SafetyNet 615

Welcome to the March 16 edition of SafetyNet.

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

Delivery driver killed 
WorkSafe is investigating the death of a 73-year-old man at Noble Park last Thursday. It is understood the delivery driver was attempting to cross Heatherton Road when he was struck by a vehicle at about 8.30 pm.

According to WorkSafe, the death is the seventh workplace fatality for 2022, three fewer than at the same time last year. The VTHC sends our sincerest condolences to the worker's family, friends and colleagues. No worker should die as a result of work - all workplace fatalities are preventable. 

COVID Update 
Experts are warning that with a new sub-variant of Omicron now in the community, the numbers of new infections are likely to increase, once again - and appear to be doing so already.

The new sub-variant of Omicron, BA.2, is even more contagious, and it is taking over. On March 15, NSW reported 30,402 new COVID cases overnight as Omicron sub-variant infections surge.

According to a former World Health Organisation scientist, nearly everyone will catch the subvariant. Although the now-dominant strain is not as deadly as previous ones, including Delta, it is up to six times more infectious than the original strain of COVID-19. The virus is also up to 30 per cent more infectious than the initial BA.1 version of Omicron.  

The higher risk of contagiousness comes from the variant's superior ability to 'evade' immunity - meaning even triple-vaccinated people are susceptible to catching the new strain. More on the sub-variant: How much more transmissible is Omicron's BA.2 sub-variant? Sydney Morning Herald

As this new sub-variant continues to spread Victoria’s most recent daily tally of new infections has climbed to 9562 whilst NSW reports 30,402. The number of hospital admissions is creeping up, though those in ICU have continued to fall. These numbers highlight that we must keep taking precautions. 

Victorian figures, March 16:

  • 42,250 active cases  (last week 38,874)
  • 8 deaths reported today
  • 2,611 COVID-related deaths so far
  • 201 are in hospital, 24 are in ICU, and 6 of these are on ventilators 
  • 1,145,639 total number of infections since the pandemic began

You can check the Victorian live update here.

Australia wide: there have been a total of 3,656,931 COVID cases (3,429,179 last week) and 5,616 deaths. 

Worldwide: as at March 15 there had been 461,312,402 worldwide infections (449,453,561 last week). The number of official COVID-related deaths is now 6,071,564.  (Source: Worldometer.) 
Read more: Coronavirus; COVID-19 Victorian situation

How we live 
While more and more workers are now physically in the workplace, because there is a lot of virus around it is important to keep taking precautions, such a wearing a mask indoors when a physical distance of at least 2 m cannot be achieved and reviewing ventilation controls. Remember that all workplaces must still have COVIDSafe plans in place, to ensure that the risks of contracting COVID at work are identified and minimised. Mask-wearing and checking in requirements have not changed since last week. 

Vaccination update 
As of March 15, 80.27 per cent of all Victorians had received their second dose, 85.65 per cent had received their first dose, and 49.75 percent had their third dose. This is really not high enough! Australia wide, the figures are 80.74 per cent, 86.1 per cent respectively, and 47.68 per cent had received the third shot. You can check the ABC Vaccine tracker and The Age for daily updates. 

If you have not done so yet, please organise to get your third, or 'booster', shot as soon as possible. Remember that boosters reduce your chance of hospitalisation by 90 per cent against Omicron and your chance of death by even more. To book your third shot today, go to the Victorian government's vaccine booking portal here. Those in the community who are particularly vulnerable are now getting their fourth shot. 

COVID sessions for HSRs 
Would you like to know more about how to make your workplace COVID Safe? Sign up for our free online course scheduled on March 21 - 12.30 to 3 pm.  The session is geared towards Victorian HSRs, and will provide resources and information on how to exercise your powers as an HSR in helping prevent workplace outbreaks of COVID-19. It has been updated to cover the Omicron wave and the importance of Rapid Antigen Tests and booster doses - however if you attended the course last year the conversation around your powers at work remain the same.

April 5 VTHC Webinar - Occupational Violence 
Anyone can experience occupational violence & aggression (OVA) in their workplace. OVA can come in all forms from name-calling to physical acts of violence. Each instance of OVA can have a massive impact on the people involved. HSRs fight for safer workplaces every day, so join our OHS Network for a webinar and workshop on occupational violence & aggression.

When: Tuesday, 5 April
Time: 4pm - 5:30pm
Where: on Zoom 
RSVP for the OVA webinar and workshop here.

