SafetyNet 709

This week in SafetyNet: more Asbestos found in local parks, changes to the workers' compensation laws explained, charges laid over fatal school trip,International Workers' Memorial Day approaches, and much more.

A HSR writes to Ask Renata about mould in the shower block, and as always, we encourage you to send 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.

 

Upcoming Events


UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGES TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION

On 31 March 2024 significant changes were made to the Victorian WorkCover scheme. These changes affect workers' rights to receive income support from their WorkCover insurer for more than 130 weeks, and also impact workers' ability to claim compensation for specific psychological injuries.

This webinar, held in partnership with Slater & Gordon's WorkCover experts, will help attendees understand the changes.

Date: 17 April 2024

Time: 4pm - 5pm

RSVP here for the Zoom link

 

Each year we observe International Workers' Memorial Day to reflect and remember all those who have lost their lives at work, or as a result of exposure to workplace hazards.

You are invited to VTHC’s International Workers’ Memorial Day

Date: Monday 29 April

Time: 10.30am

Location: Argyle Square, Lygon St, Carlton

RSVP here

 

Union News


AVIATION UNIONS FIGHT FOR SAFER STAFFING

The United Firefighters Union aviation branch is planning a four-hour stoppage at airports on 15 April. They seek safer staffing levels following concerns raised over personnel shortages in a risk assessment report.

Learn more.

 

RAIL FINES INADEQUATE, WARNS RTBU

Fines imposed on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and NSW Trains have been described as ‘woefully inadequate’ and are unlikely to deter employers from engaging in unsafe conduct, by the RTBU.

Learn more

 

COURT GREEN LIGHTS DAMAGES FOR LONG COVID

A worker who contracted COVID-19 at an aged care facility has been granted court permission to pursue damages for long COVID.

Learn more.

 

Asbestos News


MELBOURNE PARKS CONTAMINATED WITH ASBESTOS

Asbestos has now been identified in mulch at seven Melbourne parks. Following Hobsons Bay Council confirming the presence of asbestos at Donald McLean Reserve in Spotswood, the EPA have inspected six more sites resulting in confirmed traces of asbestos. This follows the identification of asbestos-contaminated mulch at 75 sites in NSW, including seven schools.

Learn more.

 

News


MARK RUFFALO IN PFAS CONTAMINATION DOCO

A new Australian documentary titled ‘Revealed: How To Poison A Planet,’ featuring Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo exposes a David and Goliath battle against major chemical companies responsible for toxic contamination over decades.

Learn more.

 

ASK RENATA

There has been a mould problem at my work for awhile now and no one is getting serious about it. I am at lost with what to do.

Our shower and locker block is not in good condition. The room is always damp. There is black mould and spores on the ceilings and the walls. It smells and has got so bad that people are feeling nauseous. The managers have said we should wear masks if it bother us but won't do anything else.

Mould is a hazard that can cause serious health issues. You already report people feel nauseous and have difficulty breathing – these symptoms cannot be ignored. Repeated exposure to certain moulds can wear down people’s immune symptoms and serious illnesses and reactions may occur. People with health issues are also more vulnerable.

Read our response in full

 

WEEKLY COVID NUMBERS

Australia: As of 8 April, there have been 11,849,386 cases and 24,385 COVID deaths.
World: As of 8 April there had been 704,686,388 worldwide infections with COVID-related deaths numbering 7,009,958

(Source: Worldometer)

 

International News


PAKISTAN: MINE DISASTER CLAIMS 12

Twelve mine workers have lost their lives in a gas explosion at a coalmine in Balochistan, Pakistan. The explosion occurred due to a build-up of methane gas inside the mine, causing it to collapse and trapping the miners.

Learn more.

 

Research


WORK BOOT INJURY CONCERNS

A major review has highlighted the importance of safety boots in preventing injuries but also their potential to cause harm.

Learn more.

 

CHALLENGES AFFECTING SAFETY REPORTING CULTURES

A recent 118-page report on safety reporting culture in Queensland's mining industry reveals that unclear wording, difficult-to-navigate digital systems, and time-consuming processes hinder many workers from reporting safety concerns, near misses, and incidents.

Learn more.

 

SHORT PROGRAM REDUCES STRESSFUL INTERRUPTIONS

A three-hour coaching program developed by Swiss researchers from the University of Bern's Institute of Psychology aims to help supervisors recognise and reduce unnecessary interruptions in the workplace, which can negatively affect employees' health.

Learn more.


Regulator News


WORKSAFE 'ANALYTICS HUB' $31 MILLION OVER BUDGET

Fresh IT project cost blowouts are expected to top $100 million across state government agencies, including at WorkSafe.

Learn more.

 

ANIMATED RECREATION: EXCLUSION ZONE WARNING

Resources Safety and Health Queensland's chief inspector has reminded employers conducting crane operations that they must establish and enforce exclusion zones around the task, ensuring workers are not in danger if a load falls or changes direction.

Learn more.

 

COMCARE HSRs INVITED: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Comcare are inviting HSRs 'to share best practice, hear the latest research, build valuable networks, participate in important discussion and celebrate innovation' at the Comcare National Conference, 20–21 August at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

Early bird registrations open soon. Visit the Comcare Conference website for more information.

 

Prosecutions


CHARGES LAID OVER FATAL SCHOOL TRIP

A 16-year-old participant in a school trip to Vietnam, organised by World Challenge Expeditions, experienced diabetes-related complications, and later passed away at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Learn more

 

Events


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 on gendered violence.

Check out our training webpage for more information.

 

OHS Team
http://www.weareunion.org.au

 

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