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Outcomes of the Seventh ASCC Meeting
National Safe Work Australia Awards
Annual Mesothelioma Report
Student Work Placement Guide
Ninth Comparative Performance Monitioring Report

FROM ThE ChAIRMAN                              Safety, we look at some of the
                                               significant work progressed by the
                                                                                         on Occupational Health and Safety and
                                                                                         the ISO Nanotechnology Committee.
                                               ASCC over the past few months.
                    ThE AUSTRALIAN                                                       Finalists have been announced for
                    SAFETY AND                 The first annual mesothelioma             the 2007 national Safe Work Australia
                    COMPENSATION               report has been released, using data      Awards. I am particularly looking
                    COUNCIL (ASCC)             from the National Cancer Statistics       forward to co-hosting the 2007 Awards
                    IS LOOkING                 Clearinghouse. The report provides the    on 28 April with the Deputy Prime
                    FORWARD TO ThE             number and incidence rates of new         Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP.
                    ChALLENGES ThAT            cases and deaths from mesothelioma,
                    LIE AhEAD IN 008.         including trends over time.               I encourage all businesses and public
                                                                                         sector organisations to get involved in
At the 75th meeting of the                     The National Code of Practice for         the awards by applying to be considered
Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council         Precast, Tilt-up and Concrete Elements    in their state and territory safety Awards
(WRMC), held in Melbourne on                   in Building Construction has been         program in the coming months.
1 February 2008, Ministers agreed              declared. By using the National Code,
to replace the ASCC with a new and             employers and employees in the            I would like to take this opportunity to
independent national body and to               construction industry across Australia    thank the outgoing members of the
initiate a review to develop model             will gain practical guidance on ways to   ASCC – Mr Shane Freeman (Deputy
occupational health and safety (OHS)           work safely with and around precast,      Chair), Richard Marles (ACTU),
legislation. Further work is now being         tilt-up and concrete elements.            John Kovacic (Commonwealth) and
undertaken on the membership and                                                         Sandra Parker (Office of the ASCC)
funding model for the new body.                The ninth annual Comparative              and welcome the newly appointed
                                               Performance Monitoring report             members Geoff Fary (ACTU), Ted
These are very positive moves in               and the Annual Notified Fatalities        Cole (Commonwealth) and Tom
promoting the harmonisation of                 Report 06–07 have been released           Fisher (Office of the ASCC).
OHS issues across Australia.                   and are now available on the ASCC
                                               and WRMC websites respectively.           I would particularly like to thank
Ministers also endorsed the ASCC’s                                                       Sandra for her hard work and
Business Plan for the 2007–08 financial        The ASCC has continued to represent       dedication in leading the Office of
year with some amendments. The                 Australia’s interest in international     the ASCC since its inception. I wish
business plan recognises the continuing        forums. In the past few months the        her and the other outgoing members
commitment of all ASCC members                 ASCC has contributed to the work of the   well with their future endeavours.
to the National Occupational Health            United Nations’ Globally Harmonised
and Safety Strategy 2002–2012.                 System for Classification and Labelling   Bill Scales AO
In this edition of Advancing National          of Chemicals, the New Caledonia Forum     ASCC Chairman

ThE ASCC MET FOR ThE SEVENTh                   >   Declaration of the National Code          and Category 4: Public Sector
TIME ON WEDNESDAY 7 FEbRUARY                      of Practice for Precast, Tilt-            Leadership Award for Injury
008 IN MELbOURNE.                                 up and Concrete Elements in               Prevention and Management
                                                   Building Construction with the
Mr Bill Scales said he was very pleased            implementation of two years to        >   Endorsement of the licensing units
with the outcomes of the meeting.                  allow for consistent and timely           of competency that underpin the
                                                   adoption of the national code             National Standard for Licensing
Key outcomes of the meeting included:                                                        Persons Performing High Risk Work
                                               >   Endorsement of the national Safe
>   Endorsement of the first annual                Work Australia Awards revised         >   The licensing units of competency
    mesothelioma report which uses                 criteria of Category 3: Best              will be added to the National
    data from the National Cancer                  Workplace Health and Safety               Standard as a schedule and the
    and Statistics Clearinghouse                   Practice/s in a Small Business
                                                                                    ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 

A further milestone on the path            They will be adopted equally               For more information on the National
to achieving nationally consistent         across Australia and have been             Standard for Licensing Persons
implementation of the National             recognised as forming the basis            Performing High Risk Work contact
Standard for Licensing Persons             for licensing in all jurisdictions.        Philip Hillsdon, Director, Plant
Performing High Risk Work has                                                         Standards on (02) 6121 9213.
been passed with endorsement               This final step supports the Council’s
by the ASCC of the competency              commitment to undertake the extensive
units that will underpin the National      work needed to remove unnecessary
Standard declared in April 2006.           duplication in training and assessment
                                           for licensing purposes. Additionally,
The competency units will now be           it will facilitate the transfer of all
forwarded to the National Quality          training and assessment to the formal
Council for endorsement and                vocational training system through
inclusion on the National Training         Registered Training Organisations.
Information Service (NTIS).
                                           Further consultation to develop
The competency units will be               assessment instruments to
incorporated into national industry        support the competency units will
training packages over time. They          be completed by April 2008.
describe the minimum safety
outcomes that an individual will need      The assessment instruments will
to demonstrate to be eligible to apply     become the mandated assessment
for a licence to perform high risk work.   instruments for licensing purposes.

