Welcome to the 19 January edition of SafetyNet, our first for 2023.
A belated Happy New Year to you.
Sadly, our first workplace fatality of 2023 has been reported.
It’s understood a 31-year-old man was working alone, January 4, when he was crushed between the elevated work platform he was operating, and a roof purlin.
The deceased was found by work colleagues the following morning.
WorkSafe is investigating.
Comrades, this workplace death was preventable. Another Victorian has not returned home to family and friends, as he should have.
We send our condolences to the man’s loved ones and colleagues. As we mourn the dead we will fight like hell for the living.
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.
MENTAL HEALTH CONVERSATION TRAINING
Psychological injuries at work are on the increase, comprising over 16% of all WorkCover claims last year.
Workers who suffer a psychological injury are also off work on average for longer than those suffering a physical injury, and are less likely to return to the same workplace.
Although workplaces are focusing more on psychological safety, the emphasis is often placed on what to do after someone is injured rather than hazard identification and injury prevention.
HSRs and Union delegates are often the first point of contact for workers having trouble.
That's why Victorian Trades Hall Council is hosting training for HSRs, Union delegates and members on navigating mental health conversations in the workplace.
The workshop will run for 90 minutes and provide plenty of room for participation, questions and your own industry-specific experience.
Click here to enrol. We hope you can join us.
Daily data is no longer being published on the Victorian coronavirus site, with the Department of Health's social media team stating weekly reporting will 'help reduce fluctuations in data.'
The site now only reports data as a weekly average, on a Friday. We'll continue to share the data that's available, for as long as it's published.
From 6 January - 12 January, Victoria recorded:
7908 total cases for the past week (-35.5%)
21 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
473 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 18 in ICU (7 day rolling average)
We’re back on the road from 9 till 4 with our outreach vehicle and I’m wondering what our employer’s responsibility is to ensure we have drinking water and access to amenities? The service sees us out on the road where refilling water bottles isn’t always possible meaning we have to use public bathrooms.
Congratulations on the important work you’re doing.
WorkSafe’s Compliance Code for Workplace Amenities and Work Environment provides guidance to employers on how to comply with their section 21(2)(d) duty - to provide adequate facilities for the welfare of workers.
Page 8 advises…
‘Sometimes, when employers are unable to provide drinking points, they may need to provide the amenity by ensuring access to bottled water is within reach of employees who cannot leave their work task. Clean drinking water needs to be always provided and needs to be clean, safe for consumption, cool and palatable.’
By not providing you with access to cool and palatable bottled water it appears your employer may be in breach of their section 21 duty.
150 LIMBS OR DIGITS AMPUTATED IN 12 MONTHS
In the past 12 months, more than 150 body parts were amputated due to workplace incidents. Digits caught or crushed in machinery or severed while using a saw accounted for one-third of all amputation claims.
WorkSafe is urging employers to ensure all machinery is properly guarded and operated safely to avoid the risk of life-changing amputation injuries.
HAZARDOUS MANUAL HANDLING FAILURE
A WorkSafe Inspector attending 'Star Care' child care centre in Thomastown, was conducting an inspection as part of WorkSafe’s Childcare High Risk Manual Handling and Occupational Violence Consultation Project in February 2020.
During the visit the Inspector observed a nappy change table in the bathroom area of the workplace and formed a view that hazardous manual handling risks associated with the table were not being controlled.
US: FEDERAL FIREFIGHTERS WIN ACCESS TO OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES COMPENSATION
Cancer is a well-established workplace hazard for firefighters with 49 of 50 states deeming certain cancers presumptively work-related when determining eligibility under their workers’ compensation or disability laws.
Federal firefighters however currently do not receive a presumption of causation for any occupational diseases.
That inequity between state/local firefighters and their federal brethren was finally addressed in a section of the National Defense Authorization signed into law on 23 December 2022.
TESLA WORKERS AFRAID OF DENOUNCING WORSENING CONDITIONS
At its annual news conference, German union IG Metall said a growing number of Tesla workers reported longer working hours with little free time. IG Metall, with an office near the automaker’s plant in Brandenburg, is in regular contact with Tesla workers. ‘Tesla is not doing enough to improve working conditions and is leaving too little time for leisure, family and recovery’, said Irene Schulz of IG Metall Berlin-Brandenburg-Sachsen.
INJURED WORKERS VOICES NEEDED
Griffith University are hoping to hear from injured workers for important research into WorkCover.
Researchers are seeking to better understand how the support needs of injured workers are determined, in order to make informed recommendations for change.
As an added incentive to support the project, Griffith University are offering participants the chance to win a $200 Coles gift card.
We encourage all injured workers, who feel able to participate, to register their interest via this link.
Simply scroll to the bottom of the page.
We need our voices heard. Your participation will help spread the message about the realities of going through WorkCover for injured workers.
OHS TRAINING UNIT
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 to learn more about our course offerings: