Regulator News

Victorian news

New Silica regulations approved

The Victorian silica regulations have now been approved, and will come into effect Monday 15 November. We will be updating the website in the next few weeks to reflect the new regulations. 

New Compliance Code - First Aid in the Workplace

The Minister for Workplace Safety, Ingrid Stitt, has approved the making of the First aid in the workplace compliance code. The new code came into effect on Thursday 4 November 2021. It replaced the 2008 First aid in the workplace compliance code.

The new codes has a lot of new and amended information, including recommendations that employers consider adding asthma-relieving inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors (Epipens) to first aid kits and to also consider training for first aid officers to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis. 

It provides updated information on providing adequate first aid room facilities, assessing first aid needs and ensuring training remains up-to-date. The current code continues to offer two options for compliance – the prescribed approach and the risk assessment approach. 

The prescribed approach gives prescriptive guidance on complying with the OHS Act and is suited to small to medium-sized workplaces. The risk assessment approach guides employers through the process of determining their first aid responsibilities based on an assessment of their workplace hazards and risks.

While the code is not mandatory, employers complying with it are considered to have complied with their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 

The information on our FAQ pages will be updated over the next little while. In the meantime, download the new code from this page of the WorkSafe website. 

Communicating OHS across languages compliance code: public comment open

The draft compliance code Communicating OHS across languages is now available for public review and comment from until close of business Monday 6 December 2021.  The draft was developed by a reference group comprising of union and employer representatives and WorkSafe staff. 

A dedicated webpage has been created to facilitate public comment on each of the proposed code via the Victorian Government’s consultation platform, Engage Victoria. This enables employers, employees, other interested parties and members of the public to view the proposed code materials online and provide online submissions. Check the draft code and provide comment here: Communicating occupational health and safety across languages compliance code

Regulator warns of falling trees

With the holiday season approaching, WorkSafe is reminding all campsite and holiday park operators to undertake a tree assessment to control the risk of falling trees and branches.

Earlier this year a camper was killed at a holiday park. He had set up camp in his allocated camping spot, his tent under a tree canopy. As he was sleeping, a large branch fell on his tent, crushing him.

Although large trees with high potential to fall or drop heavy branches in populated areas pose the highest level of risk, all trees have some level of risk.

The recent storms in Victoria caused a lot of damage to trees and properties. Following storms, severe weather and wind events employers should increase inspections of treed areas in workplaces and campsites and, if necessary, should incorporate periodic inspections by a qualified arborist.

Find out recommended ways to control the risks here

Webinars on horticultural safety

Harvest is one of the busiest times for farmers, and with the challenges of a labour shortage, market fluctuations and COVID-19, Victoria's regulator says it can be difficult to manage health and safety requirements.

WorkSafe and Agriculture Victoria, the Labour Hire Authority, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) are holding a series of webinars to assist growers in protecting themselves and their workers against OHS risks.

These will provide an opportunity for horticulture producers around Victoria to learn more about keeping farms safe, seasonal workforce support, COVID-19 employer obligations (including vaccination requirements), and the treatment of labour hire workers.

Attendees will also learn about WorkSafe's OHS Essentials program, which links small to medium businesses with independent consultants who offer free, confidential and tailored advice on how to improve health and safety in their workplace.

The virtual sessions will run from 4-5pm on 10 November 2021, 8 December 2021 and 19 January 2022. Farmers are welcome to attend all three sessions to keep up with the latest information. Register for the webinars hereRead more: WorkSafe media release 

National news 

National Fatality Statistics 2021  

Safe Work Australia last updated its statistics on fatalities on October 28, at which time it had been notified that 105 Australian workers had been killed at work this year - is this three more than at the time of its previous update on October 14. Fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 36 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 18 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 12 in Construction
  • 11 in Manufacturing
  • 6 in Mining
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 5 in Public administration & safety
  • 4 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
  • 1 in Healthcare & social assistance

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 database 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 Preliminary worker deaths webpage

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