SafetyNet 687

This week's edition of SafetyNet features research on the link between inflammatory diseases and workplace exposures, significant successes in preventing exposure to both diesel and welding fumes, prosecutions related to falling objects and the assault of a WorkSafe Investigator, international news covering child labour and risks in public buildings, and much more.

A nurse writes to Ask Renata about patient handling equipment, and 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


HSR CONFERENCE 2023: PSYCHOSOCIAL HAZARDS

We all know that psychosocial hazards exist in workplaces, but how do we identify and address them?

Our annual HSR Conference is back and this year we’re looking in the world of psychosocial hazards and risks.

Monday 23 October, 8:30am - 2:45pm (registrations open 8am)

Melbourne - Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Morwell -  Italian Australian Sporting Club
Bendigo - Bendigo Trades Hall
Portland - Portland Golf Club
Wodonga - LaTrobe Uni. Lecture Theatre AW6

The conference is WorkSafe Victoria approved under Section 69 so be sure to give your manager at least 14 days’ notice for paid time off work to attend.

Numbers are limited so enroll ASAP!
Check out the program and register here.

This event is proudly sponsored by Slater and Gordon.

 

LIVESHOW: IMPLICATIONS OF MEDICINAL CANNABIS

As the landscape of healthcare evolves, HSRs may need to understand the OHS implications and 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. 

 

 

ASK RENATA

What is the patient weight limit that you should use a HoverMatt for perioperative theatre bed transfer? I thought it was 100kg, but others I work with say it is 120kg.

The weight limit for using a HoverMatt, like any workplace equipment, can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer's specifications. Typically, HoverMatts are available in various weight capacities to accommodate a range of patients, depending on the specific model.

Read our full response here

 

WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS

From 1 September – 7 September, Victoria recorded: 

605 (-36%) total cases for the past week
4 COVID deaths on average each day over the past week
114 cases in hospital (7 day rolling average) with 5 in ICU (7 day rolling average)

More COVID data here

 

International News


US: RISING CHILD LABOR CONCERNS FOLLOWING TEEN'S DEATH

The horrific death of 16-year-old Michael Schuls at a sawmill was no 'freak accident,' but a common 'lockout-tagout' incident in which the teenager became entangled in a machine that was still powered while attempting to unjam it.

This type of incident is all too common, foreseeable and preventable.

Adding to the tragedy, the 16-year-old was working in a place where he should not have been employed.

Learn more

 

SINGAPORE: LOW WAGE MIGRANT WORKERS UNDER STRESS

Researchers have interviewed migrant workers in Singapore focusing on their individual life experiences, community experiences, mental and physical health concerns and response behaviours.

Their findings reveal migrant workers are embedded in a cycle of chronic stress driven by structural factors reinforced by stressors in their social environment.

Learn more

 

UK: GOVERNMENT URGED TO ADDRESS PUBLIC BUILDING RISKS

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is warning that the crisis related to ‘reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete’ (RAAC) in schools is just the beginning of a larger problem, and are calling on the government to be more transparent about the risks in public buildings like hospitals, libraries, and community centres.

Learn more

 

Prosecutions


FALLING POWER TESTER COSTS LIFT COMPANY $240,000

The Melbourne Magistrates' Court recently heard that TK Elevator faced charges related to a serious near miss in which a worker from another company, hired by TK Elevator Australia, accidentally dropped a testing device from a height, almost hitting another worker on the ground floor.

Learn more

 

$13,000 IN PENALTIES FOR WORKPLACE ASSAULT ON INSPECTOR

In June 2021 an investigator arrived at a North Fitzroy construction site to follow up on some matters at which point the offender commenced yelling, grabbing the investigator's phone, and pushing them. Fearing they were going to be pushed down the stairs the investigator left with the offender following closely behind.

Read on

 

Regulator News


NEW AUSTRALIAN WELDING STANDARD EQUAL TO WORLD'S BEST

AMWU announced last Wednesday SafeWork Australia voted to immediately lower the limit for welding fumes in workplaces and has congratulated members and supporters who emailed SafeWork, signed the petition, shared posts or talked with workmates about the campaign.

Learn more

 

UNION EFFORTS LEAD TO NEW DIESEL EXPOSURE LIMIT

Limiting exposure to carcinogens is a crucial step in reducing the incidence of occupational illnesses and cancers.

Last Thursday, SafeWork Australia members agreed to a workplace exposure limit (WEL) for diesel particulate matter (DPM) at 0.01 mg/m3.

VTHC, along with affiliated unions, contributed submissions through the ACTU, in support of this significant improvement in workplace safety.

Learn more

 

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


WORKPLACE EXPOSURES AND INFLAMMATORY DISEASE

Researchers in the UK have found that several substances commonly found in workplaces can lead to an abnormal autoimmune response in workers, potentially causing a serious inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis. These substances include printer toner, mould, and silica dust. Silica dust has also been a major workplace health and safety issue in Australia, leading to calls for bans on engineered stone due to its link to silicosis.

Learn more

 

REDUCING MENTAL HEALTH-RELATED STIGMA 

UK Researchers claim their early intervention program has received positive feedback from workers and managers and has reduced self-stigma, and anticipation of stigma, related to mental health problems.

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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