Dust clouds on kitchen benchtops

The Victorian Premier, the Minister for Workplace Safety, Dr Ryan Hoy and others at the silicosis announcement

The Victorian Government has announced that various safety initiatives are being taken on the silicosis risks associated with products described as synthetic stone. This initiative is an important first step in reducing the exposure of workers to silicosis but there are some curiosities in the announcement and WorkSafe Victoria’s accompanying Information Sheet.

The core elements of the government’s action are:

  • “A state-wide ban on uncontrolled dry cutting of materials that contain crystalline silica dust
  • Free health screening for Victoria’s 1400 stonemasons
  • A tough new compliance code for businesses working with silica
  • An awareness campaign to highlight the risks of working with engineered stone”.
Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

The dicks are swinging over OHS

A couple more election campaign publications and statements have appeared in relation to occupational health and safety (OHS), one by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and another in response to some advertising by the Construction Forestry Mining Maritime and Energy Union (CFMEU) released by the Master Builders Australia (MBA).

Institute of Public Affairs

There is nothing in the IPA report “20 policies to fix Australia” that directly relates to OHS, but there is a continuance of the desire for less “red tape”, a desire that has often mentioned OHS regulations and licencing as examples. The IPA says:

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

Conspiracy accusations over rail construction project

On March 17 2019, a community radio program and podcast “The Concrete Gang” broadcast some comments about occupational health and safety (OHS) on a rail construction site in Victoria, Australia, believed to be the Aviation Rd, Laverton site. SafetyAtWorkBlog attempted to factcheck the accusations.

Construction company McConnell Dowell is providing construction services on various sites for the Level Crossing Removal Project. According to The Concrete Gang:

“… McConnell Dowell level crossing removal have had a few dramas out there what we’ve got is we’ve a live train and they’re trying to put a level crossing in while there’s a live train going.  They normally do what we call a shutdown which is an occupation where they shut down the line and they’re lifting concrete beams and build a bridge.  Well McConnell Dowell in their wisdom are trying to do it between 10-minute stops…”

“….the workers on the job have got issues because they’re obviously lifting precast elements over trains and there’s obviously no safety…”

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

Young worker’s death increases OHS pressure on State and Federal governments

This week an 18-year-old construction worker died in a scaffold collapse on a New South Wales construction site. The occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator has instigated an investigation into Christopher Cassaniti’s death and the serious injury of a work colleague in the same incident, as well as an inspection of scaffolding throughout the State.

An excellent podcast on the incident and the OHS context is available at Triple J’s Hack podcast.

In May 2019 Australia has a general election and, following yesterday’s Budget announcement, Australian politicians are in campaign mode. That might seem irrelevant to the workplace death of a young man but the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, was interviewed the day after Cassaniti’s death by Triple J’s Hack program. The discussion eventually reached Industrial Manslaughter laws.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

Steady as she goes in Victoria

The annual Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) breakfast was held at the Melbourne offices of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF). As has become a tradition, a spokesperson for WorkSafe Victoria was the feature presenter and this year that was the very recently appointed Executive Director of Health and Safety, Julie Nielsen. HSF’s Steve Bell also provided an update on OHS laws and national Work Health and Safety (WHS) changes.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe