SafetyNet 332, July 29, 2015
Welcome to our weekly edition of SafetyNet, with the latest news in health and safety. Please send me your views and any questions you might have to email@example.com, and use the e-journal to promote safer and healthier workplaces. And please follow us on Twitter: @OHSreps
Thank you! Renata
I have a question in regards to drinking water within the work place. Other than an employer providing suitable drink water, is there a policy on how often an employee can get water as we have been asked to limit our filling drink bottles during our break times.
There's nothing in the OHS law which addresses this in detail, however the employer has a general duty of care to provide a system of work that is safe and without risks to health, and adequate facilities for the welfare of employees (Section 21 of the Act). The Workplace amenities and work environment Compliance Code provides further detail on what an employer needs to provide to comply with this duty:
34. Clean drinking water needs to be provided for employees at all times. Drinking enough fluids is essential for normal body functioning.
35. Water needs to be:
- free of charge
- supplied so that there is one drinking point for every 40 employees or part thereof
- situated within 30 metres of each employee or within reach of employees who cannot leave their work task.
So, an employer who is insisting that workers can only fill their bottles during break times is not ensuring that workers have access at all times.
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.
Post Script from last week's question on Office Temperatures:
From John Lambert, a SafetyNet subscriber and mechanical engineer (who design air conditioning systems). He said, "You are right re individual differences. However there is a gender issue that makes things worse. On average, men are happy with a temperature of around 21 degrees C when working in an office environment - women are happy with a temperature of around 23 degrees C when working in an office environment." Well, that's another complication that gives support to the 'you can't keep 100% of people happy 100% of the time'!
Two men injured at Phillip Island
On Monday last week two men fell while working on a cliff at Phillip Island, in south-east Victoria. Police said the men, both in their 50's, were abseiling as they undertook erosion works for Phillip Island Nature Parks at Cape Woolamai, when they fell about midday. One suffered serious injuries, while the other was reported to be in a critical condition. Both were taken to the Alfred Hospital. Sergeant Bruce Kent, from San Remo, said of the men: "Very experienced, experienced with their repelling and experienced in that type of work but unfortunately something's gone wrong, which is being investigated by WorkSafe, and we'll find the reason as to why this has occurred." WorkSafe confirmed that the investigation had commenced, and could not, therefore, provide further information.
Source: ABC News online
Grill'd worker temporarily reinstated
Kahlani Pyrah, a brave young worker who was sacked by fast food company Grill'd in June after complaining about being underpaid, has been reinstated after an interim ruling by the Federal Circuit Court. Kahlani, 20, had worked at Grill'd Camberwell for 12 months before realising she and other workers were being paid at a flat rate that was less than the award wage and were not receiving penalty rates they were entitled to.
The interim ruling means she can proceed with a case to challenge Grill'd's 2007 workplace agreement, which was due to begin this week. The judge also ruled Kahlani would not actually work in the restaurant or be paid until a bullying claim is heard in late August. The employer, in denying Kahlani was dismissed after trying to terminate a workplace agreement, claimed she was sacked after it investigated bullying claims made against her.
Kahlani was happy with the ruling, and said, "This is a really strong message to workers everywhere that we can stand up for our rights and when we stand up together we can win – that's what being in a union is all about. A huge thanks to everyone for all the support and solidarity." Kahlani has been supported by her union, United Voice, and has also had broad community support via Facebook and an online petition signed by over 24,000 people.
Read more: Melbourne Grill'd worker Kahlani Pyrah reinstated following interim court ruling ABC News online
Hospitality workers invited to tell their story
As a result of what happened to Kahlani, she and her union, United Voice, are inviting hospitality workers to fill in a short survey to tell their story – particularly if they have been bullied or harassed. If you are not a hospitality worker, but have friends or family in the hospitality industry, pass on the link. The survey is not very long, and will provide useful and up to date information on how much workers are really being paid.
Go to this page to fill out the survey.
