SafetyNet 599

Welcome to the October 27 edition of SafetyNet. 

We regret to inform subscribers that another Victorian worker has been killed at work this week: an electrician was electrocuted on Tuesday October 26. 

Our annual HSR Conference is being held tomorrow - with over 1100 HSRs, deputies and others registered to attend. For those who were unable to register, we will be loading up the materials and the presentations on our website over the coming weeks. 

Due to the Conference this week, the Melbourne Cup public holiday on November 9, and RDOs, there won't be an edition of SafetyNet next week.

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

Another Victorian worker killed at work

It is with great sadness that we report that a 40-year-old electrician was killed in a workplace incident at a Pakenham restaurant.  It is understood the electrician was installing a light when he was electrocuted at about 5:50pm yesterday.

WorkSafe is investigating.

The death brings the workplace fatality toll to 46 for 2021.

Everyone at the VTHC wishes to express our sincerest condolences to the worker’s family, friends and work colleagues. No worker should die at work. Mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living.

VTHC Health and Safety Reps' Conference, tomorrow October 28

If you haven't yet registered for Health and Safety Month's biggest and best event unfortunately it's too late, as registrations closed last week. However, we will be posting recaps and our conference tools are already available for all HSRs to use post conference on this page

OHS Reps Liveshow: What to expect when you're expecting an inspector

Our OHS Reps Liveshow is back! This time we'll be joined by WorkSafe Inspector, Clayton Larkin, who is going to walk us through what to expect when you're expecting a WorkSafe Inspector. This is important knowledge for all HSRs so don't miss out!

Tune in on our OHS Reps Facebook page on Wednesday, November 3 at 6pm. 

Have you shared your experience of COVID Safety in the workplace? 

Fill out the VTHC's COVID-Safe team's 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. We encourage as many of you as possible to fill out the survey here

Do you have a specific question about Covid-Safety in your workplace? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your union, or submit an inquiry through the Covid-Safe Workplaces website.

Coronavirus Update

Victoria

The number of new infections continues to be over 1000 per day, although the trend seems to be downward. However, with the lockdown ending and venues opening last weekend, we may see an increase again. 

The number of active cases in Victoria on Wednesday October 27 is 24,164, with 1,534 new cases reported today October 27. There have now been 1065 COVID-related deaths in Victoria - this is 84 since last Tuesday. Of the active cases, 748 are in hospital, 138 are in ICU, and 87 of these on ventilators. Check the Victorian situation here

The Victorian government announced last week that with the state approaching 80 per cent vaccination of those over 16, we would be moving to the next stage of the end that the state would move to the next phase of the Roadmap at 11.59pm Thursday October 28. The wearing of masks is still mandated when indoors, as is checking in with QR codes. If you are not yet vaccinated - please arrange this as soon as possible. 

As at October 27, Australia has had a total of 162,026 cases of coronavirus diagnosed (145,314 last week). There have been 1,653 COVID-19 related deaths. 

Worldwide: as at October 27, there had been 245,256,473 infections (241,806,193 last week) and 4,978,191 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 by October 26, 75.88 per cent of Victorians over the age of 16 had been fully vaccinated, and 90.84 per cent partially vaccinated (67.99 per cent and 88.81 per cent last Tuesday). Australia wide, the figures are 74.12 per cent and 87.09 per cent respectively. 

Overseas travel

Since the early days of the pandemic, overseas travel for Australians has been banned unless they sought and were granted an exemption. Last night, however, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that from Monday November 1 fully vaccinated Australians will no longer need to ask permission to leave the country, but those who are unvaccinated will still have to ask for an exemption. Read more: ABC news online 

COVIDSafe training sessions coming up

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

Due to high demand, additional COVIDSafe training courses have been added. The sessions will run on the dates and times below and are capped at 40 participants per course due to the interactive nature of the workshops. 

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

Ask Renata  

Hello, 

I am an HSR and some of my DWG members have raised concerns that our employer is not dealing with and responding to workplace injuries appropriately.  I would like to look into the matter more thoroughly.

