Regulator News

EMPLOYERS REMINDED OF RISKS POSED BY HEAVY RAIN

WorkSafe have warned that workplace ladders, stairs and elevated work platforms can become particularly dangerous in wet weather, and employers should consider pausing outdoor work in heavy rains and storms with construction sites are of particular concern. 'Avoiding exposure to bad weather is the best way to protect yourself and your workers'.

WorkSafe have reminded employers to manage the risks associated with wet weather by:

  • inspecting the work site to ensure ground stability has not been compromised and foundations are secure;
  • spreading crushed rock on walkways and over mud, and placing boot scrapers at access points;
  • ensuring plant operators are aware of the risks posed by waterlogged surfaces before they start work;
  • ensuring electrical equipment that might be affected by water is taken out of service until inspected, tested and made safe;
  • identifying soft ground and marking it with flags, bollards or other indicators to warn workers;
  • seeking assistance when recovering bogged equipment or animals; and
  • avoiding situations where employees need to work alone, and ensuring workers have access to a means of communication, like a phone or radio.

DANGEROUS GOODS LAWS TO BE ALIGNED WITH OUR OHS ACT

Victoria’s dangerous goods laws are to be updated to make them clearer, improving compliance and better aligning them with the OHS Act.

An Independent Review of the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 was conducted by Andrew Palmer KC following disastrous fires in 2018 and 2019, caused by illegal stockpiling of chemical waste.

Vic Gov’s response to the review flags support for 22 of the review’s 49 recommendations, support ‘in principle’ for a further 15, 11 marked for further consideration, and one recommendation ‘noted’.

The Government have indicated ‘support-in-full’ for the report’s overarching recommendation to reform the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 to align with the OHS Act 2004.

Read more here and here on the Victorian Government's position that fundamental legislative reform is required.

DANGEROUS GOODS (STORAGE AND HANDLING) REGULATIONS 2022

New Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2022 will commence on Saturday 26 November 2022.

The Regulations set out legal duties for manufacturers and suppliers of dangerous goods or suspected dangerous goods, and for occupiers of premises where dangerous goods are stored or handled. They help ensure the health and safety of people, property and the environment in the manufacture, storage, transfer, use, handling, sale and disposal of dangerous goods.

The Storage and Handling Regulations will replace the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012, which are set to expire on 27 November 2022.

MENTAL INJURIES SURGE IN VICTORIAN WORKPLACES

WorkSafe is putting employers on notice to address psychological hazards in their workplaces as the number of mental health injuries in Victorian workplaces surges. The regulator is urging employers to mark World Mental Health Day by ensuring they have policies, processes and training to address risks like bullying, aggression, trauma, fatigue, stress and high job demands.

Of the 28,682 claims received by WorkSafe in the 2021-22 financial year, 4340 were for mental injuries which often require more recovery time and have higher costs than physical injuries.

Read more here.

NEW NEWSLETTER FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS

WorkSafe are building a distribution list of HSR's in healthcare who'd like to receive their new industry-specific newsletter. HSR's can sign up for ongoing newsletters by emailing [email protected]

HAVE YOU SEEN WORKSAFE’S CORPORATE PLAN?

Informed and empowered workers are important to WorkSafe, as outlined in their Corporate Plan 2022/23 which recognises the valuable role health and safety representatives will play in achieving positive health and safety outcomes.

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