Businessmen charged for exploiting backpackers
In another case of young and vulnerable workers being exploited, two Melbourne businessmen have been fined and criticised for paying themselves wages totalling almost $500,000, while some of the young, overseas backpackers they employed were paid nothing at all. Jonathan Paul William Stielow and Claudio Salvador Locaso have each been fined $11,880 after admitting a company they formerly owned and operated underpaid eight employees a total of $14,964. The penalties - 90 per cent of the possible maximums - have been imposed in the Federal Circuit Court following an investigation and litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Seven of the employees were overseas workers on 417
working holiday visas, including three aged 19-20 at the time. The other
underpaid employee was an Australian university student. They travelled
door-to-door offering free power boards to households and offering to
install them free-of-charge. Seven of the workers were paid nothing,
despite them working between 50 and 117 hours. With such blatant
exploitation, SafetyNet wonders whether the men took any precautions to
protect the health and safety of these young workers – we doubt it.
Read more: Fair Work Ombudsman Media Release
VTHC Health and Safety Reps Conference
Just a reminder to make sure you have the date in your diaries and have alerted your employer you will be attending the VTHC OHS Reps Conference on Tuesday October 27. No more detail as yet – other than to say it will be a unique opportunity to meet up with other reps from around the state. Early planning involves organising keynote and other speakers, such as the Minister Robin Scott, and Ms Claire Amies, WorkSafe's Chief Executive. Remember: elected HSRs will have the right to paid leave to attend the conference under Section 69 of the OHS Act.
Herald Sun Home Show, August 13 – 16
As it has in the past few years, the asbestos diseases support and advocacy organisation Asbestoswise will be hosting a stand at this year's Herald Sun Home Show (at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre). The organisation will provide information and advice to the many prospective home renovators who, given the widespread use of asbestos in domestic homes in the past, are very likely to come across find asbestos. A number of asbestos removalists will also be available to answer questions. In addition, Asbestoswise will be surveying people as part of a grant received from the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to look into the extent of knowledge potential DYI renovators may have. If you or any of your friends and relatives are going to the Home Show, come along to the Asbetoswise stand, meet one of the volunteers and get some information
Victoria: residents angered by poor practices at Bulla landfill
Last week Asbestoswise was contacted by TV program A Current Affair to provide comment on footage captured by a resident of the way asbestos waste was being mishandled by the Bulla landfill – a site licensed by the EPA to accept both domestic and commercial asbestos waste. The law requires that before asbestos waste or asbestos containing materials can be accepted into licensed landfills, the waste must be double wrapped, sealed and labelled, in order to prevent fibres escaping. A landfill must comply with a number of stringent conditions to ensure that the asbestos will not create problems in the future. Despite community uproar in 2012, it appears as though there are ongoing breaches at the Bulla site: putting workers, and potentially many nearby residents at risk. SafetyNet editor Renata, who is also the Secretary of Asbestoswise, provided comment for the program's investigation.
Check the item on A Current Affair
ACT: Just one more cancer from Mr Fluffy house exposure?
Emeritus professor Bruce Armstrong, a leading public health expert, has estimated that just one additional person will likely be diagnosed with cancer caused by loose-fill Mr Fluffy asbestos in Canberra. Professor Armstrong, from University of Sydney's School of Public Health, is a member of a study examining the health effects of living in a house with loose-fill asbestos. He has estimated an average concentration of 0.001 fibres per millilitre of air inside these homes. "If we accept that assumption then we come up with about 16 instances of mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by asbestos in 100,000 people over a lifetime," he told the ABC. Translating that to numbers (people who lived in Mr Fluffy houses) would mean an extra case of cancer.
But Professor Armstrong warned the estimates were uncertain due to limited evidence about the level of asbestos exposure in Mr Fluffy houses. The chances of developing an asbestos-related cancer increase with increased exposure – and people who have lived in Mr Fluffy homes would have been exposed to higher levels than the general population. In any case, there is no 'safe' level of exposure.