Ventilation webinar and workshop - if you missed it
The OHS Unit ran a very successful webinar on a very topical subject last week: Ventilation. The turn out was great, the presentations were fabulous, and the discussions in the workshops were very interesting. The team is currently editing it, and once this is done, we will load it on our FB pages and on the site. In the meantime, have a go at So Fresh: A Ventilation Game, that walks you through controls that can improve ventilation in your workplace. We also have a new tool: Ventilation checklist.  Read more: Ventilation and infectious diseases  

Is your workplace still COVIDSafe? 
Now that restrictions are relaxing even further, it can be hard to keep up with what your bosses’ obligations are, and what you can do as a worker. It’s important to remember that workers must be consulted as their COVIDSafe plan changes, if you’re worried or unsure about this, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our COVIDSafe team here. All workers deserve to have a COVIDSafe Workplace.

Ask Renata

Hello Renata,

My question is a little complicated: nominations were called for HSR and several people nominated. Since the nominations were submitted and closed, the workforce has been reduced by half. This has meant a big change in the size and membership of the DWG. 

Should it be required to redo the nominations process? Or can they just pluck those people who are staying on out of the original group of nominees?

My first initial query is: who are ‘they’? It sounds as though the election is being run by management, who initially called for nominations.  

If it is at all possible, I would recommend that you (the DWG) notify your employer that, as per s54(4) of the OHS Act, you have determined how the election is to be conducted – and that you will be conducting it yourselves, including the nomination process. You should seek assistance from your union if necessary. The union can also conduct the election. 

If you cannot achieve this, or if the employer quibbles that the election is separate from the nomination process, then I suggest that you request the nominations be called again. If there has been such a drastic change to the DWG, then it would not seem to be ‘due process’ to just have those from the previous callout who still happen to be there to be the only ones who can be elected. The change in the DWG may mean that someone who did not nominate may wish to nominate now.  

If you have any OHS-related questions send them in via our Ask Renata facility on the website. Your questions will be answered by Renata or one of the other members of the VTHC's OHS Unit.  

Asbestos News 
Asbestos warning to beekeepers 
Illustrating how asbestos can truly be a 'hidden' danger, the Australian Border Force has warned all importers of bee smokers about the rise of asbestos detections found in these products.

ABF says in its media release: "Asbestos is a Tier 1 prohibited import under the Customs Regulation 2015. Breathing in asbestos fibres can have devastating health effects and is known to cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma."

it reminds importers that unlawfully importing products with asbestos can carry significant penalties such as fines of up to $222,000 or three times the value of the goods, whichever is greater, and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

Battery-powered electric and manual smokers are commonly advertised to the Australian market on online shopping websites by international sellers, however the majority are cheaply obtained. The manual model requires manual force by squeezing a bellows constructed with woven cloth-like material that often includes a high concentration of asbestos. While the electric model has a small motor and fan contained within an attached handle. An insulation board situated between the handle and the canister is often made with bonded asbestos. Read more: Australian Border Force Newsroom media release 

ASEA Consultation on new guidelines 
The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency is consulting on the new Guidelines for communicating about asbestos risk which have been developed by the Agency in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. Also for consultation is the Communicating Asbestos Facts and Figures guide which is to be read and used in conjunction with the guidelines.  

The consultation is focused on asbestos communications, specifically the communication of asbestos risk. The guidelines are for anyone who has responsibility for communicating about asbestos risk with the public, and include principles for producing clear, consistent and complementary communication messages. They can also be used to establish effective processes for community engagement in both the workplace and non-workplace context.

The guidelines cover both communicating to prevent asbestos exposure and communicating in response to asbestos exposure. These can involve different communication channels, processes and messages. It is important that preventive and responsive communications are considered in tandem, as they affect each other and do not operate alone.

These guidelines are a ‘how to’ for developing effective messages and processes for communicating asbestos risk, in both preventative and responsive situations. To aid the development of effective messages, ASEA has also provided a companion document – Communicating Asbestos Facts and Figures 

Anyone who is interested should participate and make a submission, but the agency has nominated unions and worker representatives, and employer representatives as one of the groups it particularly wants to hear from.

