SafetyNet 710

This week in SafetyNet: Beard bans deemed reasonable on safety grounds; tougher penalties for attacks on federal frontline workers; gate failure costs Built Tech $40k; research on parental discrimination and return-to-office conflict; the battle to protect US workers from heat; your invitation to International Workers Memorial Day, and much more.

A Health and Safety Representative writes to Ask Renata about rotating the chair of her health and safety committee. 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


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


BEARD BAN ‘REASONABLE ON SAFETY GROUNDS’

The Fair Work Commission ruled an employer can require workers to shave their moustaches or beards for safety reasons.

Learn more

 

TOUGHER PENALTIES: PROTECTING FRONTLINE WORKERS

The Albanese Government is introducing tougher penalties for attacks on federal frontline workers. This new law follows a review prompted by a stabbing attack on a Service Australia officer in Melbourne.

Learn more

 

Asbestos News


AUSTRALIA'S ASBESTOS PLAN: PHASE III DRAFT RELEASED

The Asbestos National Strategic Plan outlines a phased strategy aimed at eradicating asbestos-related diseases throughout Australia by coordinating actions at a national level.

ASSEA has formulated a draft for the third phase of the ANSP, for the years 2024-2030, which focuses on the removal of asbestos from our built environment. 

Learn more

 

ASK RENATA

Our health and safety committee meetings are always chaired by our manager. Am I within my rights to ask for the chair to be rotated?

It falls under the purview of the Committee to establish its own rules, including the possibility of implementing a rotating chairmanship alternating between employer and worker representatives at each meeting.

It's important to note that the committee's rules, known as terms of reference, can be modified by mutual agreement at any time. The Chairperson is responsible for upholding these rules and ensuring compliance.

Read our full response

 

THIS WEEK’S COVID NUMBERS

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has decreased from levels seen throughout March. As of 02 April there were 98 people in hospital.

The latest quantitative wastewater measures indicate recent increases in SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in Victorian wastewater in both metropolitan and regional catchments.

Increasing levels of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater suggest increasing prevalence of COVID-19 infections in the Community.

More data here

 

International News


US: BATTLE FOR SAFETY IN HOT CLIMATE

Amidst the growing threat of heat-related illnesses caused by rising temperatures and anti-worker political actions, California is pushing to establish an indoor heat standard to protect workers, particularly in high-risk industries such as warehousing.

In other parts of the country it's a contest between Texas and Florida to see which state can kill the most workers.

Learn more

 

GLOBAL UNION LAUNCHES HEALTH AND SAFETY MANUAL

IndustriALL has introduced a new resource aimed at union health and safety activists, especially those who are new to the field. Titled 'Saving Ourselves' and authored by IndustriALL’s health and safety director, the manual offers an overview of essential structures and programs for workers advocating for safer and healthier workplaces.

Learn more

 

INDONESIA: WORKPLACE SAFE HOUSES

The IndustriALL Indonesia women's council has successfully negotiated the establishment of safe houses at five workplaces across Indonesia.

Learn more

 

Research


PARENTAL STATUS AND WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION

A recent survey of more than 4,000 workers with dependent children has revealed that up to half of working parents experience harmful discrimination at work, significantly impacting their mental health.

Learn more

 

NAVIGATING RETURN-TO-OFFICE CONFLICT

When discussing strategies to address conflicts arising from the return to office work, ‘workplace change specialist’ Dr. Brenda Jamnik, emphasises the importance of investing in happy and psychologically safe workplaces amid increasing conflict between workers and bosses over returning to the office.

Learn more

 

Regulator News


CASE STUDY: HAZARDOUS MANUAL HANDLING IN CONSTRUCTION

Hazardous manual handling is the biggest cause of injuries in Victorian workplaces. Recently, a worker from a high-rise apartment construction site was left unconscious and hospitalized with a head injury, after being struck in the face with a makeshift trolley.

Learn more here

 

CROSS-BORDER CONSTRUCTION SAFETY BLITZ

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW are teaming up to improve safety in the construction industry in Albury and Wodonga. They will inspect construction sites to ensure employers meet safety obligations, focusing on preventing falls and psychosocial hazards like bullying and fatigue. A free Trade Breakfast will be held on April 12 to discuss these issues and prepare worksites for inspections. The goal is to create safer, healthier work environments for construction workers.

7-9am, Friday, April 12, at Dahlsens Albury Wodonga, 58-98 Bennu Circuit.

 

Prosecutions


GATE FAILURE COSTS $40K: INJURES WORKER

When a construction worker tried to close a recently modified site gate, it travelled along its track but failed to stop, subsequently running beyond the support hurdles. This caused the gate to dislodge inwards, fall on a parked excavator, and then land on the ground, trapping the worker by her ankle.

Learn more

 

BELL PLASTER TO SPEND $480K ON IMPROVEMENTS

Building material supplier Bell Plaster Supplies has committed to spending over $480,000 to enhance health and safety following an incident at their Pascoe Vale warehouse.

Learn more

 

COURT SLAPS $90K FINE ON SCRAP METAL RECYCLER

Manhari International operates a scrap metal recycling business based in Tottenham, which WorkSafe inspectors visited in December 2020. They discovered 60 pallets of vehicle batteries (Class 8 dangerous goods) stored in a manner that posed risks of objects falling on them, potentially causing fires, explosions, or harm to people or property.

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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