SafetyNet 341, September 30, 2015
Welcome to SafetyNet – read all about what's been happening in OHS here and everywhere. Remember: if you're an elected health and safety rep, register now for the VTHC HSR Conference, to be held during Health and Safety Week. Please send me your views and any questions you might have to email@example.com And please follow us on Twitter: @OHSreps
Thank you! Renata
ALL HSRs! VTHC Health and Safety Reps Conference – October 27
The registration is open for HSRs to register to attend the VTHC HSR Conference on Tuesday October 27; 8.30am – 4pm, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre; South Wharf, Melbourne. Meet other HSRs, skill up and learn how to advocate for safer workplaces.
- How to raise awareness and resolve OHS issues in your workplace – practical strategies and advice
- OHS indicators for workplaces
- Risks to psychological health (including bullying and stress)
program has been approved by WorkSafe under s69(1)(d) of the OHS Act. An
employer must allow HSRs time off with pay to attend on the day. The HSR must
give the employer at least 14 days' notice. (Deputy HSRs do not have an
entitlement to attend under the Act – but are welcome if they have made
arrangements with their employer to attend)
Register directly on this page of WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Week website. If you would prefer to register by phone, either contact your union who will arrange registration, or ring WorkSafe's Advisory Service on 9641 1444 or toll free 1800 136 089. More information, and to download a flyer go to this page on the OHS Reps @ Work website.
Bullying: is defriending someone bullying?
There was a lot of debate in the media last week regarding a Fair Work decision that a sales administrator bullied a worker, within the meaning of the Fair Work Act, when she 'defriended' her on Facebook. Much of the comment was that it was unreasonable that this should be defined as bullying. However, many of the commentators neglected to add that the 'defriending' was only one aspect of the administrator's behaviour: it also included calling the worker a 'naughty schoolgirl', lecturing her aggressively and accusing her of being 'disrespectful' for raising business issues, isolating her, and treating her differently to the other workers. For example, instead of taking just one day to process her paperwork, the administrator took up to nine days; she didn't acknowledge her or greet her, as she did the others, and more. In toto the sales administrator's behaviour clearly fit the definition of bullying.
Deputy President Nicole Wells said.
"A lack of understanding as to the nature of the behaviour displayed at work
has the proclivity to see the behaviour repeated in future by [the sales
administrator]. I conclude that there is a risk of [the worker] continuing to
be bullied at work."
Read more on Bullying
I have a friend who is a production manager and normally works an 8 hour shift in a manufacturing factory. Being a manager, he is on a salary and does not receive overtime. The problem though is that at times, after a 2-3 hour break, he (and others) are called back in to work another 12 hours. Isn't this an OHS issue both in terms of fatigue and potential errors both at work and the drive home?
Any worker (or manager) who is required to work a 12 hour shift after only a 2-3 hour break from a previous shift is certainly going to be very fatigued and at risk of injury.
The employer has a duty of care to all employees to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health so far as is reasonably practicable - and this includes safe systems of work. However, the Act does not spell out what is required in terms of breaks or lengths of shifts.
Under the old awards there was always a minimum number of hours between shifts - and this was usually at least 10 hours. This was so that workers could get home and get a reasonable amount of rest and sleep before having to go back. Any system which only gives workers only 2 or 3 hours is a totally unsafe and unhealthy system of work, and puts these workers at great risk.
There is guidance material on fatigue, and the employer cannot just ignore this issue and the workers, particularly if they have an HRS, have the right to raise this matter with them. Go to the Fatigue, Impairment and Shift Work section of the site for more information and links to WorkSafe and other regulator materials.
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.
information on amenities required on building jobs
In SafetyNet 339 a reader had asked Renata about the amenities (toilets) which should be provided to roadside workers. Another reader sent in the following comment: "Renata I think you will find that the Compliance Code for Workplace amenities does not apply to construction sites. The person making the enquiry said that the roadside workers were undertaking construction work. Maybe the guidance for civil construction might be a better fit." The reader was specifically referring to the Industry Standard: "A guide to managing safety Civil construction Industry". He said, "While this work is not strictly civil work (although it could be argued that it is) utilities do fall under the construction umbrella. The guide gives some guidance on what may be required on a site where employees are on the site for up to two days."
