The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten today welcomed the launch of a  new work health and safety resource kit for volunteers has been launched which will help remove uncertainty about how the new WHS laws apply.

The kit includes:
• a guide for volunteers;
• a guide for organisations that engage volunteers;
• a fact sheet; and 
• a PowerPoint presentation and podcast.

The Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering South Australia and Northern Territory and Chair of the Not for Profit Reform Council Working Group, Evelyn O’Loughlin said the kit will help the volunteer sector understand responsibilities and address any lingering confusion about the impact of harmonised WHS lawsaid.

The Transport Workers’ Union of Australia (TWU) has challenged Coles to a public debate on the continuing high number of deaths and injuries from truck crashes across the country.

A report released by Safe Work Australia has found that casual workers recorded a work-related injury rate 50 per cent higher than non-casual workers in 2009-10 with females reporting a significantly higher rate of injuries per hour worked than males.

The ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell has announced plans for an audit of construction industry safety following a series of recent workplace accidents, including four deaths in the construction industry since December.

Research published in the British Medical Journal shows that shift workers have a 23% increased risk of heart attack and a 5% increased risk of stroke.

WorkCover NSW has developed a Bullying Prevention Kit to help employers identify bullying and know what to do about it.

A new online mental health tool, myCompass, designed to support people living with a mental health issue has been launched.

Developed by a team of health professionals at the Black Dog Institute, and funded by the Australian Government, myCompass is an online tool that assesses user symptoms, then provides a personalised support program.

The interactive program includes online psychological tools, round-the-clock monitoring of moods and behaviours and motivational tips via email and SMS.

The tool is part of the Government’s recently launched e-mental health strategy.

myCompass developer Associate Professor Judy Proudfoot said the tool was evidence based and complimented traditional health services.

“myCompass has been designed to support people that may not seek help because of lack of time, lack of access to face-to-face, services or a fear of stigma,” said A/Prof Proudfoot.

“It provides a suite of simple strategies that will educate people to self-monitor and self-manage unhelpful thoughts and behaviour. It’s easy to access and simple to understand so you can improve your long-term mental health while you’re waiting for the bus or having lunch.

“Most importantly of all, clinical evidence shows that it works.”

Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, has released the Commission’s new research report, Encourage. Support. Act!: Bystander approaches to sexual harassment in the workplace, which examines the role bystanders can play in preventing and reducing the incidence of sexual harassment.

The impact of workplace harm on workers and their families will be considered in a review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) announced by Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten.

WorkSafe Victoria has published a new industry standard for managing safety in the civil construction industry.

The New South Wales Government is calling for public comment on a draft asbestos plan aimed at improving management and handling of asbestos in the community.

A new framework to provide a faster, more flexible and transparent approach to assessing the impact of industrial chemicals on human health and the environment has been launched by the Federal Government.

The Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) framework has been designed to accelerate the assessment of industrial chemicals..

It uses a staged approach to look at the impact of unassessed industrial chemicals listed on Australia’s national inventory, the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).

The  framework has been developed by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), the Australian Government regulator for industrial chemicals, in consultation with community, industry and government stakeholder groups.

The IMAP framework will be implemented in stages. Stage one which began on 1 July this year, will run over four years and see the assessment of about 3,000 chemicals on Australia’s national inventory that have been identified as priorities for early consideration.

They are chemicals for which NICNAS already holds information about their quantity or use in Australia, chemicals identified as a concern or for which regulatory action has been taken overseas, and chemicals reported in international studies analysing the blood in babies’ umbilical cords.

Stage one will also include an external review of the framework, which is expected to make recommendations on the most efficient and effective approach to assessing and prioritising the remainder of the chemicals on the national inventory.

Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) have released the results of a long-running study into the carcinogenic effects of coal mining in  response to growing concerns raised by the employees over the prevelance of cancer rates in the workforce.

Safe Work Australia released an Issues Paper on Friday for the review of the national guidance material – Working Safely on the Waterfront which is now open for public comment.

A new study conducted at the Lyell McEwin Hospital found nurses believe they must accept violence as part of their job.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published a report that indicates that Australia’s are eating too much of some foods and too little of others, with people consuming a higher percentage of their daily energy intake in the form of sugary or fatty foods.

The Federal Government has announced that it will work co-operatively with farming and community organisations to halt the growing number of Quad bike related deaths.

The National Transport Commission is calling for comment on proposed changes of transport of dangerous goods regulatory framework, saying that while governance is well-established, further improvements are needed according to a review released by commission.

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) have co-developed the country’s first Diploma of Integrated Risk Management targeted specifically at the country’s public sector.

Australian doctors are working ‘unsafe’ shifts in the country’s public hospitals, according to an audit of hospital working conditions for doctors released by the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

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