SafetyNet 588

This is the August 11/12 edition of SafetyNet.

Subscribers will be aware that Victoria was again in lockdown due to a number of community Delta COVID infections - the lockdown continues for Metropolitan Melbourne, but was lifted on Monday night in regional Victoria. Later in the week an extension was announced.

The situation in NSW is not yet under control, with over 300 cases reported each day this week. The focus must now be on increasing our vaccination rate as this appears to be the only way forward, unless we are prepared for ongoing lockdowns.

We regret to inform our subscribers that there was another fatality last week: a construction worker died in hospital after falling from a scaffold on a building site in Moonee Ponds. 

Union News

Victorian construction worker killed in fall

A young carpenter who suffered critical head injuries after a suspected fall at a Moonee Ponds construction site died in hospital last Thursday August 4.

The 23-year-old worker was found unresponsive beside a scaffold on Monday August 2. WorkSafe is investigating.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said, "The tragic death of this young carpenter and the many recent incidents highlight the very real risk of falls and the heartbreaking and life-changing consequences. WorkSafe can and will take action against employers who are not taking the risks seriously and are putting workers' lives at risk."

The death brings the workplace fatality toll to 31 for 2021. (note that this number will include a number of deaths due to occupational disease which have not been reported in SafetyNet).

The VTHC gives our sincerest condolences to the young man's family, friends and work colleagues. No worker should die at work; every work-related death is preventable. We mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living.  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) -  update   

The extreme infectiousness of the Delta variant of the COVID virus has meant that on Thursday last week the Victorian Premier re-introduced a hard lockdown for the entire state. The lockdown was to be for at least a week. However, in a quick response to finding that there was no virus in regional Victoria, the government lifted the lockdown there. It remains in place for Metropolitan Melbourne - and has been extended for a further 7 days. 

Wearing masks both indoors and outdoors (unless working alone) and checking in with QR codes remain mandatory across the state. Everyone should by now be familiar with the restrictions, but to check for details, go to this page:  Coronavirus the Victorian situation 

The numbers of new infections in Victoria have fluctuated: last Saturday we had 29, none of which had been in isolation during their infectious period. By Wednesday this week, there were 20 reported: of these, six had been out in the community while infectious. The Premier announced that the lockdown would be extended for a further 7 days. It is hoped that the hard lockdown will mean that all cases will be in isolation, minimising their danger to the community.  

The current number of active cases in Victoria is 118. It's very important to keep up with the listed exposure sites and take comply with the directions (eg to isolate and get tested). Go to this Victorian government page.    

NSW: Greater Sydney is now in its seventh week of lockdown. There were 344 new infections in the state in the 24 hours before Wednesday morning. Of these, at least 101 were in the community for part or all of their infectious period. While there has not been an 'exponential' growth in cases, the numbers  have hovered around the 300 mark for a while, and there are still a large number of cases in the community while infectious. The virus has now spread to regional NSW, with Tamworth, Byron Bay, and Dubbo placed under lockdowns earlier this week.

Unfortunately there have been more COVID-related deaths in the past week: of the two on Tuesday, one was a man in his 30's. There have now been 34 deaths related to the current outbreak.  

Queensland: the state reported only four new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and the government has lifted the lockdown in Cairns. These cases bring the total number of local cases in the current outbreak to 120.

As at August 11, Australia has had a total of 37,031 cases of coronavirus diagnosed, and 943 deaths. While Australia must be vigilant, particularly as our vaccination rates remain low (see below), the numbers in some countries are truly mind-boggling. The USA, for example, where vaccination rates, though higher, are very low in some states, has had a total of 36,891,691 infections and 634,662 deaths. In just one day this week there were over 100,000 new infections, and 657 deaths.  

