SafetyNet 595

Welcome to the September 29 edition of SafetyNet - it has been a stressful week all around for those of us in Victoria. While vaccination levels have increased, so too have the number of new infections.

We urge everyone, in Victoria and around Australia, to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and comply with the public health orders. 

Visit our We Are Union: OHS Reps Facebook page for news, memes and more. If you have any questions or need any advice, we can be reached via the Ask Renata facility on the website or through the closed OHS Network Facebook page. If you have comments or want to send through any ideas, email us at [email protected]

Union News

Want to share your experience of COVID Safety in the workplace? 

Now is your chance! The COVID-Safe team at the VTHC OHS Unit is running a short survey on Covid-safety measures in your workplace. By participating in the survey, you’re doing your part to help make Victorian workplaces COVID-Safe, and you’ll be entered into a prize draw. Fill out the survey here

COVIDSafe training sessions coming up

Have you missed out on the VTHC's COVIDSafe training sessions? 

Due to high demand, we have added an additional six COVIDSafe training courses to run over the coming months. The sessions will run on the dates and times below and are capped at 40 participants per course due to their interactive workshop nature. 

These sessions are geared towards Victorian HSRs and are highly popular so we encourage you to RSVP as quick as you can to ensure that you have a space. Register by clicking on the date you'd like to attend. 

VTHC Health and Safety Reps' Conference - Thursday October 28

Announcing Health and Safety Month's biggest and best event - the VTHC's annual HSR Conference. This year the theme is: HSR Super Sleuths: Exercising Your Powers To Uncover Hidden Hazards And Risks.  Unfortunately, due to the ongoing lockdown and the uncertainty of when we will be able to gather in large numbers again, the event will once again be an online event. Register online now! 

Even though we won't be meeting in person, it will be a great opportunity for HSRs to learn lots and after hearing from a few very knowledgeable speakers, actively participate in smaller workshops and hone their skills. We will also be discussing the new HSR powers under the Act. 

The conference has WorkSafe approval as a training course under s69 of the OHS Act, meaning that as long as HSRs give their employer at least 14 days' notice, the employer must release them on paid leave to participate. While the employer has no legal obligation to release deputies on paid leave, ask anyway - you are welcome to attend, and many employers are happy to do so. Register here - from this page you can download the Approval letter from WorkSafe Victoria, and a Notice of attendance letter you can give/email to your employer.

When: Thursday October 28, 8.30am - 2.30pm
Where: Online
Cost: Free!
Open for all Victorian HSRs and Deputy HSRs 
Register here, now! (and then let your employer know!)

Coronavirus Update

Delta was recognised as a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern in May 2021 and has proved extremely difficult to control in unvaccinated populations. Delta has managed to out-compete other variants, including Alpha. Variants are classified as "of concern" because they're either more contagious than the original, cause more hospitalisations and deaths, or are better at evading vaccines and therapies. Or all of the above.

So how does Delta fare on these measures? And what have we learnt since Delta was first listed as a variant of concern? Read about the latest science in this ABC feature.

Victoria

This week Geelong and the Surf Coast exited lockdown, and Melbournians have enjoyed the four hours outdoor activity/social gatherings with up to five fully vaccinated people from two households, up to 10km from home.

But the number of new infections in the state continues to rise alarmingly, and lockdown has now been implemented in both the Mitchell Shire and the City of Latrobe to try to reduce the spread in these areas. 

Today 950 new cases were reported - once again the highest number of cases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of active cases is now 9,890! Last week at this time it was 6,223. 

Of the active cases, 375 are in hospital, 81 in ICU - 61 on ventilators.  Our vaccination rates: as of September 28, 48.22 per cent of us are fully vaccinated, and 76.89 per cent partially vaccinated (44.66 per cent and 73.51 per cent last week). There have now been 856 COVID-related deaths in Victoria - another 20 in the past week. 

