SafetyNet 686

This week's edition of SafetyNet features research on benzene's role in leukemia deaths and cannabis use by injured workers. Meanwhile VTCH is running a live show to discuss the OHS implications of medical cannabis use.

A NSW judge slams Murray Construction for victim-blaming a fatally crushed worker. There's an opportunity to have your say on phase three of our national asbestos strategy, astounding inaction from the UK government regarding silica exposure, and much more.

A school worker writes to Ask Renata how long is too long to have the water off. As always, we encourage you to send in your questions to Ask Renata.

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

To access previous issues, you can visit our SafetyNet Archive.

 

Union News


LIVESHOW: IMPLICATIONS OF MEDICINAL CANNABIS

As the landscape of healthcare evolves, HSRs may need knowledge about the OHS implications surrounding the use of medicinal cannabis and understand the unique challenges and considerations posed by the emergence of prescribed medicinal cannabis.

Michael Sayers and April Zahra (both specialising in industrial and employment law) as well as Audrey Gunn (specialised in workers comp) will be joining us from Slater & Gordon.

Their presentation will cover questions around operating machinery, the enforceability of drug policies, disability discrimination and if workers can be disciplined or terminated for taking a prescription.

We're inviting all HSRs to join us via Zoom, 4-5pm Wednesday September 27.

Register here Proudly sponsored by Slater & Gordon. 

 

FATAL LADDER FALL AT CONSTRUCTION SITE

WorkSafe is investigating after an electrician fell to his death at a residential construction site in Greenvale on Tuesday.

It is believed the 60-year-old had been working on the third floor when he fell from a ladder to the ground floor at about 11.10am.

We send sincere condolences to the deceased worker’s friends, family and workmates.

Mourne the dead, fight like hell for the living.

 

ASK RENATA

How long is too long to have the water off in a school which affects toilets?

There is nothing in the Act, Regulations, or even department policy that stipulates a workplace must close after 1 or 2 hours. The key to assessing your employer's obligation to provide running water and determining how long it can be off is to establish what may be considered 'reasonably practicable.'

Read our full response here

 

WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS

From 25 August – 31 August, Victoria recorded: 

967 (+112%) total cases for the past week
3 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
109 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 7 in ICU (7 day rolling average)

More COVID data here

 

International News


SILICA DUST: AUSTRALIA'S BOLD MOVE VERSUS UK INACTION

While an ACTU study has estimated Australia's tightened silica exposure standard could save over 80,000 lives, in contrast, the UK's Health and Safety Executive contends there is insufficient evidence and cost justification to tighten their exposure standard.

Hazards Magazine has uncovered that the HSE has removed crucial evidence from its website and claims to possess 'no information' regarding the total number of workers succumbing to silica-related illnesses.

 

Prosecutions


$450K FINE: CRUSHED WORKER 'VICTIM BLAMED'



Murray Construction has been fined $450,000 following an incident in which an 800kg excavator bucket fell from a truck, resulting in the fatal crushing of a worker.

Notably, the judge criticized the company's director for ‘victim-blaming’ the worker by suggesting it was the worker's responsibility to ensure their own safety.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


HAVE YOUR SAY ON PHASE THREE


ASEA has prepared a draft plan for Phase Three of our Asbestos National Strategic Plan, focusing on safe and sustainable ways to remove asbestos containing materials from our built environment.

ASEA are inviting your input to ensure the ultimate aim of eliminating asbestos-related disease in Australia can be achieved. 

Learn more here

 

WORKSAFE CAMPAIGNS ON FARM SAFETY

Three people in Victoria have been killed in the agriculture industry this year, bringing the total number of agriculture-related deaths to 34 since 2019.

Every death and injury on any farm is preventable.

WorkSafe’s agriculture campaign, 'It's never you, until it is,' focuses on recognizing and avoiding fatigue on farms, working alone on farms, and wearing the correct safety gear for the job.

The campaign provides additional guidance on safe cattle handling, information for seasonal workers, and links to the OHS essentials program, which offers confidential workplace safety consultation services.

View WorkSafe's campaign here

 

31ST ANNIVERSARY: SAFETY MONTH 2023

WorkSafe Victoria is celebrating the 31st anniversary of Health and Safety Month during October 2023.

A series of events will be held in-person and online between 2nd to 27th October where HSRs can come together to connect, learn and share across a number of OHS topics.

Program of events here

 

Research


WORKERS TURN TO CANNABIS FOR JOB-RELATED PAIN

A recent study examined the use of cannabis among workers with work-related injuries or illnesses in Ontario, Canada. Researchers interviewed 1,196 participants and found that approximately 27% of them used cannabis, with about 14% reporting they use it to alleviate their work-related conditions.

Learn more

 

STUDY SHOWS BENZENE'S ROLE IN LEUKEMIA DEATHS

Researchers in Brazil have published a study showing benzene-exposed workers are 1.7 times more likely to die from leukemia. Specific job roles like printers, laboratory assistants, laundry workers, chemists, and upholsterers had even higher risks of leukemia.

Learn more

 

Events


MOVIE FUNDRAISER HOSTED BY AUSTRALIA ASIA WORKER LINKS

 

Complicit is a documentary about the plight of Chinese workers dealing with the toxic environments of Foxconn factories, a supplier to Apple and Samsung.

Many teens from country villages come to the big city of Guangzhou to make money for their families. These teen migrant workers are then exposed to benzene and n-hexane (used to wipe cell phone screens) resulting in some developing occupational leukemia.

You can view a trailer for Complicit here.

This special screening is happening Tuesday 3 October, 6pm, at the CFMEU, Level 7, 540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

 

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 training webpage for more information.

 

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

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