What the guide states is:
If works are between one and two days and there is no on-site toilet, arrange for an accessible off-site toilet for workers to use (eg a clean, well maintained public or other toilet) if it is within 500m of the worksite. If there is no toilet within 500m, the following applies to an off-site toilet:
- it is in an urban area within 15 minutes road travel, or a non-urban area within 30 minutes road travel
- a work vehicle is available for workers to drive to the toilet at any time
- the public must not be at risk from the arrangement (eg leaving the site unsecured)
- avoid creating a slip hazard in the toilet by tracking in mud.
If intending to rely on another employer's
facilities for workers to use, permission should be obtained.
If works are expected to exceed two days, an on-site toilet should be provided from the start of the works.
Read more: A guide to managing safety Civil construction Industry Standard
Asbestos diseases support and advocacy group Asbestoswise has released its September newsletter. The publication provides information on what the organisation is doing and has done over the past few months. Read more: Asbestoswise September Newsletter [pdf]
Building products with
asbestos found in NSW
NSW WorkCover has issued a prohibition notice on a building site in Sydney, following the discovery of asbestos in fibrous building panels imported to construct a residential building. The panels were imported from China and were thought to be asbestos-free, but subsequent testing by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) showed they contained chrysotile (white) asbestos. The expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels had been cut, and therefore significantly damaged on-site, with the builder ordered to engage a licensed asbestos removalist to remediate the site and remove the remaining panels. WorkSafe Victoria is currently producing an Alert to send out this week.
The ACT Government has introduced the Building (Loose-fill Asbestos Eradication) Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to facilitate the demolition and resale of "Mr Fluffy" properties. The Bill amends the Building Act 2004 to enable the ACT to issue a demolition order for an affected building without engaging a private certifier (which is basically a current requirement). The Bill also amends dangerous substances laws to ensure licensed asbestos removalists – not demolition workers - remove asbestos from Mr Fluffy sites, and amends land-ownership laws to ensure people who lose their houses under the scheme have the first option to buy the remediated land their house was on.
ACT: Inspector exposed
The demolition of 'Mr Fluffy' houses in Canberra has begun – and not without problems. It has been reported that the demolition of one home last month created large plumes of asbestos-contaminated dust, exposing a WorkSafe inspector. Nearby residents were not told of the incident, though WorkSafe ACT and the ACT government were notified.
government said air-monitoring equipment on the property's perimeter, set up
and analysed by a licensed asbestos assessor, found no evidence the fibres had
'breached the site's boundaries'. But
Peter Tighe, the head of the federal asbestos agency said air monitoring
outdoors was not totally reliable and the neighbours should have been told as a
precaution to reassure them they were not at risk.
Read more: The Canberra Times
billionaire Schmidheiny's business analysed
An analysis of the business interests of former asbestos billionaire Stephen Schmidheiny, uploaded to the Italian webzine Carmilla last week, framed a discussion of the fallout from current asbestos-consuming operations by the Eternit Group, at one time owned by the Schmidheiny family, within a global context. The feature contrasted the strict prohibitions on hazardous exposures in countries which have banned asbestos with the daily exposures experienced in non-ban countries such as Mexico and Brazil.
See: Il filo rosso dell'amianto e di Stephen Schmidheiny tra Italia e America Latina [Stephen Schmidheiny's red thread of asbestos between Italy and Latin America]. Source: IBAS
Denounce Flawed Report
In a September 14 press release headlined "The government buries individual access," the French National Association for the Defense of Asbestos Victims (ANDEVA) denounced a report used by the government to reject calls for wider access to social security benefits, including early retirement, for asbestos-exposed workers. The decision was, ANDEVA said, based on a financial analysis of costs that was "utterly wrong, both morally and technically."1 In an attempt to clarify the issues involved, a series of questions was put to Marc Hindry, an ANDEVA spokesman; the dialogue which ensued confirms a government determined to minimize liabilities at the expense of the injured.
Read more: French Victims Denounce Flawed Report IBAS
Want to know about Asbestos laws and more? Go to the Asbestos section on the site.
Brunswick Mechanic staff
flee collapsing building
In another example of a poorly planned building/excavation job, staff at a mechanic business in Brunswick were lucky to escape injury after the workshop's roof collapsed and a wall caved in. They were able to escape from the building yesterday morning, after one worker "heard the wall cracking". Moments later, the roof came crashing down, a wall crumbled, and bricks and debris fell across the workshop, damaging customers' cars.
spokesman for Moreland City Council said stockpiled soil from an adjoining
construction site may have caused the collapse - the excavation work being
carried out on the construction site was for soil testing purposes. That
property's owners have a permit to build a multi-storey apartment building. He
added that it was not clear whether the planning permit or Building Act had been
council issued two emergency orders; one to the auto-repair business and
another to the owners of the property adjoining the other side of the
construction site. WorkSafe Victoria has
confirmed it is investigating the incident.