Remember to check exposure sites, even though DHHS is now not listing them all. This means it's crucial to check in with the QR codes wherever you go, so that if there's an exposure at any place you have visited, you will receive text messages. Go to this Victorian government page to check the sites.

With Victoria's vaccination rate now reaching 80 per cent first dose, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has announced a modest easing to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, in line with the Roadmap. Residents of metropolitan Melbourne and regional areas in lockdown can undertake ‘contactless’ recreation at outdoor facilities, such as boating, tennis or golf. The 10km radius has been expanded to 15km. The indicative date for schools to reopen remains October 5th. The next larger change in the COVID-19 rules will occur when 70 per cent of the state has been double vaccinated, which is expected in late October. Read more: Victorian government media release 

In news from around Australia:

  • NSW:  The cases in the state are generally coming down - in fact Victoria's numbers over the past two days have been higher than those in NSW. Today 863 cases were reported, with 15 deaths. There have now been a total of 331 deaths since the beginning of this outbreak - 71 in the past week. There are 1,082 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 212 people in intensive care, 108 of whom require ventilation - these numbers are also coming down. 
  • ACT: today 22 new cases were reported. There are 10 people in hospital with the virus, with three in ICU requiring ventilation.  

As at September 29, Australia has had a total of 100,919 cases of coronavirus diagnosed (90,391 last week). There have been 1,256 COVID-19 related deaths - 70 more than last week. 

Worldwide: as at September 29, there had been 233,513,553 infections (230,313,402 last week) and 4,777,743 COVID-related deaths. (Note these figures are updated constantly - check the Worldometer website for latest figures and trends). Read more information on Coronavirus   

Vaccinations update

According to the ABC Vaccine tracker as of September 29, 49.13 per cent of Victorians have been fully vaccinated (79.43 per cent have received one dose). Australia wide, the figures are 53.42 per cent and 77.28 per cent respectively. Supplies of the third vaccine approved, Moderna, should be in pharmacies soon. 

Melbourne demonstrations - update

Unfortunately, small numbers of anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination and some COVID deniers have continued to demonstrate in Melbourne, but the protests are 'fizzling out' as the week progresses. Yesterday Victorian police handed out 16 fines after intercepting eight trucks believed part in a protest linked to recent anti-lockdown action. 

The trucks, which were deliberately travelling at low speed to cause traffic disruption, were pulled over on the Tullamarine Freeway near Moreland Road around Brunswick West. Each vehicle contained a driver and a passenger, all of whom have been fined for breaching COVID restrictions. (ABC news online)

Also this week, police arrested an alleged organiser behind one of Melbourne’s largest protests and charged him with inciting others to breach public health directions.  Using an encrypted messaging platform, 25 year old Harrison Mclean wrote he was arrested at home and later released after an interview with police. He said “incitement charges have been laid against me” in relation to the protest in Melbourne on September 18, and asked supporters to help pay for his legal defence. 

Mclean is clearly not a construction worker and describes himself on his website as having “helped launch the World Wide Rally for Freedom in Melbourne and around Australia to push back against the encroachments on Victorian Freedom”. (The Age)

Breaking news: 

The Melbourne office of the CFMMEU's construction and general division's Victorian branch has today been declared a tier one COVID-19 exposure site, following the violent street protests last week that damaged the outside of the building.

Branch secretary John Setka blamed the "reckless and irresponsible" behaviour of protesters for the headquarters' declaration as a tier-one exposure site. Four union officials/workers have tested positive, with hundreds forced into 14 days' isolation. In a statement, Mr Setka said: “This outbreak caused by the disgusting behaviour of selfish and reckless people with no regard to the wellbeing of the thousands of construction workers or their families will not deter our commitment to getting construction back open and all our members back to work.” Read more: The AgeABC news online

Ask Renata  

Hello Renata,

Our site was declared a tier one site earlier this month. All the required cleaning has taken place; everyone has completed the required 14 days isolation, and DHHS has cleared that site. Does my employer need to amend the COVIDSafe plan to help the site getting a case again?