My first step would be to request information about past injuries, the nature of the injury, how they were dealt with, and how many have there been. How would I go about gaining this information and what information am I entitled to receive from my employer as a HSR? 

Requesting injury information would be a good first step to ensuring your employer is adequately handling injuries - but also checking what controls have been/are going to be put in place to minimise the risk of other workers getting injured in similar circumstances or due to the same hazard in the future. 

Employers have a duty to provide HSRs access to any information relating to the health and safety of DWG members under s69(1)(a). The only proviso on this is that if it is medical information then it must be either de-identified or the member/s of the DWG give permission for the employer to release this. Note, that you may get push-back from your employer who may cite 'privacy' and refuse to give you access to this information. However, medical details such as what treatment DWG members received, are not what you are looking for, and so this needs to be challenged. 

The sort of information you could request could include injury reports, incident reports, risk assessments (if they have been done), policies and procedures around injuries and return to work, surveys or any health monitoring (de-identified) done by the employer. 

If there are members of your DWG who have been injured at work and are either off work or been through the return to work process, it would be useful to speak to them about their experiences too. As the HSR, you have the right to consult with members of your DWG, so that could be another good starting step to take.

Remember too that under s35 of the OHS Act, your employer has a duty to consult with you as the HSR, when identifying hazards and risks, when making decisions about the measures to take to control these hazards and risks, when monitoring the health or employees and the conditions at the workplace.. and much more. (see: Duty to Consult). If this had been happening, then you would have been involved with how your employer responded to injuries in the past. If your employer has not been consulting with you, then raise this so that you are involved and I am sure that the situation at your workplace will improve greatly.  

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

Union warns crews at risk 

A screen industry culture is leading to potentially deadly levels of fatigue, a ‘Wake Up Call’ survey by the media union MEAA has revealed. MEAA's survey found two in three workers have fallen asleep behind the wheel either driving home from work or driving to work.

The members said the top three contributing factors were:

  • a working day of more than 12 hours (85 per cent),
  • working back-to-back weeks of long hours for more than a month (84 per cent), and
  • driving time of more than one hour at the beginning and end of the day (82 per cent) as the top three contributors.

Screen crew were virtually unanimous (97 per cent) in agreeing that employers need to do more to prevent this happening. MEAA said its survey was launched after a young crew worker crashed his car into a power pole in the early hours of the morning as a result of falling asleep at the wheel on his way home from work. “Thankfully he walked away unharmed, but it could have been much worse,” the union said. MEAA screen crew members will meet with the studios next year to negotiate offshore film conditions. Read more: MEAA news release.

Asbestos news

Dumped asbestos continuing problem

One of the issues identified years ago in a national review of asbestos in Australia (Moving Towards an Asbestos Free Australia) was the dumping of asbestos waste, partly due to the lack of suitable disposal facilities and partly due to the cost of disposal. A National Strategic Plan was consequently developed to implement recommendations from the report.   

This week however, reports in The Age show that the illegal dumping of asbestos is still a huge and possibly even increasing problem in Victoria, creating risks to the community and costs for local councils and the state government. 

It appears that truckloads of asbestos-ridden soil and building material are being dumped at an increasing rate on roadsides, private property and parks in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Reportedly, Hume City Council in the north of Melbourne has been forced to remove almost five shipping containers’ worth of waste over the past two months. Read more: The Age  

National Asbestos Awareness Week - new resources 

With one month to go until National Asbestos Awareness Week 2021 the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency wants to remind everyone that the campaign pack is live on its website to download and use.

New resources have now been added:

Held in the last week of November, the dates this year are November 22–28 with the theme “Think Twice About Asbestos.”

The pack contains a range of useful materials to use when promoting National Asbestos Awareness Week, including written template materialsprint assets (including posters and flyers) and digital assets (including materials for social media). In the pack there are materials for two key audiences – DIY and Trades.

