Welcome to the 7 December edition of SafetyNet.
We hope you find this week's journal useful and interesting. Feel free to share it, and please, encourage others in your workplace to subscribe.
For OHS news and helpful information visit We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page, or for advice, Ask Renata
6 STEPS TO STAY AHEAD OF COVID
Last Friday's Chief Health Officer update included six steps to stay ahead of the virus:
- Wear a mask: a high-quality and well-fitted mask can protect you from the virus
- Get your booster dose: new bivalent vaccines targeting Omicron variants are available at your GP or local pharmacy
- Let fresh air in: open windows and doors when you can, it reduces the spread of the virus
- Get tested: if you have symptoms, take a rapid antigen test
- Stay at home: if you have COVID, you should stay at home for at least 5 days and until you have no symptoms
- Talk to your doctor: if you are at risk of falling very sick, you may be eligible for COVID medicines
Of hospitalisations in the last three months, 3468 (40.8%) had not received their 3rd vaccine dose. 1,018 patients (29.4%) were unvaccinated.
This cohort of unvaccinated Victorians represented 39.3% of total reported COVID deaths in the last 3 months.
Sadly, in the last three months there have been 596 COVID-related deaths in Victoria.
234 of these people were unvaccinated.
As of Tuesday 6 December, Victoria recorded:
4,843 new daily infections
20 COVID deaths
720 hospitalisations, with 35 currently in ICU
COVID FACT SHEETS
The ACTU have released their COVID Aware Factsheets, providing guidance on:
- COVID FAQs
- Consulting workers
- Understanding COVID-19 risks in your workplace
- Testing for COVID
- Workplace Cleanliness and Hygiene
- Safety Gear
- Privacy at Work
- Transport to and from Work
- Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
You can find them on the Australian Unions website.
‘We have recently had a new HSR voted in who’s received HSR Initial training previously. Does the HSR require a refresh course of some sort? What length of time does the training cover?’
Page 52 of WorkSafe Victoria’s excellent Employee Representation Guide has this to say:
To exercise powers and rights as an HSR effectively, it is important that HSRs (and if applicable, any dHSR) receive training. This will provide HSRs with appropriate skills, knowledge and confidence to represent the members of their DWG.
HSRs have an entitlement to attend (5 day) initial training, and (1 day) refresher training at least once every year, if they request to do so, however it is not compulsory for HSRs to be trained. WorkSafe actively encourages HSRs to take up their training entitlements.
Read more about HSRs’ right to training on our OHS Reps webpage, here.
Are there circumstances in which an HSR (or DHSR) can attend initial training a second time?
Yes. If an HSR is elected in another DWG, for example an HSR who changes employer and is then elected HSR by a new DWG, they will be entitled to time off work with pay to attend a further initial training course, if the HSR chooses to, and this initial training course is appropriate.
Read Renata's full response here
TIPS FOR A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Victoria Police have reported a 28-year-old Werribee woman crashed her car, Monday evening, having spent the afternoon at a work function before deciding to get behind the wheel.
Alarmingly, a preliminary breath test at the scene returned a reading of .288
The higher the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of a driver, the higher the risk of vehicle accidents:
- 0.05 BAC – double the risk compared to zero
- 0.08 BAC – 7 times the risk compared to zero BAC
- 0.15 BAC – 25 times the risk compared to zero BAC*
The report is a timely reminder of employers’ duties to manage risks associated with end of year work celebrations.
WorkSafe Queensland guidance includes tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas party.
GARBAGE TRUCK CRUSHES DRIVER: 300K FINE
Waste disposal company, Country Cart Pty Ltd, has been convicted and fined a total of $300,000 after a worker was fatally crushed by a garbage truck.
A subsequent VicRoads inspection found the truck had several major defects, including the faulty parking brake, and was overdue for all required services.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
On November 25 - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - IndustriALL's Women Committee co-chairs and assistant general secretary urged Unions to create safe workplaces where women are free to denounce harassment and speak out.
The day marked the start of the 16 days of activism, concluding on commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, 10 December. Learn more
Read more International News here
1 IN 50 ARE MODERN SLAVES
Alliance 8.7, the global partnership for eradicating forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour around the world, report 50 million people globally are in situations of modern slavery.
These are situations of exploitation where a person cannot leave due to threats, violence, coercion, deception, and abuse of power.
The positive news is that many governments, employers, trade unions, and civil societies are actively addressing modern slavery from a variety of angles. Read more
HSR INITIAL & REFRESHER TRAINING
Trained HSRs are more effective HSRs - have you just been elected and haven't organised your training yet? Do it now! And if you completed your initial five-day training then organise your annual refresher now. There are things happening in the OHS space you need to be aware of.
Remember: under Section 67 of the OHS Act 2004 all HSRs and dHSRs are entitled to attend at least 1 one-day refresher course every year, yet many just don't get around to it. If this is you, then check out the courses scheduled for next year, and enrol now, before they fill up. It's important to attend in order to keep up your knowledge of OHS law and practice up-to-date. In the past year we have had significant amendments to the OHS Act, new regulations (for crystalline silica) and new codes. Trained health and safety reps make a real difference in their workplaces, and it's great to meet with others and share experiences!
Go to this link to enrol in any of the five-day initial or refresher courses. Remember to then notify your employer at least 14 days before the course.
Click here for more OHS Events