Worldwide: there had been 204,722,211 infections (last week it was 200,235,188). This is almost 4.5 million new infections in the past week. The total number of COVID-related deaths around the world is now 4,325,691  - the upward trend in both continues, +6 per cent and +3 per cent respectively. (Note these figures are updated constantly - check the Worldometer website for latest figures and trends)  

Vaccinations update 

There has been a great deal in the press over the past few days about whether vaccines should be mandatory for workers in certain industries, whether employers have the right to make the vaccine mandatory for their workers, and also whether employers have the right to ask their employees to tell them whether they have been vaccinated.

The latest on this is:

  • the federal government has made vaccines mandatory for workers in the residential aged care sector. However, this week, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said “The vaccination program in Australia is free and it is not mandatory. That is a very important principle. We are not going to seek to impose a mandatory vaccination program by the government, by stealth. That is not what we’re going to do. There are already existing powers that employers have, both in terms of lawful directions, reasonable directions to their employers.” 
  • However, employers will be able to ask their staff if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so they can guard against infections in the workplace, under federal guidance issued by the FWO finalised on Tuesday morning.  
  • Some states have introduced specific requirements - these are outlined on the FWO website here.

18.4 per cent of Australians are now vaccinated (22.9 per cent have received one dose). The arguments about how it went wrong and how to fix it continue, but we are still well behind our current target. We are now ranked 35/38 for OECD countries - still appalling.

It was announced this week that any Victorian over the age of 18 could book in for an AstraZeneca vaccine - and would be able to receive it with 'informed consent'.

In other news, the TGA approved provisional use of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, which is already in use across much of the world. This is also a two-dose vaccine. According to Morrison, the first 1 million doses of Moderna are expected to arrive in September and those doses would go to pharmacies. Batches of 3 million doses are also due to arrive in October, November and December. Read more: ABC online, Vaccine rollout tracker in The Guardian, which has information on dose numbers, comparisons between Australia and the world, how we're tracking against the original and revised goals and much more.  

Union blasts Victorian canned food demand that employees be vaccinated 

Meanwhile, Victorian canned food company SPC has announced it will require that all its workers be vaccinated by October.  In an Australian first, the Shepparton-based cannery wants all its 450 onsite workers to be fully vaccinated by November, in what could be a legal test-case for the country.

The workers' union has reacted angrily. In a media release the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) said, "SPC have no clear answers to a comprehensive list of questions workers representatives have put to the canned food company over its demand workers be vaccinated by the end of October."

The union said the company, which has failed to back down, has failed to address the workers concerns that were put to them, including a call to remove the mandatory vaccination requirement as a condition of onsite work. The AMWU say it should be up to public health officials to make a call on whether compulsory vaccination of workers is needed at certain workplaces not employers and employer groups.

AMWU national secretary Stephen Murphy said “The lack of response highlights the company have not fully thought this through,” he said. “Workers have no trust and confidence in this kind of punitive approach.”

The union’s more than a dozen questions included whether the company would be liable if a worker developed health complications from taking the AstraZeneca vaccine and what would happen to a worker who refused to take the vaccine. While not against vaccination, unions are opposing mandatory vaccinations and many blue-collar unions are facing resistance from some members who do not want vaccines.  Read more: ABC news online; AMWU media release; Australian Financial Review.

We should be wearing masks - now and in the future

With research showing that vaccinations will not be enough to keep variants under control (see our Research section) it looks like we should keep wearing masks particularly when indoors - even after this current outbreak is under control. Recently the US's Centre for Disease Control updated its guidance for fully vaccinated people, recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

The advice came after official data indicated that Delta infection resulted in similarly high viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus - although they may suffer minor symptoms. This is going to be particularly important in the health care sector, and government directions to wear masks must be followed. 
Read more: CDC news release. Kasen K Riemersma et al. Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals have similar viral loads in communities with a high prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant, [Abstract] [Full text] medRxiv 2021.07.31.21261387; doi:  

NSW: Employers not enforcing mask wearing 

A major survey recently undertaken by Unions NSW has found many employers are not enforcing mandatory mask-wearing rules, however. Unions NSW surveyed almost 3,000 workers from a range of industries, including education, emergency services, healthcare, manufacturing and transport, found 46 per cent believe they "have been put at risk of COVID-19 transmission" in their workplace, either to "some extent" or "a great extent".