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

PPE workers need our support

Melbourne-based company Ansell, and other companies in the personal protective equipment industry, have enjoyed record profits from the pandemic. But many workers in their supply chain are migrant workers in exploitative “debt bondage” arrangements – a form of modern slavery.

Migrant workers from Nepal and Burma commonly pay $5,000 to secure a job in glove factories in Malaysia – and then have to work extreme hours, while living in overcrowded company housing, to pay back these debts.

Victorian unions including HACSU, ANMF, and AMIEU (whose members use medical gloves in their work), have joined the international solidarity campaign to highlight conditions in the PPE industry, support workers organising, and demand the reinstatement or compensation for sacked union leaders.

Unionists can contribute to this crowdfunder to raise funds for simultaneous zoom translation to help workers organise across the PPE supply chain.  Read more:  PPE Workers Keep us Safe. They Need Our Solidarity Now. Megaphone journal. Donate now - every little bit helps!

International union news

USA: Union members warned of unsafe conditions prior to fatal shooting on movie set 
On Thursday October 21, police responded to a call on the set of Rust, a western being filmed near Santa Fe, New Mexico, after star and producer Alec Baldwin had unknowingly fired a prop gun with a live round, hitting 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest and killing her. Director Joel Souza, 48, who was standing behind her, was also injured. 

This is not the first time that a person on US movie set has been killed by a prop gun: the son of actor Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, was shot and killed in 1993. 

While such tragic incidents point to a failure in the protocols and procedures relating to prop guns, it appears that there were a range of safety issues on the set of Rust.  

Several crew members protesting what they believed to be unfair and poor working conditions had walked off the set and quit their jobs just hours before the fatal shooting, according to multiple reports, and employees said that “corners were being cut,” contributing to an overall lack of safety on the production. 

At least six camera workers left the set early Thursday to protest long shoot days, a lack of gun safety, and crew members being forced to drive 50 miles to work every day from Albuquerque, contrary to having been promised lodgings in Santa Fe.  Shockingly, according to at least one media outlet, there had been at least one incident of a prop gun misfiring in the week before the fatal shooting. 

According to the LA Times, when the crew members, who are members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union (IATSE), walked off set, they were replaced with non-union members and were ordered to leave the premises.

The current an inquiry into what went wrong on the set of the film has paused production indefinitely. In a recent development, it appears that the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that led to the incident had previously been fired from a movie after a gun was “unexpectedly discharged” on set.  Sources: LA Times, Deadline, Forbes. 

UK: NHS says bring back restrictions 
COVID restrictions including working from home must immediately be reintroduced if England is to avoid “stumbling into a winter crisis,” health leaders have warned. As UK cases of COVID -19 rise sharply, the NHS Confederation said the UK government’s back-up strategy, or Plan B, which includes mandatory face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, should be implemented to protect NHS services.

In the 19 October call, the confederation said many of the Plan B measures, particularly around mask-wearing and COVID -19 certification, are common in parts of Europe. UK rates are far higher than in most other European countries. Additional measures could include clear communications to the public that the level of risk has increased, introducing certificates for people’s COVID -19 vaccine status, and legally mandating people to wear face coverings in certain settings, in addition to considering asking people to work from home if they can, the confederation said.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK have been between 36,000 and 43,000 for the past few weeks. English hospitals have seen increases in COVID -19 cases of about 10 per cent. Deaths are averaging around 120 a day but on 19 October there were 223 deaths within 28 days of a confirmed positive diagnosis. Read more: NHS Confederation news release. BBC News online. Source: Risks 1018

Global: ITF condemns assault on inspector 
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has condemned an incident where one of its inspectors was physically assaulted by a ship’s Master and will now review the safety of all its inspectors. The assault happened on board a vessel which was being investigated for failing to comply with safety regulations, and for apparent irregularities in crew pay and conditions.