So far, under the testing program introduced by the NSW government, a total of 72 homes in that state have tested positive for loose-fill asbestos insulation.
Read more: Mr Fluffy asbestos: Additional person likely diagnosed with cancer from living in contaminated home, expert says ABC news online; NSW Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Update
ASEA: 2nd International Asbestos Conference registration now open
Reminder that the Early Bird registration is now open for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) second International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management, which will be held during National Asbestos Awareness Month, from the 22 to the 24 of November. The conference will this year be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane. While the conference fees are high for 'commercial' organisations, there is a reduced fee ($350 early bird for both days) for community organisations. Please go to the ASEA Conference page for more information and to register.
Italy: Asbestos verdict delayed
Asbestos victims reacted angrily, last Friday, after a Turin Court deferred judgment in a case against billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny (see: SafetyNet 331). A bereaved husband from Casale Monferrato criticized this "farce" as a delaying tactic while Bruno Pesce, from an asbestos victims' group, said "If the Constitutional Court were to agree with the defence, it would be incomprehensible that one can cancel a murder trial because there has already been a trial for [environmental] disaster."
Source: IBAS Secretariat News
Italy: Pirelli managers convicted over asbestos deaths
In better news: A Milan court has convicted eleven former Pirelli managers of culpable homicide over the deaths of some 20 workers from asbestos related cancers. The workers were employed at the company's Milan plants in the 1970s and 1980s. The court gave the managers, which included two ex-CEOs, jail terms of up to seven years and eight months. All eleven were Pirelli board members between 1979 and 1989 when, prosecutors said, workers were exposed to asbestos. Lawyers for Pirelli have said they will appeal against the convictions. They were confident in how managers responded "on the basis of scientific evidence available to date." Several relatives of victims who were in the court cheered on hearing the verdicts and two victims' associations admitted as 'civil plaintiffs' in the trial displayed banners. "We showed that when you are united, you can win," they said. "This time the bosses have been convicted." Most families have already settled compensation claims out of court, although the court awarded more than €500,000 (A$ 762,850) in damages to one family and other injured parties.
Source: Risks 712
UK: Supreme Court Win for Victims
Asbestos victims in the UK have welcomed the majority decision of July 22, 2015 of the Supreme Court in the case of Coventry and Others v Lawrence and Another regarding the recovery of litigation costs such as success fees and after-the-event insurance premiums. The Court agreed that provisions of the Access of Justice Act 1999 did not constitute a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and highlighted the flaws in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which curtailed access to justice."
Read more: Supreme Court finds conditional fee agreements in line with human rights treaty. Source: IBAS
US: Doctors want more research on cancer related to asbestos
An article in a US paper this week highlighted that despite over 3000 cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed in that country each year, very little research on a cure has been done – the same applies to Australia. To date, treatment has been primarily palliative, that is to ease the suffering. But that may be changing. According to the article, there are at least 20 clinical trials underway and the FDA recently gave a 'special designation' to a promising new drug.
"Really, treatment since the early 2000s has not changed for mesothelioma," said Dr Julie Renee Brahmer, an associate professor of oncology and interim director at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Bayview, who is participating in some of the clinical trials. "Mesothelioma is such a slow-growing disease that it is insidious, and we need to find better ways to treat people." The average mesothelioma patient will live only 7 to 17 months after diagnosis. As a result most of the attention on mesothelioma has been on litigation rather than developing treatments.
Read more: Little research of rare lung cancer after years of deaths Baltimore Sun
Mauritius: asbestos still banned – we think!
The Mauritius Ministry of Commerce recently decided to allow the import of asbestos goods to recommence – despite a long-standing ban. That decision led to a protest in front of the Ministry of Commerce headquarters in Port Louis, the capital of the country, last month by members of a labor confederation. According to news reports, the import of asbestos- containing products had been banned since 1999. At a press conference on July 24, however, the Minister of Health of Mauritius Anil Gayan gave assurances that apparently there were no plans to allow the import of asbestos products into the country.
Read more: Anil Gayan – "Aucune possibilité d'importer de l'amiante" [Anil Gayan: "No chance of importing asbestos"]. Source: IBAS Secretariat
List of countries with an asbestos ban
Laurie Kazan-Allen, from the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) this week updated the list of countries which, apart from very limited exceptions, have a ban on all forms of asbestos. The IBAS website provides a wealth of up-to-date information on all matters to do with asbestos.
Read more: Current Asbestos Bans and Restrictions
Want to know about Asbestos laws and more? Go to the Asbestos section of the site.
FWC refuses to make findings on blocked bullying claim
A recent case at the FWC has again highlighted a flaw in the law designed to protect workers from bullying. A worker who was sacked after applying to the Fair Work Commission for stop-bullying orders has unsuccessfully argued that the Commission should make findings on and then adjourn until his unfair dismissal claim is resolved.
The Killarney Properties Pty Ltd employee's anti-bullying application was heard in the FWC in late May, but he was dismissed by Killarney five days later. The Commission then advised the man it didn't have the authority to make a stop-bullying order because his sacking meant there was no risk of him being bullied at Killarney in future (as required under s789FF of the Fair Work Act)... because of course, he no longer worked there! What this means is that workers who are sacked by their employer subsequent to lodging an anti-bullying claim cannot have their cases heard by the FWC. This has already occurred a number of times.
Adam Goodes: victim of bullying
The consistent booing of AFL player and former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes by football fans is not only racist, but a form of (mass) bullying. Almost worse than the crowds are those media commentators who have suggested that Mr Goodes may in some way have 'been asking for it' or 'provoked the response' – which is nothing better than blaming the victim – as Jon Faine said this morning when a regular sports commentator said this. Today's news suggests that the behaviour of fans is affecting Mr Goodes to the point that he is considering retiring from the game. But he says the issue is not so much the pressure he is feeling after being the target of another torrent of abuse from a hostile away crowd; it is the negative influence the booing is starting to have on his teammates.
AFL Players Association CEO Paul Marsh said Adam Goodes could not be blamed for walking away from football if crowds continue to boo him. Any continued booing would be viewed as racist by the association, Marsh said. "The fact [is] that Adam believes this is now racist in nature and if anyone continues down this path then it is racism from where we sit and it should be called out," he said. "It's not good enough, it's shameful. I'm embarrassed to be an Australian right at the moment." The behaviour of the crowds is unacceptable and both the Sydney Swans, as his employer, and the AFL must take action.
Read more: Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes considering retirement over booing scandal The Age; Media Statement AFL Players Association
Victorian Minister resigns following bullying inquiry
Victoria's Minister for Small Business, Adem Somyurek this week resigned following the outcome of a workplace bullying investigation. On Tuesday Premier Daniel Andrews released a report by former Office of Police Integrity boss Michael Strong into the alleged bullying by Mr Somyurek of his former chief of staff Dimity Paul. Despite his resignation, Mr Somyurek maintained his innocence and that none of the allegations against him had been proved. "I've been cleared of the substantial allegations of bullying and intimidation," he said.
Mr Andrews, however, said that Justice Strong made adverse findings in relation to a number of inappropriate incidents, making Mr Somyurek's position untenable, and asked for his resignation.
Read more: Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek resigns from Victorian Cabinet following bullying probe ABC News online; Matters concerning the Minister for Small Business and Trade [pdf] Report of the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, 21 July, 2015
Read more on Bullying on the website.
Bangladeshi photo exhibition in Sydney: 13 July - 28 August
The "Murder Not Tragedy" Exhibition of photos from the Drik Gallery (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
continues at the UTS, Sydney. The exhibition features photographs following the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in Dhaka, in which over 1300 workers were killed. If you missed the exhibition in Melbourne, and are in Sydney, please make an effort to get there. UTS, Level 4 Breakout Space, City Campus Library
More details here.
