After a worker died in a fall in 2021, a garlic bread manufacturer is now facing manslaughter charges.
Also in this week’s SafetyNet: our campaign to end the silence, report backs on our HSR forum and IWMD, the Prestige Truck Bodies prosecution and international news on firefighters, garment workers and engineered stone.
A HSR writes in to Ask Renata about unlicensed maintenance contractors, 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.
FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING
Friday was International Workers Memorial Day. In the year leading to this year's IWMD ceremony at Argyle Square, 60 people were killed at, or because of work, in Victoria.
An unacceptable number - every workplace death is preventable.
Solidarity to those with a friend, family member or co-worker who was killed because of work. We stand with you and re-commit ourselves to fight like hell for the living.
END THE MISUSE OF NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS
This year, we’re campaigning to end the misuse of non-disclosure agreements in cases of workplace sexual harassment in Victoria.
Register here to join our online campaign launch and take action
Wednesday 10 May 6.30-7.30pm via ZOOM.
Can’t make the launch? Sign our petition, stay up to date on the campaign and learn more via our NDA fact sheet.
Do I have the power as HSR to ask management for the name of the company who service our equipment? I have a strong suspicion an unlicensed supplier is fixing our equipment and putting my DWG at risk.
As an elected HSR you have the power, under section 58 of the OHS Act, to enquire into any matter than poses a risk or potential risk to members of your DWG. In addition, under section 69(1)(a), your employer has a duty to 'allow a HSR access to information the employer has relating to actual or potential hazards.' (our paraphrasing)
Using these rights and powers we encourage you to request the information you seek in writing, noting it's always a good idea to keep your DWG in the loop and secure their endorsement. We have a record of consultation proforma here that might suit your purposes, and a consultation email template here.
Read our full response here.
SNAGS AND NETWORKING FOR HSRs ON MAY DAY
On Monday VTHC's OHS team hosted a HSR Panel & Barbeque at Trades Hall to celebrate HSRs keeping workplaces safe.
The evening event provided an opportunity for us to meet one another, share stories, and come together.
We started with a BBQ under gas heaters before a discussion panel with HSR-of-the-Year nominees, Adrian Zammit, Michelle Giovas, and Sean Aherne.
These superstar HSRs shared their real-life workplace experiences and advice. Congratulations to all those who participated. We look forward to hosting our next event and hope to see you there.
WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS
From 21 April - 27 April, Victoria recorded:
6,225 total cases for the past week (+3%)
6 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
310 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 17 in ICU (7 day rolling average)
See here for more of the latest on COVID
BAKING COMPANY CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER
Centenary Bakehouse, a garlic bread manufacturer, is facing two charges of workplace manslaughter after a worker fell to their death in August 2021.
Risham Nominees Pty Ltd, the parent company of Centenary Bakehouse, is alleged to have engaged in negligent conduct, breaching duties owed to the 53-year-old labourer who fell onto a concrete floor while removing ceiling panels at a Reservoir warehouse.
The company also faces several other charges for failing to provide a safe working environment and ensuring the safety of a workplace under its management and control.
The matter is scheduled for a filing hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 24 May 2023.
PRESTIGE TRUCK BODIES FINED 225K AFTER WORKER DIES
The Carrum Downs manufacturer of truck bodies has been found guilty of breaching our OHS Act, causing the death of a worker while unloading poorly secured fibreglass and particle board panels.
CALL FOR SILICA ACTION SPREADS TO NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand’s national union body NZCTU is calling on the country’s government to protect working people who are being exposed to deadly dust from engineered stone. NZCTU president Richard Wagstaff said workers across multiple industries are facing unnecessary risks associated with hazardous exposure to silica and other dust. ‘There is a need for strong and swift regulatory action to properly protect workers, including moving towards a ban on the material, as Australia is currently doing,’ said Wagstaff. ‘We need to act now to stop or face another epidemic of the size, scale and impact of that caused by asbestos.’
Source: NZCTU news release
GLOBAL: MORE BRANDS MUST SIGN ACCORD
Global unions are calling on garment and textile brands to sign the International Accord to safeguard worker safety in Bangladesh, Pakistan and beyond. They say the legally binding Accord, orchestrated by IndustriALL and UNI in 2013 and signed with global brands and retailers, has since transformed factory safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry, given workers the right to refuse unsafe work, saved lives, supported freedom of association and increased collective bargaining. Currently 194 brands and retailers are signed on to the Accord, covering around 2.4 million workers in Bangladesh, and 46 brands and retailers – and counting – have so far signed the Pakistan Accord.
Source: IndustriALL news release
UK: PUSH TO TEST FIREFIGHTERS FOR WORK DISEASES
A life-saving firefighter cancer monitoring project has begun in Greater Manchester, as part of a new UK-wide research project commissioned by the firefighters’ union FBU. The union said the three-day testing blitz starting on 24 April is being carried out by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), led by a world expert in fire toxicity, Professor Anna Stec. In total, 100 firefighters are participating by providing blood and urine samples to be analysed for the number of biomarkers of cancers and other diseases, and toxic chemicals. The results will be used to detect cancers and other diseases at the early stages, and to identify evidence linking occupational cancers with exposure to toxic fire chemicals.
Source: Morning Star.
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.
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.