SafetyNet 357, April 6
Welcome to our post-Easter edition of SafetyNet. The journal starts with the tragic news of another workplace fatality in Victoria.
Please remember, to get updates between our weekly journals, join the hundreds of people who follow our We Are Union: OHS Matters Facebook page. If you're an OHS rep, and passionate about health and safety, then consider joining the Network page: apply here.
Worker Fatality in Western Victoria
A 70-year-old man from Nhill died after falling from a height shortly before 1:00pm last Tuesday at Gerang Gerung, between Dimboola and Nhill. WorkSafe Victoria is investigating. The tragedy came just days ahead of the launch of a WokSafe campaign promoting farm safety. Almost 30 per cent of all workplace deaths occurred on farms, despite less than three per cent of Victorians being employed in agriculture. This is the sixth fatality in Victoria this year.
April 28: International Workers Memorial Day
International Workers Memorial Day is an important and serious event in the calendar of unions, workers and now governments around the world. It's the day that we remember and mourn for the dead, and fight for the living. We must continue our fight to ensure that workers' health and safety at work are protected. Each death is a tragedy. Each death is preventable.
As we have done for many years, the VTHC will be holding an event on April 28 at the 'Rock' at the corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton South, commencing at 10.30am. We invite workers and families to attend.
There is also an event run by GARDS/Asbestos Council of Victoria and the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council at 11am in the Centenary Rose Garden, Commerical Road, Morwell.
For those who cannot attend these events, the VTHC OHS Unit is preparing a kit to assist workers and unions to organise their own event at work. This will be available in the coming weeks - so keep your eyes on SafetyNet. Anyone on Twitter can already start using #IWMD2016
We want to know what YOU think
The OHS Network's Justice in Health & Safety Survey is live! Tell us about your OHS experience and what you think needs to change. We need you to fill it out, and more than anything, take it to your workplaces and communities as well. It's a great reason to have conversations with your DWG about safety. Report back on how you're going.
You can take the survey online or download the PDF to print out and send back to us.
Celebrate Labour Day with the VTHC
Celebrate the important event of Labour Day amongst fellow unionists. The 2016 VTHC Labour Day Dinner will be held in the Members Dining Room at the MCG on Friday 29 April 2016 from 7pm to midnight. The Members Dining Room offers spectacular views of the city skyline to one side and the 'hallowed turf' of the MCG to the other.
The evening includes a three course meal and beverage package at a cost of $140 per head. To purchase tickets or for further details please email Kris McClelland or by contact her phone on 9659 3586 as early as possible to avoid missing out.
We have two work sites (each a Designated Work Group), however only elected OHS rep (HSR), as one of the sites has employees who are are mainly out and about on the road. I am the HSR. Our employer would like to have just one representative cover both sites (that is, combine the two DWGs into one). Is this allowable and what steps does the employer need to take to do this?
Under the OHS Act, once DWGs have been established, either party (that is the employer or the employees of the DWG) can seek a variation of them. This must be negotiated and then any changes must be agreed. In other words, the employer cannot vary any of the current DWGs without this process and without the agreement of the DWG members. So, if you and all the other workers are happy to combine the DWGs into one, then that's all that's needed. Once there is agreement, ensure that the process and the agreement is in writing. Once this happens, though, because it's officially a new DWG with new members, the previous HSRs are no longer the HRSs and the members of the new DWG must now have a new election and elect their new HSR.
However, before agreeing to combine the DWGs, you should keep in mind
that the role of the HSR is to represent the members of the DWG and in
order to do this, the rep must be accessible to 'each member of the
group'. Another possibility would be to consider having more than one
HSR for the DWG or having a deputy HSR.
Read more about Designated Work Groups
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.
Barwon Water 'replacing' asbestos water pipes - except they're not!
