Welcome to the 15 February edition of SafetyNet.
Sadly, a 68-year-old truck driver died last Wednesday when his prime mover and trailer rolled over, near Taggerty.
This workplace death was preventable. Another Victorian worker has not returned home, as they should have.
We send our condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.
Mourn the dead and 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.
I drive buses, several of which have inadequate air con systems. My bus got to 40c in the driver’s seat, and 35c in the saloon. We drivers cop a lot of abuse because it’s too hot. There are six buses in the fleet with this problem. What should I do?
Heat, whether seasonal or part of the work environment, can lead to serious illness and increased workplace accidents.
You do have the right to refuse unsafe work.
Your employer has a duty not expose you, and your passengers, to health and safety risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.
By exposing you to heat stress, and occupational violence and aggression, they may be breaching those duties.
WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS
From Friday 3 February – Thursday 9 February, Victoria recorded:
2,941 total cases for the past week (-3.3%)
7 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
118 (-18.1%) cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 7 in ICU (7 day rolling average)
More COVID news here
EXCELLENT GUIDE ON PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY WORKPLACES
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland in support their new Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice 2022 have released an interactive Mentally Healthy Workplaces Toolkit in PDF form.
The Toolkit is part of an educative strategy the regulator is applying to expand employer state-of-knowledge and emphasises that providing a mentally healthy workplace is a legislative requirement.
The Toolkit integrates hyperlinks to a variety of overseas and local information.
MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES: $33 MILLION FINE
Nordic Elevators Pty Ltd, and Nordic Elevator Services Pty Ltd, face maximum fines totalling more than $33 million, after being charged with workplace manslaughter under section 39G(1) of the OHS Act.
WorkSafe Victoria have accused the lift companies of engaging in negligent conduct causing the death of a 21-year-old apprentice who was working alone when electrocuted at a West Melbourne apartment building in March 2021.
Nordic Elevators are additionally charged with breaching section 21 of the Act; failing to provide supervision necessary to work safely.
Nordic Elevator Services, face an additional charge of breaching section 21 by failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work, and section 23; failing to ensure people other than employees were not exposed to health and safety risks.
$1.5M PENALTY FOR DEATH AT YALLOURN
Energy Australia has been fined $1.5 million in relation to the death of Graeme Edwards, killed at Yallourn power station by an arc flash in November 2018.
WorkSafe had previously announced it would not charge Energy Australia in relation to the fatality, but reversed its decision following a review by the DPP.
That DPP review was requested by the CFMMEU under section 131 of the Act.
EUROPE: UNIONS PROTECT WINDOW CLEANERS FROM FALLS
Window cleaners will not be put at a higher risk of deadly falls after trade unions convinced manufacturers against lowering the safety standards for ladders. The manufacturers, who dominate the committee for standardisation on this issue (CEN/TC 93), wanted to decrease the width of the ladder foot. That would make ladders more unstable and increase the risk of accidents, an expert study of the proposal for the ETUC found. The work is part of the ETUC’s ‘Zero Death’ campaign to eradicate accidents at work in Europe by 2030.
Source: ETUC news release
USA: AMAZON CITED AGAIN OVER UNSAFE CONDITIONS
The US government safety regulator OSHA has issued citations at three more Amazon warehouses – in Colorado; Idaho; and New York – for failing to keep workers safe and has issued hazard alert letters for exposing workers to ergonomic hazards. OSHA inspections followed referrals from the US Attorney's Office. Similar violations were earlier discovered at other Amazon warehouse facilities in Florida, Illinois and New York in July 2022. At all six locations, OSHA investigators found Amazon exposed warehouse workers to a high risk of low back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders. ‘Amazon's operating methods are creating hazardous work conditions and processes, leading to serious worker injuries,’ said OSHA head Doug Parker. ‘They need to take these injuries seriously and implement a company-wide strategy to protect their employees from these well-known and preventable hazards.’
Source: OSHA news release.
REDESIGNING JOB TASKS TO REDUCE VICARIOUS TRAUMA
The Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) has several projects underway relating to vicarious trauma in the workplace, and have noticed that vicarious trauma as a concept is not widely understood.
The ISCRR we have helpfully produced an explainer video providing a description of the differences between direct and vicarious trauma and highlighting opportunities for the prevention of worker exposure.
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 for dates and locations.
VTHC also offers tailored training, including for managers and supervisors, on Comcare, and gendered violence.
Check out our website for more information.