Read more: Staff flee as Brunswick mechanic workshop partly collapses The Age
International Union News
UK: Union guidance on welding fumes
New guidance from UK union Unite is warning that 'welding fumes can kill'. The union says it is concerned about the long term health risks of being exposed to the fumes generated during welding operations. It says breathing these fumes can cause conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Welding certain metals is also linked to 'welding fume fever', it notes, which causes delayed flu-type symptoms. Unite says: "Employers have a clear legal responsibility to make sure that any welding, or similar, work can be done safely. This can be achieved through the use of local exhaust ventilation, or, if that is not effective, the use of respiratory protective equipment." The union adds: "It is very important welders are told and understand the risks, as without their employers and them taking the right action, even proper control measures might not work effectively. The long term effects mean that welders will probably not realise their health is being affected until it is already being damaged." Of course, employers in Australia also have duties to identify and eliminate/control hazards and risks, to provide information and training to employees, and to monitor both the conditions at the workplace, and the health of employees.
Read more: Unite welding leaflet [pdf] and posters [pdf] Source: Risks 721
UK: Teachers at increased risk of
UK teaching union NASUWT has expressed concern about the increase in violence towards teachers. Speaking at the TUC's September Congress, the union's general secretary, Chris Keates, said: "It's wholly unacceptable that increasing numbers of teachers are reporting that they are being told that being abused and assaulted is part of the job. No teacher or other worker should go to work with an expectation that they should tolerate violence and abuse." She added: "Where violence occurs, employers should operate a zero tolerance approach. In schools this would send a strong message to parents, pupils and local communities that such behaviour has no place in schools." NASUWT president Graham Dawson said: "We are proud to serve the public but it is time all employers are made to take their responsibilities seriously and do their jobs as well as we do our own. In schools, tolerance of violence and abuse is irresponsible as such an attitude betrays the young people and the staff who teach them. The only people who go to work expecting to be hit are professional boxers."
Read more: NASUWT news release Source: Risks 721
UK union guide: Tackling HIV
discrimination at work
There are more than 100,000 people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the UK, mostly of working age, of whom a quarter are unaware of their status. Most of those who live with HIV have normal life expectancy and lead fulfilling working lives. However, some people are unaware of the facts, and this can mean people living with HIV face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. The UK's TUC has issued a new guide 'Tackling HIV discrimination at work', to provide basic facts to help unionists deal with issues that might arise. HSRs and workers in Australia should find the guide useful as well.
Read more: TUC publication alert and guide, Tackling HIV discrimination at work. [pdf] Source: Risks 721. Find out more about HIV in the Workplace.
US: Farm worker
pesticide rules tightened
The US's Environmental Protection Agency on Monday established the first minimum-age requirement, of 18, for farm workers applying pesticides to fields. The change is part of a revision of pesticide rules by the agency, which acknowledged that previous regulation was not enough to prevent an estimated USD$10 million to USD$15 million in annual health costs due to chemical exposure among the nation's 2 million agricultural workers. "The existing rule was not working the way it should," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. The revisions to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard also change the certification process, increase training requirements, require tighter record-keeping and protect workers from retaliation when they report potential safety violations.
Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers union, called the changes "a dream come true" for agricultural workers. "We will no longer allow children to apply pesticides," he said. He also pointed out that DDT and two other pesticides were banned from fields through UFW contracts in 1967, long before they were regulated by federal environmental officials. Read more: Workplace deaths likely to reach highest level since 2008 LA Times
Noise and heart disease
research that should 'sound an alarm' for workers in noisy environments,
chronic exposure to loud noise at work has been identified as a risk factor for
heart disease. US researchers investigated the association between bilateral
high-frequency hearing loss – an indicator of chronic exposure to loud
occupational noise – and the coronary heart disease in over 5220 participants,
between the ages of 20 and 69. While excessive noise was "a potent environmental
stressor that may cause annoyance, sleep disturbance and psychological stress",
they found some evidence of an association between long-term exposure to loud
noise and cardiovascular disease both in the community and in occupational
settings. Workers had a double or triple
increase in the presence of coronary heart disease compared with those not
exposed to loud occupational noise.