Consultation open: Asbestos Risk Communications Guidelines and Asbestos Facts and Figures The information and papers can be accessed on the ASEA website. For more information, please contact ASEA directly at e[email protected]

Russia: Increasing Profits in Asbestos Sector
A subsidiary of Russia’s 2nd biggest asbestos conglomerate Uralasbest on March 10, 2022 announced a trebling of net profits from the sale of asbestos-cement building products for 2021 compared to 2020. In the media release, the Belgorodasbestocement company said that over the same period revenue rose by 37.2%. The company, established in 1952, exports asbestos-cement roofing material as well as pipes. See: Белгородасбестоцемент” в 2021г увеличил чистую прибыль в 3,4 раза на фоне роста выручки [“Belgorodasbestocement] (in Russian) Increased net profit by 3.4 times in 2021 against the background of revenue growth]. Source: IBAS

Italy: Asbestos in Schools
Italy’s asbestos legacy has led to the widespread presence of toxic products throughout the educational infrastructure which continues to endanger the lives of all school users including teachers, staff and children. Although the law has banned the use of asbestos in Italy in 1992, remediation efforts have been slow as a result of which the built and natural environment remain contaminated. Efforts by civil society groups to press the Ministry of Education to adopt a 2030 deadline for the eradication of asbestos in schools are ongoing. Read more: Amianto ed eternit al bando da 30 anni, ma ancora in 2.300 scuole: ogni giorno lo respirano 50mila docenti e Ata e 350mila alunni [Asbestos and eternit banned for 30 years, but still in 2,300 schools: 50 thousand teachers and staff and 350 thousand pupils breathe it every day] Source: IBAS

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

International Union News
UK: Violence at work treaty ratified 
The UK's peak union council, the TUC has welcomed the UK government signing on to a international treaty on prevention of violence at work. Commenting on the 7 March ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Violence and Harassment Convention – Convention 190 - TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ratifying the convention is a welcome statement of intent. Unions have campaigned hard for several years to get global protection against workplace violence and harassment, and today's ratification will help to get other nations signed up too. It now comes down to the action and enforcement that follows. No matter who you are, or the job you do, you should be safe from violence and harassment at work. But each year thousands of UK workers are assaulted, abused and harassed while trying to do their job. And we have even seen a rise in violence and abuse towards key workers in the pandemic.”

The TUC leader added: “Unions, government and industry must now work together on the laws and workplace policies needed to prevent abuse and punish those responsible. This should include recognising that not every worker faces the same risks. Insecure workers, frontline staff, women, Black workers and those with other protected characteristics face greater risks that must be addressed.” 
Read more: TUC news release.ITUC Convention 190 campaign toolkitILO Convention 190, Violence and harassment convention 2019. Source: Risks 1035

Global: ITF launches sanitation right toolkit
A new toolkit containing resources for transport workers to win sanitation rights has been launched by the sector’s global union ITF. The toolkit includes key information about health risks related to a lack of access to toilet and welfare facilities, checklists for negotiators and model contact language. ITF says sanitation rights are human rights, yet for far too long, transport workers have been denied basics like access to toilets and washing facilities, adding poor sanitation comes at the high cost of workers’ safety, health and dignity. The toolkit also includes examples of successful sanitation campaigns undertaken by ITF affiliated unions. The global union notes many of the resources in this toolkit have been developed by, or in collaboration with, its affiliated unions around the world and will be continually updated. It includes a Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter. 
Read more: ITF news releaseSanitation Toolkit and Sanitation Charter

Europe: Stress campaign reaches European Parliament 
A call for a European Union-wide stress law has been ‘well-received’ by the European Parliament’s employment committee, the unions behind the initiative have said. Their draft report on Mental Health in the Digital World of Work, presented to the committee on 28 February, includes the call for a directive on work-related psychosocial risks. The report, part of the Eurocadres and ETUC ‘’ campaign, is the second parliamentary report to call on the European Commission to move forward with legislation.

It followed Danish MEP Marianne Vind’s report, A new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work post 2020. Reacting after the latest employment committee discussion, Eurocadres president Nayla Glaise noted: “In the coming weeks we are hopeful that MEPs will adopt two separate reports that call for a directive on work-related psychosocial risks.” She added: “The message to the Commission from MEPs is clear – European workers need strong legislative protection from work organisations that are unfit for the modern age.” Research from the EndStress campaign has shown that four in every five managers are concerned about work-related stress, with 60 per cent of all lost working days in Europe attributed to work-related stress and psychosocial risk.
Read more: 
Eurocadres news release. Source: Risks 1035 


Rapid testing at work works well  
Comprehensive workplace rapid testing programmes to identify COVID-19 infections work well, give accurate results and are welcomed by participating employers, a study has found.

