Union News


Researchers at the University of South Australia are conducting an online study to investigate Health and Safety Representative's perceptions of the new OHS Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations. Participation involves the completion of an online survey. This survey only takes about 6 minutes to complete. Eligibility Criteria: Current or previous Health and Safety Representative - Able to read and understand English - Computer/laptop or smartphone with internet access

To access the survey, click here. The survey closes on Sunday!


OHSIntros this week released the second part of its trilogy on the history of OHS in Victoria. It may now be downloaded free from a link below. The 86-page document will be available for a limited period only, in the lead up to Victoria’s Health and Safety Month in October. The second part – “Commemorating the anniversary of workplace health and safety - from WorkCare to WorkSafe” tells the story of the implementation of the Robens-style Victorian OHS Act in 1985 through the WorkCare/WorkCover eras, then its revision during the WorkSafe era. This was when the regulator was adopting new thinking on reducing work harms across the state as the nature of work and the workplace was changing.

Source: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/ZnNP4zpfGt


Has the employer the right to enter the home for an OHS audit after an injury occurs while working from home?

This is a tricky question requiring consideration of both OHS and industrial laws.

We know employers must provide a safe workplace and therefore may be able to make the case for a home office inspection, but the success of that argument may come down the usefulness, or otherwise, of doing so.

WorkSafe guidance focuses on checklists for workers to fill out, rather than recommending employer inspections - though this was all pushed out in the context of COVID which is of course ongoing.

Consideration needs to be given to the injury, 'mechanism of injury' and legal considerations in balancing OHS duties with reasonable privacy provisions.

If a physical injury occurred because of a poorly setup workstation, or a slip, trip or fall, then a worksite inspection may be justified.

If a psychological injury resulting from work overload, intrusive electronic surveillance or workflow-organisation occurred, then an onsite inspection may be of little benefit because these are essentially system-of-work issues that can be reviewed remotely.

It’s worth noting - if an injured worker is on a return-to-work (RTW) plan, the employer has obligations to ensure the plan is complaint and safe. This too may necessitate an inspection of the work space.

Ask Renata at OHS Network Facebook or via email: [email protected]


On Monday 5th September Victoria recorded:

1,709 new daily infections 
4 COVID deaths
266 hospitalisations, 14 in ICU and 4 of these are on ventilators

Cumulatively this equals:

2,574,489 total Victorian infections
5,363 Victorian COVID deaths (an increase of 81 since last week)

You can check the Victorian live update here.

Australia: As of 5th September, there have been a total of 10,075,747 COVID cases (an increase of 62,430 since last week) and 14,078 deaths (an increase of 264 since last week).

World: As of 5th September, there had been 610,382,282 worldwide infections (606,251,788 last week). The number of official COVID-related deaths is now 6,504,020 (Source: Worldometer).

Read more: Coronavirus; COVID-19 Victorian situation.


89.32% of all eligible Victorians (5+), as of 5th September, have received their second dose, 91.93% their first dose.  For the third dose the figure is 69.7% (16+).

The figure for all eligible Australians (16+), for the same date is First Dose 98.0%, Second Dose 96.3%, the third dose 68.9% and the fourth dose 22.8% (16+).

Check COVID-Live for Daily Updates.


Last week, the Federal Government announced that the 7 day isolation period for positive COVID cases will be reduced to 5 days for most workers who no longer have COVID symptoms. This change will take effect from the 9 September. A 7 day isolation period remains for workers in aged and disability care. The Pandemic Disaster Payment will also change to reflect the shortened isolation period and will be reduced from the current $750.

Read more here.


On Wednesday 24 August, Ballarat Councillors awarded a $2 million contract to Pipecon Pty Ltd for a road reconstruction project. In March 2018 two local workers, Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins, were killed when a trench collapsed. In November 2021, Pipecon was convicted and fined only $550,000 for failing to provide supervision to ensure a safe workplace.

Pipecon are also under investigation for the death of a third man, Leigh Suckling, in 2020.

Pipecon's actions and the slap on the wrist they received inspired Victoria to introduce Workplace Manslaughter laws. Although Pipecon can't be charged with the new offence retrospectively, they should still not be allowed to work in our community again.

SafetyNet believe no level of government that should be awarding contracts to companies that negligently cause the death of workers. Councilors should immediately review this decision, award the road reconstruction tender to another company, and apologise to the community.

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living. We encourage readers to sign this petition: Stop Paying Pipecon

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