Read more: Gan, W et al: Exposure to loud noise, bilateral high-frequency hearing loss and coronary heart disease, [abstract]Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 15 September 2015
Long shifts and health – two studies
1 - Long hours increase risk injury
A recent study has found that paramedics working shifts between 16 and 24 hours have a 60 per cent higher risk of injury than those working shorter shifts of between eight and 12 hours. It also found those working over 12 hours had a 50 per cent higher risk of injury than those working shifts under 12 hours.
researchers looked at three years of shift schedules for 4000 US paramedics to
determine the impact of working long hours, and also at the employers'
occupational health records. They found the risk of injury increased as their
shift progressed. "The nature of the job
requires physical strength to lift and move patients, clear mental focus to
deliver medical care in uniquely stressful and often chaotic situations, and
sufficient alertness to drive safely," the researchers said. This is of huge concern also in Australia, as
it is not uncommon for ambulance paramedics to work very long
Read more: Weaver, M et al: An observational study of shift length, crew familiarity, and occupational injury and illness in emergency medical services workers, [abstract] Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 14 September 2015
2 - Longer shifts: Nurses at higher risk of
Another study has also found that working shifts of over 12 hour is linked to an increased risk of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intention to leave among hospital nurses. In a large study, the researchers surveyed more than 31,600 hospital nurses working in 488 hospitals in 12 European countries, between 2009 and 2010.
In what are not surprising results, they found job dissatisfaction increased by 40 per cent among nurses working 12 hour or longer shifts, compared with those working shifts of eight hours or less, while the intention to leave rose to 31 per cent. The researchers said their findings contradicted a perception that longer shifts boost efficiency and productivity, while also offering increased flexibility and more full days off work.
literature tends to report that 12-hour shifts represent a way to retain nurses
in hospital clinical practice because it is believed to be the preferred shift
length and that nurses are more satisfied with their jobs: our results suggest
the opposite," they said. Employers
needed to be aware of the potential effects of burnout, which include a
heightened risk of making a mistake, poorer quality of care, compromised
wellbeing, and increased absenteeism and high staff turnover, concluded the
Read more: Dall'Ora, C et al: Association of 12 h shifts and nurses' job satisfaction, burnout and intention to leave: findings from a cross-sectional study of 12 European countries, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 23 August 2015
Reducing risks of prolonged sitting
Readers of SafetyNet will have seen many research items on the negative health effects – such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and early death – of sitting for long periods of time even in people who exercise regularly. Two recent research studies have looked at ways these risks could be reduced.
1- Fidgety workers at lower risk?
A UK study has found that workers who are restless and 'fidgety' may be at lower risk of developing these conditions. The researchers analysed data from a diet and health study of 35,000 women aged 35 to 69. More than 14,000 responded to questions on sedentary behaviours, chronic disease, physical activity levels and fidgeting. They found that while occasional fidgeters were at an increased risk of mortality from prolonged sitting, there was no increased risk of mortality in the moderately or very fidgety group, compared with more active women. However, the researchers recommended that more detailed and better-validated measures of fidgeting should be identified in other studies to replicate their findings and identity mechanisms, particularly measures that distinguish fidgeting in a seated from standing posture
Read more: Cade, J, Hagger-Johnson, G et al: Sitting-time, fidgeting and all-cause mortality in the UK Women's Cohort Study, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23 September 2015
2 – Best to target sitting time
The second study, also from the UK, has concluded that targeting sitting time, rather than physical activity, is the most effective way to reduce prolonged sitting. Reviewing the literature on tactics to reduce sitting time, the researchers found interventions aimed at increasing levels of physical activity were less likely to be effective at reducing prolonged sitting than other strategies such as the provision of sit-stand workstations. Other techniques such as encouraging people to self-monitor by keeping records of their own sitting time, setting individual goals for limiting sitting time, and using prompts and cues to remind people to stop sitting, were also found to be helpful in reducing sitting time, even when used in isolation.
