Regulator News

Victorian news   
Safety warning on inflatable rides
WorkSafe is urging Victorian operators of inflatable amusement rides and event organisers hiring them to review their health and safety obligations after the regulator recently found inadequate risk controls at three separate sites.

Land-borne inflatables such as jumping castles and slides can be a serious safety hazard if they are not set up and operated correctly. 

In the past few weeks, the following occurred:

  • WorkSafe inspectors issued the operator of one ride with compliance notices over a number of safety issues, including a lack of adequate anchorage and the outdoor use of electric blowers unsuitable for exposure to rain;
  • Another operator had placed anchor weights beside their inflatable ride without connecting them because it wasn't windy enough;
  • Other inspectors also observed a 4.7 metre high inflatable device set up underneath high tensile power lines.

Operators have a duty under the OHS Regulations to identify all hazards associated with the use of inflatable amusement devices and implement control measures to eliminate or reduce any risks. And of course, all Victorian employers, including those organising events, have a duty under the OHS Act to provide a safe workplace for both their own workers and other people, including members of the public. In the release, WorkSafe provides advice on how to control the risks associated with inflatable devices. Anyone with a concern about the safety of an inflatable amusement device should report it to WorkSafe's advisory service on 1800 136 089.  Read more: WorkSafe media release  

Safety Alert after worker fatally injured by falling steel beams 
This alert highlights the dangers of working under a suspended load following the death of an employee. The operator of an overhead bridge crane was fatally injured when the jig hook detached from the spreader bar and he was crushed by steel beams weighing several tonnes. 

He had been walking beneath the jig to check the suspended product. The load tilted and one end made contact with the ground causing the jig hook to dislodge from the spreader bar and the heavy load to fall.

The Safety Alert examines the safety issues associated with this type of work, and recommends ways to control the risks. Read more: Worker fatally by steal beams falling from bridge crane 

WorkSafe awards - the other winners

WorkSafe Chief Executive Officer Colin Radford congratulated every winner and finalist for their exceptional efforts in boosting workplace health and safety. "We had such a strong pool of finalists, and all of them deserve to be applauded for their sheer dedication towards developing safer and healthier workplaces," Mr Radford said.

  • OHS Leadership/Achievement  
    Ash Presser – URBNSURF: when URBNSURF set out to create Melbourne's first surf park, there weren’t any existing frameworks for identifying and monitoring OHS risks in the niche industry. Ash undertook extensive research and developed a six step process to launch a new industry safely.  

  • Commitment to Prevention of Mental Injury in the Workplace 
    Western Health – its new 'Predict, Prevent, Priority: Safety Strategy' aims to address unsafe cultural practices to reduce the incidence of workplace violence and aggression, along with the potential for psychological injury. 

  • Commitment to Workplace Health and Safety on a Farm 
    Aurora Dairies: the organisation used low-cost technology, including geo-fencing and GPS tracking, to improve safety for quadbike operators across 25 farms. Geo-fenced farms can identify terrain that posed a rollover risk, and the data is used to set speed limits. 

  • Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year. Joint winners 
    AusNet Services – Aim Zero: a new app developed uses geospatial data to alert staff via a smartwatch to nearby hazards while they work alone in the field. It also uses smartphone features such as fall detection and heart monitoring to alert managers to potential incidents. 

    Western Health (medihood) – McMonty Hood: Western Health developed an isolation hood that helps protect health care workers treating COVID-19 patients. The 'McMonty' by medihood is a reusable isolation hood that reduces aerosol and droplet contamination, allowing non-invasive ventilation of COVID-19 patients. The device is now being used across Australia, as well as in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

For more information and also the winners in the Return to Work categories, check out WorkSafe's media release.

National News   
NSW: New scaffolding standard following death of teen 
On 1 April 2019, a steel modular scaffold collapsed at a construction site in Sydney, tragically crushing two workers. One was fatally injured just a day after his 18th birthday while the second suffered permanent life-changing injuries.

From last week, worksites across NSW must comply with a new Scaffolding Industry Safety Standard, which the regulator says will make them much safer by providing clear guidance to prevent scaffolding-related injuries and deaths.

The Safety Standard details practical management tools to principal contractors, scaffolders, engineers, and other parties involved in scaffolding work, ensuring best practice for the scaffolding industry. Read more: NSW media release 

Advice to employers/PCBUs on Japanese Encephalitis and duties to workers 
Safe Work Australia has developed new work health and safety (WHS) guidance on Japanese encephalitis for employers and persons conducting a business or undertaking. 

Japanese encephalitis is caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It is spread through mosquito bites and is more common in areas of increased mosquito activity. Infection in humans is usually asymptomatic, but on rare occasions it can result in severe disease such as encephalitis (infection of the brain) and even death.

JEV spreads when a human is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten a pig or a wild waterbird infected with the virus. Japanese encephalitis has been detected in parts of South-Eastern Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Victoria and South Australia. 
Read more: Japanese Encephalitis Safe Work guidance 

Reminder: Comcare Webinar on Contractor management  
The Contractor management—Shared duties and control webinar, focussing on the WHS Act, may be of interest to workers and HSRs under the Comcare system. 

The webinar will cover:

  • refresh of duties and responsibilities under the WHS Act
  • understanding ‘control of work’ and what is reasonably practicable
  • practical tips on managing contractors.

Webinar details: Tuesday 3 May; 11am - 11:45 am AEST; via Microsoft Teams. Register now.

National Fatality Statistics 2022  
Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on April 21,  at which time it had been notified that 52 Australian workers had been killed at work this year, this is five more than at the time of its previous update on April 7.  

The fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 24 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 12 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 4 in Public administration & safety
  • 3 in Construction
  • 2 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services 
  • 4 in 'other services'
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Manufacturing
  • 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. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Preliminary worker deaths webpage. 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. 

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