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2013
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Holders of temporary working visas have the same safety rights and responsibilities like everyone else, says SafeWork SA.

“Work health and safety is anything but temporary and all workers need to know that they have the right to safe working conditions, to refuse unsafe work, to report unsafe conditions as well as receive fair pay,” said SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director Marie Boland in a media statement.

“It is also important for workers to understand that they are required to take reasonable care to keep themselves safe, and not adversely affect the health and safety of others at work.”

Temporary workers have a right to be shown how to work safely – it’s not just down to common sense.

SafeWork SA has released a fact sheet outlining a number of steps employers should take to ensure the safety of workers on temporary visas.

Some of these steps include showing temporary workers how to use the equipment they will be operating; providing workers with safety gear and showing them how to use and wear it; introducing workers to their immediate supervisor, health and safety representative (HSR) and the people they will be working with; telling workers about the safety policies and procedures; and being clear about everyone’s role and responsibility for safety.

For more details, visit the SafeWork SA fact sheet.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

10 Oct 2013

Aussie inspectors head to NZ

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New South Wales work health and safety inspectors are being seconded to Canterbury, New Zealand, to help with the rebuilding of the region in the wake of the 2011 earthquake.

The quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, hit Christchurch and the surrounding area in February 2011, killing 185 people and causing extensive structural damage.

The WorkCover NSW inspectors will be in the region for 12 months, NSW Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance said in a media statement.

The rebuilding is estimated to cost more than $40 billion and will require 20,000 workers, Constance added.

“The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has sought the assistance of WorkCover NSW in providing skilled construction inspectors to help focus industry attention on addressing hazards associated with … [the] rebuild,” he said.

The inspectors will operate in pairs alongside other members of the rebuilding team and rotate on a month-on-month basis for a year, the MBIE Group Deputy Chief Executive Lesley Haines said in a media statement.

“The WorkCover inspectors … will have to undergo specialised training about the New Zealand and Canterbury environment and health and safety legislation, as well as sit and pass an exam before coming to New Zealand,” Haines said.

WorkCover and MBIE have signed a memorandum of understanding, covering risk assessment, cost recovery, training and up-skilling, Constance said.

“New Zealand’s MBIE will fund the full cost recovery for two inspectors on rotation and resources during the 12-month program,” he said.

The inspectors are expected to be deployed in October and start work in November.

For more details, visit Work Cover NSW and the NZ Government.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

More than 50 per cent of female doctors have experienced sexual harassment by a patient, according to survey results recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Researchers Peter Bratuskins, Heather McGarry and Stephen Wilkinson surveyed 180 female Australian GPs in 2010.

More than 60 per cent of the GPs reported being asked to perform inappropriate examinations and more than 50 per cent experienced inappropriate exposure of body parts.

Other incidents included a range of behaviours, such as sexual remarks and touching or grabbing.

The researchers also reported in the MJA that workplace safety training should cover sexual harassment by patients, and policies should be implemented to support GPs.

Bratuskins, from the Department of General Practice at Monash University, told ABC News: “Most practices have their own practice manuals and protocols and I think it would be useful to make it clear to doctors working in a practice that this is something that may happen. And if it does happen it is something that should be reported, that the doctor will be supported [through] and offered help, that the patient can be excluded from the practice as well.”

For more details visit the MJA.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

10 Oct 2013

Stigma alive and well

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Some 69 per cent of people feel uncomfortable disclosing to their employer that they have a mental illness, says a World Mental Heath Day study.

The Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) conducted the study in the lead up to today’s World Mental Health Day.

The study also found that 35 per cent of people said they would never disclose they had a mental illness, while 29 per cent said they would disclose a mental illness.

Some 22 per cent of the people also said they had experienced or witnessed discrimination in the workplace due to mental illness.

“These results demonstrate that some people have a real fear about potentially negative consequences should they tell their employers and their colleagues that they are mentally unwell,” MHCA CEO Frank Quinlan said in a media statement.

“The reality is that for the vast majority of people with a mental illness, openness and conversations do help employees, employers and workmates to contribute through meaningful and successful employment.

“We need to have a goal for our society to make it acceptable for individuals to talk about mental health in the workplace and to make it ok to seek help when they need it, without fear or stigma.”

Many people also believe schizophrenia, depression, bipolar and anxiety reduce a person’s ability to do paid work, according to the study.

For more details, visit the study.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Work-related road freight transport deaths are 10 times higher than for all other industries, says the latest data.

The high death rate was recorded in an eight-year period from 2003–04 to 2010–11 and forms part of the Safe Work Australia road freight transport industry report, which was released last week.

The high fatality rate persists despite a 48 per cent drop in the number of annual work-related fatalities in the industry, says Safe Work Australia.

Fatalities decreased from 58 in both 2006–07 and 2007–08 to 30 in 2010–11, according to the report.

From 2003–04 to 2010–11, 78 per cent of the deaths were due to single-vehicle incidents on public roads.

Approximately 4,000 serious workers compensation injury claims (requiring a week or more away from work) were also made from 2002–03 to 2010–11, the report said.

However, most of these claims were caused by manual handling or falls rather than vehicle incidents.

From 2006–07 to 2010–11, male employees aged under 25 years had the lowest incidence rate for serious injury claims, while males aged 65 years and over had the highest rate, the report added.

For more details, read the report. 

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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