Read more: Gardner, B et al: How to reduce sitting time? A review of behaviour change strategies used in sedentary behaviour reduction interventions among adults, [abstract] Health Psychology Review
And read the Hazard information page on Sedentary Work
WorkSafe issues media release on
quad bike death investigation
In SafetyNet 337, we reported on the August prosecution of Fosco, a dairy company which allowed its employees to drive quad bikes with defective brakes and without wearing helmets. The company had pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching the OHS Act over its failure to provide and maintain plant and a system of work for its employees that was, so far as was reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health, and was fined $40,000 – without conviction - in the Colac Magistrates' Court. WorkSafe laid the charges following an investigation into the death of a farm worker who was killed by a prime mover as he crossed the Timboon-Colac Rd at Bungador driving one of the company's quad bikes. The incident took place on 4 February 2014.
Read more: WorkSafe Media Release: Quad bike death investigation leads to $40,000 fine
moves to remove HSR and union rights
Despite 'little or no evidence' that these rights are being abused, the Northern Territory is moving to amend its Work Health Safety to limit union right-of-entry and HSR powers. In seeking public comment on the amendments, WorkSafeNT states: "The purpose of the amendments is to reduce regulatory burden to businesses and workers where the cost of compliance with the laws has increased without any tangible benefits to health and safety."
However if they go ahead, the amendments - which include removing
the power of elected HSRs direct unsafe work to cease; requiring people
(usually union officials) wishing to enter sites to help HSRs to give 24 hours'
notice first; and also requiring WHS entry permit holders give 24 hours' notice
before entering workplaces to investigate suspected safety contraventions -
will reduce workers' protections, and will allow employers who flout their
duties to more easily get away with doing so.
More information on the proposed amendments
Safe Work Australia
As at September 24, 120 Australian workers have been killed while at work. The fatalities have been in the following industries:
- 40 in the Transport, postal and warehouse sector;
- 27 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- 16 in Construction;
- ten in Mining;
- six in Manufacturing
- five in Arts & Recreation services; and in Electricity, gas, water & waste services;
- three each in Administrative & support services; and in 'other services'
- two each in the Retail trade; and in Accommodation & food services
- one in Health care & social assistance
More information on which industries the fatalities occurred in is accessible on the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page.
The latest monthly fatality report remains that for May 2015 – during which there were 11 work-related notifiable fatalities: eight male workers, one female worker, and both a male and female bystander. The report can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
From WorkSafe Victoria, three new Safety Alerts:
- Preventing collapse of bulk excavations which highlights the dangers of ground collapse in bulk excavations on construction sites and provides information about controlling risks
- Skid steer loaders – use and maintenance which provides information on type skid steer loaders and the importance of using and maintaining the safety systems of these loaders.
- Workers crushed in EWPs which warns of the danger to workers of being crushed against structures, while manoeuvring raised mobile elevating work platforms (EWPs) around or near fixed structures.
From Comcare: a Safety alert on Falling objects to highlight the importance of managing the risk to health and safety of falling objects.
Victoria: Cotton On enters into Enforceable Undertaking
On 16 September, Cotton On Group Services Pty Ltd entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with WorkSafe Victoria in relation to three instances of failing to comply with improvement notices. The notices were issued following the attendance by WorkSafe inspectors at Cotton On's Lara Distribution Centre on 28 August 2013. Two of the improvement notices related to manual handling issues and the remaining notice related to traffic management issues. As the company agreed to the Enforceable Undertaking, there was no fine or prosecution. No information regarding the Enforceable Undertaking has been made available. Read more about Enforceable Undertakings [pdf]
Source: WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings webpage
Victoria: DPP fails in bid to have fine for fatality increased
Despite a Court of Appeal concluding that an employer could have been, and probably should have been, fined considerably more than $250,000 over a fatality, it did not intervene and increase the penalty. Victorian Court of Appeal Justices Chris Maxwell, Phillip Priest and Stephen Kaye dismissed the Director of Public Prosecution's appeal against the adequacy of the fine, finding the DPP "failed to give the sentencing judge the assistance she needed to avoid appealable error".
In June this year Frewstal Pty Ltd was found guilty
of failing to ensure the safety of non-employees, after a delivery driver
sustained fatal injuries at its abattoir in September 2013. The driver had been standing on a loading
ramp when it collapsed after its hoist lug catastrophically failed. The County Court fined Frewstal an aggregate
of $250,000 for three breaches of the State OHS Act, each of which could have
attracted a maximum penalty of $1,299,240. The sentence was based on a section
of the State Sentencing Act 1991,
which states that if a person is found guilty of two or more offences
"founded on the same facts, or form, or are part of, a series of offences
of the same or a similar character, the court may impose one fine". The
DPP appealed, arguing the aggregate fine was manifestly inadequate. Justice
Maxwell found in fact, the penalty should not have been aggregated at all, as
the "three distinct failures by Frewstal, each continuing over many years"
weren't "founded on the same facts" and should have been considered
separately when imposing a penalty.
