Welcome to the 14 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.
DEVELOPING A NATIONAL ASBESTOS HEATMAP
The first ever National Residential Asbestos Heatmap is in development using predictive modelling to map the probability of asbestos presence, by geographic area. This world-first may help transform residential asbestos management.
Federal body, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), are providing in-person demonstrations to representatives responsible for implementing the Asbestos National Strategic Plan.
If you’re aware of data showing the presence of asbestos in residential properties (eg asbestos registers or asbestos removal notifications), you can help improve the accuracy of the heatmap by contacting ASEA here.
YOU DIRTY RAT
As we've moved from PCR to Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) you may be wondering about the effectiveness of RATs in detecting different strains of COVID-19.
The TGA has released the results of a review on the effectiveness of various brands in detecting different COVID-19 strains, including Delta and Omicron. They have published these findings in this report.
As of Tuesday 13th December 2022, Victoria recorded:
4,376 new daily infections
20 COVID deaths
680 hospitalisations, with 26 currently in ICU
I work with five other people in an area that has no dining facilities. Are we entitled to a separate space to have a break, instead of having to eat and drink in-between clients, at our desk? Our microwave and kettle are in the work area too, and we have to get our drinking water from the bathroom.
Based on the information you’ve provided it appears your employer is in breach of their section 21(2)(d) duty, to provide adequate facilities for the welfare of workers.
Water quality needs to be clean, safe for consumption, cool and palatable.
Employees must also have access to ‘hygienic dining facilities for preparing and eating meals.’
A dining area needs to be provided that is:
- hygienic and waterproof
- separated from hazards
- separated from the work process
- free of tools and work materials
SAFETY MONTH WEBINARS NOW AVAILABLE
Did you miss out on the opportunity to attend any of WorkSafe’s Health & Safety Month webinars this year? Don’t stress, all of the Safety Month webinars are now available to watch on demand, at a time that suits you.
There are 15 webinars in all. Our favourites include:
CHEMICAL CLASSIFICATION CHANGES KICK IN NYD
Safe Work Australia have issued a reminder the transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Revision 7 (GHS 7) ends on 31 December 2022.
SLOW DOWN AND STAY SAFE
With 3 weeks left in the year, WorkSafe are reminding employers of their duty of care amongst the rush to meet deadlines before Christmas.
Because the lead up to holidays have historically proven especially dangerous, WorkSafe are promoting preventative resources and guidance, arranged by industry:
And by hazard:
OZ AND NZ TRENDS IN COMPO AND WHS
Safe Work Australia has published the 24th edition of its Comparative Performance Monitoring Report, analysing trends in WHS and workers’ compensation scheme across Australia and New Zealand.
The report includes analysis of:
- work health and safety performance
- work health and safety compliance and enforcement activities
- workers’ compensation premiums
- entitlements under workers’ compensation
- scheme funding
- statistics on disputes
Download the full report here
130K FINE: APPRENTICE SHOT IN HEAD WITH NAIL GUN
Topline Carpentry South East Pty Ltd (the Offender) employees were constructing townhouses in Glen Waverley when a 16 years’ old apprentice was involved in two incidents.
The first resulted in the apprentice suffering a deep laceration to his hand, which prevented him from using that hand throughout the day.
The second incident involved the apprentice and a more experienced worker facing each other, at opposing ends of a door frame, whilst using nail guns.
‘WORKING HOURS CREEP’ DRIVES GENDER WAGE GAP
University researchers have told the Senate's work and care inquiry that long working hours are now the main driver of the gender pay gap and recommend capping the working week at 38 hours as a step towards gender equality.
Their research shows that long hours are 'impossible' to combine with care, putting long hours jobs out of reach of most Australian women and possibly also preventing Australian men from providing more care.
COUNCIL MANDATES SAFE TRAVEL HOME FOR NIGHT WORKERS
Glasgow: The Get Me Home Safely campaign led by Unite hospitality workers has seen a new victory, as Glasgow City Council has passed a motion requiring hospitality businesses to provide free and safe transport home for late-night workers after 23:00. It will apply to any new alcohol licences, or existing businesses applying for extended operating hours. The call was led by hotel worker and Unite member Caitlin Lee, who was sexually assaulted as she was walking home after finishing her shift, after her employer had refused to pay for her taxi home.
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.