What's Going On

Review of NT's Workers' Compensation Scheme

The Northern Territory Workers Compensation Scheme is currently under review by the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council and a preliminary report has been made available for public comment.

The scheme provides a no fault coverage for eligible workers who are injured at work and supports injured workers financially whilst they are assisted to return to work. Benefits of the scheme include weekly payments, medical treatment, rehabilitation costs and in some cases, payment for permanent impairment.

Aside from specific reviews focused on dispute resolution, medical intervention and rehabilitation, the last major review of the scheme was conducted in 1984.

The Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council is seeking submissions and stakeholder feedback on a number of areas outlined in the report (more)

Have your say about the future of workers' compensation arrangements in the Northern Territory, email your comments to us at alerts@safeatwork.org.au by COB Friday, 31 January 2014

Commencing Shortly - Diploma in Work Health & Safety BSB51312

In the first half of 2014, Safe Work College will be introducing the Diploma of Work Health and Safety.

This qualification is suitable for people who coordinate and maintain the work health and safety in an organisation. It reflects the role of practitioners who apply a substantial knowledge base and well-developed skills in a wide variety of WHS contexts.It builds on the Certificate IV WHS.

In order to enter this course, you must have completed the Core units of the Certificate IV in WHS, or have substantial work experience or other qualifications in in WHS at a Cert IV level.To express an interest in this course, please send an email with “Diploma WHS” in the subject line to safework@safework.qld.edu.au

We will add you to our email list and send you further information as it becomes available.

Anti Bullying Benchbook - Draft for Public Consultation - Comment Closes 27 December 2013

This benchbook has been prepared as a draft for public consultation by the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) to assist parties lodging or responding to anti-bullying applications under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act). Information is provided to parties to assist in the preparation of material for matters before the Commission (more)

Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program

The Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program was established on 12 December 2013 by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO.

Mr Ian Hanger AM QC has been appointed as the Royal Commissioner to inquire into the Australian Government’s Home Insulation Program, in accordance with the terms of the inquiry set out in the Governor-General’s Letters Patent. The Royal Commissioner is asked to provide a report of his findings and recommendations on or before 30 June 2014 (More)

Bullying Code Sunk

A Safe Work Australia sub-committee voted by majority to overturn previous decisions and downgraded a proposed Bullying Code of Practice to guidance material only.

Despite the fact that SWA had previously decided that material would be developed as a Code of Practice, that a House of Representatives Committee Report endorsed the development of a Code and that the Safe work Australia Agency found that public comments arguing for the development of a Code were more persuasive than for a guide, all Liberal National Party Governments (except WA) and employer representative voted in favour of a guide.

A national guide will consolidate existing bullying material.  It won’t make the prevalence of workplace bullying any more widespread but a Code would certainly make things better for victims of bullying.

Construction Work Code of Practice

Safe Work Australia has released for public comment a draft Construction Work Code of Practice.  It is detailed in the Code that Construction Work: ‘can be commercial, civil or housing construction.’ 

The Code goes on to give practical guidance for duty holders to achieve the health and safety standards under the Work Health and Safety laws for construction work.

A copy of the draft Code is available at:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/public-comment/pages/construction-work-comment

Comment on the draft Code is due at Safe Work Australia by 5pm (AEST) 2 October 2013.

The ACTU will make a submission to Safe Work Australia on this draft Code.  Your union may also be making comment. 

The ACTU facilitates comment on OHS issues between workers and Safe Work Australia.  Comments received by the ACTU from workers and their unions help the ACTU form positions on OHS issues that are then passed on to SWA.

Comments on this draft Code are therefore welcome.  In the first instance comment on this draft Code should be directed to your union.  Alternatively if you wish for your comments to be considered for inclusion in the ACTU submission please forward your remarks to jmoran@actu.org.au

Commemorative Rally - Remember the Men who Died on the Stena Clyde

The VTHC and the ACTU will be convening a rally to mark the first anniversary of the two men who lost their lives aboard the Stena Clyde on 27 August 2012. (More)

Stevedoring Code of Practice

Over the past 6 years, 6 workers were killed on Australia wharves.  On average 14.3 workplace deaths occur for every 100,000 dock workers.  The average across the Australian workforce is just 1.05 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers.

These deaths of course are on top of the many serious injuries and illnesses suffered by stevedores.