The 10-page report states: "This finding is backed up by the very low proportion (18 per cent) of workers who say social distancing is being observed at all times and that one in five workers say mask wearing is not being enforced in all indoor settings." Face masks are currently mandatory in all non-residential indoor areas in NSW, including office buildings and other workplaces.

The survey also found the vast majority of workers (83.9 per cent) believe the NSW Government responded "too slowly" to the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta strain of COVID-19, and 59.2 per cent expect the State's "health situation" to "worsen" in the "near future".

"The number one lesson of the pandemic is that when governments move fast and decisively they minimise the health and economic pain. Sadly that didn't happen in NSW," Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey said. "Through a mixture of hubris and internal political conflict, the Premier [Gladys Berejiklian] delayed locking down by at least nine days," Morey said. Source: OHS Alert; Unions NSW publications

Ask Renata  

Hi Renata,  

Can you tell me whether a hazardous chemical facility needs to provide hot showers for its workers in case of spills, or any other reason?

Under s21 of the Victorian OHS Act your employer has a duty to provide and maintain so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. As part of this the employer must provide 'adequate facilities' - but there is nothing else that has been mandated. See: Duties of employers

However, there is a Compliance Code for Workplace Amenities and Work Environment that has details on what employers 'need to provide' in order to comply with their duties under the Act. Check out this page on our website for information on showers and change rooms.
There's quite a lot about showers, for example:
  • Where the nature of the work causes workers to need a shower before leaving the workplace (eg dusty, dirty, hot or strenuous workplaces), the employer should provide separate shower facilities for each sex (unless they are capable of being secured to ensure privacy).
  • In some workplaces, the work process involves substances which can be a contamination hazard, such as chemicals, lead or asbestos, or infectious agents. In some workplaces employers are required to provide facilities to enable employees to decontaminate themselves by showering and other means before leaving work.
The link to the Compliance Code is on this page, so go to it to check the exact wording. 
There could also be a requirement to provide emergency showers and eye wash stations under the Compliance Code for First Aid
Remember too that the OHS Act requires the employer to consult with workers and their elected health and safety representative (HSRs) when determining or making decisions about the facilities/amenities provided. This means that if the workers are concerned that there may be contamination issues, then their HSR needs to raise with the employer that showers should be provided. See: Duty to consult

Please remember: if you have any OHS related queries, then send them in via our Ask Renata facility on the website. 

Last week's Ask Renata

Last week the question asked was: Is it the law to do a pre start up check for forklifts?

One of our subscribers, Gordon Hunt, sent in the following information, which he has kindly agreed to allow to be shared:

[With regard to] the answer to the query regarding pre-start checks for forklifts:

I was a forklift Assessor for WorkSafe for 14 years. To achieve competency, the practical assessment and the written assessment required a pre-operation check to be undertaken and, in the case of the written assessment, the questions correctly answered.

The employer's Policies and Procedures must have a mandatory pre-operational checklist otherwise, the policies and procedures are not worth having. Finally, fatalities have occurred where the failure to conduct a pre-operational check, has failed to identify a fault and the worst-case scenario has happened and a worker has been killed.

Thank you, Gordon, for providing more information on the need for employers to ensure that pre-operational check ups must be done. 

Would you like to join the VTHC OHS Unit?

There are a number of new roles now being advertised in our top-notch, and expanding, OHS Team - joining the COVID-safe project.

The jobs are for 10 months (approx – until 30 June 2022) and will be working on:

  • Outreach to workers and workplaces about importance of QR codes and other COVID safe measures
  • Finding out about the barriers to COVID safe compliance
  • Tackling vaccine hesitancy if found

There are two positions as Level 3 The third position is a Level 6 COVID-Safe Workplaces Outreach Two roles are advertised as Level 3 Outreach Workers and 1 role is advertised as Level 6 - Senior organiser. – please see the job ads on Ethical Jobs for further details. 