     remaining work on assessment          The Council noted the outcomes of          Members of all states and territories,
     instruments will be completed         the 1 February 2008 WRMC meeting           the Commonwealth, the Australian
     by the end of April 2008 thereby      and the Australian Government’s            Chamber of Commerce and Industry
     enabling Registered Training          commitments in respect of                  (ACCI) and the Australian Council
     Organisations to adopt the new        occupational health and safety. In         of Trade Unions (ACTU) were in
     materials by the 1 July 2008          particular, WRMC agreed to replace         attendance at the meeting.
     implementation date; and              the ASCC with a new and independent
                                           national body and supported the            The communiqué and media release
>    Agreement that Australian             Commonwealth’s intention to initiate       for the seventh ASCC meeting can
     Forum of Explosives Regulators        a review to develop model legislation.     be found at:
     (AFER) will have a web presence       ASCC members committed to working          ascc/NewsEvents/MediaReleases/
     within the ASCC website.              cooperatively throughout this period.


ASIA-PACIFIC                                   work of coroners, arguing that this
                                               needs to be the focus of their work
                                                                                            the importance of mesothelioma
                                                                                            data to the Office and the potential

CORONERS’ SOCIETY                              and that they and their staff need the
                                               resources to assist grieving families
                                                                                            role of coroners to provide detailed
                                                                                            information about the circumstances

ANNUAL CONFERENCE                              to deal with the death of their loved
                                               one, and the coronial process:
                                                                                            of workers’ exposure to asbestos.

                                                                                            Work-related deaths are of particular
The Office of the ASCC was represented         How many of us (and our staff) have          interest to coroners and many
at the annual Asia-Pacific Coroners’           not been affected by the human               recommendations have been made
Society Annual Conference in Hobart            dimension of what we see on a daily          by coroners about changes to
from 30 October to 2 November 2007.            basis? We cannot help but be affected        workplace standards and practices.
                                               by the sheer tragedy of the events we        The coroners were very supportive
Coroners and their forensic pathologists       investigate along with the courage, the      of sending their findings and
from Australia and the Asia Pacific            stoicism and the generosity displayed        recommendations about work-related
met to discuss recent developments in          by many families during what must            deaths to the Office of the ASCC .
the investigation of deaths which are          be the worst time of their lives. The
reportable to a coroner. Reportable            effect that our work has on families         For more information on the
deaths include where the person died           and others involved in incidents we are      Asia-Pacific Coroners’ Society
unexpectedly, violently, as a result           investigating needs to be at the forefront   Annual Conference, contact
of an anaesthetic or held in care.             of our systems and support processes.        Kerry Fitzgerald, Director, General
                                                                                            Standards on (02) 6121 9106 or
Papers were presented on aviation-             This issue provided a good backdrop          Allison Yardley, Acting Director,
related fatalities, including a range of       to the paper on work-related fatalities      Data and Analysis on (02) 6121 9256.
topics such as work-related deaths             by Kerry Fitzgerald of the Office of
and how the Office uses their data.            the ASCC. The paper covered the
                                               importance of the National Coronial
Graeme Johnstone, the then Victorian           Information System to the work of the
State Coroner, gave an address on              Office and how these data are used.
adding the human dimension to the              The paper also gave details about

NEW CALEDONIA                                  DTE is preparing to present a new law to
                                               Congress in 2008 which would specify
                                                                                            as well as government and non-
                                                                                            government organisations.
FORUM ON OCCUPATIONAL hEALTh                   the basic principles for its new OHS
AND SAFETY, 6–7 NOVEMbER 007                framework, in particular those relating to   The Office of the ASCC was represented
                                               employers’ responsibilities with regard      by Anh-Thu Stuart, Director of
                                               to risk management, risk evaluation and      International Coordination. Anh-Thu
The Office of the ASCC, along with             OHS prevention. To this end DTE wish         presented at the keynote session as well
the New Zealand Department of                  to draw on international perspectives        as at a workshop on the following day.
Labour, was invited to speak at a forum        and in particular Australia and New
on occupational health and safety              Zealand’s experience in developing and       ThE ThEMES COVERED INCLUDED:
(OHS) in Noumea in November 2007.              implementing their own OHS legislation.      > the basic principles incorporated
                                                                                                 in Australian OHS legislation
The forum was organised by the New             The forum was mainly conducted
Caledonian Government Department               in French. There were some                   >   the national OHS Strategy
of Labour and Employment (DTE).                150 participants from industry                   2002–2012; and
                                                                                           ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 

ThE OFFICE OF ThE                            IN 007–08 hSWA IS RUNNING
                                             ThREE CAMPAIGNS. ThESE ARE:
                                                                                             >    What needs to occur for these
                                                                                                  outcomes to be achieved, who

ASCC AND ThE hWSA                            > Manual handling and slips
                                                  and trips in hospitals,
                                                                                                  needs to do it and when

NATIONAL hEALTh AND                               coordinated by Tasmania                    >    The project risks and
                                                                                                  opportunities and options

SAFETY CAMPAIGNS                             >    Guarding of machinery in
                                                  manufacturing, coordinated
                                                                                                  for managing them; and