A research team from the University of Toronto, Canada, noted “one of the reasons employees in workplaces are at risk is that we lack information on those who are asymptomatic and infectious and could transmit to others within workplaces or their homes.” It added: “The transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in workplaces has been a persistent issue throughout the pandemic.”

The team examined a not-for-profit initiative created to mitigate COVID-19 workplace transmission in Canada, involving a workplace frequent rapid antigen test (RAT) programme and over 320,000 tests. The screening programme identified 473 asymptomatic individuals who tested positive on the RAT and confirmed positive by a PCR diagnostic test. One in 4,300 RATs was presumptive positive but later tested PCR negative so false positives did not meaningfully disrupt workplace operations, the study found. Most employers rated the programme highly and felt strongly that it contributed to workplace and community safety.

The authors conclude: “The findings describe a sustained and scalable implementation plan for establishing a frequent workplace testing programme. High-frequency testing programmes offer the potential to break chains of transmission and act as an extra layer of protection in a comprehensive public health response.”
Read more: Rosella LC et al. Large-scale implementation of rapid antigen testing system for COVID-19 in workplaces, {Full text] Science Advances, volume 8, number 8, 25 February 2022. Doi:  10.1126/sciadv.abm3608. Source: Risks 1035 

Regulator News

Victorian news   
Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2022 – public comment now open  
The public comment period for WorkSafe’s proposed Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2022 will close at 5pm on Monday 21 March, 2022. These regulations, to be made under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (the DG Act), will help ensure the safety of people and property and reduce hazards associated with the manufacture, transport, storage, sale, use, disposal and import of explosives. They also prohibit the misuse of explosives, provide for the management of risks arising out of security concerns associated with explosives, and for the safe location of vessels containing explosives while in port. For more information or to make a submission visit Engage Victoria

Psychological Health Regulations 
A reminder that the proposed Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations (proposed regulations) are out for public comment. There regulations contain a number of requirements that we, as unions, fully support. These include:

  • a duty on employers to identify psychosocial hazards and control the risk by first trying to eliminate them.
    Psychosocial hazards are defined as any factor/s in: 
    • the work design, or
    • the system of work, or
    • the management of work, or
    • the carrying out of work, or
    • personal or work-related interactions

      that may cause a worker to experience a negative psychological response that creates a risk to their health and safety. 
  • a duty to develop written prevention plans for certain psychological hazards. Those in the proposed regulations are:
    • aggression or violence;
    • bullying;
    • exposure to traumatic content or events;
    • high job demands; and
    • sexual harassment.
  • a duty to submit, in writing, a report detailing  'reportable complaints' (we don't like this term) - these are currently complaints involving aggression or violence; bullying; and sexual harassment  

Public comment on the regulations closes at 5pm, Thursday 31 March 2022. Find out more here.  Keep your eyes on SafetyNet, for material for HSRs so they can send in their views. 

New guidance - reminders
1 - On the Labour Hire amendments  
Three pieces of new guidance to support labour hire amendments in the Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (the Act), which commences on 22 March 2022:

The guidance has been made available in advance of the amendments taking effect to allow time for duty holders to familiarise themselves with their new duties. WorkSafe is preparing additional material, including case studies, to support the labour hire amendments when they commence.  

2 - On Rapid Antigen Tests
WorkSafe has produced advice on the use of rapid antigen testing as one of a broader range of COVID-19 control measures that employers should consider as part of their obligations under the OHS Act. Read more here.

WorkSafe Awards Dinner  
A reminder that due to the number of COVID-19 infections still being relatively high, WorkSafe has postponed its Awards Dinner to April 21. It's a terrific night - particularly for the finalists of the HSR of the Year Award - and for their workmates, colleagues and for their union. More information and to buy tickets.

National news 
National Fatality Statistics 2022  
Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics on fatalities since March 3, at which time it had been notified that 25 Australian workers had been killed at work this year. The fatalities have been in the following sectors:

  • 12 in Transport, postal & warehousing 
  • 6 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 2 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 in Public administration & safety
  • 2 in Construction
  • 1 in 'other 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. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Preliminary worker deaths webpage. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities database which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards. Note that the figures are based on preliminary reports, and so at times will change.  


Victorian Prosecutions

Company and director fined $320,000 after unprotected fall 
A residential building company and its director have been convicted and fined a total of $320,000 after a renderer was seriously injured when he fell 3.2 metres while working without fall protection.