It was reported in the Geelong Advertiser last week that Barwon Water is currently replacing 'antiquated infrastructure', with roughly 1270 kilometres worth of asbestos cement pipes still to be replaced, equivalent to 33 per cent of the main water network. The asbestos pipes, installed between the 1940's to 1970's, have reached the end of their serviceable life. The issue, though, is that they are not in fact being 'replaced'. Barwon Water infrastructure services manager Paul Northey said, "The program involves constructing a new main on a different alignment, with the old main remaining in the ground. The location of the disused asbestos cement pipe remains on Barwon Water's records." Read more: Baron Water replacing 1270km of asbestos cement pipes Geelong Advertiser
Bernie Banton Petition
The Bernie Banton Foundation has launched a petition on Change.org, which is addressed to the Federal Minister for Health. It is asking her to give sufferers of asbestos cancer and other rare diseases hope, and a chance to survive, by changing the application requirements to allow valid drug applications to be fast tracked onto the PBS application process. The Foundation's goal is to reach 5,000 signatures and we need more support. Read more and then PLEASE sign the petition.
ACT: First 'Mr Fluffy' blocks for sale
The real-estate industry in the nation's capital believes there will be strong interest in the first auctions of "Mr Fluffy" blocks, next week. With the first five auctions next Tuesday, and the second five Thursday, the ACT government will get some idea of how much money it will make from the land that was affected by the loose-fill asbestos. The income from the sales will offset some of the government expenditure on the purchase of the affected houses. Read more: First 10 Canberra Mr Fluffy asbestos blocks to go under auction hammer The Canberra Times
UK: Funds for new asbestos diseases research centre
A new £5 million (AUD9.13m) centre is to spearhead research on the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma. The initiative was included in the UK Chancellor's March budget. Banking fines will be used to provide funds "to support military charities and other good causes", including: "National Mesothelioma Centre £5 million – to establish a centre of research in the fight against mesothelioma, which is directly affecting Service Veterans." Labour MP Dave Anderson said: "This is welcome although I am only giving it two cheers because the funding is one-off and should be annual so that mesothelioma research is put on a par with other comparable cancers. But from acorns come oaks and pressure will continue to do the right thing." Initial reports say the national centre is set to be based at Imperial College, London, although asbestos victims' groups and mesothelioma researchers have called for a more extensive discussion of how the funds are allocated.
Read more: Budget 2016 [pdf]. IBAS news report. Source: Risks 744
New Zealand: Pacific Region awash with asbestos
The The State of Asbestos in the Pacific report released this week by the regional environment programme SPREP and the World Health Organisation, with funding from the European Union, confirms that the ongoing use of asbestos-containing products imported from Asia is "exacerbating an already serious problem." The survey of thirteen island countries located more than 180,000 square metres of asbestos in non-residential buildings; not one Pacific island nation has banned asbestos. Stewart Williams, the project's manager, expressed serious concerns about the aftermath of natural disasters in areas with asbestos-riddled buildings.
Read more: New asbestos exacerbating Pacific problems Source: IBAS
USA: Metalworkers screened for asbestos diseases
This week, 150 active and retired sheet metal workers are being screened for symptoms of asbestos-related and other occupational diseases by a branch of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union at a pop-up clinic in Pittsburgh. Due to toxic exposures experienced by workers fabricating and installing ducting in heating and air conditioning systems, the union has been holding such sessions every five years since the 1980s. According to Dr. David Hinkamp, overseeing the screening project, every single worker examined has recounted examples of historic and current asbestos exposures.
Read more: Sheet Metal Workers Screened For Asbestos-Related Diseases. Source: IBAS
Ambulance paramedics assaulted
An ambulance officer has undergone surgery after a "disgusting attack" in which he and a colleague were assaulted and their ambulance rammed in Reservoir, in Melbourne's north last Thursday. The paramedics were trying to care for a disoriented elderly man, when three bystanders, who had initially talked to the man, became aggressive and attacked them. One paramedic suffered a suspected broken foot, cuts and bruises after he was kicked, punched and repeatedly knocked to the ground by a man and two women. The other paramedic was struck on the head when she went to the aid of her colleague. The attackers then got into their car and rammed the ambulance before speeding from the scene.
Mick Stephenson, the acting general manager of emergency operations at
Ambulance Victoria, said the organisation would not tolerate violence, threats or
abuse towards paramedics. He told the ABC that there was a "significant act of violence" against a paramedic every day and the number of assaults are under-reported. Steve McGhie, Secretary of the Ambulance Employees Association of Victoria, told SafetyNet: "It is disgusting that these offenders think they can use paramedics as a
punching bag. Paramedics face these dangers every day and it has to stop."