                                                  by New South Wales; and                    >    Measurement of short, medium
                                                                                                  and long term outcomes.
Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities        >    Prevention of falls in
(HWSA) comprises General Managers                 general construction,                      For two of the current campaigns,
from peak bodies responsible for                  coordinated by Victoria.                   the Office will be undertaking pre
the regulation and administration of                                                         and post intervention surveys.
occupational health and safety (OHS)         In December 2006, HWSA decided                  These will provide baseline data and
in Australia and New Zealand.                that evaluation of the effectiveness of         an indication of the effectiveness of
                                             HWSA campaigns should be improved.              the interventions in improving health
Each financial year, HWSA initiates          In April 2007, Mr John Watson, Chairman         and safety in the targeted workplaces.
national OHS campaigns across all            of HWSA, wrote to the Office of the             In addition, these surveys will also
state and territory jurisdictions targeted   ASCC inviting the Office to assist with         collect data about workplace health
at specific hazards and industries.          the development of appropriate HWSA             and safety awareness, knowledge
                                             campaign evaluation strategies. The             and behaviour and importantly, the
Strategy enforcement and compliance          Office has been working with reference          barriers and enablers of compliance.
support are two areas requiring              groups for each campaign to assist the
national action as outlined under the        development of a systematic approach            The Office of the ASCC and HWSA
National OHS Strategy 2002–2012.             to the evaluation of campaigns. This has        will continue to work together
HWSA’s national campaigns directly           included the development of evaluation          to improve health and safety in
support these areas providing a              program logic for each campaign.                workplaces across Australia.
nationally consistent approach to the
provision of compliance support and          ThE PROGRAM LOGIC hAS hELPED EACh               For more information on the Office
associated enforcement activity.             REFERENCE GROUP CLEARLY DETERMINE:              of the ASCC and HWSA campaigns
                                             > The short, medium and long term               please contact Dr Peta Miller, Director
                                                  outcomes of each campaign                  of Research on (02) 6121 9253.

>    the Australian national                 Additionally, it assisted DTE in clarifying
     standard on the use of                  their strategy for finalising draft
     equipment and machinery.                legislation. DTE has subsequently
                                             written to the Office of the ASCC
DTE was also interested in Australia’s       proposing a number of collaborative
experience in the management of              projects with Australia. In particular,
asbestos and related risk prevention.        DTE is interested in OHS inspection
New Caledonia’s major concern is             and the management of asbestos.
with the management of asbestos in
non-occupational environments.               For more information on the
                                             Forum of Occupational Health
The forum provided an opportunity            and Safety, contact Anh-Thu
to demonstrate Australia’s leadership        Stuart, Director, International
in OHS policy and program.                   Co-ordination on (02) 6121 9237.

NATIONAL hAzARD                                The tenth of October 2007 saw
                                               the implementation of the first
                                                                                        health and safety authorities,
                                                                                        researchers and commissioned

ExPOSURE WORkERS’                              National Hazard Exposure Workers
                                               Surveillance (NHEWS) survey
                                                                                        by the Office of the ASCC.

SURVEILLANCE                                   to improve data on occupational
                                               disease causing exposures and
                                                                                        Workplace Health and Safety
                                                                                        Queensland will interview workers

UPDATE                                         to provide national estimates of
                                               exposure to priority hazards.
                                                                                        with the survey questions and then
                                                                                        conduct measures of their actual
                                                                                        noise and airborne exposures.
                                               Melbourne based firm Sweeney
OVER ThE LAST 18 MONThS, ThE OFFICE            Research conducted 2000 telephone        This data can be used to verify
OF ThE ASCC hAS bEEN WORkING ON                interviews with workers about their      and validate worker self reports.
ThE AUSTRALIAN hAzARD ExPOSURE                 disease-related hazard exposures         These validation projects will allow
ASSESSMENT DATAbASE (AhEAD) PROjECT.           across a range of priority industries.   us to adjust the self report data to
                                                                                        more reliably reflect exposures.
This project will, for the first time,         A key feature of the AHEAD project
provide current national data about            is that worker reports of hazard         For more information on NHEWS
the nature and extent of workplace             exposures derived from NHEWS             contact Dr Peta Miller, Director
exposures to guide national activity           will be cross validated with             of Research on (02) 6121 9253.
for the more effective prevention of           observational measures of hazard
occupational diseases in Australia.            exposures provided by occupational

OUTCOMES OF ThE                                Future work will now be undertaken       the terms of reference for the
                                               on the membership and funding            review, including priority areas
7Th MEETING OF                                model of the new body.                   for attention, in early 2008.

ThE WORkPLACE                                  A project team has been established      Ministers also endorsed the
                                               in the Office of the ASCC. This team     ASCC’s Business Plan for the
RELATIONS MINISTERS’                           will manage the establishment of         2007–08 financial year with
                                               the new body and the associated          some amendments.
COUNCIL (WRMC)                                 machinery of government changes.
                                               The aim is to have the new independent   For more information on the
                                               body established in late 2008.           establishment of the new body
                                                                                        to replace the ASCC contact
The 75th meeting of the Workplace              During the election campaign the         Julie Hill, Director, Establishment
Relations Ministers’ Council                   current Federal Government also          Project Team on (02) 6121 9115
(WRMC) was convened in                         committed to work cooperatively          or on the National Review
Melbourne on 1 February 2008.                  with state and territory governments     into model OHS laws contact
                                               to harmonise OHS legislation within      Julia Collins, Director, OHS
Ministers were unanimous in their              five years of coming to office.          and WC Policy and Strategy
support for the WRMC being a                                                            Initiatives (02) 6121 9245.
vehicle to co-operatively pursue               Workplace Relations Ministers
practical national solutions on                noted this commitment to work to
workplace relations, occupational              harmonise OHS laws and agreed
health and safety (OHS) and                    that the use of model legislation is
workers’ compensation issues.                  the most effective way to achieve
                                               harmonisation of OHS laws.
Following a commitment from the
Federal Government during its election         Ministers supported the
campaign last year, Ministers agreed           Commonwealth’s intention to
to replace the ASCC with a new                 initiate a review to develop model
and independent national body.                 legislation and agreed to settle
                                                                                ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 7