Palladian Three Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court last week after earlier being found guilty of a single charge of failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risks to health. It was convicted and fined $250,000.

Director Sach Sackl was also convicted and fined $70,000 after earlier being found guilty of a single charge of failing, as director, to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risks to health.

In October 2016, the renderer fell 3.2 metres to the ground while working from an unsecured plank on the exterior of the second floor of a unit under construction at Pascoe Vale. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries including a fractured skull and brain haemorrhage, broken ribs, a punctured lung, lacerated spleen, fractured arm and fractured ankle.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the serious risks associated with working at heights are well-known and there is no excuse for failing to provide safe workplaces. "This was a blatant failure to protect workers, which sadly left one worker with significant injuries that could have easily been fatal," Dr Beer said. "Already this year there have been three deaths due to workplace falls. WorkSafe won’t hesitate to prosecute employers who fail in their duty of care to maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health." Read more: WorkSafe media release

Metro Trains fined $100,000 after arc flash injury  
The operator of Melbourne's metropolitan rail system has been convicted and fined $100,000 (plus costs of $5971) after a worker suffered an electric shock while upgrading train lines in 2018.

Metro Trains Melbourne Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risks to health.

In July 2018, a linesman sustained burns to his hand and required hospital treatment after a live wire caused an arc flash while he was installing a steel bracket on an overhead gantry near Kooyong Station.

The incident occurred during an electrical upgrade of the Glen Waverley line at the Glenferrie Road tram square, the level crossing where tram and train tracks intersect.

An investigation revealed a 600 volt feeder cable running into the intersection had not been isolated, because diagrams prepared for the work did not show where the live electrical assets were physically located.  Metro Trains failed to provide safe systems of work and the necessary information and training for identifying and isolating the tram squares; informing workers of the location of all electrical assets through sectionalised diagrams; and performing a site inspection where each asset was identified and isolated.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the incident was an important reminder of the dangers of working with electricity. Read more: WorkSafe Victoria media release 

Abattoir fined $55,000 after worker hit by forklift load 
A meat processor has been fined after a worker was injured in a forklift incident at a Colac abattoir in 2019.

Australian Lamb (Colac) Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Colac Magistrates' Court last week after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of failing, so far as was reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health. The company was fined $55,000 without conviction.

In October 2019, the injured worker was standing at a sorting table in the 'skin shed', while another worker was operating a forklift nearby. The forklift driver was lifting a load of sheep skins 4-5 metres high into a drum for salting when the 500-600 kilogram metal basket slipped and fell to the ground, clipping the worker. He was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital with a broken bone in his spine and damage to a shoulder muscle.

WorkSafe found that there was inadequate information, training and supervision given to workers to ensure they kept a safe distance from elevated loads. There was also no formal traffic management plan in place for the skin shed, and no mechanism was provided to secure the metal basket to the forklift.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said employers must do everything they can to ensure safe work processes, especially when forklifts are involved.  "Forklifts are among the biggest causes of workplace injuries and deaths in Victorian workplaces," Dr Beer said. "Even an incident involving a slow-moving forklift can have serious consequences."
Read more: 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.  

NT: PCBU charged with manslaughter, director could be jailed 
A Northern Territory PCBU that apparently failed to conduct a risk assessment for recovering a broken down mobile machine could be fined up to nearly $10.4 million, after being charged with the industrial manslaughter of a worker. This is the first industrial manslaughter prosecution brought in the Northern Territory. The offence was introduced in the Territory in 2019.

The PCBU's sole director could be jailed over the incident, after been charged with reckless conduct.

A 50-year-old worker was killed while performing work for the PCBU, Kalidonis NT Pty Ltd, in Maningrida in the Territory in March 2020. He was using an excavator to tow another, 36-tonne excavator, which had broken down, when the chain between the machines broke, recoiled and fatally struck him while he was sitting in his excavator's cabin.

In relation to the excavator fatality, alternative charges were also laid against Kalidonis NT: one under section 31 ("Reckless conduct – Category 1") of the WHS Act, and the other under section 32 ("Failure to comply with health and safety duty – Category 2"), with maximum available penalties of $3 million and $1.5 million respectively.