Read more: DPP v Frewstal Pty Ltd  VSCA 266 (24 September 2015)
Worker wins anti-discrimination case
Sometimes a worker can get justice elsewhere: VCAT determined that confectionery company Mondelez Australia discriminated against an employee when it failed to consider, or give him an opportunity to propose, adjustments that might have enabled him to continue working. The company dismissed the 63-year-old worker, employed for almost 30 years, after it received a medical report that warned a chronic elbow condition could flare up if he maintained his regular duties.
VCAT member Anna Dea found that the medical report
was based on a misconception of the worker's duties. This was further exacerbated by Mondelez management
being unaware that the night production line organisation already took into
account other workers' gender and physical capacity or limitations. She found Mondelez had directly discriminated
against the worker by dismissing him because of a disability, and ordered the
company to pay him $20,000 compensation for the shock caused by the summary
dismissal. She also warned that the
worker's claim for $261,000 in lost wages and entitlements (which she will
consider) is consistent with the Equal Opportunity Act and in line with what he
would have received under his award had he been able to continue working until
he was 65. Member Dea said, "I consider that to be an
extremely disrespectful way to treat such a long-standing employee and not what
the community would regard as fair."
Read more on Discrimination. Source: Workplace Express
NSW: Paper manufacturer receives $400,000 fine over forklift driver
One of Australia's largest packaging and resource recovery companies, Visy Paper Pty Ltd has been fined more than $400,000 following the death of a worker in 2012. A 63 year old forklift operator suffered fatal injuries at the Visy waste recycling facility at Smithfield on 12 December 2012 when a front end loader reversed into him. Earlier this month the District Court found Visy guilty of a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and fined it $412,500 plus ordered them to pay SafeWork NSW's costs.
Executive Director of SafeWork NSW (formerly
WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said despite being aware of the risks, Visy failed
to ensure the safety of workers in the yard. "The risk of pedestrians being
struck was known to Visy following an incident seven months earlier where a
truck driver's foot was run over by a reversing front end loader and a risk
assessment completed," Mr Dunphy said.
Read more: SafeWorkNSW Media Release
NSW: Company fined $225,000 for fatality
In another prosecution as a result of a fatality, Baker & Provan was convicted of breaching the NSW WHS Act and fined $225,000, from a maximum $1.5 million, plus SafeWork's prosecution costs. In May 2012, a fitter and machinist was killed when a crane he was performing maintenance on fell over and crushed him against another crane at a Baker & Provan site that supplied and serviced cranes for the Royal Australian Navy. The court found that the company failed to ensure the first crane was on a secure base while it was being worked on, failed to ensure at least one of the crane's locking pins was in place, and failed to provide a job safety analysis or safe work method statement identifying the risks associated with the task.
Mr Dunphy said the crane had been attached to a
temporary timber base – used for transportation – at the time of the incident,
and the risk of it falling over and striking the 48-year-old worker or others
was both foreseeable and significant.
US: Bayer settles blast
Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay US$5.6 million to resolve alleged violations related to a fatal 2008 explosion at its pesticide manufacturing plant in Institute, West Virginia. The blast, which killed two workers and sent flames hundreds of feet in the air, occurred 80 feet from a tank of methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic chemical used at the facility at the time. The settlement the multinational agricultural chemical giant struck with the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency commits Bayer to spend US$4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and response in Institute. Part of the money will also go to protect the Kanawha River, which flows next to the plant. And Bayer will fund US$452,000 in safety measures at its other facilities in Texas, Missouri, Michigan, and West Virginia. The company will pay a US$975,000 penalty to the government.
Read more: Chemical and Engineering News
At Trades Hall
(Corner Victoria and Lygon St, Carlton South)
VTHC OHS Training Centre
Remember that elected health and safety representatives and also deputies have the right to attend the training course of their choice – both the initial 5 day course and a 'refresher course' each year after that. If you haven't done your Refresher training this year, then register now. Below are the dates for the next few courses. For more details, and to download an application form, go to the Training program page (Internal link) or contact Judith Rodda on (03) 9663 5460 for any training related queries.