Read more: ABC News online; Information on Violence in the Workplace.
ANMF calls on members to sign petition and post photos
Nurses and other health staff across Australia have begun posting photos of themselves with bandages and the hashtag #GaylesLaw in a campaign to overhaul remote nursing operations following the murder of Gayle Woodford.
Mrs Woodford's body was found in a shallow grave near the Fregon community in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia's far north on Saturday after she went missing on Wednesday. Dudley Davey, of Mimili, has appeared in court charged with the 56-year-old's murder and stealing the ambulance she drove for work.
The ANMF has sent its condolences to the family of Gayle Woodford and supports the online petition calling for Federal Health Minister Susan Ley to abolish single nurse posts. Please take the time to sign it now.
Source: ABC News online
Transport union condemns Turnbull government RSRT stay order
The Transport Workers' Union has slammed a last-ditch attempt last Friday evening by the Federal Government and AiGroup to stop a ruling setting safe minimum rates for truck drivers. Both parties sought an injunction in the federal court after the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, in a decision busting the "myths" surrounding the Safe Rates remuneration order, decided the order should commence on 4 April, without any transitional provisions relating to minimum payments
The union said that the Tribunal had heard evidence and held consultations for two years on an application for safe rates before handing its Order down last December. During that time employers' groups refused to engage in addressing the crisis in the trucking industry. "For two years these parties had a chance to respond and engage constructively in this process and they refused. Now an eleventh hour injunction is being sought. By doing this both parties are doing the transport industry and the taxpayers of this country a gross disservice," said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
On Monday this week, the Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash pledged to introduce legislation when Parliament resumes in a fortnight to stop the contractor driver minimum payments road safety remuneration order. This legislation will ensure the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal can't order minimum safe rates for truck drivers before 1 January 2017.
In response, the union has said the federal government's planned legislation means it is playing politics with people's lives and truck drivers' jobs.
Read more: TWU media releases TWU Slams Government and Employers' Group Over Last Ditch Effort to Stop Safe Rates Order and Government Backs Big Business Donors To Delay Safe Rates Order .
International Union News
New Zealand: workers in small workplaces denied right to HSRs
The NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has expressed its disappointment that the new workplace health and safety Act that came into force on April 4, while an improvement in some areas, weakened the right of working people to participate in protecting and improving their own health and safety. The legislation allows employers with fewer than 20 employees, in all but a short list of "high risk" industries, to refuse requests to have Health and Safety Representatives. This is despite, according to the CUT, international evidence that working for small employers is less safe. A CUT analysis of ACC claims data revealed that this was also the case for many industries in NZ. Looking at all workplaces and industries, someone working in a small firm of approximately 20 workers is almost a quarter (23 per cent) more likely to suffer a severe injury than one in a large firm, and over half (57 per cent) more likely to suffer any injury.
Read more: CUT Bulletin Are small industries less safe?
UK: EU has been good for OHS
A TUC briefing has concluded that European Union regulations work and have made a "substantial" contribution to the health and safety of the UK workforce. Arguing the UK should be part of a revitalised "European process", the briefing notes it is 'certainly likely' that this protection could be undermined if the UK were to leave the EU. 'Health and safety: What Brexit would mean' points out the pronounced downward trend in workplace fatalities and occupational diseases in the UK since the core EU-derived safety measures were introduced. This only 'plateaued' in 2010, when there was a reduction in the EC's regulatory activity, although it "also corresponds with a decline in inspection activity in the UK." The briefing notes that an EC review last year found Europe-originated safety laws were operating effectively and were of benefit to business. The briefing notes: "The government's current deregulatory proposals were written in the context of remaining within the EU. If Britain were to leave, depending on any agreement with the EU, then further reductions are certainly likely." It concludes: "It is clear that EU membership continues to deliver wide-ranging protections to UK workers, and the UK government should not only continue to be part of the European process, but should more actively engage and support an improved and revitalised package of measures aimed at tackling the huge burden of occupational illnesses that are being experienced both in Britain and across the EU."
Read more: TUC report, Health and safety: What Brexit would mean.