Last chance: VTHC Migrant Workers Centre Survey

Have you ever stayed on a visa in Australia? How has your visa impacted your life?

If so, then you probably know first hand the many problems with Australia’s migration system. If you haven't yet completed the Migrant Workers Centre research survey to assist in its campaign for more pathways to permanent residency and a fairer visa system. It is collecting responses from anyone who has ever stayed on a visa in Australia. 

Responses will inform the MWC policy recommendations and most importantly, help drive its campaign for pathways to permanency. Responses will be confidential. Take the survey now 

Asbestos news

National: Children's toys recalled  
An urgent recall has been issued on a range of remote-controlled cars sold across Australia.

Slipper pads on three models of ECX hobby cars have been found to contain chrysotile asbestos and an urgent notice was issued on August 4 for purchasers to return the cars.  Asbestos in any form is banned in Australia, which means it cannot be imported. However, asbestos has regularly been found in items manufactured in other countries - and too often not discovered until the items are out in the community. Of concern, the toys have been sold since 2016, and thousands could be in circulation, potentially causing children to inhale the  asbestos. 

SafetyNet readers will be aware that inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma - sometimes decades after the initial exposure. There is no safe level of exposure and even one exposure can lead to disease. 

The importation of items with asbestos is worrying, and has happened with toys, motor vehicles, workplace machines and more.  Read more: Children's remote controlled cars recalled after asbestos fibres found. The Daily Mail

WA: Government seeks legislation to close down 'killer town'
A Bill to finalise the closure of the Pilbara’s condemned asbestos mining town has been reintroduced into WA's State Parliament as visitors continue to ignore warnings to steer clear of the deadly gorges - putting up these photos on social media. A search of the #Wittenoom hashtag on Instagram shows tourists ignoring constant health warnings from former residents and authorities. Photos posted in the past month show people entering the asbestos mine shafts, camping, and swimming in the asbestos-laden gorges.

The reinstatement of the Wittenoom Closure Bill will enable the compulsory acquisition of 14 remaining privately owned properties in the former townsite. Once the Bill is passed and the final properties have been acquired, the government will demolish all remaining infrastructure to limit people visiting and staying in the area.

Lands Minister Tony Buti said Wittenoom was one of the biggest contaminated sites in the world, has more than 2000 deaths linked to its blue asbestos mining operation in the 1960s, and remained a public health risk. Read more: The West Australian

More information on Asbestos: In the workplace and In the Home


Vaccination is not enough by itself, study finds

Vaccination alone won't stop the rise of new variants and could push the evolution of strains that evade their protection, researchers have warned. The researchers, from Austria, Spain and Switzerland, said people need to wear masks and take other steps to prevent spread until almost everyone in a population has been vaccinated.

In findings published in Nature Scientific Reports, they wrote: "We found that a fast rate of vaccination decreases the probability of emergence of a resistant strain. Counterintuitively, when a relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions happened at a time when most individuals of the population have already been vaccinated, the probability of emergence of a resistant strain was greatly increased. Our results suggest that policymakers and individuals should consider maintaining non-pharmaceutical interventions and transmission-reducing behaviours throughout the entire vaccination period.”

Study co-author Simon Rella of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, said: “When most people are vaccinated, the vaccine-resistant strain has an advantage over the original strain. This means the vaccine resistant strain spreads through the population faster at a time when most people are vaccinated.” But if the non-pharmaceutical interventions are maintained - such as mask use and social distancing - the virus is less likely to spread and change. The findings indicate policymakers should resist the temptation to lift restrictions, the authors say.

Read more: Simon A Rella, et al Rates of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and vaccination impact the fate of vaccine-resistant strains, [Open Access] Scientific Reports, volume 11, Article number: 15729, 2021.   CNN News.

