SafetyNet 669

Show your solidarity with injured workers by attending Injured Workers Day on Thursday 1 June from 12PM. There'll be great speakers, food and moving personal stories from injured workers.

The AFL is taken to the Fair Work Commission for allegedly sacking a worker for speaking up about harassment.

A worker writes to Ask Renata if they can raise safety issues without going through the health and safety committee.

We also touch on research among nurses in the UK that shows that choice over shifts for shift workers is essential in reducing burnout. 

As always we encourage you to send in your own queries at Ask Renata

For OHS news and helpful information visit We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page.

Union News


On 1 June each year unions commemorate Injured Workers Day. On this day, we express solidarity with all injured workers, coming together to hear from injured workers, pay tribute to those injured at work and fight for a fairer, more just workers compensation system.

This year's event will be held at Victorian Trades Hall Council. There will be a barbecue starting at 12PM. After that, we'll make our way upstairs to Solidarity Hall for presentations from injured workers, WorkCover experts and other guest speakers. The event will finish at 3PM.

This year's day is particularly important. 

It is reported that the Government is considering making changes to workers compensation making it harder for injured workers to get the treatment and support to which they are currently entitled. This would only heap further misery on people who are already going through one of the most difficult periods of their lives.

Supporting injured worker's day sends a clear message.

As a union movement, we stand with and protect the rights of injured workers.

Injured Workers Day - 1 June 12PM - 3PM, Victoria Trades Hall, 54 Victoria Street, Carlton

RSVP today here



Former umpire Libby Toovey.

Libby Toovey, a pioneering footy umpire, is taking the AFL to the Fair Work commission saying she was sacked for speaking up on systemic abuse of female umpires.

Toovey, who began a job as an AFL female umpire talent scout, says she was let go after reporting stories of inappropriate treatment and harassment of female umpires.

The AFL denies Toovey's claims and says she was sacked because she had misrepresented her role, responsibilities, and authority during her short time at the league. Toovey, who also runs a female umpires mentorship program with AFL umpire Eleni Glouftsis, played in the first year of AFLW and still plays for an amateur club.

Source: The Age



Victorian Trades Hall Council is seeking experienced trainers to join the OHS training team on a casual basis. Our team operates in both metropolitan and regional areas to educate and organize workers on their rights and safety at work.

As a trainer, you will deliver training to HSRs, ARREO courses to union officials, VTHC training packages, promote the OH&S unit and ensure compliance with WorkSafe provider approval.

Apply here 


Ask Renata

I want to raise safety issues at my workplace so we can get them resolved, but my manager says I need to go through the HSC committee. Is this true?

In short, no. The role of a Health and Safety Committee (HSC) is to complement the activities of HSRs, not replace them. Issues affecting a DWG should be resolved between the relevant HSR and management representative.

Read our full response here


Weekly COVID Numbers


From 28 April - 4 May, Victoria recorded:  

6,452 (+3%) total cases for the past week
6 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
311 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 17 in ICU (7 day rolling average)

See here for more COVID stats


Regulator News


Last Tuesday it was reported six people were injured in a gas explosion in a Shepparton recycling plant.

The accident occurred while a metal shredder was being operated with two of the injured workers flown to the Alfred Hospital in critical and serious conditions.

The incident underscores the need for proper safety protocols in recycling plants and highlights the risks associated with handling potentially hazardous materials.

The recycling plant provides services for residential and commercial recycling of gas bottles and fire extinguishers.

Learn more




Boral Resources has been fined $180,000 after workers were exposed to respirable crystalline silica at a Montrose quarry. The company failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work, exposing workers to hazardous dust generated by blasting, crushing, mixing, screening and transferring of quarried rock.

Click here to learn more, including how crystalline silica dust should be managed in the extractives industry.



Horse training company, Saloon Park, has been convicted and fined $350,000 following the death of 22 year-old apprentice jockey Mikaela Claridge in August 2019.

Mikaela died after coming off her horse during pre-dawn trackwork on the sand trails of Cranbourne Training Complex.

The company was found guilty of failing to provide a safe working environment, with the judge finding there were readily available measures the company could have taken to eliminate or reduce risks.

'These included prohibiting its employee track riders from riding horses on the sand trails in the dark. There was nothing to prevent it from implementing such a direction. There was no cost associated with making the change.'

It was reasonably practical to have eliminated those risks, that was what the OHS Act required Saloon Park to do.'

Source: The Age


International News


Gender based division of labour, sexual biological differences, employment patterns, social roles and social structures mean that women and men are exposed to different risks at work, and also exposed in different ways.

IndustriALL are calling for these differences to be identified and acknowledged with OHS policies that are gender-responsive and ensure workplace safety for all.

The TUC’s guide for trade union activists on Gender in occupational safety and health illustrates that occupational health and safety often treats men and women as if they were the same. Less attention is given to the health and safety needs of women.

Read more




New research just out from the University of Southhampton in the UK shows just how important choice over your rosters as a shift worker are. 

The new study, led by Dr. Chiara Dall'Ora, aimed to examine the association between shift work characteristics and burnout, and whether choice over shift length influences burnout.

The research, which consisted of interviews with 873 nurses, showed that shifts longer than eight hours increased the risk of burnout.

However, workers with complete choice over their shift lengths, even for those who chose long shifts, were less likely to experience burnout compared to those who had no choice.

This highlights what we've been saying for a long time. Consultation with workers and HSRs over rosters is key to a safe workplace. 

Read more




A photo exhibition commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza.

The Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1,130 people and injuring approximately 2,500 more. The owners of garment factories in the building had ignored safety regulations and forced workers to keep working despite clear structural problems.

To commemorate this tragedy and create stronger movements to protect garment workers, an exhibition called "Lives not Numbers" has been organized by the Bangladesh Garment workers solidarity (BGWS). The exhibition aims to question and protest the lack of punishment for the culprits and inadequate compensation for surviving workers. Taslima Akhter, a freelance photographer and activist, organized and collected photos for the exhibition in cooperation with BGWS.

1 May to 26 May, 2023, 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday
Paddy's Gallery, Victoria Trades Hall, 54 Victoria Street, Carlton

Admission is free, and photos will be available to purchase - all proceeds go directly to the victims and victim's families through the Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity



The Victorian Trades Hall Council’s OHS Training Unit is one of the most experienced training providers in Victoria.

We have delivered OHS training to tens of thousands of Health & Safety Reps across Victoria since 1983.

We deliver high quality WorkSafe Approved training that is practical and solution-focused in multiple locations around Melbourne’s suburbs and regional Victoria.

5 Day HSR Initial OHS Training Course Fee - $950 (inc GST)
1 Day HSR Refresher Training Course Fee - $350 (inc GST)

Click on the links below for dates and locations.

HSR Initial OHS Training Course
HSR Refresher OHS Training Course

VTHC also offers tailored training, including for managers and supervisors, on Comcare, and gendered violence.

Check out our website for more information.


OHS Team

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