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An estimated 3800 people who took their own lives in Australia in the decade to 2011 may have done so due to work, says a new Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement.

The statement released by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) says suicide and suicidal behaviour is estimated to cost the Australian economy $17.5 billion per year. “Monetary values aside, suicide cuts lives short and leaves scars,” SPA adds.

“The World Health Organization suggests worker suicide is a result of complex interaction between individual vulnerabilities and work-related environmental factors that trigger stress reactions and contribute to poor mental wellbeing,” SPA says.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace, including managing psychosocial stressors.”

Workplaces can do a number of things to help prevent suicide. These include understanding and valuing people as human beings rather than resources, prioritising psychosocial workplace safety, encouraging help-seeking behaviour as well as creating an inclusive workplace culture.

Contact the following if you are in need of immediate assistance:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

For more details on the story, visit SPA’s Work and Suicide Prevention Position Statement.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

27 Feb 2014

SA closes in on phoney inspectors

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SafeWork SA has launched an investigation into reports of phoney inspectors preying on workplaces.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin SafeWork SA has warned employers to be on the lookout for bogus inspectors, who have threatened employers and workers.

The authority says it is investigating the incidents with “a view to initiating prosecution action”. Anyone caught impersonating an inspector faces a maximum penalty of $10,000.

“SafeWork SA inspectors always carry authorised inspector photo identification, provide their full name and wear a uniform,” the authority says.

“SafeWork SA encourages employers or officials at workplaces to require proof of identity and check the credentials of any unknown person seeking site access.”

Anyone with information about the phoney inspectors should call SafeWork SA on 1300 365 255.

For more details, visits SafeWork SA.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

New resource sector safety laws are expected to be introduced in Western Australia in early 2015.

The legislation – to be known as the Work Health and Safety (Resources) Act – will cover mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities, says the WA Government’s resources website.

This single piece of legislation will be based on the model work health and safety laws developed through Safe Work Australia and the National Mine Safety Framework.

Meanwhile, the model Work Health and Safety laws are included in the WorkSafe WA Business Plan 2013-2014.

“WorkSafe (subject to government prioritisation) will implement the Harmonisation Framework across Australian workplaces and will ensure timely implementation of 2013-2014 budget priorities and initiatives,” the plan says.

For more details, visit the WA resources website and the WA Business Plan.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Queensland health and safety representatives are being stripped of their power to direct workers to stop unsafe work.

The power downgrade is among a raft of changes in the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which was introduced into the Queensland Parliament earlier this month.

As previously reported in the e-bulletin, the Queensland Government has been planning these changes for some time.

Late last year the ACTU criticised the proposal to remove the health and safety representatives’ powers.

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do,” ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick said at the time.

Another controversial proposal included in the bill is for unions to give between 24 hours’ and 14 days’ notice before entering a workplace to investigate suspected WHS breaches.

This move was also criticised by the ACTU in late 2013. “Forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety [breaches] are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe,” Borowick said at the time.

The bill also allows for codes of practice adopted in Queensland to be approved, changed or revoked without needing national consultation, as currently required under the Queensland WHS laws.

For more details, visit the changes to the laws.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Another 20 work-related deaths have been reported in the latest figures from Safe Work Australia.

Sixteen male and two female workers plus two female bystanders died in November 2013, says the Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report, which was released last week.

Eight of the victims died in vehicle crashes on public roads, while three died in vehicle incidents not on public roads.

Another three victims were crushed; while two fell from a height.

The following incidents resulted in one death each: an air crash, an electrocution, being hit by a vehicle not on a public road, and being hit by an unattended moving vehicle not on public road.

Total deaths stand at 194 in the 11 months to November 2013.

For more details, visit the latest figures.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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