USA: COVID cases more than double those reported, experts say

Sixty per cent of COVID-19 cases in the US could have gone unreported due to biases in test data and delayed reporting, a study by researchers at the University of Washington has found. The modelling study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) used multiple data sources to estimate the true number of coronavirus infections for one year starting in March 2020. The model included likelihood components that combine data on COVID-19 deaths, confirmed cases, and the number of tests administered each day. The authors concluded continued ‘mitigations’ were required alongside vaccination programmes.

Senior author Adrian Raftery said, “What we wanted to do is to develop a framework that corrects the flaws in multiple data sources and draws on their strengths to give us an idea of COVID-19's prevalence in a region, a state or the country as a whole.” About 65 million US residents (19.7 per cent) ‘likely’ had COVID-19 by 7 March 2021, the model shows. Until that point, only about 1 of every 2.3 infections had been confirmed, suggesting that about 60 per cent of all infections had been unreported.

“Our results indicate that a large majority of COVID infections go unreported,” the authors note. “Even so, we find that the United States was still far from reaching herd immunity to the virus in early March 2021 from infections alone. This suggests that continued mitigation and an aggressive vaccination effort are necessary to surpass the herd-immunity threshold without incurring many more deaths due to the disease.”

Read more: Nicholas J Irons and Adrian E Raftery. Estimating SARS-CoV-2 infections from deaths, confirmed cases, tests, and random surveys, [Full article] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 118 (31), e2103272118, August 2021.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2103272118  University of Washington news release. CIDRAP news releaseSource: Risks 1008 

Regulator News

Victorian news

WorkSafe issues warning after fatality and multiple incidents

WorkSafe this week called on employers to manage the risks of working from height after one death and a spike in serious incidents. The death of a 23-year-old carpenter follows 11 serious incidents involving falls from height since 24 July, including:

  • A worker who suffered serious injuries after falling about 4.5 metres while removing ceiling panels at a Reservoir factory.
  • An apprentice who fell about six metres from a ladder at a construction site at Oakleigh, suffering broken bones and suspected internal injuries.
  • A worker who sustained serious injuries after falling about 3.5 metres from the roof of a Kensington property while installing solar panels.
  • A worker who suffered chest and facial injuries after falling about three metres from an unloading dock in Thomastown. 

Sadly, some incidents have also involved children, including a toddler who suffered head injuries after falling from a scissor lift.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said falls from height were preventable yet remained one of the biggest causes of death and serious injuries in Victorian workplaces. "We want every workplace to reassess the effectiveness of their fall prevention measures and don't assume that just because you haven't had an incident that your business is operating safely." Read more: WorkSafe media release 

August 31: Webinar on mentally healthy workplaces

The second webinar in WorkSafe's WorkWell series, 'Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces Where Young People Thrive', will focus on the role of leaders in creating workplaces where young people can do their best work, so that everyone benefits. Industry leaders and mental health specialists will share what they have learnt.

Creating workplaces where young people can thrive and contribute is important because young workers are particularly vulnerable to injury at work. Employers and managers make a big difference to the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

The webinar will look at:

  • why preventative strategies are needed to improve mental health in the workplace
  • how to create psychologically safe environments where conversations can be started and continued
  • how leaders can make a difference for young people

When: Tuesday 31 Aug 2021 at 10:00am to 11:00am.
Where: Online webinar event. Register now by going to this page on the WorkSafe website.

National News

ACT: Manslaughter Bill passes

Legislation transferring the offence of industrial manslaughter from the ACT's Crimes Act to its WHS Act, and increasing the maximum fine by 1,000 per cent, has passed the Capital Territory Parliament, and will commence three months after it receives notification (assent).

The Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2021 repeals the industrial manslaughter provisions of the Crimes Act 1900 and creates the offence in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, with maximum penalties of 20 years' jail for officers or PCBUs that are individuals, and $16.5 million for bodies corporate, up from about $1.62 million under the Crimes Act offence.

