SafetyNet 698

In this week's SafetyNet: Sydney Trains’ dopey drug policy, pay gaps under the microscope, WA jumps on the engineered stone ban-wagon, 12 miners killed in South Africa, research on the link between job strain and heart disease and much more.

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

A worker writes to Ask Renata whether the boss should be conducting HSR elections, 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


SYDNEY TRAINS REINSTATES COCAINE-TESTED WORKER

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has reinstated a Sydney Trains worker who got fired for using cocaine while on leave and experts confirmed it wouldn't have impaired him at work.

The FWC subsequently criticised Sydney Trains for blindly trusting the test results without considering impairment and for not learning from past criticism. 

Learn more

 

FWC INVESTIGATES GENDER PAY GAPS

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is starting research to find signs of unfair pay for women in 12 industrial awards. The FWC President has announced a five-month study to uncover signs of underpayment linked to gender, like lack of fair pay assessments or past wage decisions.

The findings will be open for discussion during the 2023-24 annual wage review.

 

WA SUPPORTS BAN - ENGINEERED STONE OUT

The Western Australian Government is backing a national ban on using engineered stone after 43 of the 48 cases of silicosis recorded in the state since 2018 involved workers employed in the engineered stone industry.

Learn more

 

WORKCOVER REFORMS STALL IN UPPER HOUSE

Last week the Legislative Council voted to send the matter of WorkCover Reforms to committee. Hearings will commence this year with the committee due to report back on 6 February 2024

Sign the petition to show your support for injured workers.

 

ASK RENATA

Our DWG want to run HSR elections our way, but the company insist we use their text links. They claim to need a record of how votes were run for future audits. Is what they say correct?

In short, no.

It is up to the members of the DWG to decide how to run the election (not the employer). The members of the DWG may decide to hold a meeting and then elect someone with a show of hands, or the election process may be more complex. They may also choose to ask their union to assist them in running the election.

Read our full response here

 

COVID NUMBERS RELATIVELY STABLE THIS WEEK

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 remained relatively stable this week with a daily average of 326, up from 325 last week.

The 7-day average of ICU patients declined this week (16 to 15).

Deaths in the most recent 28-day period have continued to increase, with a current 28-day total of 144.

More COVID data here

 

International News


SOUTH AFRICA: 12 MINE WORKERS KILLED

A horrific incident at an Implats mine in Rustenburg claimed the lives of 12 miners and severely injured 74 others on November 27. The workers were in a lift heading to the surface from a depth of 1,000 metres when the lift unexpectedly reversed, descending and crashing to the bottom of the shaft.

Learn more

 

REVEALED: UK GOVERNMENT CONTEMPT FOR PANDEMIC WORKERS

The TUC have called for leadership that respects and values workers, most especially during times of national crisis following revelations then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, refused to involve trade unions, calling working people ‘work shy’ and ‘malingering’ – the very workers who kept the country running during the pandemic.

Learn more

 

INDUSTRIALL TACKLES GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

The IndustriALL’S Executive Committee recently adopted a global policy to address gender-based violence and harassment, misogyny, and sexism within its work and activities. 

This policy follows the 2021 Congress Resolution and incorporates existing policies on sexual harassment during meetings and events. It also commits to upholding the IndustriALL Pledge against workplace harassment and discrimination.

Learn more

 

Research


WORK STRESS & HEART RISK

Canadian researchers measuring job strain and effort-reward imbalance in 6,465 office workers over 18 years found males facing either hazard had almost a 50% higher risk of heart disease.

When both were present, there was over a 100% increase in risk.

Learn more

 

BEAT END OF YEAR BURNOUT WITH DIGITAL DETOX

RMIT academics are urging employers to assist workers combat burnout during the busy end-of-year period by taking regular breaks and unplugging from technology to safeguard personal well-being.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


Everyday a potential 200 young workers join the workforce. They have the highest likelihood of sustaining an injury within the first six months of starting a new job, due to a lack of experience.

WorkSafe has launched its ‘Would you work for you?’ campaign, targeting employers of young workers.

The campaign is encourages employers to start by asking:

  • Am I providing enough training?
  • Am I being a good role model?
  • Am I being attentive approachable?
  • Am I providing supervision and constructive feedback?
  • Am I encouraging communication?

 

UNDERSTANDING DUTIES TO LABOUR HIRE WORKERS

Safe Work Australia’s Know Your Duties tool provides information about PCBU duties, under the model WHS laws, to all workers involved in labour hire arrangements.

Explore SWA’s Know Your Duties tool

 

Prosecutions


$35K FINE FOR SOLAR FALLS RISK

AI Solar and Electrical Service Pty Ltd faced a $35,000 fine for safety violations during a rooftop installation in Leopold. Workers were spotted on a two-storey house roof without proper fall protections, leading to charges of not ensuring a safe workplace.

Learn more

 

$200K FINE FOR LIFE-ALTERING INJURIES TO YOUNG WORKER

A food recycling company in Dandenong South has been issued with a $200,000 fine after a young worker suffered life-altering injuries while operating a large and complex piece of machinery, designed, and manufactured by the company's director.

Learn more

 

$140K PENALTY FOR FATAL TELEHANDLER SHOCK

Harmony Operations Australia has been fined $140,000 following the electrocution of a 29-year-old worker while operating a telehandler at a feedlot in 2020. The fatality occurred because the telehandler contacted overhead power lines while stacking hay bales.

Learn more

 

FRUIT AND VEG WHOLESALER COPS $50K FORKLIFT FINE

A fruit and vegetable wholesaler has been fined $50,000 after a worker got hit by falling bins from a forklift at their Breakwater warehouse.

The worker was washing a truck when the bins fell, causing fractures to his spine.

Learn more

 

 

Events


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

 

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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