You will be aware that under ‘The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004’ (OHS Act), where a risk to health is identified at a workplace, employers must eliminate the risk as far as is reasonably practicable and when elimination is not possible, reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable. Following a coronavirus (COVID-19) case at a workplace, risk management controls and infection prevention measures should be reviewed in order to reduce the risk of further coronavirus (COVID-19) exposures.

When the Department of Health clears the site and determine that it’s safe to reopen, employers are advised to review their COVIDSafe plan and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Employers need to ensure: 

  • the workplace is cleaned regularly and thoroughly 
  • that staff are required to practice physical distancing 
  • the layout of the workplace promotes physical distancing where possible 
  • Fitted facemasks and PPE are worn properly - these should be provided by the employer 
  • staff are required to practice good hand hygiene (and that hand washing facilities are well stocked and in good functioning order) 
  • staff are required to stay home when unwell (check with your union for various provisions for payment of wages)
  • visitors to the workplace who are not staff and not essential to its functioning are limited
  • using of QR code and keeping clear records of employees and visitors to the site

Creating work bubbles and limiting the number of people on site at a workplace is an important control to minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and employers should look to implement them. Employers should consider keeping groups of workers rostered on the same shifts at a single worksite and avoid any overlap of workers during shift changes where it is practical to do so. These actions should be considered when creating work bubbles:

  • Adjusting rosters and develop procedures to ensure workers do not work across multiple sites 
  • Staggering start and finish times, shifts and break times, to reduce use of common areas at the same time 
  • Encouraging workers to minimise time in shared facilities when taking breaks 
  • Ensuring groups of workers do not mix across different shifts.

As the deputy HSR, I recommend you take this issue up with your HSR (and any other HSRs and DHSRs at the workplace) to discuss. Then you and the HSR/s need to ​raise with your employer the issue of revising the COVIDSafe plan and work bubble idea directly with the employer for consideration if it is practical to do so. Follow the processes as set out in s73 of the Act: Resolution of health and safety issues.

Remember that under s35 of the Act, your employer has a duty to consult with the HSRs/DHSRs, including when amending the COVIDSafe Plan, or implementing changes to the systems of work.  If you have any issues, then contact your union and let your organiser know what the issues are.

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

Asbestos news

National: Asbestos Awareness Week

Every year in Australia, in the last week of November, activities are held to promote the awareness of asbestos - which is endemic in our built environment.  This year the VTHC will be running a number of events, including a Live Show. Keep your eyes on SafetyNet over the next few editions to find out more.

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) has developed a campaign pack with materials, posters and information for the week - check it out here

ASEA: Updated asbestos materials

As a part of ASEA's ongoing project to update our asbestos safety and awareness brochures, the agency has refreshed two additional brochures – one for fire protection trades, and a second one for the automotive industry and historic car enthusiasts.

This update modernises the brochures and provides information about where asbestos is commonly found, and the laws and regulations surrounding asbestos management and removal. It also provides guidance and safety tips to help individuals protect themselves and others from exposure to harmful asbestos fibres. Access the brochures here.

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

International union news

Bangladesh: More fatalities in the shipbreaking yards  
In just a week, two more workers were killed and three were injured due to the deplorable lack of safety in Chittagong’s shipbreaking yards. IndustriALL affiliates BMF and BMCGTWF have repeatedly brought up the issue of health and safety with both Bangladesh’s government and the ship owners, but to no avail.

The safety crisis at Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards continues. The fatal incidents that took place during a week in September show the terrifying results of not addressing dangerous working conditions. According to an IndustriALL survey, at least ten shipbreaking workers have been killed and 23 others injured in Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards since January 2021. Most of the victims were young, precarious workers without proper safety equipment. Read more: IndustriALL media release

UK: Routine violence against transport staff exposed
Almost 60 per cent of UK’s rail, bus and ferry workers have been subjected to verbal or physical attack since the start of the pandemic, according to research by the union RMT. The union’s survey of more than 5,000 transport workers showed that most believed that workplace violence has worsened during the pandemic and 73 per cent said they believed the government’s lifting of COVID restrictions and mixed messaging around safety measures had further aggravated the situation.