                                     Young and inexperienced workers              Essentially, the Guide suggests
STUDENT WORk                         make up a significant proportion of          what topics need to be covered by
                                     people killed or injured at work. This       educators before the students begin
PLACEMENT GUIDE                      may be because they are unfamiliar           a work placement. It also prompts host
                                     with the work environment or are not         employers to consider the OHS risks
                                     aware of the risks, and with so many         within the workplace prior to students
                                     young people entering workplaces             commencing their work placement.
                                     for the first time, it is important that
                                     they know about the importance               The Guide supports the more
                                     of safe work environments.                   comprehensive information in
                                                                                  Getting Students to Work…Safely.
                                     The ASCC published the Student
                                     Work Placement: Occupational Health          The Student Work Placement Guide
                                     and Safety Guide for educators and           can be found on the ASCC website
                                     employers in December 2007.                  at:
                                     This new guidance contains information       Educationandtraining.htm
                                     on how to prepare students for
                                     their work placements in terms of
                                     occupational health and safety (OHS).

MANY STUDENTS ARE ENTERING           The Guide provides an overview of
ThE WORkPLACE WhILE STILL AT         workplace health and safety advice
SChOOL. ThEY MAY UNDERTAkE WORk      to educators and employers so that
ExPERIENCE PROGRAMS, VOCATIONAL      they can prepare for work experience
EDUCATION AND TRAINING COURSES OR    students. While the document is not
STRUCTURED WORkPLACE LEARNING        intended to cover all the guidance
PROGRAMS. MANY hAVE PART-TIME OR     available within each jurisdiction,
CASUAL PAID EMPLOYMENT WhILE STILL   it provides an introduction to
AT SChOOL, OR WORk IN ThE FAMILY     student work placement and offers
bUSINESS OR ON FAMILY FARMS.         avenues for further investigation.





                                               The Awards are presented in five
OVER 10 000                                   categories. To be qualified as a
                                               finalist, contenders had to first          CATEGORY 1 –
AUSTRALIANS ARE                                win their respective category in           bEST WORkPLACE hEALTh AND
                                               their 2007 state or territory level        SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
SERIOUSLY INjURED                              workplace safety awards.
                                                                                          Recognises demonstrated
AT WORk EVERY                                  This year there are 30 finalists across    commitment to continuous
                                               the five award categories. The group       improvement of OHS through
YEAR AND MORE                                  of finalists includes representatives      the implementation of an
                                               from the Australian Capital Territory,     integrated systems approach
ThAN 0 DIE AS                                New South Wales, Queensland, South
                                               Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western
A RESULT OF WORk-                              Australia and Comcare. The finalists are   >   Construction Control (ACT)
                                               model examples of some of Australia’s
RELATED INjURIES.                              dedicated workplace OHS ambassadors.       >   John Holland Group (Comcare)

The Awards, in their third year,               An independent Judging Panel               >   Catholic Schools Office,
promote continuous improvement                 will consider each finalist’s award            Diocese of Broken Bay (NSW)
towards workplace health and safety.           submission before deciding on a final
                                               winner for each of the five categories.    >   Townsville City Council (QLD)
This year’s event will be hosted
by the Minister for Employment                 The national Safe Work Australia           >   Santos Ltd (SA)
and Workplace Relations, the                   Awards official ceremony will be held
Hon Julia Gillard MP and ASCC                  at Parliament House the evening of         >   SKILLED Group Ltd (TAS)
Chairman Mr Bill Scales. As the                Monday, 28 April 2008. The Awards
nation’s premier occupational health           coincide with World Day for Safety at      >   The Australian Ballet (VIC)
and safety (OHS) event, this year’s            Work, an international campaign to
invitation list will include 300 key           promote safe, healthy and decent work      >   Pilbara Constructions
OHS stakeholders from government,              which is held annually on 28 April.            Pty Ltd (WA)
unions and industry nationwide.
                                                                         ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 

CATEGORY  –                          CATEGORY  –                           CATEGORY  –

Recognises excellence in              Limited to small businesses that       Recognises an individual who
developing and implementing a         have less than 20 employees            is not a management employee,
solution to an identified OHS issue   or full-time equivalents.              whose contribution has made an
                                                                             exceptional contribution to OHS

