Union News

Another worker killed 
A man in his late 60s died after he fell about six metres at a business in Mordialloc on Friday afternoon. It is believed the man was cleaning a refrigeration unit when he fell about 2pm. WorkSafe is investigating.

The fatality brings the official number of workplace deaths this year to five, compared to three at the same time last year. However, the VTHC tally now stands at seven.

Industrial manslaughter - update
An important pre-election promise from Labor was to introduce a workplace manslaughter offence with jail terms of up to 20 years and maximum fines of more than $16 million for organisations. The Andrews Labor Government has announced it is establishing a special reference group to ensure the families of people killed in workplace incidents have a say in the development of its new industrial manslaughter laws.

Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said last week the Government had started working on the new laws and would be setting up an implementation taskforce, which will include the Workplace Fatalities and Serious Incidents Reference Group for killed workers' families. "We're working with unions, business and the community to implement critical reforms as soon as possible, to save lives and keep Victorian workers safe," said the Minister.  Read more: Victorian Government media release; Watch 9News video

Consultation LIVE SHOW - 7pm TONIGHT!!
Apologies for the late notice, but we invite all members of the We Are Union:OHS Network to participate in tonight's live show on 'Consultation' - always a 'hot topic' for health and safety reps. Sam and Luke have invited me (Renata) to be the 'special guest' and we will be going through questions we didn't deal with out last year's OHS Reps Conference, as well as giving participants the opportunity to have questions answered 'live'. To take part, just go to our We Are Union: OHS Network Facebook page at 7pm tonight. 
NOTE: this is a 'closed group' - so if you're not yet a member, then ask to join asap. This is where all our live shows will be broadcast. 

Ask Renata

Hello Renata, 
In the aged care sector do the MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) have to be in each location with the chemical or is one register for the entire building kept at reception OK? Our current practice is to have MSDSs in every location where the chemicals are e.g kitchen, pan rooms, laundry etc. Thank you

The regulations apply to all workplaces and to all employers, so if there are hazardous substances (or chemicals) in the workplace, Chapter 4.1 of the 2017 Regulations applies.

Regulation 156 requires the employer to ensure the SDS (the new term under the Regulations is simply Safety Data Sheet) for the hazardous substance is: 'readily accessible to any employee who my be exposed to the substance' –  so it's appropriate and would satisfy this regulation that these be located in each location where the chemical is stored/used. This would also include treatment areas, for example.

Obviously, all the employees must also be made aware of the SDSs and their location, and even more importantly, be provided with information and training on each of them – this is the general duty under s21 (2)(e) of the OHS Act.

In addition, Regulation 162 requires that the employer prepare and maintain a register. The register must be of all the hazardous substances supplied to the workplace. It must contain the list of the hazardous substances and also a copy of the SDS. This too must be accessible to every any employee who might be exposed. As it's a central register, this could be kept in the one place, as long as everyone knows where it is and it is accessible to them.

Check a summary of the Hazardous Substances chapter of the regulations, and also more information on Safety Data Sheets.

Please send any OHS related queries in to Ask Renata - your query will be responded to as quickly as we can – usually within a couple of days.

VTHC 2019 Kick Off
About 30 people attended the OHS Unit's 2019 Kick Off last Thursday night. They were given a report back on the activities and success of 2018 - in no small part due to their activism and efforts. The members of the team also reported on what's coming up in 2019 and everyone had an opportunity to provide feedback, ask questions and then socialise with other activists over a few drinks and delicious Vietnamese food. If you didn't make it, come along to our next one. Keep your eyes on the journal, our Facebook pages and your inbox for upcoming events.

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