UK: Government takes a swipe at safety reps
The TUC has warned the UK government's Trade Union Bill will not only damage productivity and civil liberties, but put lives at risk at work. UK's peak union body said the Bill could dramatically cut the time union safety reps have to carry out their functions and get trained. TUC's head of safety Hugh Robertson said, "In the case of HSRs ... there is a legal duty on the employer to give them as much paid time off as they need to undertake their activities... That is laid down in regulation. It is absolute. The regulations do not say that the employer can decide to restrict this time. If a representative needs it, they need it, and it will vary from week to week."
But he warned two features of the Bill could affect this: firstly it imposes a pointless burden on public sector employers who have at least one union HSR to record and publish all the time taken and any facilities provided. "Even more dangerous," he said, "is the proposal to allow ministers to restrict the rights to time off given to union health and safety representatives by amending the Health and Safety at Work Act. All they have to do is introduce new regulations. This is a really vindictive proposal, and of course an underhand one - sneaking in the right to make changes by Statutory Instrument into a much wider Bill." He added, "At no time have the government given any justification for this proposal." The TUC's The Union Effect report shows union HSRs save lives and prevent injuries and illnesses. Workplaces with union representatives and a joint safety committee have half the serious injury rate of those without. Robertson said, "Any reasonable employer welcomes the presence of health and safety representatives, including most in the public sector. That is why this move makes absolutely no sense from a regulatory point of view. It will not save money or remove bureaucracy, nor will it improve safety. It is simply an ideologically-led knee-jerk reaction."
Source: Risks 712
UK: Fracking funded study admits safety concerns
A report by the UK Task Force on Shale Gas has called for greater safety and transparency measures to be implemented before widespread fracking occurs across the country. The task force, which is led by a former Environment Agency head and which is funded by the shale gas industry, has called for 'full disclosure' of all chemicals to be used by the industry, as well as independent monitoring of the fracking process.
While much public concern around the world has focused on environmental risks, fracking in the US has been linked to high exposures to potentially deadly silica in fracking workers, and a number of deaths have been attributed by regulators to occupational exposure to chemicals during fracking operations. Other studies have identified elevated exposures to cancer-causing chemicals in the vicinity of fracking sites.
The task force said it believed that the risk level associated with the public health hazards from fracking are "acceptable provided that the well is properly drilled, protected, monitored and regulated." Andy Rowell, writing on the Oil Change International website, which promotes the 'transition towards clean energy', noted: "So arguing that fracking is fine as long as it is well regulated, is like saying that the Titantic is safe as long as the deck chairs are all in nice regulated rows. No wonder the industry was pleased with the report."
Read more: Assessing the impact of shale gas on the local environment and health [pdf], UK Task Force on Shale Gas, July 2015. UK Fracking Task Force Calls For Improved Safety Standards Oil Change International. Source: Risks 712
Diesel alternative possibly carcinogenic too
Diesel engines are used in a wide range of industries, and their emissions are associated with chronic bronchitis, respiratory tract infections, asthma exacerbation and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. IARC designated diesel fumes as carcinogenic in 2012 – leading to the increased use of alternatives. However, a recent US study on occupational exposure to diesel fumes has found that although biodiesel emissions contain fewer particulates than traditional fuel, they cause the same degree of respiratory inflammation associated with lung cancer.
