SafetyNet 697

In this week's SafetyNet: Miter Square’s silica fine quadrupled, Christmas risks in transport, guidance around racial violence at work, the presenteeism problem with remote work and much more.

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

A construction worker writes to Ask Renata about 9-inch grinders 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


EXPERIENCING RACIAL VIOLENCE OR AGGRESSION AT WORK?

Victorian Trades Hall Council acknowledges that global events can increase the risk of racialised abuse. Your safety and your psychological health is important.

Visit VTHC’s We Are Union Journal for advice and guidance on what to do if you experience racial violence or aggression at work.

There’s also stacks of information for Victorian workers about OHS issues at our www.ohsrep.org.au, you can also ask questions via Ask Renata

 

Jason is a HSR, paramedic, and a proud unionist.

We caught up with him at the HSR conference where he shared tips on how to be a strong and effective HSR, keeping ambos safe.

Check it out!

And if you don't have an HSR in your workplace, elect one today!

 

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.

Note: Voting on the Bill has been moved to next year so there is still time to add your voice.

 

ASK RENATA

I’ve heard that 9-inch grinders have been banned on construction sites. Can you confirm this is true?

While there isn't a ban on using 9-inch grinders in Victoria, regulators in some jurisdictions, such as SafeWork SA and SafeWork NSW, have issued safety alerts. Consequently, some companies have policies in place prohibiting the use of 9-inch grinders due to known risks, opting instead for safer alternatives.

Read our full response here

 

COVID NUMBERS CONTINUE TO CLIMB

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 increased this week to a daily average of 325, up from 317 last week.

The 7-day average of ICU patients increased this week (14 to 16).

Deaths in the most recent 28-day period have continued to increase, with a current 28-day total of 145.  

More COVID data here

 

International News


WORLD OHS CONGRESS KICKS OFF: THREE PILLARS OF ACTION

The 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, has commenced in Sydney, with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) emphasising the urgency required to address work-related accidents and diseases.

This month the ILO adopted its new 2024-2030 global strategy. The accompanying report reveals most work-related deaths are due to diseases like circulatory, malignant neoplasms, and respiratory issues, accounting for about 2.6 million fatalities.

Additionally, approximately 330,000 workers perish due to work accidents, and 395 million suffer non-fatal injuries yearly.

Factors like long working hours and exposure to hazardous materials contribute significantly to these statistics.

Learn more

 

Research


ILLNESS & REMOTE WORK

German researchers have found that 87% of remote workers worked while sick over a three-month period. Most said it's easier to work when sick at home than at an office, and it's harder to decide not to work when they're sick at home.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


COMMISSION BLASTS TEAM GLOBAL OVER BULLYING FAILURES

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has criticised the local leadership at former Toll subsidiary Team Global Express for not adequately addressing bullying and harassment. The worker reported incidents of bullying, including physical and verbal abuse, which led to a decline in their mental health.

Although the company took disciplinary actions and implemented separation measures, the worker continued to feel unsafe and the bullying resumed.

Learn more

 

RECORD FINE FOR CRASH THAT KILLED FOUR POLICE

Connect Logistics has been issued with a record-breaking recklessness fine of $2.31 million following the tragic deaths of four police officers in April 2020.

The fatal incident resulted from safety breaches that resulted in the driver to fall asleep at the wheel. Subsequently, the vehicle collided with two police cars involved in a traffic stop, leading to the officers' deaths.

Learn more

 

NSW SEEKS TO RE-ESTABLISH SAFETY-FOCUSED COURT

The NSW government wants to re-establish the NSW Industrial Court with judges specialised in workplace health and safety (WHS) matters claiming doing so will make workplaces safer as well as making it easier to seek workplace justice.

Learn more

 

WHEN YOU GO OUT, DON'T LET CANCER IN

SunSmart Victoria, with support from the Department of Health, is launching a campaign called 'Don’t Let Cancer In' to raise awareness about skin cancer and encourage better sun protection habits among Victorians.

Victoria has high levels of dangerous UV radiation. Men, and those in regional areas are at higher risk of melanoma.

SunSmart’s campaign aims to highlight how UV exposure from everyday activities can lead to skin cancer, including melanoma, and emphasises checking UV levels and covering up when it's 3 or above.

SunSmart offer

Visit their campaign website here and check out our Sunlight - Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation webpage

 

CHRISTMAS RISKS IN TRANSPORT: SAFEWORK TIPS

SafeWork NSW are focussing on the challenges faced by transport workers during the busy Christmas season, which can lead to increased workplace stress and harmful behaviours like bullying, overwork, and fatigue.

Learn more

 

Prosecutions


SILICA FINE QUADRUPLED AFTER COMPANY APPEAL

Initially fined $7,000 without conviction, Miter Square appealed, only to receive a conviction and have their fine quadrupled for exposing workers to respirable crystalline silica in the manufacture of engineered stone.

Miter Square really need to seek better counsel. 

Learn more

 

FINGER LOST IN DUMPLING MACHINE

A worker lost part of their finger in a dumpling machine because the machine lacked proper guarding, and the worker didn't receive adequate information, instruction, and training essential for operating the machine safely - fundamental aspects of injury prevention.

Learn more

 

Events


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

 

16 ACTIONS OVER 16 DAYS TO END NDAs - JOIN US!

Activists across Victoria are participating in a workplace blitz of '16 Days to End NDAs' urging the Victorian government to halt sexual harassment cover-ups at work.

Your assistance is crucial! Order a free 16 Days Activist Pack and get everything you need to take meaningful action in a couple of easy steps.

Learn more

 

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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