The changes also broaden the circumstances where industrial manslaughter charges may be laid to include, for example, cases where actions or conduct causes the death of a member of the public, a subcontractor, visitor, or employee of another employer. Source: OHS Alert

Clean air, clean lungs

Once the dusts, fumes, gases and vapours that may be present in the workplace, have been identified, the employer/PCBU must protect workers from breathing in hazardous air and potentially developing an occupational lung disease. This can be done by using appropriate control measures to eliminate or manage these risks.

Safe Work Australia has developed guidance to help employers and PCBUs in high-risk industries manage the risks of exposure to hazardous workplace dusts, fumes, gases and vapours. The guidance includes:

  • case studies
  • information sheets (including translations)
  • checklists, and
  • animations. 

National Fatality Statistics  

Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on August 5, at which time it had been notified that 67 Australian workers had been killed at work this year. This is 7 more than its previous update on July 22.  The total numbers of fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 26 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 10 in Construction
  • 6 in Manufacturing 
  • 6 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 3 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Mining
  • 2 in Other Services 
  • 2 in Public administration & safety
  • 1 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Education & training
  • 1 in Retail trade 
  • 1 in Administrative & support services

These figures are based mainly on initial media reports and provide a preliminary estimate of the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia updates details of the incident, consequently sometimes the numbers of deaths in each sector change. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards. Note that the figures are based on preliminary reports, and so at times will change. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage

International news

USA: Apple, Dell, HP commit to protect workers from hazardous chemicals

After more than 40 years of working in Silicon Valley and around the world to promote  better worker protection from chemical hazards, three key electronics brands have just announced their commitment to significantly increase their protection of workers throughout the global supply chain.  

The Clean Electronics Production Network (CEPN) – which formed in 2016 and comprises the US EPA, major electronics companies, academia, NGOs and other stakeholders – launched the programme on 3 August with the three companies, which are CEPN members, announced as the founding signatories.

Some of the key points of the programme are:

  1. A commitment to zero exposure to hazardous chemicals to workers throughout the global electronics supply chain; 
  2. prioritise the elimination or substitution of priority chemicals with safer alternatives and continue to protect workers until that is achieved;
  3. collect data on the process chemicals used in manufacturing electronic products;
  4. advance worker engagement and participation as an essential element of a best-in-class safety culture for managing process chemicals;
  5. reach deeper into the overlapping and complex electronics supply chain to reduce worker exposure to hazardous chemicals; and
  6. verify and report on activities to ensure progress towards implementing the goals.

Source: Chemical Watch 


Hyperbaric company and director convicted, fined after death of client

An oxygen therapy provider and its clinical director have been convicted and fined a total of $726,750 after the death of a man following hyperbaric treatment at South Yarra in 2016.

Oxymed Pty Ltd and Malcolm Hooper were sentenced in the Melbourne County Court this week after each was earlier found guilty of two charges and pleaded guilty to a third charge of failing to ensure a workplace is safe and without risks to health. Mr Hooper separately pleaded guilty to failing to notify WorkSafe of an incident and failing to preserve an incident scene.

The company was convicted and fined $550,000. Hooper was convicted and fined $176,750.

In April 2016, a long-term client of the company who suffered from extensive multiple sclerosis and had a history of epileptic seizures was found to be unconscious while receiving treatment in a single person hyperbaric chamber.

He was taken to hospital and placed on life support and died five days later.

The court heard Oxymed and Mr Hooper had an inadequate system in place for identifying and assessing the risks to each person receiving oxygen therapy treatment and developing a comprehensive plan to eliminate or reduce those risks. There was also insufficient supervision of people receiving treatment and attendants were not recently instructed and trained in administering effective first aid.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Health and Safety Andrew Keen said the case was a tragic example of what can happen when employers don't put safety first.

"If you are running a business in Victoria, you have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of not only your workers but also members of the public, including your customers," Mr Keen said. "WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against employers who put people's lives in danger by not having basic safety procedures in place." Source: WorkSafe media release

To check for more Victorian prosecutions before the next edition, go to WorkSafe Victoria's Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage. 