The researchers from the University of Arizona analysed multiple health endpoints in 48 healthy adults before and after exposures to diesel and B75 (fuel with only 25% diesel) emissions in an underground mine setting - lung function, lung and systemic inflammation, novel biomarkers of exposure, and oxidative stress were assessed. They concluded that use of B75 lowered respirable DPM [diesel particulate matter] exposure and some associated acute health effects, but lung and systemic inflammation were not reduced compared with diesel use. The researchers said the findings challenge the assumption that reductions in DPM concentrations from the use of alternative fuels will lead to decreased chronic toxicity. Read more: Mehus, A, et al. Comparison of Acute Health Effects From Exposures to Diesel and Biodiesel Fuel Emissions. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 7 - p 705–712 doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000473 More information on Diesel fumes
Readers may remember that in February of this year the State government announced that James MacKenzie, chair of WorkSafe and the TAC 2000-2007, would be undertaking a review into both WorkSafe and the TAC (see SafetyNet 309) "to identify opportunities to optimise the effectiveness, efficiency and value of these organisations to the Victorian community". At the time, very little more was known – no terms of reference were released. This week, OHS blogger extraordinaire, Kevin Jones, reminded us all that since then nothing more has been heard. In Secrecy is hard to understand, posted today on his SafetyAtWorkBlog, Kevin sets out the questions he sent to Minister Robin Scott over two months ago - 'innocuous [questions] as they simply try to illicit (sic) the level of information that is readily available for other government inquiries.' He received a response from the Minister's office yesterday: "all details of the review are Cabinet-in-Confidence and therefore cannot be released until Cabinet has discussed the review." SafetyNet agrees with Kevin – why the secrecy?
Read more: SafetyAtWorkBlog Secrecy is hard to understand
Geelong move to begin late 2016
WorkSafe announced today that it will soon commence a two-stage relocation to Geelong, with the first group of staff making the move from its Melbourne headquarters in late 2016. One hundred and fifty five roles from across the organisation, covering insurance, health and safety and support functions, will be the first to transition to Geelong, temporarily joining TAC staff. WorkSafe will then transition its headquarters to Geelong by mid-2018, in a new purpose-built building, currently progressing through a tender process. A small number of highly specialised WorkSafe roles will remain in Melbourne.
WorkSafe Chief Executive, Clare Amies, said the organisation continued to seek staff input into the relocation and consult with union partners to ensure a smooth transition process. The VTHC and affiliates hope that the move will not make consultation with the key stakeholders – unions and employer organisations – more difficult.
Source: WorkSafe Media Release
WorkSafe now promoting "People at Work" tool
WorkSafe Victoria is now supporting the Queensland initiated "People at Work" tool which provides great guidance for workplaces to survey workers, identify potential issues such as stress, and set about addressing them. There was no 'announcement' as such that the VTHC is aware of, but quietly twittered last Wednesday afternoon. The WorkSafe logo now appears on the website, together with that of other regulators. The tool has some great resources – check it out now.
Safe Towns – coming to Moe
Safe Towns is a workplace safety program aimed at improving safety outcomes in Victoria's workplaces. The program involves a concentrated workplace inspection blitz by WorkSafe inspectors at targeted locations throughout the year.
During the workplace visits, inspectors provide practical and constructive advice about how to comply with Victoria's occupational health and safety laws, and advise how to fix any safety breaches they come across. Prior to each blitz, local employers are notified and invited to attend an information session to prepare for a visit from an inspector. This gives employers time to carry out safety checks and fix potential problems before inspectors arrive.
The next Safe Towns location is Moe – with the employer lunch scheduled for August 5, and the inspector visits August 17 – 21. Find out more and register for the lunch on the WorkSafe Safe Towns webpage.
The latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox was posted July 23 – it features Steve Darnley from the construction team on the incident notification requirements under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act. Subscribers may have noticed that WorkSafe has recently successfully prosecuted a large number of employers for failing to notify the Authority following incidents.
The list of Reported Incidents in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries from 2 July – 15 July 2015 is attached to the bulletin. There were at total of 60 incidents, including: 20 near misses, 17 lacerations, six electric shocks, four fractures, three amputations, three punctures and two each of broken bones and crushes. Several of the reported incidents could have led to fatalities: a glass panel falling five levels to the ground; excavators or other large pieces of equipment tipping over; workers falling from heights of over two metres; and finally, the collapse of a huge section of vertical wall at an excavation site in Glen Waverly.
Access the July 23 Safety Soapbox edition online, including link to the list of reported incidents.
