major Hazard Matters, and to register for the information session, click here

National News

Construction and clean air

Safe Work Australia has issued advice on the risks of hazardous air to construction workers. The advice begins:

The air you breathe at work can contain dusts, gases, fumes or vapours. Construction workers are at risk of breathing in hazardous air, including through:

  • cutting, grinding, polishing and crushing concrete, pavers, tiles and bricks
  • cutting drywall/plasterboard 
  • using paints, glue and varnishes 
  • welding, and
  • cutting and sanding some types of wood. 

Read more: Work in Construction? Manage the risks of hazardous air. 

National Fatality Statistics  

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on August 19, at which time it had been notified that 73 Australian workers had been killed at work this year - this is six more than at August 5. The fatalities were: 2 each in Transport, postal & warehousing and Manufacturing; one each in Construction, and Agriculture, forestry & fishing. The total numbers of fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 28 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 11 in Construction
  • 8 in Manufacturing 
  • 7 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 3 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Mining
  • 2 in Other Services 
  • 2 in Public administration & safety
  • 1 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Education & training
  • 1 in Retail trade 
  • 1 in Administrative & support 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, 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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