‘Come home safe’ the focus of recent forum

Beloved family members coming home from work safe every day is often taken for granted, until tragedy strikes.

Creating safer workplaces across the Latrobe Valley to ensure everyone goes home in one piece was the focus of a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union forum on Wednesday at Power Works, Morwell.

CFMEU organiser and Occupational Health and Safety officer Duncan MacGregor said the ‘health and safety reps forum’ was a chance to share knowledge between workplaces and promote a self-starter approach among employees.

“It’s virtually a generation ago the (OHS) Act came into place in 2004. We’re just trying to re-energise the health and safety reps of the Latrobe Valley, keep their minds on the job and make sure they keep their workplaces safe,” Mr MacGregor said.

“Although they’re different work sites a lot of the problems are the same and we’re looking to initiate that communication across those various areas so we can go forward.

“If we can get that message across to our people they can go home safe and there’ll be families which won’t have problems with injured fathers, wives or kids.”

About 30 representatives from various workplaces attended the forum, which featured guest speakers including Trades Hall Council lead OH&S organiser Doctor Paul Sutton and Worksafe inspectors from the Valley.

Mr MacGregor said the recent deployment of another Worksafe inspector to the Latrobe Valley was a step forward, but there was more to be done.

“It’s good to have more inspectors on the ground; we are still pushing as a group of unions in the Valley for a designated heavy industries inspector which would cover areas specific to the actual power stations, not the mines,” he said.

“The paper mill, Esso, these types of industries we believe need a lot more coverage.

“Any addition is good but we want more, that’s the bottom line.”

The forum also covered ‘Noise Blitz’, a VTHC initiative to test exposure and noise levels in workplaces along with the roles of health and safety reps.

Mr MacGregor said the forum was well received and hoped to make it a regular occurrence to push for a more cohesive network in which workplaces can rely on each other assistance.