Safetynet 695

In this week's SafetyNet: warnings on heat risks, serious apprentice injury attracts record fine, the psychological impact of surveillance, Bunnings ends the sale of engineered stone, your chance to download 150 years of OHS history and much more.

Take action on proposed changes to WorkCover by signing our petition. 

A worker writes to Ask Renata about CCTV footage, 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


CONCERNED ABOUT WORKCOVER REFORMS? ADD YOUR VOICE

Victorian workers need and deserve a robust and sustainable Workcover scheme.

As unionists, we know that WorkCover needs reform. We also believe this is a moment where we can make greater changes to improve the safety of Victorian workers, address the root causes of injuries and have a system that is responsive to workers medical needs.

We do not believe changes currently being proposed achieve that.

VTHC rejects changes that reduce access and support for injured workers or remove injured workers from the WorkCover scheme. 

Sign the petition to show your support for injured workers.

 

BUNNINGS ENDS SALE OF ENGINEERED STONE

Hardware chain, Bunnings, a, will stop selling engineered stone by the end of the year in response to health concerns related to silicosis.

Congratulations to every unionist who has fought so hard to bring an end to the use of deadly engineered stone in Australia. It's a huge step to see Bunnings commit to getting rid of it by the end of this year.

Learn more

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: 150 YEARS OF OHS IN VICTORIA

For a limited time, SafetyNet subscribers can download Barry Naismith's illustrated history paper The Story of the 150th Anniversary of OHS in Victoria.

Barry was motivated to make his history paper available FREE to SafetyNet subscribers for a limited time, saying…

‘The movement and its HSRs helped shaped this history, and helped save many lives. It is therefore as much their history as anyone else's.’

Learn more

 

ASK RENATA

I requested my employer share video footage of a workplace incident, but they cited privacy concerns for employees. My understanding is that HSRs have the right to access certain information related to hazards. Appreciate your thoughts before we issue a PIN.

Congratulations on your solid understanding of our OHS Act, Comrade. Section 69(1)(a) imposes a duty on employers to grant HSRs access to information concerning actual or potential hazards in the workplace and regarding the health and safety of their designated workgroup.

Read our full response

 

COVID WAVE BUILDING

Victorian data taken from Department of Health Weekly Report 10 November 2023.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 increased this week to a daily average of 321, up from 270 last week.

The 7-day average of ICU patients remained the same this week (12).

Deaths in the most recent 28-day period have continued to increase, with a current 28-day total of 122.

More COVID data

 

International News


SOUTH KOREA: MAN CRUSHED TO DEATH AT WORK BY ROBOT

A man in South Korea has been crushed to death by a robot in after it failed to differentiate him from the boxes of food it was handling.

Learn more

 

UK STRUCTURAL RACISM: BME WOMEN & ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS

Recent TUC analysis indicates Black and minority ethnic (BME) women are significantly overrepresented on zero-hours contracts compared to other groups, facing low pay and limited rights at work. Their likelihood of being on such contracts is nearly three times higher than that of white men.

Zero-hours contracts grant employers full control over workers' hours and earnings, making it challenging for workers to plan their lives or challenge unacceptable behaviour by bosses.

Learn more

 

Research


NURSING & SLEEP PROBLEMS: CAUSES & CONTROLS IDENTIFIED

A team of researchers from Peking University Third Hospital in China have identified three factors that increase the risk of sleep problems and related health issues in shift workers, particularly nurses.

The study of 730 nurses found those with 'heavier night shift loads'—performing more night shifts per month than other workers, along with more hours and tougher workloads—were at a higher risk of sleep problems such as short sleep duration, difficulty falling asleep, poorer sleep quality, and sleep deprivation.

Learn more

 

SURVEILLANCE IMPACT ON REMOTE WORKERS: TRUST IS KEY

A study based on a survey of over 800 white-collar teleworkers found that fostering a sense of trust among remote workers is crucial in reducing stress and burnout.

The feeling of being under surveillance negatively affected outcomes such as burnout, work-family conflicts, technostress, job satisfaction, and low social integration.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


FARMER DIES AFTER BEING RUN OVER BY TRACTOR

A farmer has died after being run over by his tractor, at Lockington, south west of Echuca, on Sunday.