Safe Work Australia
There has been no update since July 14, at which time 83 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work Australia. More information on which industries the fatalities occurred in is accessible on the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page.
SWA has also released the monthly fatality report remains for April – in which there were 9 work-related deaths reported to state and territory OHS regulators – fewer than the thirteen reported in March. All nine fatalities were male workers: three were caused by crushing, and two involved vehicle incidents away from public roads. One worker drowned, one was electrocuted, one was killed in an explosion and one was fatally struck by an unattended vehicle on a public road. The report can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
Virtual Seminars planned for Health and Safety Week
Safe Work Australia has announced that it will once again run its virtual seminar series throughout October, where they plan to showcase the latest thinking, innovation, research and development in work health and safety. This year, SWA will be discussing issues regarding:
- Healthy and safe by design – eliminating and minimising hazards before they enter the workplace.
- Supply chains and networks – looking after the health and safety of workers in supply chains.
- The manufacturing industry
Last year's seminar series can be checked out on this page of SWA's website.
ACT: adopts new Codes of Practice
Subsequent to the Safe Work Australia's approval and release of a number of Codes of Practice earlier this year, the ACT Government adopted and notified them on the ACT Legislation Register.
The Codes of Practice are:
- Work Health and Safety (Demolition Work Code of Practice)
- Work Health and Safety (Excavation Work Code of Practice)
- Work Health and Safety (First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice)
- Work Health and Safety (Managing Electrical Risks at the Workplace Code of Practice)
- Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice)
- From WorkCover NSW: Full Circle - a video showing paralympian and WorkCover NSW Ambassador Nigel Smith returning to his workplace 22 years after he lost his leg in a tragic "accident". The incident could have been prevented with proper training – as a colleague says, "Nigel didn't know the proper workings of the machine…" After the incident, in which Nigel's leg was so badly broken and lacerated that it had to be amputated a year later, the company's 'culture' changed completely. Nigel was invited to back to speak at Austube Mills Core Values Awards night, the first WorkCover Paralympian who has spoken at their former workplace.
- From WorkSafe BC (British Colombia)
- Latest video series about preventing bullying and harassment in construction. The first video in this series, "Builders, not Bullies", shows the character and sense of pride felt by those in the construction industry, leaving no room for bullies or bullying. The next three videos focus on the impact of bullying and harassment on workers in construction. The series was created by WorkSafeBC in partnership with the BC Building Trades and Construction Labour Relations Association of BC.
- July e-news with lots of safety resources including videos, web books, investigation reports and more
Victoria: Another company charged with failure to notify
On 15 August 2014, an employee of Modeland Pty Ltd suffered burns to his left leg when he was oxy-fuel welding and cutting. He was admitted to the burns unit as an in-patient to receive skin grafts and other treatment. The incident was not reported to WorkSafe either immediately or in writing within 48 hours. On 16 July 2015, Modeland Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to notify WorkSafe of a notifiable incident. In the Ringwood Magistrates' Court the company was placed on a 12 month adjourned undertaking, without conviction, and ordered to pay WorkSafe's costs of $560.
Source: WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings webpage
Bangladesh: Food chain fouled by industrial waste
Foods in Dhaka's top kitchen markets have been found to have a high level of toxic elements like cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead: according to experts, the result of severe pollution of soil and water.
A recent study, "Consumption of unsafe foods: Heavy metal, mineral and trace element contamination," conducted by the Bangladesh Agricultural University, found heavy metals enter the food chain mainly through industrial effluents, phosphatic fertilisers (especially cadmium) and the burning of fossil fuels (especially lead). The researchers examined samples of cereals, fish, meat, vegetables and spices from the capital's kitchen markets and detected at least one or more heavy metals in five out of 16 food groups. Pollutants from industrial sources put public health and ecology at risk when the toxic elements are discharged into nature. They also affect agriculture resulting in the contamination of food items.
Read more: Dhaka Tribune.