More than half the respondents reported being threatened with physical violence while 1-in-10 had been physically assaulted. 88 per cent had been verbally abused, 16 per cent had been spat at or targeted with bodily fluids, 13 per cent had been racially harassed and 6 per cent sexually assaulted. Two-thirds of those reporting attacks said they had been working alone at the time of the incident. The union fully supports a bill tabled by Labour MP Olivia Blake which seeks to make verbal or physical abuse of a public-facing worker a specific offence. Read more: RMT news release. Source: Risks 1015 


Regulator News

Victorian health department charged over COVID hotel quarantine program 

In breaking news: WorkSafe Victoria has charged the Department of Health, formerly the Department of Health and Human Services, with 17 breaches of Section 21(1) of the OHS Act, for failing to provide and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, a working environment that was safe and without risks to health for its employees.

The department has been charged with a further 41 breaches of section 23 (1) of the OHS Act, for failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from conduct of its undertaking.

WorkSafe alleges that the Department of Health breached OHS laws by failing to appoint people with infection prevention and control (IPC) expertise to be stationed at hotels it was utilising for Victoria's first hotel quarantine program. The alleged failures include:

  • failing to provide security guards with face-to-face infection prevention control training before they commenced work;
  • failing, or initially failing, to provide written instruction for the use of PPE;
  • failing to update written instructions relating to the wearing of masks at several of the hotels. 

WorkSafe says the complex investigation took 15 months to complete and involved reviewing tens of thousands of documents and multiple witness interviews.   

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Magistrates' Court on 22 October. WorkSafe says it will not be providing further comment, as the matter is now before the court. A number of other investigations relating to the control of COVID-19 related risks in workplaces remain ongoing. Source: WorkSafe media release  

Truck body manufacturer charged after worker killed  

WorkSafe Victoria has charged Carrum Downs truck body manufacturer Prestige Truck Bodies (Aust) Pty Ltd with breaching the OHS Act after an employee was crushed to death in a shipping container.

The company has been charged under section 21(1) and 21(2)(a) of the OHS Act for failing to provide safe systems of work; and under section 21(1) and 21(2)(e) for failing to provide its workers with information, instruction or training to perform their work safely.

The charges relate to an incident in January 2020 in which an employee died after a stack of panels weighing up to 225kg each fell and crushed him as they were being unloaded from a shipping container. The matter is set for a filing hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 11 October 2021.

Call to stamp out work related violence

Just one of the appalling outcomes of last week's anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination, anti-government riots was the violence and aggression against healthcare workers and those staffing vaccination hubs. At least one had to be closed down in order to protect its staff. The incidents prompted WorkSafe to issue a warning. 
Read more: WorkSafe media release  

WorkSafe warning after earthquake

Many people in Victoria and even interstate felt the 5.9 earthquake near Mansfield (127km from Melbourne) last week.  WorkSafe Victoria issued a warning regarding the potential dangers, after multiple reports of damage and aftershocks still possible for some days afterwards. Those undertaking immediate clean-up and recovery work are being urged to take time to identify and address the risks involved in each task before getting started. Potential risks to both workers and members of the public include unstable or partially collapsed structures and damaged asbestos containing materials.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said recovery work needed to be planned carefully. "Earthquake clean-ups can pose a set of risks that you may not be expecting, so we urge anyone who is unsure of how to handle a particular hazard, to seek professional advice," Mr Keen said. "The last thing we want is an injury because a few simple checks haven't been made."
Read more: WorkSafe media release 

New Safety Alert on Side by side vehicles

WorkSafe has issued a Safety Alert to remind agricultural employers of their duties in relation to using seatbelts in side-by-side vehicles. WorkSafe says that owners or managers of an agricultural workplace have the responsibility to ensure that people working there, helping out or visiting are kept safe and healthy. This includes making sure they use known safety controls.