August 18: Dangerous Goods Advisory Group

The fourth DGAG bimonthly meeting for 2021 will be held on Wednesday August 18.

If allowed, this will be a combined in person and Zoom meeting from 6.00pm - 8.00pm. The DGAG is a general networking / discussion update meeting, open to all, to discuss issues that are going on for Dangerous Goods and Chemical Regulation at the moment. 

To enable a combination attendance, the new meeting location will be in the Middle Park Community Centre Upstairs Meeting Room, 254-256 Richardson St, Middle Park VIC 3206.

Login at 5.45pm to join the Zoom Meeting by copying and pasting this url: 
Meeting ID: 847 3119 1426. Passcode: 282959.

The meeting will have a similar agenda to past meetings.

The topics to be discussed will be:

  1. Hazardous Chemicals / Dangerous Goods Incidents 

  2. The ADG Transport Code & Changes in the UN Model Regs, IMDG Code, IATA Regs, NZ Regs etc

  3. Dangerous Goods (Storage & Handling), GHS Haz. Chemicals, & Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals

  4. Update on Classification and Training for Dangerous Goods

  5. Information sharing 

  6. Other meetings and events

For more information, contact Jeff Simpson (DGAG convenor and Webinar host), Haztech Environmental, Ph: 03-9885-1269 Mob: 0403-072-092, Email: [email protected]

Jeff can assist in setting up the Zoom meeting or adjusting computer settings. Contact Jeff for instructions on how to join.  

The following 5th (and last) DGAG meeting in 2021, will be on Wed 10th November 2021, will be a combined Physical Meeting and Zoom Meeting between 5.45 pm to initially meet up and then Physically and Remotely run between 6.00pm and 8.00pm and Physically tidy up by 8.15pm, at the Middle Park Community Centre (Upstairs) Meeting Room in Middle Park (to Covid Rules). 254-256 Richardson St, Middle Park VIC 3206.  Note: This may become a webinar only meeting at IF we are locked down at that time.

HSR Initial & Refresher training

With the lockdown being re-imposed, the VTHC training courses have gone back online. If you've enrolled in a course and are not sure what's happening, then please contact Natalie Wood at [email protected] at the Training Unit.

Remember: if you haven't got around to doing your annual refresher, then you should enrol now: it's a very important 'update' on all the new stuff going on. Most HSRs do their initial training, but many do not then enrol in the subsequent 'Refresher' courses. All HSRs are entitled, and should, attend 'Refresher Training' each year subsequent to completing the five day initial training. 

Section 67 of the OHS Act 2004 entitles all OHS and Deputy Reps who have completed a 5 day initial training course to attend a one day refresher training course each year to keep their knowledge of OHS law and practice up-to-date.  It's important to take this right up, as the Refresher training provides an opportunity to catch up with new legislation and material, meet with other HSRs, and further hone skills. 

The refresher course covers:

  • Session 1 - covers legislative update on the Victorian OHS 2004 Act, OHS Regulations 2007, WorkSafe compliance codes and guides.
  • Session 2 - covers consultation, communication, problem solving.
  • Sessions 3 & 4 - covers hazard identification and control with either manual handling, work related stress, incident investigation or hazard mapping.


Course hours: 9am - 5pm
Course length: 1 day
Course fee: Metro: $330.00 incl. GST Regional: $350.00 incl. GST 

Upcoming 2021 dates and locations (some of these may be online):

  • 18 August – HSR Refresher Training: Education AEU (Abbotsford)
  • 19 August – HSR Refresher Training (Carlton) 
  • 9 September– Gendered Violence & Sexual harassment: Education (Abbotsford)
  • 21 September  – HSR Refresher Training (Geelong)

Read more about the Work-related gendered violence course here: Knowledge is power in fight against gendered violence.  

Go to this link to enrol in a five day initial or a refresher course. Remember to then notify your employer at least 14 days' of the course. 


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