SafetyNet 662

Want to stamp out bullying at work? Learn how.

PLUS: Asbestos awareness in the lead up to Easter, employer duties when the road is your workplace and research on dietary risks associated with rotating shift work. 

A HSR writes in to Ask Renata where she might find a PIN form, and as always we encourage you to send in your own queries at Ask Renata.

For OHS news and helpful information visit We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page, or for advice, Ask Renata.


Union News


Workplace bullying is a serious psychosocial hazard requiring employers to work with HSRs and change systems-of-work to create a safe working environment.

Trades Hall is running a live show on how changing systems-of-work can stamp out bullying.

Professor Michelle Tuckey, an expert in workplace bullying, will speak about her research into bullying as a systems-of-work problem. This will arm you with the knowledge needed to push your boss to make change where required.

VTHC's OHS Team will then run you through an action plan for HSRs.

When: Monday 27 March 4 - 5pm
Where: ZOOM.

Register here and we'll see you there



Where can I get hold of a PIN form?

A PDF of the PIN can be downloaded from the WorkSafe website here.

You may also find our webpage A PIN and how to use it helpful.



Following on from Phase 1 in November 2022, ASEA is promoting Phase 2 of its National Asbestos Awareness Campaign, March 12 to 10 April this year.

An estimated 28,300 people searched ASEA's website, during Phase 1, for guidance on preventing to exposure to asbestos fibres.

Phase 2 coincides with the lead-up to the Easter holidays, a known period of increased DIY and home improvement activity.

ASEA is encouraging us all to support the campaign by viewing and sharing materials focusing on general asbestos awareness, safety at home and in the workplace.

Learn more



From 3 March - 9 March, Victoria recorded 

3,319 (+10.5%) total cases for the past week
5 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week  
94 (-9.6%) cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 1 in ICU (7 day rolling average) 

Cumulatively this equals 

7,370 Victorian COVID deaths (32 more than last week) 
2,870,158 cases recovered 

You can check the Victorian weekly update here 

As of 14 March, there had been 681,740,887 worldwide infections with COVID-related deaths worldwide numbering 6,813,167 (Source: Worldometer



Regulator News


WorkSafe is reminding everyone of the risks associated with work-related driving after 17 workers died in road incidents in Victoria last year; more than a quarter of our workplace fatalities in 2022.

Most of the workers who lost their lives spent a considerable amount of time on the road for their job, but several died while driving between workplaces or appointments.

OHS duties apply to any vehicle used for work. Employers must ensure that vehicles and work systems are safe and free of health risks, while workers must take reasonable care for their safety and that of other road users.

Employers must have systems in place to ensure that vehicles are maintained, drivers are trained, and risk factors are identified and eliminated or reduced.

WorkSafe is taking a prevention-led approach focusing on high-risk sectors and hazards.

Duty holders who fail to meet their legal obligations may face prosecution and significant penalties, including fines and possible jail terms.

To manage risks, employers should ensure safe systems of work are in place, systems are regularly monitored, reviewed, and when necessary, revised.

Learn more here 




A mother and son have been awarded damages totaling over $700,000 following an incident in which the son was impaled on a steel rod.

The incident occurred in 2018 when the son, an 18-year-old trainee surveyor, fell through an unguarded gap in the plywood formwork boards of a construction site in Granville, NSW.

The son was awarded $520,000, while the mother was awarded $204,105 for post-traumatic stress linked to the incident. The principal contractor, Toplace Pty Ltd, and a formwork subcontractor, Summit Formwork NSW Pty Ltd, were found to be negligent and ordered to pay most of the damages.

The Judge found that the risk of harm was foreseeable, and that the companies had breached their duty to retain and exercise a high degree of supervision and control over the work performed by Summit. The Judge also found that Summit was the most culpable of the parties involved. While the son was eventually able to return to work, he never returned to surveying work due to the psychological impact of the incident.

Source: OHS Alert 14 March. NSW Caselaw here




Shift work has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, dementia, poor mental health, and cancer. Now a review by Monash University confirms what's we've long suspected - it's also bad for your waistline.

Researchers found rotating shift workers who cycle between day and night shifts, ate an average 264 more kilojoules each day than regular workers.

Many of the body’s essential functions and processes are tied to an internal clock that  can be disrupted by working at night, influencing sleep, temperature, metabolism, cognition, and other functions.

Research suggests people who work regular overnight shifts can adapt to an extent, especially if they avoid eating and drinking coffee at night, but this is difficult for rotating shift workers, who have different schedules every week.

Employers could provide better access to healthy food for overnight workers, such as catered meals, better vending machine options, or even a freezer containing healthy food. Workers could also plan to eat more during the day to cut down the temptation to frequently snack at night.

Fred Gachon, an associate professor in the physiology of circadian rhythms at the University of Queensland, suggests if people have to work through the night, the best thing to do is stay on regular shifts, saying 'no' to rotating shifts.

Source: The Age




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.

HSR Initial OHS Training Course
HSR Refresher OHS Training Course

VTHC also offers tailored training, including for managers and supervisors, on Comcare, and gendered violence.

Check out our website for more information.


OHS Team

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