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
“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: Hazardous Manual Handling
“I am almost 63 years old and was wondering what weight an employer can ask me to lift on a regular daily basis? I’m working in a job where the employer says that 20 kgs is the “standard weight”. But in reality we’re often told to lift and carry bags that are closer to 25 kgs, and this can be up to 50 times a day. I feel this is too heavy for someone my age. After I raised this, the site supervisor gave us a demonstration on safe lifting techniques, and put some posters up in the lunchroom.”
OHS Matters: Can My Boss Make Me Clean The Toilet?
This is a query which came into the VTHC’s ‘Ask Renata’ this week:
“I work as a food packer at a food packing company based in Melbourne. Our work place has never had a cleaner, and we never have clean toilets. Someone complained to our boss that the toilet was not clean. So today he called everyone to a meeting and said he wants everyone to take turns to clean the toilets. Can you advise me: Can I say NO to him?? and where do I stand on this issue???
PS. Our workplace has no Union.”Read more
OHS Matters: Why Consultation is Even More Important Today
One of the seemingly hardest duties for many employers to comply with is the duty to consult with elected health and safety representatives (HSRs). This is a legal duty under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 – and has been a legal duty since 1985 when workers were given the right to elect representatives, and these representatives were given rights and powers.Read more