SafetyNet 665

Is your boss respecting your boundaries?

We report on research suggesting laws and policies protecting workers from out-of-hours managerial intrusion, are much needed.

This week's journal also includes: Cafe Worker: A game about workplace bullying, horrible news of a truck and V/Line train collision, a reminder from SAs regulator not to use pressure washers on asbestos containing materials, and shocking international news regarding seafarers falling from heights.

A worker writes to Ask Renata if a high-risk licence is required to operate an unmanned boiler, 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

Note: There'll be no journal next week. We look forward to returning, 20 April.


Union News


Your VTHC Team have put together a new game exploring how best to deal with workplace bullying. 

Click here to play the game and learn.



Do you need a high-risk licence to perform PH and alkalinity tests on an unmanned boiler?

Part 3.6 of our OHS Regulations - High-risk Work – deals with tasks requiring a high-risk licence.

A high-risk work licence means any of the licences listed in Schedule 3 of the regulations, which include:

Part 1 - Licence classes for scaffolding and rigging
Part 2 - Licence classes for crane, hoist, and forklift truck operation
Part 3 - Licence classes for pressure equipment operation, including for:

  • Standard boiler operation
  • Advanced boiler operation
  • Turbine operation
  • Reciprocating steam engine operation

Schedule 4 lists pressure equipment for which a high-risk work licence is not required, and it includes:

Boilers that satisfy the requirements specified in AS 2593 as having: an attendance category of ‘unattended operation’

Subject to your boiler falling within the ‘unattended operation’ category, specified in AS 2593, a high-risk licence should not be required to perform PH and alkalinity tests.

You can view our High-risk Work webpage for more information. 

Worth noting; your employer retains their duty, under section 21(2)(e) of our OHS Act, to provide as much information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to perform work safely.  

Information, instruction, training and supervision MUST be provided, irrespective of considerations of reasonable practicality. 



From 24 March - 30 March, Victoria recorded 

5,225 (+17%) total cases for the past week
5 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week  
180 (+11%) cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 10 in ICU (7 day rolling average) 

Cumulatively this equals 

7,459 Victorian COVID deaths (60 more than last week) 
2,882,337 cases recovered 

You can check the Victorian weekly update here 

Australia: As of 5 April, there have been 11,327,773 cases and 19,856 COVID deaths

World: As of 21 March, there had been  684,224,174 worldwide infections with COVID-related deaths numbering  6,833,461 (Source: Worldometer



A man in his 50s has died after his truck collided with a Melbourne-bound V/Line train at a level crossing in South Geelong.

The truck driver was turning right from a side street when he crossed onto the train tracks and went past the boom gates, resulting in significant impact.

The train was not carrying passengers and its driver was unharmed. Our condolences go out to friends and family of the deceased worker.


Regulator News


SafeWork SA is investigating an incident where a home and a neighboring house were contaminated with asbestos after a contractor used a pressure washer.

On January 20, a painting contractor used a pressure washer on a residential asbestos cement roof to prepare it for painting. The pressure washer delaminated the surface of the asbestos roof sheets, causing a slurry of asbestos fibres to contaminate the neighboring property and wash out of the downpipes onto a driveway.

The regulator has reminded painting professionals and other contractors that using a pressure washer to clean asbestos cement material is prohibited. For more information about appropriate control measures, click here.




A study by researchers from Australia, the US and Europe has called for employment policies and safety laws to protect workers from out-of-hours managerial intrusions.

The study, which involved almost 1,000 white and blue-collar workers, revealed that employees who were contacted or expected to respond to messages from their managers outside of work hours reported higher levels of stress, job tension and depressive moods.

While technology had freed workers from the confines of the office, it had also led to 'supervisor off-work boundary infringements', the study found.

Unnecessary and non-urgent intrusions should be managed to allow workers to switch off, according to the researchers, who recommend policies deterring managers from contacting workers outside of set times.

You can access the study here.

If you're boss isn't respecting your boundaries, check out our clause library. Under the the 'fatigue' category you'll find TPAV’s 'Right to Disconnect' clause.

Negotiating the clause into your enterprise agreement is one way to prevent 'off-work boundary infringements'.




On 7 August, 2014, a petrol tanker's trailer became detached and collided with two cars, resulting in the deaths of two women and a 4-year-old child.

During the resulting investigation, it was discovered the tow-eye coupling connecting the prime mover and the trailer was excessively worn and had failed under load.

Heavy Mechanics Pty Ltd, engaged by the petrol tanker's owner to perform ongoing service and maintenance, had serviced the truck only days prior to the incident, conducting testing of the tow-eye coupling.

The testing did not involve an accurate, visual inspection of the tow-eye coupling, and there was no inspection conducted when the prime mover was detached from the trailer.

A charge of failing to ensure that persons other than its employees were not exposed to risks arising from the conduct of the company, as per s23 of our OHS Act, was subsequently laid.

In April 2022 the County Court of Victoria convicted Heavy Mechanics and sentenced it to pay a fine of $210,000.

The Director of Public Prosecution filed an appeal against the County Court's sentence, on manifest inadequacy grounds, and on 3 April 2023 the Court of Appeal  re-sentenced the offender to pay a fine of $350,000, with conviction.

More detail here


International News


Last week the Bahamas Maritime Authority published an investigation report into a fatal fall in the hold of a general cargo ship, noting it makes similar reading to the more than 70 other casualty reports published over the last 5 years - that equates to more than one seafarer a month.

‘What we see, over and over, is a misalignment between perceptions of what is needed to work aloft (where we use permits and wear fall protection) and the risks of falling when... climbing down a ladder into a hold, accessing a crane cab, walking on hatches.

How we see these hazards and talk about the risk has to change.’

The report’s conclusions include:

  • The deceased was working alone when he fell approximately 8 metres from an unprotected platform. His only light source came from a head and portable hand torch
  • He was not wearing a harness or any other fall protection
  • Risk assessments did not consider risks for working in cargo holds, access/egress that includes risk of falling, or any controls on lone work
  • On discovery of the casualty, the crew entered the hold without consideration to the cause of the woker's fall – potentially putting themselves in harm’s way



On April 28 we'll come together on International Workers Memorial Day to remember lives lost and recommit ourselves to the task of prevention.

Victorian Trades Hall Council will be host a memorial service, including a minute's silence at 11am, and the chance to lay wreaths.

While the event will be live streamed, we strongly encourage all those able to attend in person.

It is important that we come together as a movement  to support each other and demand the safety and well-being of all workers.

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living.

RSVP here to join us 28 April for International Workers Memorial Day at Trades Hall.



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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