SafetyNet 680

The week's SafetyNet covers the upcoming WRAW Conference, research on risks for older workers WFH, the Bas Brothers and Warrnambool Council prosecutions, a fatality in an underground car park, another teenage workplace fatality in the US, and lots more.

A health care worker writes to Ask Renata if it's lawful to impose duties on HSRs, and as always, we encourage you to send in your own queries to Ask Renata.

For OHS news and helpful information visit We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page.

For previous issues visit our SafetyNet Archive.

 

Union News


SAFE • RESPECTED • EQUAL • ORGANISED

The annual VTHC Women’s Rights at Work Conference (WRAW Con) is on at Trades Hall on Friday 25 August (Equal Pay Day) on the theme of Safe. Respected. Equal. Organised!

WRAW Con will bring together women, gender diverse and non-binary folks to get organised around emerging issues for women at work and celebrating women in our movement fighting for safety, respect and equality.

The day includes a full conference program of speakers, panels and workshops, a social hour and evening screening of feminist union classic film Made in Dagenham.

More details and tickets

 

WORKER DIES AFTER BEING RUN OVER IN UNDERGROUND CARPARK 

Unfortunately a worker has died after being run over by a car in the basement carpark of an apartment building in Carnegie on Wednesday.

It’s understood the 39-year-old was laying on the ground inspecting a stormwater drain when he was run over by a resident who was attempting to park their car. 

WorkSafe is investigating.

We extend our sincere condolences to friends’ family and colleagues of the deceased man.

As we mourn the dead, we will fight like hell for the living.

 

ASK RENATA

I'm seeking the specific section of our OHS Act stating HSRs have no additional duties above that of any other worker. My workplace requires HSRs hold monthly audits and attend meetings on non-rostered days, causing a reluctance to volunteer for the role. I need concrete information before challenging this practice.

Precisely, Comrade.

How can we expect workmates to volunteer if they have been led to believe being elected as an HSR comes with an entire set of unpaid additional duties?

However, there's good news! Section 58(3) of our Act provides clear reassurance:

Read our full response here

 

HOW SAFE AND HEALTHY IS YOUR WORK? SURVEY CLOSING SOON

Australian Unions are conducting their third national survey about workers’ experience of health and safety in the workplace, and they really want your input. 

More here

Work Shouldn’t Hurt 2023 survey link: https://ausunions.io/WSH2023.

 

WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS

From 14 July - 20 July, Victoria recorded: 

469 (-11%)* total cases for the past week
6 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
121 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 6 in ICU (7 day rolling average)

*The recommendation to report positive rapid antigen test result was removed on 30 June, so new cases include PCR test results only from 1 July.

More COVID weekly stats here

 

International News


U.S.A: ANOTHER 16-YEAR-OLD KILLED AT WORK

A teenager has died while conducting sanitation operations at a Hattiesburg poultry processing plant. Shockingly, this is at least the third incident where a 16-year-old has been killed while on the job in recent weeks.

More here

 

SCOTLAND: SUPPORT A VICTIMISED SAFETY REP

Health and safety rep Kevin Scally, at Edinburgh College, has been singled out for redundancy in a disgraceful move by management that his union, EIS, is calling a clear case of victimisation.

They are now on strike demanding his reinstatement, and are inviting supporters everywhere to write to the College management to support them.

Read more here. Add your name to the call here.

 

USA: WOMEN REALTORS AT RISK, ALONE IN HOUSES WITH CLIENTS

 

Realtors, mostly women, alone in houses with clients, are being harassed and sometimes raped & murdered, according to a New York Times investigation.

In 2021, 25 real estate professionals died from violence on the job.

Learn more

 

USA: PROGRAM TO PROTECT WAREHOUSE WORKERS

Federal OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has launched a National Emphasis Program designed to protect the nation's warehouse workers from hazards related to powered industrial vehicle operations, material handling and storage, walking and working surfaces, means of egress and fire protection, as well as heat and ergonomic hazards.

Read more

 

Regulator News


SAFETY ALERT FOR EWPs AFTER WORKERS CRUSHED

WorkSafe Victoria (WSV) has issued a safety alert following two incidents in which workers were crushed, one fatally, while operating elevating work platforms (EWPs).

Both workers found themselves trapped between the EWP's work platform and a fixed structure.

Learn more

 

BUS DRIVER ALARMED AT POST-COVID SURGE IN WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

 

A bus driver in the ACT has warned about an increase in violent incidents against frontline workers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, describing an incident where a passenger threw a can at his head, and stating he believes such acts of aggression have become more common.

Read more View WorkSafe Victoria’s anti-violence campaign, ‘It’s Never Ok’ here

 

Research


WFH: HEALTH RISKS FOR OLDER WORKERS

An Australian study led by Associate Professor Jodi Oakman from La Trobe University found that older workers experience higher stress levels and are more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal pain (MSP) when the number of days they work from home (WFH) exceeds their preferences.

Learn more

 

Prosecutions


WEAKENED BY ANIMAL FAECES, URINE & SALT AIR: PLATFORM COLLAPSES

 

During a beef cattle auction at the South West Victoria Livestock Exchange in October 2020, a platform holding up to 20 people collapsed, causing two individuals to fall, with one landing on top of the other.

Warrnambool City Council pleaded guilty and was fined $12,500, along with $5,425 in costs, admitting that it should have taken measures to reduce or eliminate risks for the public using the buyers' platforms.

Read more

 

INEFFECTIVE WATER SUPPRESSION: $5000 FINE

A WorkSafe Inspector who visited Bas Brothers in Craigieburn found a worker using an abrasive polishing tool on engineered stone without the necessary control measures.

The worker was required to use a bottle with a small hole to apply water to the stone during tool use. 

Learn more

 

Events


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.

 

OHS Team
http://www.weareunion.org.au

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