The company is a well-known European shipowner, with their vessel flagged to landlocked Luxembourg. “The ITF strongly condemns what has happened here: a physical assault against an ITF inspector who was just trying to do their job,” said ITF inspectorate coordinator Steve Trowsdale. He said details of the assault are being kept confidential as ITF explores options for pursuing the case “via legal avenues”.

ITF has 134 inspectors, coordinators, and union contacts that “do outstanding work” daily defending the rights of seafarers and helping thousands of seafarers every year, he said. But he added “our inspectors are not always welcomed with open arms by a shipowner or their representative on board – particularly if they have something to hide.” The ITF has launched a review into the training and support it offers to inspectorate officials. Read more: ITF news release. Source: Risks 1018 


Regulator News

Victorian news

Regulator reminder as more workplaces open 

WorkSafe has sent out a reminder to employers and workers as more and more places re-open after lockdown:

"Workplace incidents can happen when we lose our focus on safety. It's possible that adhering to COVID compliance rules has caused you to change your normal workplace practices. So while keeping your workplace COVID safe is essential, don’t lose focus on keeping your workplace safe from incidents too." The link at the bottom of the email goes to the Fatigue section on Worksafe's website. 

WorkSafe issues Safety Alert on Forklifts

Following the tragic deaths of two workers in separate forklift incidents in just a week, the regulator has issued a Safety Alert about the risks associated with forklift use, and the need to ensure forklift loads are secure and forklifts are operating within safe working limits. 

A 49-year-old worker was fatally injured when a large unstable load fell off the fork arms (tynes) onto him.

In a second forklift incident, a 25-year-old worker was killed when standing near a forklift being driven on a sloping driveway. The forklift tipped over, crushing the worker.

The Alert lists the following issues: 

  • Employers must ensure all precautions are taken when using forklifts in the workplace.
  • Unstable loads can cause forklifts to tip, or the load may fall, crushing nearby workers or the operator.
  • Forklifts must only be operated by high risk licence holders.

It makes the point that forklifts are a hazard and, where reasonably practicable, should be eliminated from the workplace, or substituted with other suitable load shifting equipment. If this is not reasonably practicable, the risks associated with using forklifts must be reduced, using engineering or administrative controls, such as traffic management plans.
Read more: Safety Alert

New Executive Director, Health and Safety

It was announced this week that Dr Narelle Beer has been appointed WorkSafe’s new Executive Director, Health and Safety.

Dr Beer comes to WorkSafe directly from Northern Territory Police Fire and Emergency Services, where she is the Assistant Commissioner for Regional and Remote Operations, based in Alice Springs.

Prior to joining NT Police Dr Beer spent 30 years policing in Victoria,  working across General Duties, Criminal Investigation, Corruption Investigation, Collision Investigation, education and in corporate management and policy.  She also holds a Doctorate in Police Leadership. 

Dr Beer will officially start at WorkSafe on November 3. 

WorkSafe Victoria's OHS Month events

There are still a number of WorkSafe webinars interested people can register to attend this week. To check out WorkSafe's events, go to the Health and Safety Month webpage.  

WorkSafe Victoria Awards postponed

A reminder for those wondering: WorkSafe Victoria has postponed both the Awards ceremony and the announcement of the winners. The event was originally scheduled to be held on October 7, but will now be held in early 2022. 

Safety Soapbox newsletter out now

The October edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox is a bumper one, with lots of news from Victoria and interstate. In this edition, the Manager of WorkSafe's construction program, Tony Cockerell, marks the 51st anniversary of one of Australia’s worst peace-time workplace tragedies - the collapse of the West Gate Bridge.  On October 15, 1970, thirty-five construction workers died when a 365 ft (112m) 2000-tonne span between piers 10 and 11 of the West Gate Bridge collapsed and fell 164 ft (50m) onto the Yarra River’s muddy edge below. Another eighteen were injured, many more suffered psychological injuries from this incident.

