Regulator News

Victorian news

Government establishes new respiratory clinic

On 16 September 2021, Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt announced the opening of Australia’s only dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic, The Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic.

The Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic is a partnership between the Alfred Hospital and WorkSafe Victoria and offers a centralised, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and management of occupational respiratory diseases, including silicosis.

The clinic builds on WorkSafe’s free silica health screening program which is part of the Victorian Government’s Silica Action Plan to prevent unsafe silica exposure. The plan also includes the development of permanent regulations to introduce a state-wide ban on the uncontrolled dry-cutting of engineered stone, a revised silica compliance code and developing Australia’s first licencing scheme. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Crystalline Silica) Regulations 2021 are due to be made before the end of 2021. 

More than 990 workers in Victoria's stonemason industry have completed an initial assessment with WorkSafe's free silica health screening program since it commenced in May 2019. Tragically, there have so far been 168 worker's compensation claims resulting from a positive diagnosis, and a process is in place to ensure affected workers and their families get the support they need. Read more: Victorian Government’s announcement and further information on health assessmentsWorkSafe media release: Be Silica smart and get tested at new clinic 

WorkSafe: Too many workers face this every day - It's never OK

WorkSafe Victoria has produced a new, M-rated, video which covers off some of the violent situations workers in various industries face each day. Work-related violence involves incidents in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work. This definition covers a broad range of actions and behaviours that can create a risk to the health and safety of employees. It includes behaviour sometimes described as acting out, challenging behaviour and behaviours of concern.  On this page there are links to further information for workers and employers. Check the video out here.

HSR Newsletter

The latest edition of WorkSafe's newsletter for HSRs was posted yesterday. The newsletter contains information on events being run by the regulator during Health and Safety Month.

The newsletter also promotes WorkSafe's HSR Support Channel app (powered by CodeSafe). By downloading the app, HSRs can get quick and easy access to commonly used guidance and other helpful materials. Some of the resources available on the app include:

  • Compliance codes and Consultation info
  • Assistance on HSR powers

The newsletter announces WorkSafe's current 6 week prevention blitz on falls, following the tragic death of a 23-year-old carpenter. There's more information for HSRs in the newsletter, including where to go for support.  Check out the newsletter online here.

OHS Month: WorkSafe Victoria events

The state's OHS regulator has scheduled a number of free events in late October as part of Health and Safety Month. Remember the VTHC will also be running our annual OHS Reps' Conference - details to come soon. Click on the webinar title for more details and to register for the event you are interested in. 

National news

National Fatality Statistics  

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on September 16, at which time it had been notified that 84 Australian workers had been killed at work this year - three more than at September 2. The total numbers of fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 31 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 11 in Construction
  • 10 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 9 in Manufacturing 
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 4 in Mining
  • 4 in Public administration & safety
  • 3 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Other Services 
  • 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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