Qatar: Amnesty condemns World Cup worker abuse
Amnesty International has published its fifth report detailing the abuse of migrant workers who are constructing the venues for 2022 World Cup in Qatar. These workers were lured to the country with promises of higher pay - but have been exploited, and had their passports confiscated. The 80 page report, The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game, is based on the testimony of over 230 migrant workers. There are currently 1.7 million migrant workers in Qatar. Amnesty has also launched a petition to FIFA and its sponsors urging them to protect Qatar's World Cup Workers.
Meanwhile, RadioLabour reports that the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO) has given Qatar 12 months to stop using "slave-like labour". It has told the Gulf state it must reform its labour laws or face the prospect of a Commission of Inquiry. The decision was made by government, employer group and union representatives. In the 97 year history of the ILO, a Commission of Inquiry has only been invoked thirteen times.
Read more: Qatar World Cup of Shame, The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game: Executive Summary. Amnesty International. ITUC Media Release Qatar: ILO Sets Ultimatum to Government to End Modern Slavery of Migrant Workers; Listen to the RadioLabour World Report Friday April 1, 2016
More workers to stay in labour force beyond 70
New ABS data reveals that more Australians plan to work beyond the age of 70, following changes to the qualification age for the pension. The 2014-15 Multipurpose Household Survey showed that 23 per cent of people aged over 45 planned to still be working at 70 or older, compared with only 8 per cent a decade ago.
Most workers though plan to retire at 65 to 69 year - about 71 per cent intended to retire at 65 or over in 2014-15, up from 66 per cent in 2012-13 and 48 per cent in 2004-05.
The increasing number of older workers in the workplace has implications for health and safety, such as fatigue and stress, particularly if employment involves shift work, as well as increased risks of slips, trips and falls, and sprains and strains.
Read more: 6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015 ABS
Shift work and heart attacks
Researchers from the USA and Finland, noting that it is still unclear whether different types of shift work pose similar risks for cardiovascular events in middle-aged workers, especially those with pre-existing ischaemic heart disease (IHD), investigated the relations between different shift types and incident acute myocardial infarction (AMI) among men with and without pre-existing IHD, respectively.
After analysing data on almost 1900 men and evaluating the association between shift work with 20 year incidence of AMI, they found that travelling work (at least 3 nights per week away from home) was strongly positively associated with AMI among men with IHD. However, they did not find any clear associations between other types of shift work and AMI for both men with and without IHD.
Read more: Aolin Wang, et al Shift work and 20-year incidence of acute myocardial infarction: results from the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study [abstract] Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oemed-2015-103245
OHS Regulator News
The latest edition of VWA's Safety Soapbox was sent out last week (April 1). In this edition's editorial, WorkSafe Construction Program Senior Construction Advisor, Tony Cockerell writes about the number of apprentices injured through the use of nail guns. It is perhaps not surprising to learn that over the years, inspectors have attended "numerous" construction sites where workers have been injured by discharged nails from nail guns, and that many of those injured are apprentices. The editorial discusses the risks, suggests ways of reducing the risk of injury, and has links to two WorkSafe publications on nail guns. The newsletter has items from other states and territories of interest to the construction, utilities, mining and quarrying industries, as well as the list of incidents notified to WorkSafe. In the period 11 March – 24 March 2016, there were 67 Reported Incidents, which include 24 lacerations, 24 near misses, eight electric shocks, five fractures, four unknowns, and one each of crush, puncture, chemical burns, bruising and crush. Read more: April 1 Safety Soapbox edition online, including link to the list of reported incidents.
Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at April 1, 27 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work Australia - five since the latest update on March 7. The fatalities this year have been in the following industries:
- 7 in the Transport, postal and warehouse sector;
- 8 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- 4 in Construction;
- 3 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services;
- 1 in Public administration & safety;
- 1 in 'other services';
- 1 in health care & social assistance;
- 1 in Information media & telecommunications; and
- 1 in professional, scientific & technical services
More information on which industries the fatalities occurred in is accessible on the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page.
SWA has now uploaded the monthly fatality report for October 2015 during which there were 21 work-related notifiable fatalities - compared to 26 in the month of September. Of the 21 fatalities, eight were due to vehicle accident - public road, three each were due to crushing and vehicle accident - other and two each resulted from a fall from a height and being hit by moving object (unattended vehicle) - not on a public road. The remaining three fatalities were all different types of incidents. Of those killed, 15 were male workers, four female bystanders and two male bystanders. The report can be downloaded from the Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report webpage.