Other items:

  • A reminder to workers at risk of silicosis to be 'silica smart' and access free health screening at Australia's only dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic. 
  • COVID news: As construction reopens WorkSafe is responding by undertaking strategic visits to ensure that its enforcement activity is responsive to emerging public health issues and mitigating increased pandemic risk.
  • A warning to employers and workers to take trenching safety seriously. Since 2017, there have been four fatalities due to trenching incidents at Victorian construction worksites, highlighting the significant need to address unsafe trenching practices. 

    To reduce the risk of incidents occurring during trenching work, employers and self-employed persons need to be adequately prepared, have the right controls in place, and adhere to OHS rules and regulations. Safety Soapbox has a link to a new video on trenching.   
  • The list of incidents reported to WorkSafe: In September 2021, the construction industry reported 134 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 80 per cent resulted in injury.  There were two fatalities. One was due to fall from a height and the other is under investigation.  

Access the October 2021 edition here  - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from this edition of Safety Soapbox.

Australian news

WA: on track to increase protections in IR laws

WA's McGowan Government has re-introduced legislation which will boost anti-bullying and sexual harassment laws, inspector powers and penalties for non-compliance as part of an overhaul of its State IR system.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston, who was IR Minister when a previous IR bill was introduced last June, said in last week's second reading speech that the earlier legislation failed to pass before Labor's dominant win in the State's March election.

Johnston said the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 is "largely an embodiment of the 2020 bill", after the McGowan Government made an election commitment to reintroduce it and progress other IR reforms if re-elected. Source: Workplace Express

National: Clean Air. Clean Lungs

A reminder that for National Safe Work Month, Safe Work Australia is asking everyone in industries with a high risk of occupational lung disease to think, work and be safe. The national body has released a series of information sheets about different occupational lung diseases which include:

Safe Work Australia has also been running the Clean Air. Clear Lungs. campaign which provides PCBUs (employers) with information about how to identify and manage the risks of occupational lung diseases at their workplaces. For more information visit: National Safe Work Month CACL webpage

Key WHS statistics now available

Understanding the causes of injury and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and disease. Work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the community. 

Each year, Safe Work Australia produces national work health and safety statistics, providing important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australia. This is a good source of information for HSR 'super sleuths'!

SWA’s latest publication provides an overview of national work-related fatality data for 2020 and workers’ compensation claims data for 2019-20.

Work-related fatalities 2020

Tragically, 194 people were fatally injured at work in 2020.

Key findings reported in the latest SWA publication include:

  • The fatality rate of Australian workers has decreased by 50% since 2007.
  • 96 per cent of worker fatalities in 2020 were male.
  • Vehicle collisions accounted for 41 per cent of all 2020 worker fatalities. 
  • Machinery operators and drivers had the highest number of fatalities by occupation (67 fatalities) in 2020.
  • The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest worker fatality rate in 2020.

Workers’ compensation claims 2019-20

  • There were a total of 120,355 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia in 2019-20. This is an increase from 114,435 claims in 2018-19.
  • Body stressing was the leading cause of serious workers’ compensation claims in 2019-20, accounting for 37 per cent of all serious claims.

Read more: Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2021 report

New Model Code: how to manage the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone

Safe Work Australia has released a new model Code of Practice on how to manage the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone in the workplace.

This model Code of Practice provides information to help persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) understand their specific WHS duties for working with engineered stone and protect their workers from exposure to silica dust.

To learn more about silica, visit the SWA crystalline silica and silicosis web page.

Working with engineered stone carries a range of risks beyond those covered in this Code, such as manual handling. Safe Work Australia has published other relevant model Codes of Practice to help manage these risks including:

  • Managing the work environment and facilities
  • Construction work, and
  • Hazardous manual tasks.

To have legal effect in a jurisdiction, the model Code of Practice must be approved as a code of practice in that jurisdiction. To determine if this model Code of Practice has been approved as a code of practice in a particular jurisdiction, check with the relevant regulator.

