Welcome to the 22 December edition of SafetyNet.
Sadly, there have been two workplace deaths since our last correspondence.
John Burley, 55, died while operating a telehandler at Willaura, last Thursday. It's understood he was moving a steel door frame when the load fell and struck him, about 2pm.
And a 74-year-old man has died when the quadbike he was riding rolled over and trapped him on property in Pirron Yallock, two hours west of Melbourne.
WorkSafe is investigating both incidents.
Comrades, these workplace deaths were preventable. Two more Victorians have not returned home to family and friends as they should have.
We send our condolences to their loved ones and colleagues. As we mourn the dead we will fight like hell for the living.
With the year ending it’s appropriate we acknowledge the important work HSRs do in trying to make our workplaces safer. It can be a thankless role, but we recognise your advocacy and efforts make workplaces safer, prevent injuries and even safe lives.
Effective HSRs do not need to be experts on all things OHS, but should feel encouraged to reach out to others for support, whether that be your co-workers, your union or even us here at VTHC.
We wish you all the very best for the season and look forward to working with you, for a safe and productive 2023.
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.
Extreme Heat Survival Game
Extreme heat is a serious OH&S issue. Have you ever wondered how you as a HSR would deal with an extreme heat event at your workplace?
Climate change will make extreme weather events more severe and more frequent, this game will teach you all you need to know as a HSR to address these challenges when they arise in your workplace!
The game works using the arrow keys so make sure to play it on a computer
As of Tuesday 20th December 2022, Victoria recorded:
3,830 new daily infections
20 COVID deaths
668 hospitalisations, with 33 currently in ICU
I completed the 5-day course but it was very simple and didn't explain, in detail, the rights and powers of a HSR. What would be the best method to gain more info on these rights and powers?
You're not the first HSR to raise this type of concern.
The purpose of HSR training is to teach participants their rights and powers under the Act, so it's concerning you feel the course ‘didn't explain in detail the rights and powers of a HSR’.
To be a WorkSafe-approved training provider; course content, structure and delivery must meet strict criteria.
You can check your training provider is WorkSafe-approved, here.
See our webpage OHS reps – Your Rights for a summary of the above, including two downloadable posters - the first on your rights, the second, your powers.
'White Christmas' Used Asbestos Snow
California-based non-profit, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), published an article, this time last year, reporting cast and crew on the set of iconic 1954 movie 'White Christmas' were exposed to asbestos, used at the time to imitate the peaceful fall of snow.
We at SafetyNet stand with all families affected this Christmas by the scourge of asbestos-related disease. Let's re-dedicate ourselves, in 2023, to the enormous task of asbestos eradication.
WORKSAFE 101 FOR HIGH SCHOOLS
WorkSafe are promoting interactive education resources designed to help young people enter the workforce safely.
Co-designed with Victorian Secondary School Teachers to educate young people about their rights under our OHS Act 2004, the resources are intended to complement classroom learning for students between Years 9 and 12.
The WorkSafe Academy learning portal includes a set of interactive education resources designed for teachers in secondary schools help to prepare young people to enter the workforce safely
Frequently asked questions about WorkSafe 101 for high schools and the WorkSafe Academy
Resources for young workers, who experience higher rates of injury than other workers
Find out more here
Worth noting: WorkSafe's program echoes the work of VTHC's own Young Workers Centre (YWC) who've successfully run an outreach program for many years that provides advice and support to young workers.
For more information see here.
ENERGY AUSTRALIA PLEAD GUILTY
Yallourn power station worker, Graeme Edwards 54, died because of injuries sustained at Yallourn Power station. The plant's owner, Energy Australia, pleaded guilty in the County Court last Wednesday, to three charges of failing to provide a safe working environment.
67 JOURNALISTS MURDERED BECAUSE OF WORK
New figures released by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reveal an increase in the number of journalists murdered because of their work. The rise in deaths marks a shift from a decline in recent years: rising from 47 last year. Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said: 'The surge in the killings of journalists and other media workers is a grave cause of concern and yet another wake up call for governments across the globe to take action in the defence of journalism, one of the key pillars of democracy.'
Source: IFJ news release
HEAT IMPACTS ON UNBORN: NEW INTERVENTIONS NEEDED
The fetuses of women working in fields in extreme heat can show signs of strain before their mothers are affected, new research has shown.
The study, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), involved 92 pregnant subsistence farmers in The Gambia, and is claimed to be the first to measure impacts of heat stress on the foetuses of manual workers.
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.