WorkSafe Victoria has announced a rural blitz of Victoria, with a particular interest in the Ballarat area.

WorkSafe will inspect about 200 Ballarat businesses as part of the agency’s Safe Towns campaign to check on health and safety compliance.

WorkSafe’s General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said it was in everyone’s interest to address issues sooner rather than later.

John Holland has been fined the maximum of $242,000 after a worker fell to their death at BHP Biliton’s Mt Whaleback mine 2 years ago.

A research paper published by the NSW Minerals Council has found that addressing growing mental illness issues is a crucial priority for the sector.

Prolonged sitting is an independent risk factor for poor health and early death in workers.

Unions are calling for a National Asbestos Authority to manage the mandatory removal of the deadly chemical from all Australian buildings by 2030.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said Australia has the world’s highest per capita rate of asbestos-related deaths, with up to 18,000 more Australians expected to have died from mesothelioma by 2020.

“This is an abysmal reality that we must change. That is why unions want Australia’s built environment to be asbestos-free by 2030 and we are calling for a stand-alone National Asbestos Authority to make it happen,” she said.

Ms Kearney said to achieve an asbestos-free Australia, there must be a national audit of all asbestos containing material, starting with government buildings and dump sites.

“The Government must initiate a prioritised removal program, to be carried out only by licensed removalists,” she said.

Ms Kearney said unions also reiterated their call for a home audit scheme, which would require home owners to have their houses checked by a registered practitioner prior to selling or leasing out their property.

There was also a need for a co-ordinated education and awareness campaign so that home owners and home renovators are aware of not only the dangers of asbestos contamination, but of how to have it safely removed.

In Australia, the workplace related death toll is estimated to be more than 4.7 times higher than the Australian road toll.  In 2008 there were 1464 road deaths, while Government statistics show there are up to 7000 work related deaths each year.  

The New South Wales Government has released an issues paper and announced a parliamentary committee as the next steps to reforming WorkCover NSW.

The OHS Body of Knowledge has been launched at the recent SIA National Convention, Safety in Action. The OHS Body of Knowledge describes the core knowledge expected of OHS professionals, and provides a basis for accrediting OHS graduate and post graduate courses (not VET courses such as OHS Certificate III or IV).

Greg Tweedly, CEO of WorkSafe Victoria explained that “The accreditation process will play a significant role in both raising the standard of professional OHS advice and giving employers great confidence when engaging OHS expertise.”

Resent research published in the Science Translational Medicine journal suggest that shift-workers are significantly more likely to develop diabetes and other weight problems thanks to glucose imbalances as a result of sleep disturbances.

The Australian Workers' Union will be sending their National OHS Director, Dr. Yossi Berger, to Port Macquarie to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the contaminated worksite at the Pacific Highway upgrade just south of Port Macquarie.

The University of South Australia has published a report that suggests sexual harassment remains a persistent problem in Australian workplaces.

Safe Work Australia has released its December Notified Fatalities Report, providing a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were reported under Australian work health and safety jurisdictions.

Entries for the Safe Work Awards 2012 have now opened, which will acknowledge and reward the innovators and drivers of work place safety in South Australia.

Victoria has lashed out at the proposed Commonwealth OH&S harmonisation laws, saying that the legislation could cost the state more than $3.4 billion over the next five years.

WorkSafe Victoria has conducted a mock worksite setup on a busy Melbourne street in which two actors posing as workers asked passers by to hand over a live cable from one to the other.

WorkSafe Victoria has launched its inspector recruitment campaign, with roles available across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The incidence of heavy fines and work place safety incidents shows that the construction sector should improve its safety record, according to WorkSafe Victoria. The call comes after two incidents in late March that could have resulted in an injury or fatality.

Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia, a subsidy of BSG Holdings, has had its initial fine of $120,000 fine regarding workplace safety breaches doubled after it lost an appeal.

Five new work health and safety Codes of Practice have been opened for a 12-week public comment period.

WorkCover NSW will hold a free webinar this week to help businesses and workers better understand the recent changes in work health and safety laws regarding working with asbestos.

The South Australian Government has joined an Australia-wide initiative to reduce level crossing and trespass incidents on rail networks following the launch of a national rail safety foundation, trackSAFE.

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