Side-by-side vehicles come with seatbelts, and doors or nets to keep occupants safe. There are many ways to control risks in side-by-sides and seatbelts are among the most important. 
Read more: Side-by-side vehicles: Don't ignore the seatbelts 

OHS Month: WorkSafe Victoria events

The state's OHS regulator has scheduled a number of free events in late October as part of Health and Safety Month. Remember the VTHC is also running our annual OHS Reps' Conference - the biggest event for HSRs, so if you can only attend one event, make it this one!

To check out WorkSafe's events - mainly online webinars, go to the Health and Safety Month webpage.  

National news

National Fatality Statistics  

Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics on fatalities since September 16, at which time it had been notified that 84 Australian workers had been killed at work this year. The total numbers of fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 31 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 11 in Construction
  • 10 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 9 in Manufacturing 
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 4 in Mining
  • 4 in Public administration & safety
  • 3 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Other Services 
  • 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

 


Prosecutions

Employer convicted and fined $300,000 for worker death 

A metal treatment business has been convicted and fined $300,000 for an incident where a worker was killed when he became trapped in an electroplating machine at a Delacombe factory.

ACE Metal Treatment Services was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health.

On 29 October 2019, the worker suffered fatal chest injuries when he became trapped between a safety guard and the machine frame.

The Court heard the company did not have a regular maintenance schedule for the metal electroplating machine that crushed Mr Allie. A WorkSafe engineering report found the machine was "generally in an unsafe condition, with no cohesive or integrated safety protocols in place". The safety guards on the side of the machine were designed to shut down the machine if there was an obstruction between them and the frame, but the safety switches were not working. Sources: WorkSafe media release; ABC News online  

The other prosecutions we report on this week involved workers sustaining serious hand injuries. 

Recycler convicted, fined after worker loses hand

Recycling business SKM Services Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $70,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated at a Coolaroo factory in October 2014.

It was convicted under s21 in Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court on 22 September. 

The 36-year-old worker's right hand was amputated in a baler used to crush aluminium recycling into a cube. He was injured while strapping bales of crushed aluminium near the machine.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company had failed to reduce risks to workers' safety by not having a guard fitted to the machine to prevent access to the bale exit point.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said WorkSafe would not hesitate to prosecute businesses that disregard their responsibility to provide a safe workplace. "Businesses must do everything reasonably possible to keep workplaces safe and protect workers from the risk of serious injury or death," Mr Keen said.

It is unclear whether the fine will be paid. 

Readers may recognise this company: SKM Recycling was issued with a string of infringement notices after a fire broke out at its Coolaroo recycling plant in 2017. Then, in August 2019 it was placed into receivership, owing creditors at least $100 million. SKM had stopped taking any more kerbside waste after the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) ordered the company's glass recycling service in Coolaroo to stop operating, due to dangerous and combustible stockpiles. The EPA had found SKM was storing tens of thousands of tonnes of waste in five warehouses in Melbourne's west.

Sources: WorkSafe media release; ABC news online   

Fruit company fined after worker sustains serious injuries

Swan Hill and Region Packing Pty Ltd, trading in the horticultural industry as ‘Sharp Fruit’ with three arms: fruit growing/farming, fruit grading/packing and marketing/distribution.

At its main grading/packing facility, located in Woorinen, fruit is separated manually according to quality. They process and pack the fruit which is brought to them by a powered item of plant essentially working as a conveyor belt. 

On 30 October 2019 an employee cleaning and maintaining the packing area and the grader sustained hand injuries. The worker was directed to start cleaning while the machine was operating. She stepped on the base of the grader, leant over to grab a box from a colleague on the other side, and her shirt got caught in an unguarded rotating shaft. While she tried to free her shirt, her hand was dragged in and also got caught in the shaft. She suffered serious injuries, including amputation of two fingertips and fractures. She was taken to hospital where only one fingertip could be reattached.