National Fatality Statistics 2021  

Safe Work Australia last updated its statistics on fatalities on October 14, at which time it had been notified that 102 Australian workers had been killed at work this year. Fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 35 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 18 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 12 in Construction
  • 10 in Manufacturing
  • 6 in Mining
  • 5 in Arts & recreation services
  • 5 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
  • 1 in Healthcare & social assistance

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

Victorian employer convicted, fined $500,000 - but unlikely to pay

Global Renewable Energy Solutions Pty. Ltd. (in liquidation) supplied and installed solar electrical systems. In June 2019, the company was installing a solar electrical system on a commercial sized shed at a site in Werribee South. On 7 June an employee working on the roof of the shed (approximately 4.5 metres high) when he fell through an unprotected skylight, fracturing his pelvis and spine.  

At the time of the incident, there was no perimeter guard railing on the roof or fall protection around the skylight to mitigate the risk to workers of falling more than two metres. A Safe Work Method Statement ('SWMS') prepared for the solar panel installation did not identify the presence of skylights in the roof of the shed.

WorkSafe's investigation revealed that the company had engaged in unsafe practices involving work at heights across five workplaces in total. It had failed to use fall protection at a further three workplaces at Cobram, Newham and Corio respectively and failed to perform work in accordance with a Safe Work Method Statement at a workplace in Truganina.

Her Honour noted that the offending was significant in that it occurred across five separate sites and that the risk was profound and obvious

Global Renewable Energy Solutions was found guilty in its absence of a number of charges under the OHS Act 2004 and the OHS Regulations 2017, and was with conviction, sentenced to pay a fine of $500,000 plus VWA's costs of $5,613. However, being in liquidation, it is probably that this fine will never be paid. 

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

Qld: Mushroom farm fined $120K after worker loses arm

A Ballandean mushroom farm and its director have been fined $120,000 and $10,000 respectively for exposing individuals to a risk of death or serious injury under Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011, following a 2019 workplace incident where a worker sustained horrific injuries. The man had been emptying mushrooms from purpose-built racks in the growing rooms when he turned on the winch system to extract used compost from the racks. His left arm was caught up and traumatically amputated below the elbow. While he tried to remove his arm, the winch drum re-engaged, and his right arm also got caught. The drum immediately stopped rotating.

The worker managed to free himself and call for help. A truck driver gave emergency first aid and applied a tourniquet before the arrival of emergency services. The worker was airlifted to a Brisbane hospital. A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation found that the 30 year-old winch system was a custom-made piece of plant with no identifying make, model or serial number as it was built by family members. It also found there was no guarding on the winch drum to provide a barrier for workers operating it and there were numerous exposed parts of the plant that were nip and entrapment points accessible by workers.

The business was fined $120,000 plus costs of almost $1100, while the director was fined $10,000 plus costs of almost $600. No convictions were recorded. Source: Safety Solutions 


Events

November 18: VTHC Annual Young Workers Conference

Young workers are facing an uncertain future.  It's harder than ever for young people to access affordable housing, healthcare and to find secure work.

We're up against a Liberal government hellbent on smashing workers, selling out to their big business mates, and refusing to take the urgent climate action we need. 

To win a fairer, safer future for all young workers we need to make our voices heard. 

That’s why this year, the Young Workers Centre conference is all about building youth power - and we can’t do it without you! 

As part of the conference the Young Workers Centre holding a practical how-to on the skills you need to organise other young people in your workplace, neighbourhood or electorate.  You'll hear from young workers who are building worker power and community power and learn the skills needed to start organising yourself. Sounds good? 

RSVP and we'll see you there!

When: Thursday 18th November, 6:00 - 8:00pm 
Where: Zoom, RSVP now to get the link!

VTHC Training for HSRs and Deputy HSRs

With Metropolitan Melbourne still in lockdown, the VTHC training courses continue to be delivered online for the time being (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:

  • 8 - 12 November - Ringwood
  • 15 - 19 November - Werribee  (currently full)
  • 29 November - 3 December - Carlton (currently full)
  • 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:

  • 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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