HSR Initial OHS Training Courses
|October 12 - 16||Initial||Carlton|
|October 12 - 16||Education||AEU (Abbottsford)|
|November 9 - 13||Initial||Carlton|
|November 30 - December 4||Initial||Ringwood|
|December 7 - 11||Initial||Carlton|
HSR Refresher OHS Courses
|November 25||Education||AEU (Abbottsford)|
The unit also runs Comcare courses and courses for managers/supervisors – check the site for dates.
Injured Workers Group
The Injured Workers Group Inc of Victoria is a non-profit organisation run and organized by injured workers, It was formed to provide clear and concise information on injured workers' rights under the Victorian Workers Compensation Act, to form networks between union and non-union injured workers, and to help injured workers establish links within their local community health system and other organisations that can offer support. All injured workers are welcome to attend its meetings, which are run at the Trades Hall at 11.30am every 3rd Thursday of each month. For more information, contact Peter on 03 9460 7592, or by email, or visit their website.
ACTU Health and Safety Training
The ACTU provides a number of courses in OHS and related areas. These courses include:
- Certificate IV in OHS Course, six days face to face (offered in two parts of 3 consecutive days each).
- Certificate IV in WHS (BSB41412) Upgrade (a one day face to face course). Attendance at this course will ensure graduates of the current Certificate IV in OHS will be compliant with the recent updated Certificate. This is also a prerequisite to the Diploma Course in WHS (BSB51312).
- Organising for Safer Workplaces (two days) and
- Workplace Bullying and Harassment (one day).
- OHS for Union Delegates – choice between a One or Two day course
For information on these and other courses, download the ACTU's course guide and go to the Upcoming courses page on the ACTU website or contact Anna Pupillo or Chris Hughes for more details (ph ACTU: 9664 7334).
7 October: AEU HSR Statewide Network Meeting
Australian Education Union (AEU) members are invited to attend a state-wide network meeting of the union's Health and Safety Representatives. At this meeting, HSRs will hear a report on Monash University's recent OHS survey of members, and it will provide an opportunity for reps to share their ideas, issues and challenges in their role as an HSR.
The AEU supports HSRs to promote and protect members' interests. HSRs play a vital role in promoting and protecting safe workplaces. This meeting will be facilitated by AEU's OHS organiser Janet Marshall, and Renata Musolino from Trades Hall. Light refreshments will be provided. The union encourages attendance in person wherever possible, to enhance networking opportunities. If anyone has any specific OHS issues to be raised at the meeting, please email Janet
Where: AEU Victoria, 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford, or online via computer (Online participants can ask questions and comment throughout the workshop. Preference will be given to members connecting online from regional areas. Instructions for those wishing to participate online will be sent by email before the event.)
When: Wednesday, October 7, 2015. 4.30-6.00pm
Registration: On the AEU Website
October - Dangerous Goods Advisory Group Meeting
The fifth DGAG Meeting for 2015, will be held on Wednesday 7th October 2015, 5.30pm for 6pm - 8.30pm meeting.
Likely agenda items include:
- Hazardous Chemicals / Dangerous Goods Incidents
- the ADG Transport Code & Changes in the IMDG Code & IATA Regs, etc
- Free Introduction Course to Dangerous Goods
- Dangerous Goods (Storage & Handling) Issues, including the Tainjin Port Explosion and other Major incidents in China
- Update on the GHS Hazardous Chemicals Regs, Codes, Classification and Training
- Chemicals of Concern Symposium, Wed 21st Oct 2015, 4-9pm; RMIT University, Swanston St, Melbourne, by the RACI HS&E Division in conjunction with RMIT University. (more information http://www.raci.org.au/events/event/chemicals-of-concern-symposium )
Location: Sandridge Centre - Trugo Club
Rooms; 1 Tucker Avenue, Port Melbourne (Garden City part)
More information and details here.
13 October: Suicide Prevention Forum 2015
A day of information, education and development, for mental health professionals and support workers, presented by UnitingCare's Creative Ministries Network. Keynote speakers include: Susan Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Suicide Prevention Australia; Louise Flynn, Manager, Support After Suicide, Jesuit Social Services; and Dr Claire Kelly, Manager, Youth Programs, Mental Health First Aid Australia.
Where: Australian Nursing Federation, 540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
When: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 9.30 am (registration). 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Cost: $110pp (includes lunch and afternoon tea). Bookings by September 30.
For more information: Bette Phillips-Campbell Tel: 03 9692 9427; mob 0409788883; email:firstname.lastname@example.org