Back up!

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) has reported important shortcomings in the manual-handling training available to Australian workers. Incorrect lifting techniques can lead to various injuries, and several safety organisations have come up with improvements in training methods around lifting.

These include:
• Consulting with workers to assess risks and hazards, and reviewing current training systems
• Implementing control measures for possible lifting and hazardous manual tasks at the workplace, and
• Ensuring information provided to workers is adequate in covering lifting safety.

“Industry, business, unions, health-andsafety professionals and training providers should not promote, provide, or use how-tolift training as a sole or primary strategy to meet legislative requirements or to control hazardous manual task risks,” a recent report from HWSA read. “Instead, duty holders should design the work to be safe in the first place, adhere to the hierarchy of controls and provide suitable and adequate training to workers.”

Peak bodies who authored the paper include HWSA members Comcare, SafeWork NSW, SafeWork SA, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, WorkSafe Tasmania, WorkSafe Victoria, WorkSafe WA and WorkSafe New Zealand.

SafeWork NSW review

A familiar former judge is heading up a second review into SafeWork NSW.

Retired Supreme Court judge, the Honourable Robert McDougall KC, will lead the review into SafeWork NSW ordered by the state government, and will look into the governance, operations and culture of SafeWork NSW.

It’s a separate enquiry to a performance audit being done by NSW Auditor-General Margaret Crawford.

“Mr McDougall’s review provides an opportunity to get started now and can more fulsomely cover issues such as culture than is possible through a performance audit,” Customer Service and Digital Government Minister Victor Dominello said.

Justice McDougall has been part of previous reviews into iCare and NSW’s State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) during 2020-21.

“NSW Parliament passed legislation in 2016 to abolish WorkCover and replace it with iCare, SIRA and SafeWork NSW as three separate entities,” Mr Dominello said. “SafeWork NSW is the only one of these three entities that has not been independently reviewed since the reforms. For that reason, a review of the operations of SafeWork NSW is now appropriate.

“This review will look at issues raised and provide the government with independent insights that will be both powerful and instructive.”

Opposition spokesperson Sophie Cotsis raised concerns about safety breaches not being followed up by SafeWork via on-site inspections in October 2022.

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