WorkSafe's investigations found that the shafts should have been guarded - the guards had been removed the day before when maintenance had been carried out and were not replaced. It also found the cleaning procedure to be unsafe.

The company was fined $25,000, without conviction, plus costs of $3,639.

Worker's hand caught in inadequately guarded rollers

Cedar Meats, Pty, Ltd is a meat processor in Brooklyn, and Labour Solutions Australia provided labour to the company. The worker injured was an employee of Labour Solutions Australia, and under s21(3) of the Act deemed an employee of Cedar Meats.

On 30 January 2019 the worker was cleaning the boning room area, an area where the meat is prepared for sale. She would regularly do this in the morning before work commenced. As she began wiping down a conveyor with a paper towel, it became caught between the conveyor and the box at the end of the belt. Her hand was pulled into the roller which continued to spin.

Co-workers came to help, removing the side guards to the tail drum of the conveyor to extricate her hand. The worker was taken to hospital where she received immediate surgery. As a result of the incident, she sustained injuries to her right wrist, forearm and elbow, and remained in hospital for two weeks.

While there were side guards on the tail drum section of the conveyor, there were no front or rear guards to prevent access to the drum roller, conveyor belt and idler rollers which had nip and pinch points. There was also no emergency stop service or lanyard along the conveyor. Since the incident, all conveyors were mounted with guards, safety lanyards and some E-stops had been installed. Toolbox meetings with all employees were conducted to discuss the new safety measures.

In sentencing the company, the court noted a number of factors including that it had never had any 'priors', generally had a good safety system in place, and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Cedar Meats was without conviction sentenced to pay a fine of $13,000, plus costs of $3,500.

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


Events

Tuesday 12 October: Central Safety Group
Topic: The current job scene for OHS - what's different now? 

The news is that at the moment there are more roles on offer than candidates, according to Helen O’Keefe, who runs HOK Talent Solutions, a leading national health & safety executive search agency. This will be the subject of her zoom presentation for CSG at midday on Tuesday 12 October.

Helen will discuss the reasons for the current shortage of applicants happening across the board in a range of industries, as well as in different levels and roles in the OHS field. She will be offering advice to recruiters, current job seekers and people trying to decide whether to move in the current job climate.

This is part of a series of zoom presentations by Central Safety Group while in-person meetings are suspended.

When: 12:00-1:00pm, Tuesday, 12 October, 2021
How: Online via Zoom. Financial members will automatically be emailed the Zoom meeting link. (N.B. A video recording of the session will be available on the website exclusively for financial members.) 
Cost: Financial members* free. Others $10 [Individual membership fee for 2021: $75] 
*If unsure of your membership status, contact: [email protected]    Book online now by COB Monday 11 October

VTHC Training for HSRs and Deputy HSRs

With Metropolitan Melbourne still in lockdown, the VTHC training courses continue to be delivered online (the only exception may be regional courses). If you've enrolled in a course and are not sure what's happening, then please contact Natalie Wood at [email protected] at the VTHC Training Unit. 

Five day Initial Training Courses

It's extremely important for HSRs to complete the five day initial course - this ensures they have the best training to be able to understand their rights under the Act and represent the members of their DWGs. Here are the dates and locations of the courses:

  • 4 - 8 October - Bendigo
  • 11 - 15 October - Carlton 
  • October 20,21,22 & November 4,5 - Frankston 
  • 8 - 12 November - Ringwood
  • 15 - 19 November - Werribee   
  • 29 November - 3 December - Carlton
  • 13 - 17 December - Carlton

HSR Initial & Refresher training

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 to, 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.

Upcoming 2021 dates for Refresher training and locations:

  • 26 October - Carlton
  • 26 October - Carlton
  • 28 October - Frankston
  • 15 November - Education focus: AEU, Abbotsford
  • 26 November - Carlton
  • 29 November - Bendigo 
  • 16 December - Carlton

Go to this link to find out about costs and to enrol in a five-day initial or a refresher course. Remember to then notify your employer at least 14 days before the course. 


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