Outraged at the toll workplace incidents are having on members the Maritime Union of Australia is campaigning to put specific safeguards in place on all Australian wharves.

The MUA together with the ACTU has been in negotiation with stevedoring employers and all Australian governments to establish a Stevedoring Code of Practice.

A draft Code (which is currently released for public comment) deals with vital matters such as the provision of hatchment (similar to doggers on construction sites), instruction on mooring and unmooring vessels, and guidance on training that would be applicable to stevedores that would allow them to more safely go about their work.

Safe Work Australia will receive comment on the draft Code until Friday 27 September 2013.

The ACTU facilitates communication between workers and the ACTU (and its affiliates) on matters dealt with at Safe Work Australia.  To have your say on the draft code, go to: nscop4life.org.au

Details on the Stevedoring Code of Practice campaign and on how you can support the struggle to improve stevedores working conditions is available at this website.

Deemed Diseases Project

The ACTU is participating in a Safe Work Australia working group that is updating the national list of occupational diseases.

The outcome of this work would be the development of an up-to-date Australian list of occupational diseases which would be based on the most recent scientific evidence on the causal link between disorders and an occupational exposure.

The aim of creating such a list is to improve fairness and clarity, to reduce the likelihood of disputation in relation to workers’ compensation and to raise awareness and alert people to the importance of prevention and measures that can be taken to reduce the incidence of occupational disease.

It is anticipated that a draft of the list of scheduled diseases and guidance material will be available by June 2014.

This will be followed by a round of public consultation.  Final approval by all State/Territories will be sought in August 2014.

Quad Bikes - Your Say (ABC)

Quad bikes, or ATVs as they are also known, are now the leading cause of death on Australian farms, with 18 people killed in 2012 and another 13 so far this year. Tests are now underway to develop a safety star rating system similar to ANCAP - the Australian New Car Assessment Program. Do you think this is enough? Should more be done? We asked you to let us know using Twitter or Facebook, or by leaving a comment below. A selection of responses are featured. External Link: Quad bike safety: storify (more)

Asbestos Imports Breach Ban - Factsheet No. 1

For practical information on what to do if you think an imported product in your workplace contains asbestos (more)

Asbestos Imports Breach Ban

Did you know that an ‘Asbestos Ban’ has existed in Australia since December 2003?

Since that time the importation of asbestos, or goods containing asbestos, into Australia is prohibited*. Also banned are the manufacture, use and reuse of all forms of asbestos and asbestos containing products.Asbestos has been detected in a range of goods, and packaging for goods, that have been imported into Australia in the past few years. 

What can you do?

If you think that an imported product, or packaging for that product, in your workplace contains asbestos you should let your union know.  Your union can raise the issue with Customs and with the Health and Safety Regulator.

The Australian Government recently released the National Asbestos Plan for 2013 – 2018.  The Plan sets an Outcome of getting rid of all asbestos from government owned or occupied buildings and all high risk asbestos from commercial buildings by 2030.  Australia is leading the world.  We need to make sure the law is upheld.  We need to make sure no more asbestos comes into Australia.   

Importing asbestos can bring a fine of up to $170 000 for breach of Customs laws.  Bringing asbestos containing materials into a workplace may also breach Work Health and Safety laws, which can also attract fines and other penalties.

Help make Australia ‘Asbestos Free by 2030’.

 *Except in strictly limited circumstances, such as when Ministerial permission is granted or if asbestos has been defined as hazardous waste.

Guidance on Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)

Safe Work Australia have released new guidance material on ultraviolet radiation which provides practical advice for PCBUs and workers about managing health and safety risks associated with exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (More)

Australia's First Eradication Agency

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced the appointment of a CEO to head up the new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), and the appointment of the 10 members of the ASEA Council (more)

Laos Moves to Ban Asbestos

Laos, a developing country in Asia that only started using asbestos in 2002, has recently moved towards Banning Asbestos.  During a 2 day Conference, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Ms Khemmani Pholsena stated, “To ensure continual production, we should find new choices, especially finding other suitable raw materials to use instead of this chemical, so finally we can stop using white asbestos permanently in the future” (More)

Safe Work Month

Safe Work Australia has announced that October is Safe Work Australia Month. Check here for updates and activities in your area (more)