SafetyNet 718

This week in SafetyNet: changes to OHS regulations coming into effect, a minerals company is fined $400,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace, baristas pursuing discrimination case after being sacked for wearing keffiyehs, a new resource on representing your DWG, interesting research on activity-based flex offices, support your fellow HSRs and help drive reform and much more. 

An HSR writes to Ask Renata about the accessibility of safety data sheets, 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.

 

Union News


BARISTAS PURSUING DISCRIMINATION CASE 

Two baristas at Black Star Pastry wore their keffiyehs to work as part of Keffiyeh Week, a national pro-Palestine campaign in January. Despite a positive reaction from some patrons of Chadstone, they received a call from HR to remove their keffiyehs. They complied and took them off. The next day, a senior staff member informed them that they were sacked. Now, with the help of Young Workers Centre, they are pursuing a discrimination case in VCAT. 

Learn more

 

NEW RESOURCE: REPRESENTATION WEBPAGE

Are you in search of tips for representing your DWG? Do meetings with management stress you out? Unsure what you can do to prepare?

It's your lucky day-- the OHS Unit at the Victorian Trades Hall Council have created a new webpage on representation

 

SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW HSRs: HELP DRIVE REFORM

Last year the Government announced they would be reviewing the powers and protections for HSRs under the OHS Act.

VTHC are gathering information from HSRs and Deputy HSRs about your experiences so we can advocate for changes that will better support your vitally important role.

As an HSR, you won't find a more crucial survey to fill out than this one! 

Please encourage all HSRs at your workplace to fill out the survey. It should take about seven minutes to complete.

 

ASK RENATA

I am currently researching different ways my Company can quickly and efficiently make accessible the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to staff and emergency first responders during an emergency and was wondering if there was a preferred option? Is there is a requirement now that these must be available electronically as well as physically, what would be the best suggestion to provide this information in a safe and secure manner?

When it comes to SDSs, there are regulatory requirements about how they are stored and accessed. One of these ways could be an inward-facing online register. Anyone with the right web address would have a complete list however it would not be searchable through the internet or via your website – you could give access through a QR code quite easily.

Read our full response

 

INCREASE IN COVID CASES

Covid cases continue to increase in Australia. 

As of 18 June:

Australia: 11,853,144 cases and 24,414 COVID deaths.

World: 704,753,890 worldwide infections with COVID-related deaths numbering 7,010,681.

Active cases in Australia: 8,716 with 3 being critical

Australia's weekly cases are up +26% compared to last week.

Data from Worldometers.

Learn more

 

Asbestos News


HSR INSIGHTS SOUGHT ON REGISTERS

The Victorian Asbestos Eradication Agency (VAEA) acknowlege the crucial role of HSRs in safely managing asbestos.

VAEA is seeking your insights in developing a tool to better maintain, manage and review asbestos registers. VAEA need to understand how HSRs use - or don’t use - these registers.

Learn how you can help. 

 

Prosecutions


COMPANY FINED $400,000 AFTER WORKERS DIAGNOSED WITH SILICOSIS 

WorkSafe Victoria has imposed a $400,000 fine on Sibelco, a minerals company, following a significant court ruling. The fine was issued due to Sibelco's failure to provide safe plant operations and systems of work, resulting in substantial health risks to its employees. Three former employees, diagnosed with Silicosis, spoke at the court hearing about working conditions and safety concerns not being addressed. 

Learn more

 

Research


STUDY ON ACTIVITY-BASED FLEX OFFICES 

A study has been conducted investigating an organisation's move from a traditional office space to an 'activity-based flex office' (AFO) space. AFOs are a type of office design that requires different workstations for different tasks, rather than the traditional office design where workers have their own assigned desks for their tasks. Researchers found a myriad of safety issues like neck and shoulder pains, headaches and confusion on raising OHS issues due to the new design of the space.  

Learn more

 

Regulator News


CHANGES TO OHS REGULATIONS

Changes to OHS regulations will be coming into effect on July 1. These will effect engineered stone, telehandler high-risk work licenses and updated incident notification requirements. 

Learn more

 

WORKSAFE AWARDS: NOMINATIONS OPEN

Nominations for the 35th edition of the WorkSafe Victoria Awards have opened. The seven categories are:

  • Commitment to prevention of mental injury in the workplace;
  • Farm safety solution;
  • Health and safety representative of the year;
  • Leading return-to-work practice;
  • OHS leadership/achievement;
  • Worker return-to-work achievement; and
  • Workplace health and safety solution of the year.

Entries for the 2024 competition close on 21 June, and the winners will be announced in February next 2025.

 

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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