Employers have been urged to prepare worksites for more "wild summer weather" and prioritise electrical safety, while a resources regulator has warned that recent hot weather shows operators must ensure heat hazards are effectively managed.
End-of-year work celebrations are likely to be very different this year due to COVID-19, with mental health issues and the possibility of restricting attendee numbers just some of the new things to think about, a senior safety lawyer says.
Employers with outdoor workers or involved in industries like mining must identify potential emergency situations caused by severe weather or natural disasters, and should conduct seasonal risk assessments based on weather forecasts and local events, according to a WHS regulator.
A study of more than a million workers has identified an increased risk of neurological disease in those from a major sector. In another study on asthma and other lung diseases, researchers have called for the respiratory risks posed by cleaning agents to be included in COVID-19 work guidelines.
A major employer is using workplace contact tracing technology to future-proof against further COVID-19 outbreaks and the harm they could have on the business and the health and safety of employees, its general manager of people and culture says.
The Federal Government has responded to a string of work fatalities and union pressure by listing gig economy arrangements as a priority issue for Australia's WHS ministers, while the NSW Government has established a taskforce to investigate the deaths and consider options for regulatory reform.
A British Medical Journal-published study of Victoria's assessment program for workers at risk of silicosis has highlighted the systemic failure to identify and control the occupational health risk as it emerged, and shows such programs should be adopted by other regions.
The NSW WHS Act will be amended to impose new duties on PCBUs that "provide food delivery services", if an Opposition Bill (which forms part of a broader safety strategy for gig workers) passes Parliament. Meanwhile, Tasmanian employers have been told to "stay COVID safe" as border restrictions ease.