Codes of Practice
Following the finalisation of the model Work Health Safey Act and Regulations, Comcare approved two compilation Codes of Practice: the Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice 2011 and Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice 2012.
Last Wednesday, March 30, 2016, these were revoked and remade - and commenced on March 31, 2016. While the content of most codes remained unchanged, 17 included technical amendments. To access the codes, see Comcare Codes of Practice.
Advice on GHS
Comcare has issued advice on the upcoming implementation of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals (both substances and mixtures) from 1 January 2017. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation introduced the GHS to replace current systems used for classifying workplace chemicals by standardising information on labels and SDS (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)).
The GHS is a single internationally agreed system of chemical classification and hazard communication through labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Currently different countries have different systems for classification and labelling of chemical products. These different systems make regulation of this hazard difficult, impose an additional burden on business and can impact on safe use at the workplace level. The GHS is published by the United Nations and includes 'harmonized' criteria for the ready classification and understanding of physical, health and environmental hazards.
Read more: Are you GHS Ready?
New Draft Policy on Compliance and Enforcement activities
Comcare has introduced a new policy on its compliance and enforcement activities. The regulator has been reviewing its approach to compliance and enforcement activities. The review is partly to ensure alignment with the new framework for Commonwealth entities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. Comcare says, it also wants to "better integrate how we talk about our activities in relation to workplace rehabilitation and work health and safety respectively. In addition, we want to set some directions for improving our performance as a regulator into the future."
The result of the review work to date is a draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy, which is intended to replace the current Regulation Policy. The consultation draft:
- states Comcare's vision for its regulatory functions
- articulates four focus areas to guide change into the future
- categorises our compliance and enforcement activities into four main streams
- explains the coherent terminology that we will use for all our compliance and enforcement activities.
is proposed that more detailed policy-level guidance will be provided
in a new category of publications called Regulatory Guides. Comcare is inviting comments on the draft policy by Tuesday 17 May 2016.
Read more: Compliance and Enforcement Policy
Comcare has opened the nominations for the 2016 Comcare Work Health and Safety Awards. The awards will be presented during the 2016 Comcare National Conference on 13 & 14 September in Canberra. The Awards recognise and reward excellence in workplace health and safety, rehabilitation and return to work achieved by individuals and organisations covered under the Comcare scheme. Comcare administers the awards with the assistance of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC). Nominations and all supporting material must be submitted by 5pm Friday 13 May 2016.
Read more: 2016 Comcare Work Health and Safety Awards
WA: Inspection program to focus on construction safety
Last week WorkSafe WA announced it would be conducting a proactive inspection program this week focussing on construction sites in Perth's CBD. Inspectors will be checking safety standards at construction sites in the area as well as surrounding suburbs east and west of the city.
"The program is part of a continuing series of proactive inspection programs targeting construction workplaces in specific geographical areas," said WorkSafe Acting Director John Reilly.
Read more: WorkSafeWA Media Release
Frankipile and Vibro-pile fines both increased to $750,000 after DPP appeal
On 28 May 2011, a dogman employed by Frankipile fell approximately 40 metres to his death when the leader (mast) of a piling rig collapsed. The builder had engaged Frankipile to undertake piling work associated with building foundations at the site. Frankipile in turn engaged Vibro-pile (an affiliated company) to operate the piling rig. A Vibro-pile employee who was given the job of preparing the rig for work was unfamiliar with its controls and had never installed or been trained in how to install the 1.8 metre leader extension which had to be fitted to the mast. Despite reporting his concerns to his supervisor, work on preparing the rig continued. As a result, 10 of the 16 bolts needed to secure the leader extension to the rig were not fitted. Later that day the dogman was working at the top of the rig when the mast snapped causing him to fall to the ground, along with a 20m section of the mast. (see SafetyNet 308)
In December 2014, both companies were convicted in the Melbourne County Court. Frankipile was fined $350,000 and Vibro-pile was fined $100,000. Following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions, on 24 March 2016, the Supreme Court set aside the original sentences of the County Court and imposed a conviction and fines of $750,000.00 on both companies.
While the increased fines are more commensurate with the gravity of the offences, that incident should never have occurred, and the worker should not have lost his life.
