SafetyNet 691

In this week's SafetyNet: upcoming live show: intrusive workplace surveillance and algorithmic management, phase III of our National Asbestos Strategy, engineered stone on The Block, new research on burnout prevention, heat warnings for the mining sector, what’s on for Safety Month and much more.

A worker writes to Ask Renata about black mould, 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


TV TRADIE CREATES SILICA CONTROVERSY

You may have seen that Channel 9’s reality television program ‘The Block’ featured contestants installing Cosentino manufactured stone benchtops in all their kitchens and laundries.

All contain crystalline silica.

Learn more

 

OHS LIVESHOW: A.I. & INTRUSIVE WORKPLACE SURVEILLANCE

Surveillance, algorithmic management, and artificial intelligence (AI) are being used more in workplaces for things like call-time logging, eye-tracking or tracking time-on-task.

Some technologies even purport to be able to monitor workers personality traits and mannerisms and use these to determine their customers.

These technologies pose significant risks to workers health and safety and regulation hasn't caught up. That's why Victorian Trades Hall Council is hosting a webinar on the health and safety impacts of AI and workplace surveillance.

Joined by Matthew Scherer from the Center for Democracy & Technology we will discuss the impact of workplace surveillance and AI on workers health, including their psychological health, the current capabilities employers have with regards to surveillance technology and the reforms we need to ensure our health, safety and privacy is protected.

There’ll be opportunity to ask questions and incorporate your own workplace experience into the conversation.

Our webinar is happening via ZOOM
Thursday 26 October
4PM to 5PM 

RSVP here.

Proudly sponsored by SLATER & GORDON

 

VIC INQUIRY: MEDICINAL CANNABIS & WORKPLACE DRUG TESTS

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry will examine whether workplace drug testing should change to account for people who use prescription medicinal cannabis.

The upper house legal and social issues committee is seeking submissions by 8 December.

The inquiry has specific goals, which include comparing how workplace drug testing treats prescription medical cannabis compared to other prescription medications and investigating ways to improve the system to help medicinal cannabis patients while still ensuring safety.

The inquiry will also explore if workplace drug testing laws are discriminatory and if medication, or medical treatment, should be considered a protected attribute under state anti-discrimination laws.

 

WEBINAR: CANCER RISK OF DIESEL WORKPLACE EXPOSURE

Many workers in workplaces where diesel-powered equipment is used, such as railroad workers, truck drivers, farmers, miners, mechanics, and toll booth workers, are exposed to hazardous diesel exhaust emissions on the job. Diesel engine exhaust is a Group 1 carcinogen – that is, carcinogenic to humans. 

That’s why the Cancer Council is doing a webinar on Diesel, Monday 16 October 2PM with speakers Dr Matt Govorko and Professor Tim Driscoll. Register here

 

FAILURE TO PLAN FOR A.I. ‘NOT AN OPTION’

A NSW parliamentary inquiry will focus on how artificial intelligence (AI) affects the job market in the state and how AI might change things like income, job security, types of jobs, employment status, work hours, and the skills needed for the workforce now and in the future.

The inquiry is looking for input from the public and has set a deadline for submissions by October 20. The committee Chair has stressed the importance of planning and regulating AI.

‘This is a technology that will touch every aspect of our lives and where failure to plan and to regulate is simply not an option’.

 

ASK RENATA

My workplace has black mould in parts of the roof, with water leaking through to inside the office when it rains. This is due to poor maintenance of the property we are in. Should I be concerned about this?

In general, limited exposure to most types of moulds does not typically cause symptoms in healthy individuals. However, certain moulds can pose hazards to individuals with allergies, preexisting health conditions, or prolonged exposure. Furthermore, some clinical studies have suggested a link between mould allergies and severe asthma.

Read our full response

 

COMPO CLAIM UNRAVELLED BY FACEBOOK PHOTO

An injured worker's claim for permanent impairment compensation has been challenged due to a Facebook photo of the worker playing hockey. The worker didn't mention playing hockey to the doctor during his permanent impairment assessment (PIA), and this omission was crucial.

Learn more

 

WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS

Victorian data taken from Department of Health Weekly Report 06 October 2023.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 continued to increase this week to a daily average of 193, up from 168 last week.

The 7-day average of ICU patients increased this week (5 to 8).

More data

 

Research


EMPOWER WORKERS AND PREVENT BURNOUT

A Swiss study suggests that to prevent burnout, a combination of individual and organisational interventions is the most effective strategy.

Researchers concluded workload interventions are effective because they help balance job demands and resources. Participatory interventions empower employees to develop and implement their own solutions, increasing their sense of control and motivation.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


COLIN RADFORD STEPS DOWN: LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT WORKSAFE

WorkSafe's boss, Colin Radford, has resigned after four years in charge, which included the pandemic period.

Joe Calafiore, previously the head of the TAC, will be acting in the position.

WorkSafe's staff were reportedly informed of the change by board chair, Bob Cameron, via email on Tuesday.

 

ASBESTOS: HAVE YOUR SAY ON PHASE III

ASEA are seeking your input in shaping the next phase of the Asbestos National Strategic Plan, to ensure the aim of eliminating asbestos-related disease in Australia can be achieved.

Phase One of the plan covered 2014–2018, and we are now in the second phase which will end in 2023. Phase Three will focus on safe and sustainable ways to remove asbestos containing materials from our built environment.

Visit the Consultation Hub to provide your feedback via the questionnaire, and access the draft Asbestos National Strategic Plan 2024-2030.

 

EL NIÑO TRIGGERS WARNING: PUT MINING WORKERS' SAFETY FIRST

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) has issued guidelines to minimize heat stress at mine sites as Australia enters an El Niño weather event, putting mining workers are at risk as extreme temperature shifts risk heat exposure.

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

 

QUEENSLAND  MINERS ENCOURAGED TO REFUSE IF IT’S UNSAFE

The theme for Queensland’s Safety Reset is ‘If it's not safe or you're unsure – stop!’ with a campaign empowering workers to recognize unsafe situations, halt work, and report the issue

Learn more

 

National Safe Work Month has started with employers encouraged to host SafeTea chats addressing mental health and workloads, and ensuring safer workplaces for women.

During this second week, the focus is Working together to protect workers’ mental health

Subsequent weeks will centre on ‘supporting all workers,’ and ‘ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.’

 

Prosecutions


APPRENTICE'S FALL FROM DIRECTOR'S HOME: $400K FINE

A NSW court has imposed a pre-discount fine of $400,000 on the sole director of Denbrok Constructions for failing to provide adequate supervision, a fall protection system, or any working at heights training for an apprentice who fell four meters from the roof of the director's home.

Learn more

 

Events


HSR CONFERENCE 2023: PSYCH HAZARDS - REGISTER NOW!

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.

 

ASBESTOS 2024: REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN!

ASEA is inviting you to attend their 2024 conference, in person or virtually, to learn about new approaches in managing, removing, and disposing of aging ACMs.

Learn more

 

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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