>   ACT Territory and Municipal       >    Dave Cavill N’ Co (ACT)
    Services, Domestic                                                       >    Jane Cullen, Department
    Animal Services (ACT)             >    Sharpe Bros (AUST)                     of Disability, Housing and
                                           Pty Ltd (NSW)                          Community Services (ACT)
>   Department of Defence,
    Royal Australian Navy,            >    Laddersmart (VIC)                 >    Captain Sharryn Batt,
    Amphibious and Afloat                                                         Department of Defence
    Support Group (Comcare)           >    Vino Ristorante (SA)                   Special Air Service Regiment,
                                                                                  Army (Comcare)
>   NSW Rape Crisis
    Centre (NSW)                                                             >    Jason Painter, Woolworths
                                                                                  Supermarkets (NSW)
>   Watpac Australia
    Pty Ltd (QLD)                                                            >    John (Dick) Turpin, Leighton
                                                                                  Contractors Pty Ltd (QLD)
>   OneSteel Whyalla
    BOS SHIFT 2 (SA)                                                         >    Veronica Wilkey,
                                                                                  TafeSA Regional (SA)
>   Metro Tasmania (TAS)              CATEGORY  –
                                      PUbLIC SECTOR LEADERShIP               >    Tarek Soueid, Woolworths Ltd,
>   EARS Australia (VIC)              AWARD FOR INjURY PREVENTION                 Hume Distribution Centre,
                                      AND MANAGEMENT                              Boadmeadows (VIC)
>   OZ TANK WA and
    Sundowner Technologies (WA)       Recognises government                  >    Bill Towie, Forest Products
                                      organisations that demonstrate              Commission (WA)
                                      commitment to continuous
                                      improvement in OHS through
                                      leadership and best practice

                                      >   Department of Health
                                          and Ageing (Comcare)

                                      >   Department of Public Works,
                                          Queensland (QLD)

                                      >   Broome Port Authority (WA)
                                                                           More information on the 2007
                                                                           national Safe Work Australia
                                                                           Awards is available on the ASCC


FIRST ANNUAL                                    In 2005, there were 522 deaths
                                                as a result of mesothelioma. This
                                                                                           ban on importing and using all forms of
                                                                                           asbestos took effect on 31 December
MESOThELIOMA                                    has increased from 416 deaths in
                                                1997. Again, the majority of these
                                                                                           2003. National codes of practice are in
                                                                                           place for the safe removal of asbestos
REPORT                                          deaths occurred in males.                  and for the management and control of
                                                                                           asbestos in workplaces. Despite these
                                                The report uses data obtained              efforts to prevent exposure to asbestos,
ThE OFFICE OF ThE ASCC RELEASED ITS             from the National Cancer Statistics        it is predicted that the number of new
FIRST ANNUAL MESOThELIOMA REPORT                Clearing House and the National            cases will peak sometime in the next 10
MesothelioMa in australia incidence 1982        Mortality Database, both of which are      years due to past exposure to asbestos
to 2004, deaths 1997 to 2005 IN MARCh 008.     maintained by the Australian Institute     and the long latency of this disease.
                                                of Health and Welfare. Mesothelioma
In May 2007, the ASCC unanimously               is a notifiable disease; therefore all     The report also presents incidence
agreed to improve the collection                cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in         and mortality rates of mesothelioma,
and dissemination of information on             Australia are required to be reported to   as well as the number of new cases
mesothelioma in Australia. It was               the State Cancer Registries. This data     and deaths by state and territory.
agreed that an annual report, including         is therefore the most comprehensive        A full copy of the report can be
trends over time, the number of new             data on the incidence of mesothelioma      downloaded at
cases and the number of deaths                  available in Australia. Data on deaths
from mesothelioma be developed.                 caused by mesothelioma have been           Additionally, the ASCC is investigating
                                                obtained from the National Mortality       past exposures to asbestos in
Mesothelioma is a usually fatal cancer          Database. This data includes all deaths    those people who subsequently
which typically occurs 20 to 30 years           in Australia where mesothelioma was        develop mesothelioma. The
after exposure to asbestos. The report          specified on the death certificate.        results of these investigations
shows that in 2004 there were 596                                                          will be reported separately and
new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed             In the past, Australia had the world’s     will complement the information
in Australia. This has increased                highest consumption per capita of          provided in the current report.
dramatically since 1982 when there              asbestos, and in the last 20 years of
were 156 new cases. Each year men               the 20th century Australia has had the     For more information on the Annual
typically account for 80–90 per cent            world’s highest reported per capita        Mesothelioma Report, Contact Alison
of these cases, and in 2004 the                 incidence of mesothelioma. The use of      Yardley, Acting Director, Data and
75–79 year age group accounted for              asbestos products has been regulated       Analysis on (02) 6121 9256.
the highest number of new cases.                since the late 1970s and a nationwide
                                                                                   ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 11

NINTh ANNUAL                              >   The incidence of fatality
                                              from work-related injury and
                                                                                      >    The durable return to work
                                                                                           rate has continued to increase,

COMPARATIVE                                   musculoskeletal disorders has
                                              decreased 8 per cent since
                                                                                           with 80% of workers injured
                                                                                           in 2005–06 successfully

PERFORMANCE                                   the National OHS Strategy
                                              2002–2012 was introduced.
                                                                                           returning to work within eight
                                                                                           to ten months of their injury.