Read more: WorkSafe Media Release
Another DPP Appeal gets no joy: Orrcon
Orrcon Distribution Pty Ltd, a distributor and manufacturer of steel, tube and pipe with a warehouse in Keysborough, has both directly employed staff and also labour hire personnel supplied by various labour hire companies.
On 28 August 2014, a labour hire employee was operating a bridge crane to move a pack of steel. Orrcon did not provide labour hire employees with on-site induction, or instruction on relevant safe operating procedures, whereas full time employees were. Direct employees were not provided with annual refresher training and information on the operation of bridge cranes and associated tasks. There was also inadequate supervision of both classes of employee to ensure safe operating procedures were followed. These failures exposed all employees to the risk of serious injury through the unsafe use of the bridge crane. On 28 August 2014, a labour hire employee lowered the load of steel onto the pack using the crane when the sling caught the corner of the pack, causing the pack to lift and dislodge. The pack then fell forwards onto another employee's legs, trapping him against the adjacent packs he had been standing on. Orrcon pleaded guilty and was without conviction sentenced to pay a fine of $40,000, plus costs of $3,895.
The Director of Public Prosecutions brought an appeal against the above sentence. On hearing the appeal, His Honour set aside the sentence of the Magistrates' Court and imposed an identical fine of $40,000 without conviction along with costs of $3,895.
Family owned construction company caught with poor scaffolding
Fountain Downs Pty Ltd, a family owned building company that builds residential homes in and around the Geelong area, was found by a WorkSafe Inspector to have a very badly constructed scaffold. On 25 March 2015, Fountain Downs was constructing a double storey residential house in Torquay. The Inspector found workers on modular scaffolding on the second level balcony installing timber quad cornice lengths to the eaves of the balcony ceiling. There were no hand rails on the scaffold and the workers were working in close to the edge, risking death or serious injury due to the risk of fall was in excess of 5.5 metres. It was just good luck that a worker had not fallen. The company pleaded guilty and was without conviction sentenced to an adjourned undertaking for a period of 12 months and to pay $3,000 to the Court Fund, plus costs of $3,386.00.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria's Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings page.
SA: Unguarded machine costs Gambier Earth Movers $111,000
Gambier Earth Movers were found guilty of failing to comply with providing a primary duty of care and for failing to comply with their health and safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), thereby exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness. The 24 March prosecution and $111,000 fine (plus court fees) followed an incident on 16 October 2013, where a male worker operating a soil screening plant tripped and caught his right arm in an unguarded tail drum. The injury resulted in the worker having his arm amputated from the shoulder after being placed into an induced coma and airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for the life-saving treatment.
"This offence is an extremely serious breach of basic workplace safety laws, and was entirely foreseeable," said Magistrate Leischke. The initial fine of $185,000 was reduced in recognition of the employer's early guilty plea and the gesture of a partial reparation made to the injured worker.
"This incident which could have cost a man his life was preventable," said SafeWork SA Executive Director, Ms Marie Boland. "This case should serve as a reminder that breaches of the state's work health and safety laws come with severe penalties, not to mention the significant human and community costs of a serious injury like this one," she said.
Source: SafeWork SA Media release [pdf]
Japan: Death by overwork increasing
There have been a record number of compensation claims in Japan related to death from overwork, or "karoshi". This have previously associated with the "salary man" - but is increasingly afflicting young and female employees. Claims for compensation for karoshi rose to a record high of 1456 in the year to end-March 2015, according to labour ministry data, with cases concentrated in healthcare, social services, shipping and construction, which are all facing chronic worker shortages.
Labour demand in Japan is the highest it's been since 1991 with 1.28 jobs per applicant. While this means that increasing numbers can be employed, lax enforcement of labour laws means some businesses just increasing the workload on current employees, sometimes with tragic consequences. The country has no legal limits on working hours, but the labour ministry recognises two types of karoshi: death from cardiovascular illness linked to overwork (more than 100 hours overtime in the previous month/80 hours of overtime in two or more consecutive months in the previous six), and suicide following work-related mental stress (eg 160 hours or more of overtime in one month or more than 100 hours of overtime for three consecutive months).
Read more: Death by overwork on rise in Japan The Age