Further, the PCBU was charged with a category-2 breach of the Act in relation to an alleged incident involving the deceased worker that occurred eight days before the fatal incident, and the PCBU's director Theofilos Kalidonis was charged with a category-1 breach in relation to the fatality, for which he could be fined up to $600,000 and/or jailed for up to five years, and laid an alternative category-2 charge against him, which carries a maximum penalty of $300,000. The director was also charged with a category-2 breach in relation to the earlier incident. Source: OHSAlert

UK: Farmer sentenced after death of nephew 
The mother of a four-year-old boy who fell from a farm vehicle and was run over sustaining fatal injuries has called for a change in attitude in agriculture. Ms Sarah Nutter was commenting after farmer Brian Nutter was given a suspended prison sentence following the death of his nephew, Harry Lee.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard that on 8 July 2019, Harry was riding on the cab footplate of a telescopic handler driven by his uncle Brian at a farm in Newchurch-in-Pendle, Lancashire. As the vehicle turned into a field, Harry fell from the footplate and was fatally crushed beneath the wheels. The Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998 prohibit children under the age of 13 from riding on, or operating, vehicles used in agricultural operations. Furthermore no-one, including children, should ride on the footplate of any agricultural machine. Brian Nutter pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, a community order including 250 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay costs of £5,154.

The mother of the child, Ms Sarah Nutter said: “I hope the effects of Harry’s accident will change the attitude of people living on farms and make them think twice about the dangers their children are exposed to and how easily accidents can be avoided.” Read more: HSE news release

International news

Ukraine: Serious concern at Chernobyl workers’ plight 
Ukrainian nuclear authorities told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 8 March that the safety of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant could be compromised by the “dangerous and stressful” situation facing safety critical staff at the installation.

The regulator told IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi it was essential measures were taken to rotate some 210 technical personnel and guards who have been working there since Russian forces took control of the site almost two weeks ago. The Ukrainian regulator added that the staff still had access to food and water, and medicine to a limited extent. However, it said the situation for the staff was worsening.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi has repeatedly stressed that staff operating nuclear facilities must be able to rest and work in regular shifts, stating this is crucial for overall nuclear safety. The UN nuclear technology watchdog said the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure is among ‘the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security’. “I’m deeply concerned about the difficult and stressful situation facing staff at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the potential risks this entails for nuclear safety. I call on the forces in effective control of the site to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there,” Grossi said. Read more: IAEA update 8 March 2022Daily Mail. Source: Risks 1035 


HSR Initial & Refresher training

Trained HSRs are more effective HSRs - have you just been elected and haven't organised your training yet? Do it now! And if you completed your initial five day training then organise your annual refresher now. There are things happening in the OHS space you need to be aware of.  

Remember: under Section 67 of the OHS Act 2004 all HSRs and DHSRs are entitled to attend a one-day refresher course every year, yet many just don't get around to it. If this is you, then check out the courses scheduled for next year, and enrol now, before they fill up.  It's important to attend in order to keep up your knowledge of OHS law and practice up-to-date. In the past year we have had significant amendments to the OHS Act, new regulations (for crystalline silica) and new codes. Trained health and safety reps make a real difference in their workplaces, and it's great to meet with others and share experiences!

Initial course dates :  

  • 28, 29, 30 March & 11, 12 April - Trades Hall, Carlton/online  
  • 28, 29, 30 March & 11, 12 April - Online  
  • 28 March - 1 April - Ringwood      
  • 6, 7, 8 April & 28, 29 April - Trades Hall, Carlton    
  • 26, 27, 28, April & 4, 5 May - Trades Hall, Carlton 
  • 16 - 20 May - Geelong    
  • 16 - 20 May (Education Sector) AEU - Abbotsford            

Course hours: 9am - 5pm
Course length: All initial OHS training courses are 5 days.
Course fee: $870.00 incl. GST Regional: $895.00 incl. GST

Refresher course dates:  

  • 22 March - Bendigo
  • 24 March - Online   
  • 27 April - Trades Hall, Carlton       
  • 5 May - Geelong             
  • 10 May - Online
  • 26 May  (Education Sector) - AEU, Abbotsford   
  • 31 May Work-Related Gendered Violence (Education Sector) - AEU, Abbotsford

Other courses:

1 - COMCARE Refresher: Thursday 31 March 2022 - Trades Hall, Carlton*

3 - COMCARE Initial course: 7, 8 April and 20, 21, 22 April 2022 - Trades Hall, Carlton*

4 - 2 Day Manager’s Training Course: 5-6 May 2022 - Trades Hall, Carlton*

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


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