MONITORING REPORT                             This is considered ‘on target’ to
                                              achieve the 20 per cent reduction       >    Average Australian premium
                                              required by 2011–2012.                       rates have fallen 9% from
                                                                                           2004–05 to 2005–06.
                                          >   There were 231 compensated
ThE NINTh ANNUAL COMPARATIVE                  fatalities recorded in Australia        >    Stronger investment performances
PERFORMANCE MONITORING (CPM)                  for 2005–06, of which 184 were               have contributed to the rise of
REPORT ON AUSTRALIA’S OCCUPATIONAL            from injury and musculoskeletal              the average Australian funding
hEALTh AND SAFETY (OhS) AND WORkERS’          disorders and 47 were from other             ratio to more than 100% for
COMPENSATION OUTCOMES WAS ENDORSED            diseases. It is expected, however,           the first time since the CPM
bY WRMC ON 1 FEbRUARY 008.                   that these numbers will increase             began compiling data.
                                              when all claims are processed.
The CPM project is a cooperative effort                                               The statistical data contained in
involving the Australian Government,      >   Body stressing has continued            the ninth CPM report have been
all State and Territory governments           to be the mechanism of injury/          standardised to enable more direct
and New Zealand. OHS and workers’             disease which accounted for the         comparison across the jurisdictions
compensation are primarily the                greatest proportion of claims at        than could be obtained by individually
responsibility of the State and               42%. Claims for Mental stress           accessing annual reports.
Territory governments in Australia.           recorded the greatest percentage
                                              increase of all mechanism               The CPM series is complemented
The ninth CPM report contains 25              groups 12% over the period              by the Compendium of Workers’
indicators that provide a range of            from 2001–02 to 2004–05.                Compensation Statistics which
information designed to help gauge                                                    provides more detailed analysis of
the success of different approaches       >   The Manufacturing industry              national workers’ compensation
undertaken by the various workers’            recorded the highest incidence          data. The Compendium series can
compensation and OHS authorities              rates at 28.6 claims per 1000           be found at
to reduce the incidence of work-              employees followed by the
related injury and disease.                   Transport and storage industry          The CPM report series can be found
                                              28.3, the Agriculture, forestry         at
Highlights from the ninth                     and fishing industry 25.9 and
CPM report include:                           the Construction industry 25.3.

>   The incidence of work-related         >   In 2005-06, over 114 000
    injury and musculoskeletal                inspections of workplaces were
    disorders has decreased 13                undertaken around Australia
    per cent since the National               with 67 200 notices issued, over
    OHS Strategy 2002–2012 was                900 prosecutions commenced
    introduced. This is however               and almost $23 million in fines
    below the rate of improvement             handed out by the courts.
    required to meet the 40 per cent
    reduction target by 2011–2012.        >   In 2005-06, Australian workers’
                                              compensation schemes
>   The preliminary workers’                  expended more than 5.7 billion          For more information about
    compensation claims data for              dollars, of which around half           the Comparative Performance
    2005–06 indicate the incidence            (52%) was paid direct to injured        Monitoring project, contact Alison
    of serious injury and disease is          workers in compensation                 Yardley, Acting Director, Data and
    15.6 claims per 1000 employees.           for their injury or illness.            Analysis on (02) 6121 9256.


ANNUAL NOTIFIED                                 The report presents information about
                                                the circumstances surrounding the
                                                                                           The most common causes
                                                                                           of fatalities were:

FATALITIES                                      146 worker and 16 bystander fatalities
                                                that were reported to, and investigated    >   Vehicle accidents (30 fatalities)

REPORT 06-07                                    by, OHS authorities during 2006–07.
                                                                                           >   Being hit by moving
                                                Nearly one-quarter (24%) of all notified       objects (29 fatalities)
Occupational health and safety                  fatalities of known age were of workers
(OHS) legislation in each Australian            aged 55 years or older, although           >   Being hit by falling
state and territory requires work-              workers in this age group comprised            objects (29 fatalities)
related deaths to be notified to the            15% of employed Australians.
state or territory OHS authority.                                                          >   Falls from a height (28 fatalities)
                                                Five industries accounted for
The office of the ASCC and its                  seven out of every ten notified            >   Electrocution (13 fatalities); and
predecessor began compiling details             work-related fatalities:
of these notifications from each OHS                                                       >   Being trapped by moving
authority on 1 July 2003. Notifications         >    17% of fatalities occurred                machinery (11 fatalities).
cover workers (both employees and self-              at a workplace primarily
employed) and bystanders who suffered                engaged in Construction               This report and previous years
a fatal injury at work or as the result of                                                 reports are available on the ASCC
work activity. Fatalities that occurred         >    17% in Agriculture,                   web site at:
while commuting to or from work, and                 forestry and fishing                  aboutus/publications/statreports/
those resulting from suicide or natural
causes (i.e. stroke or heart attack)            >    17% in Transport and storage
are not included in these statistics.
                                                >    11% in Manufacturing; and
The 2006–07 annual report on
Notified Fatalities was published               >    9% in Mining.
in early February 2008.
                                                                                       ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 1


SkIN hAzARDS                              Observations of these workers
                                          showed that workers with low risk                  kEY FINDINGS:

AT WORk                                   hand washing behaviours (i.e. less
                                          than 20 times per day) reasonably                  >    It is estimated 80 000
                                          accurately estimated their exposures.                   workers may be
The Office of the ASCC is collecting      However, workers with higher risk                       currently experiencing
data to target and inform prevention      hand washing behaviours (i.e. more                      occupational dermatitis.
programs for the priority occupational    than 20 times per day) tended to over
diseases. As part of this program,        estimate (double) their exposures.                 >    40% food handlers, 25% of
in 2007 the ASCC commissioned a                                                                   the hairdressers and 13% of
project on skin hazards: Exposure to      This result is consistent with the                      healthcare workers are at risk
skin hazards in health care workers,      literature. Therefore, adjusting these                  for occupational dermatitis
hairdressers, food handlers and           estimates accordingly, the proportion of
epoxy resin users - a pilot study.        those at risk in these groups is at least:         >    Non-compliance with glove
                                                                                                  use and/or incorrect glove
This research estimated the               >    Hairdressers 25%                                   selection and use is common.
prevalence of exposure to skin
hazards in healthcare workers, food       >    Healthcare workers 13%                        >    35% of hairdressers and
handlers and epoxy resin users.                                                                   27% of food handlers did
                                          >    Food handlers 40%                                  not wear any gloves.
A non-randomised sample of 200
workers from high risk occupations        Dermatitis on the day of                           >    52% of the epoxy resin
were selected and surveyed using          examination was very common                             users were not using
a modification of the skin exposure       amongst the study group:                                the correct gloves.
assessment tool (SEAT) developed
by the Occupational Dermatology           >    Hairdressers 19%                              >    32% of the hairdressers
Research and Education Centre.                                                                    wore powdered latex gloves
                                          >    Healthcare workers 12%                             which increases their risk of
SEAT collects data on three priority                                                              developing a latex allergy.
skin hazards: wet work, latex and epoxy   >    Food handlers 18%
resins. Questions on demographics,
eczema and dermatitis history,            Assuming these data are representative
working arrangements, hours and           of exposed healthcare workers,                  The full project report will be
type of work, personal protective         hairdressers and food handlers, the             available on the ASCC website in
equipment used in the workplace,          point estimate for the prevalence               March. For further information,
and presence of hand dermatitis           of occupational dermatitis in                   contact Dr Peta Miller, Director
were also included. The presence          Australia is over 80 000 workers.               of Research on (02) 61219253.
and severity of dermatitis was then
verified and rated by an occupational
dermatologist or occupational nurse.

The study found that:

>   24% of food handlers
    perform four or more hours
    of wet work a day; and

>   A majority of food handlers (78%),
    half of the hairdressers (51%), and
    a quarter of healthcare workers
    (26%) reported washing their
    hands 20 or more times per day.


                                                                                             The meeting was attended by
                                                                                             representatives of jurisdictional
                                                                                             occupational health and safety (OHS)
                                                                                             authorities, Australian Chamber of
                                                                                             Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
                                                                                             representatives and the Australian
                                                                                             Council of Trade Unions (ACTU),
                                                                                             in addition to several members of
                                                                                             the Office of the ASCC’s Chemical
                                                                                             Standards team. The meeting made
                                                substances and dangerous goods               significant progress towards resolving
WORkPLACE                                       frameworks. The new framework                a number of key technical issues that
                                                utilises the Globally Harmonised             had been raised during the public
ChEMICALS                                       System of Classification and Labelling       comment period. It is anticipated that
                                                of Chemicals (GHS) as the basis for          another meeting of the technical group
FRAMEWORk:                                      hazard classification, labelling and         will be held in the coming months to
                                                safety data sheets. Draft documents          resolve remaining technical issues.
WhAT’S bEEN                                     were released for public comment in
                                                September 2006 until March 2007.             In other news, the Office of the ASCC
GOING ON?                                                                                    recently participated in round table
                                                As part of the work to progress the          discussions with the Department of
                                                documents towards declaration,               Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and
The Office of the ASCC is reviewing             the Office of the ASCC hosted                Department for Innovation, Industry
the workplace chemicals framework,              a workplace chemicals technical              Science and Research (DIISR)
merging the existing hazardous                  group meeting in November 2007.              on chemicals trade data. At this
                                                                                             meeting Industry were represented

                                                of explosives regulation has been            various state and territory jurisdictions,
REVISION OF                                     made since this function began in late       address some of industry’s concerns,
                                                2006. In particular, AFER has been           as well as address security matters
ThE AUSTRALIAN                                  focusing on updating the Australian          relating to the transport of explosives.
                                                Code for the Transport of Explosives
ExPLOSIVES CODE                                 by Road and Rail (the Code) which            The release of the draft Code, which is
                                                was last published in 2000.                  scheduled for mid-March 2008, is a
The Australian Forum of Explosive                                                            much-anticipated event for industry and
Regulators (AFER) is a group that               AFER normally meets twice a year,            explosives regulators. All stakeholders
consists of Commonwealth, state and             but in order to consider the draft           will be encouraged to submit comments
territory explosives regulators and             Code the group met twice during              to AFER on the draft code. Information
competent authorities. Representatives          February 2008. The draft has been            on the public comment process
from the Australian Explosives Industry         prepared by representatives from both        will be made available on the ASCC
Safety Group, as well as representatives        government and industry and has              website. Other explosives issues
of other relevant government authorities        been updated in line with the United         to be considered once the Code is
with an interest in explosives regulation,      Nations classification and labelling         finalised include classification, licensing
also attend AFER meetings.                      system, the Australian Code for the          and authorisation of explosives.
                                                Transport of Dangerous Goods by
The Office of the ASCC provides                 Road and Rail and the International          For more information on AFER,
the Chair and Secretariat for AFER.             Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.               contact Anh-Thu Stuart, Director
Significant progress towards achieving          This updated code will enhance the           of International Coordination,
national consistency in the development         level of consistency in its application in   on (02) 6121 9237.
                                                                                        ADVANCING NATIONAL SAFETY VOLUME 7 008 > 1