It is understood the 65-year-old was working to attach an implement behind the idling tractor about 11am when the tractor suddenly reversed.

WorkSafe is investigating. Our condolences to friends, family and colleagues of the deceased.

Mourne the dead. Fight like hell for the living.

 

HEATWAVE HOSPITALISATIONS SPARK WARNING

Two workers have been hospitalised with heat-related illnesses during the Northern Territory’s first heatwave of 2023, with NT WorkSafe urging employers to identify and manage heat-related hazards and risks.

In one case, a teenage apprentice who’d been working on a roof the previous day was diagnosed with heat stroke, after exhibiting erratic behaviour and making mistakes at work the following day.

Learn more

 

WORKSAFE’S HSR SURVEY: A CHANCE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Victorian HSRs are being asked to share their thoughts by participating in WorkSafe’s 2023 HSR Survey which seeks to identify what support HSRs currently receive, and what kind of support they find most helpful.

WorkSafe aims to utilise the information gathered to enhance resources available to HSRs.

WorkSafe’s 2023 HSR Survey is open until 30 November 30,  and can be accessed here.

 

CLEAN AIR. CLEAR LUNGS: CAMPAIGN TACKLES SILICA HAZARDS

Safe Work Australia has launched the silica phase of its Clean Air Clear Lungs campaign, to raise awareness and promote compliance. The campaign provides information in multiple languages to help identify and minimize workplace exposure.

To find out more and download resources, go to Clean Air. Clear Lungs

 

Prosecutions


RECORD $2.24M FINE FOR APPRENTICE'S LIFE ALTERING INJURY

Gippsland company, Dennis Jones Engineering Pty Ltd, and its director Dennis Jones, have been convicted and fined a total of $2.24 million after an apprentice was seriously injured using a metal turning lathe, in October 2021.

More here

 

Events


FEMINISM AT THE HALL - COMRADES AND COMMISSIONERS

As part of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, running from November 25 to December 10, the Victorian Trades Hall Council is hosting 'Feminism at the Hall - Comrades and Commissioners'—a feminist discussion on equality and ending gender-based violence.

The event takes place on December 4, 2023, at Solidarity Hall, Trades Hall, Carlton, celebrating the achievements of union women in 2023 and anticipating a powerful 2024.

The event features Commissioners sharing their work promoting gender equality and combatting violence against women, children, and gender-diverse individuals. The discussion will explore actions to end gender-based violence in workplaces and communities.

Discover what we can achieve together in our workplaces and communities to end gender-based violence. Our very special guests include:

  • Micaela Cronin, Federal Commissioner for Domestic, Family, and Sexual Violence
  • Niki Vincent, Victorian Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner
  • Ro Allen, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner

 

Registration here

 

NATIONAL ASBESTOS AWARENESS WEEK: 20 - 26 NOVEMBER

NAAW 2023 provides an opportunity to mark 20 years since asbestos was completely banned in Australia. During NAAW 2023 we will highlight the progress that has occurred since the ban, but also highlight that a significant amount of ageing asbestos-containing material remains in our built environment, which means there is an ongoing need for vigilance to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres and a need to focus on safe, proactive removal. 

The National Asbestos Awareness Campaign will also be running throughout November to remind homeowners and tradies across Australia to Think Twice about Asbestos. 

 

SYDNEY HOSTS GLOBAL SAFETY CONFERENCE

This year the World Congress for Safety and Health at Work, considered the ‘pre-eminent’ health and safety conference globally, will be held in Sydney from November 28-30.

About the 23rd World Congress Sydney

 

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

Share Tweet

RELATED

SafetyNet 714
This week in SafetyNet: QLD introduces public sector reproductive health leave, experts and unions unite on asbestos removal, COVID dumped from deemed diseases list, progress in Indonesia on asbestos, $250k in fines...
Read More
SafetyNet 713
This week in SafetyNet: VTHC releases Asbestos Soil Contamination Standard, opportunity to push on airborne hazards, distilleries face their first OHS audits; introducing our new Hierarchy of Controls webpage; and $1.2 million fine in NSW...
Read More
SafetyNet 712
This week in SafetyNet: a new tool for HSRs, International Workers' Memorial Day highlights, six key climate risks for workers, research on technology-facilitated harassment, a concerning case study on welding fumes, dropped...
Read More