OHS Matters: HSRs, Safety Data Sheets & Vaccines
Health and Safety Representatives have a very important role in the workplace – representing members of their DWG, who elected them to this position in all matters related to occupational health and safety. Their role is to take issues up to the employer to get them resolved. They also have a role in monitoring the employer’s compliance with their duties under the OHS legislation. The OHS Act gives them rights and powers to assist them in doing this. These include the right to training so HSRs have an understanding of the law. Sometimes, though, there can be some confusion when it comes to certain obligations. Here’s a recent, vaccination-related, example.Read more
OHS Matters: COVID-19 Vaccinations - Where are Things at?
In early April, the Morrison government had been boasting that everyone in Australia would receive the first of the two vaccination doses, at least, by October of this year.
The staged vaccine rollout of the two vaccines that Australia currently has available, the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer, commenced on 22 February this year, organised through the Federal government. High risk, frontline workers and older or vulnerable Australians were to get immunized first. The rollout was supposedly proceeding well: those workers and members of the community in Phase 1a receiving the vaccines before anyone else.Read more
OHS Matters: OHS Laws for Volunteers and Non-Employees
“I am a volunteer in an information centre and am being asked to clean toilet facilities open to the public daily. Are they allowed to do this?”Read more
OHS Matters: Women and Occupational Health and Safety
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, we pose the question: are women as equally protected as men under Australia’s OHS/WHS laws?
Australia’s OHS/WHS laws apply to all employee/workers equally – the laws do not discriminate and therefore everyone’s health and safety at work is equally protected.Read more
OHS Matters: COVID-19, Vaccines and Workers
“We believe that COVID-19 vaccines are going to be rolled out in the near future - and that some workers/workplaces will be designated ‘priority’ and will be receiving them first. What can you tell us about this?”
You are right - there is a lot happening in this ‘space’ at the moment. Firstly, it’s important to know that in Australia all vaccines will be free of charge. Discussions between the States and Federal Health departments have taken place to identify priority groups who will be first in line to get vaccinated. These considerations include occupation.Read more
OHS Matters: Racial Abuse in the Workplace Part 2
In the last edition of the Workers’ Solidarity Bulletin, we looked at the ugly face of racism in the workplace, and in sport in particular. The column was sparked by a letter to The Age following a nasty incident during an Australia-India cricket match.
In this edition we revisit the topic after the AFL’s ‘Do Better’ report was leaked to the press, an Independent review into Collingwood Football Club’s responses to Incidents of Racism and Cultural Safety in the Workplace. The report, commissioned by the club, was authored by University of Technology Sydney’s distinguished professor, Yuwaalaraay woman Larissa Behrendt and Professor Lindon Coombes. The club had decided from the start that it would make the report public, yet despite having received it in mid-December of last year, there was no mention of it for over seven weeks– but surely its findings could not have come as a shock.Read more
OHS Matters: Racial Abuse in the Workplace
“It is time to prevent workplace abuse on the pitch.
Tim Paine was at work on that cricket pitch. If you abuse people at work, you will be summoned to a formal investigation. Sometimes you are demoted or lose your job. At a minimum, you end up with a formal warning. Being “under pressure’ is not a defence.
Paine is paid millions to play sport. That is a privilege that most workers never enjoy. If he cannot perform the inherent requirements of his job without abusing others, then why is he there? It is time WorkSafe investigated Cricket Australia. What effort, if any, is that employer making to prevent workplace abuse?”
Letter from union comrade Cindy O’Connor, printed in The Age recently.Read more
OHS Matters: Food Delivery Drivers are Dying
“The gig economy is designed to provide large corporations with a bottomless pool of expendable cheap labour – that can be dismissed or replaced with and for which they have no duty of care.”
(First Dog on the Moon)
OHS Matters: Who Can Be an HSR?
What is the status of non-permanent workers under the OHS Act? Can they be elected as HSRs?
“I’ve been told by a manager that casual workers are ineligible to nominate in HSR elections, is that true?”
OHS Matters: Workplace COVIDSafe Plan
“Hi, I just want to know if, on returning to our workplace, managers can elect NOT to wear masks under “COVID-normal” ops? I do and was never asked not to, just the same, is the law not strong on this?”