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
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
“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?”
COVID-19 – and the measures workplaces are having to take in seeking to minimise the risk of workers contracting the disease – is continuing to have consequences, sometimes unforeseen ones. The VTHC gets some interesting questions from workers – here’s one:
“I’m a truck driver and make deliveries to, and pick up containers from, various companies and locations. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I am constantly getting denied access to toilets. Previously there were no problems with me using their facilities. Is this legal? Can these companies deny me access to the toilets when I’m doing deliveries? On one occasion recently three clients in a row wouldn’t allow me to use their facilities, and this created a real problem for me.”Read more
In the past week there has been an increase in alarm with the number of new COVID-19 infections growing in Victoria in numbers not seen since mid-March. The numbers are still extremely low if we look at other countries – for example the hotspot councils of Moreland and Hume had 26 and 51 active cases respectively early last week. However, the number of new infections in the state increased by 75 on Sunday June 28, the highest since the peak in April, illustrating we cannot be complacent.Read more
Last week we discussed some of the issues relating to returning to work, including the necessity that employers consult with workers and their representatives to ensure measures are taken to minimise risks of infection at the workplace (for example: the physical layout; air conditioning; cleaning and sanitisation; etc).
There are other risks workers may be exposed to when returning to work over which the employer has no control. A big one is the commute. We’ve seen reports of the congested public transport system in the UK as their restrictions are being lifted and workers urged to return to work, and the outrage this caused to the public and the transport unions in particular. This is an example of how things should NOT be done.Read more