   by the Plastics and Chemicals               the international implementation               hazardous substances, including the
   Industries Association (PACIA) and          of the GHS. It is expected that this           Strategic Approach to International
   ACCORD, the national advocate               work will result in the publication of         Chemicals Management (SAICM).
   for the consumer, cosmetics and             the third revised edition of the GHS
   specialty chemicals sector. Industry        “purple book” at the completion of             The Office of the ASCC’s web-based
   were interested in considering DFAT         the current two year work cycle.               Hazardous Substance Information
   and DIISR trade data and how it                                                            System (HSIS) provides access to an
   could be used to inform policy              Peter Haynes, Director of the                  updated and consolidated listing of
   decisions on chemicals regulation.          Chemical Standards team attended               classified hazardous substances, plus
                                               as an independent expert, the                  information on exposure standards.
   The Office of the ASCC attended             International Labour Organisation’s            To remain up-to-date, HSIS is updated
   two international meetings held in          (ILO) Meeting of experts to examine            periodically following the release of the
   early December 2007 in Geneva.              instruments, knowledge, advocacy,              European Commission’s Adaptation
   Drew Wagner, Assistant Secretary            technical cooperation and industrial           to Technical Progress (ATP) from
   for the Standards and International         collaboration as tools with a view to          Annex 1 of Council Directive 67/548/
   branch of the ASCC, is the Australian       developing a policy framework for              EEC. The chemicals standards
   representative on the United                hazardous substances. The meeting              team will shortly be updating HSIS
   Nations’ Sub Committee of Experts           was attended by 36 experts, including          to adopt changes in the 29th ATP,
   on the Globally Harmonized System           12 from the Governments of Australia,          which includes approximately 458
   of Classification and Labelling of          China, Egypt, France, Germany,                 amendments and 455 new insertions.
   Chemicals, and attended the fourteenth      India, Japan, Mexico, Russian
   session of the subcommittee.                Federation, South Africa, the United           For more information on the
   This group meets twice a year to            Kingdom and the United States.                 Chemicals Standards Branch, contact
   discuss classification and hazard           The meeting discussed a number of              Peter Haynes, Director, Chemical
   communication issues of the GHS,            issues relating to ILO instruments on          Standards on (02) 6121 9171.
   as well as other issues including           Occupational Health and Safety and

                                            safety in their workplace to reduce            doing to continue promoting safety
SAFE WORk                                   death, injury and disease.                     in the workplace all year round.

AUSTRALIA WEEk –                            Safe Work Australia Week received              Over 300 000 free promotional
                                            tremendous support, with over 2000             products and 6000 employer
007 WRAP UP                                organisations and businesses, large            kits were distributed nationally
                                            and small in all Australian states and         by the Office of the ASCC.
                                            territories welcoming, supporting and
                                            participating in the week through a            Safe Work Australia Week testimonials
                                            variety of safety themed activities.           and case studies from a cross
                                                                                           section of industry and organisations
                                            Most encouraging was the                       are available on the Council’s
                                            demonstration from Australian                  website at:
                                            workplaces that the promotion of safety        NewsEvents/SafeWorkAusWeek/
                                            in the workplace does not end when
                                            Safe Work Australia Week ends.                 “Safety is everybody’s business.”
                                                                                           With this motto Safe Work Australia
In its third year national Safe Work        Organisations all over Australia               Week continues to grow every year.
Australia Week, held in 2007 from           have contacted the Office of the
21 to 27 October encouraged                 ASCC with testimonials of Safe Work            Information about Safe Work
all working Australians to get              Australia Week and what they will be           Australia Week 2008 can be
involved in, and concentrate on,                                                           found at

Office of the Australian Safety   WorkCover QLD                   WorkCover Tasmania
and Compensation Council          1300 362 128                    1300 366 322             

TERRITORY OhS AND WORkERS’        1300 361 235                    COMCARE
COMPENSATION CONTACTS:                  1300 366 979
ACT WorkCover                     WorkCover SA                    ACTU
02 6205 0200                      13 18 55                        (Australian Council               of Trades Unions)
                                                                  03 9663 5266
NEW SOUTh WALES                   SafeWork SA           
WorkCover NSW                     1300 365 255
13 10 50                          ACCI                                          (Australian Chamber of
                                  VICTORIA                        Commerce and Industry)
NSW Workers’                      Victorian WorkCover Authority   02 6279 2311
Compensation Commission           1800 136 089          
1300 368 040            
                                                                  The ASCC is made up of representatives
                                  WESTERN AUSTRALIA
                                                                  from each Australian state and territory, the
NORThERN TERRITORY                WorkSafe WA                     Commonwealth, the ACTU and ACCI. The
NT WorkSafe                       1300 307 877                    role of the ASCC is to lead and coordinate
1800 019 115                      national efforts to improve OHS and workers’
                                                                  compensation arrangements, declare national
                                                                  standards and codes of practice for OHS
                                  WorkCover WA                    and provide policy advice to the Workplace
QUEENSLAND                        1300 794 744                    Relations Ministers’ Council on OHS and
Department of Employment         workers’ compensation arrangements.
and Industrial Relations QLD
                                                                  The ASCC is not a regulatory authority and
1300 369 915                      TASMANIA
                                                                  does not make or enforce laws. OHS laws in     Workplace Standards Tasmania    Australia operate in each of the state, territory
                                  1300 366 322                    and commonwealth jurisdictions, and are
                                      administered by jurisdictions’ OHS authorities.

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