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Pigs Brains

Pigs Brains

Do you work in a pig abattoir?
Is compressed air used to blast brain tissue from severed pigs heads?

Read this article and find out about potential risk!


Alimta and Mesothelioma

Today 8th November the PBS recommended that Alimta be subsidised. Find out more.


Find out about treatment for the asbestos related disease Mesothelioma

Behaviour Based Safety

What are Behaviour Based Safety Programs?

Behavioural Based Safety is an approach to safety that focuses on workers' behaviour as the cause of most work-related injuries and illnesses.   These programs are being introduced in Australian workplaces, and so we have produced a Kit for health and safety reps to provide information on what they are, what's wrong with them and what workers can do in their workplaces.

Check out lots of material

Zoonotic Deaths

In August 2006 two workers in Britain die from diseases caught from animals. One dies of anthrax and one from rabbit flu.

Injured at Work? Claiming Compensation

Injuries or Illnesses WorkCover Entitlements

Despite fighting for health and safety this is an industry where workers do get injured too often. The injuries that are most common are injuries from 'manual handling'. The next most common are lacerations. The range of injuries and illnesses is too long to go into here.
If you are injured or ill and your work really contributes to this you are entitled to compensation.
What are some of the things that you need to do if you are injured
Find out about
claiming WorkCover
Check what are Medical and Like Services
Find out what are
your entitlements
How do you sort out your entitlements in the retail sector
Find out where things stand with Rehabilitation and Returning to Work


H&S Reps

The next OHS Reps training course will be held at AMIEU from 4 to 8 August 2008. 

Find pics from a previous course 
See what it was like behind here. 
As it is approved by WorkSafe your employers must let you come as an elected health and safety representative. 


Q Fever

ABC Landline program about Q Fever in August 2005 raised awareness of many. Check out what was on it.
Day of Mourning

The canary  has been sent down mines for centuries to show if the air was turning bad. The canary died first - hopefully giving enough time for workers to escape.

Labour Hire

Victorian Parliament's Economic Development Committee Inquiry into Labour Hire Employment was set up in 2003. The AMIEU put in a submission as did Trades Hall. In preparing for this there was a survey of workers to find out the impact of employment through labour hire. if you want to find out more click on here.

WASHINGTON - When Tereza Nieto dreamed of working in North Carolina, she never imagined this: hog carcasses zipping past her inside a chilly factory cooler, a fallen pig, an injured back, the inability to work.
read on
Risks - Gas Flush Meat

Management Secrecy - A Threat to Health and Safety

Members will be aware that a trial of the use of gas flush meat is being carried out in Coles Myer stores. It is clear that Coles Myer are increasing the numbers of stores that are being supplied from a centralised company who are providing the gas flushed meat.

Read More

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Meat Industry Health & Safety

Hanks Review of ACA

Review of the Victorian Accident Compensation Act 1985

In December 2007 the Minister for WorkSafe, Tim Holding, announced an inquiry into the Accident Compensation Act.  The State Government appointed Mr Peter Hanks QC to conduct the review. The report goes to the government in July.

Find out about the issue

Health & Safety Reps
OHS Rep's Handbook
The AMIEU has produced a Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act for meat workers. See how to get health and safety reps with powers. See how meat workers have used these powers to make sure that their workplaces are safer.
If you want a copy of the pocketbook ask your Delegate or Organiser or contact Gwynnyth Evans the AMIEU Health and Safety Officer on 03 9662 3766 or by email on
Three temporary migrant workers killed at work in one month
Unions are concerned that the Federal Government is issuing 457 work visas without giving adequate consideration to the safety and conditions of work for the visa holders.
International News


Keep up to date with international occupational health and safety news.


Sick workers; Poisoned Environment

Hold Unilever Accountable for Mercury Poisoning

March 7, 2008: Global Day of Action Against Unilever

We are workers and residents of Kodaikanal, who were exposed to toxic mercury from Hindustan Unilever's mercury thermometer factory in this beautiful hill station in Tamilnadu, South India. We are pursuing the Anglo-Dutch giant seeking compensation, long-term health rehabilitation and monitoring, and clean-up of mercury contamination of our home town and its beautiful lakes.

March 7, 2008, is the 7th anniversary of the day when we exposed Unilever's irresponsible dumping of toxic mercury wastes in a sensitive watershed forest and in a scrap yard in a crowded working class neighborhood.

The company's in-house safety practices were as lax as their environmental quality control. We were not warned of the hazards of working with mercury.

Many of us unwittingly carried the toxic metal home in our clothes and hair and exposed our children to the poison. Many of us are too sick to work for a living. Faced with mounting medical expenses under the circumstances, our families are being pushed to destitution. At least 19 young workers have died till date, and hundreds, including children born to exposed parents, are sick. The company refuses to come to the aid of those poisoned by it, and is delaying clean-up to international standards.

Make Unilever fulfill its obligations to the community of ex-workers and Kodaikanal residents.

Take Action: Target Unilever wherever you are

  • Organise candle-light vigils
  • Take out a rally supporting the cause of the ex-workers* Organise actions at Hindustan Lever/Unilever offices in your cities
  • Organise photo exhibitions on Unilever's mercury fever in schools, community halls
  • Organise local boycotts of Unilever's consumer products - tea, cosmetics, soaps and detergents
  • Write, call, fax the local Unilever office and ask them to take responsibility for their pollution in Kodaikanal.

Contact details for Unilever offices worldwide can be found by verifying their country websites. Select the country by going to:

Ponds Hindustan Lever Limited ex- mercury employees' welfare Association,
J.R Complex,
Kamarajar Road,
Kodaikanal - 624 101. Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu, India.
Make Unilever fulfill its obligations to the community of ex-workers and Kodaikanal residents.


Anthrax in Drought
Take Seriously
But Don't Panic

OHS Act 2004

Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004
Check out some of the major new provisions.

Machine Guarding

Machine Guarding - Safety Basics

Machines for use in meat workplaces are designed to perform one or a combination of functions which include cutting, punching, pressing, forming, hammering, joining, sorting, packaging, assembling, lifting, lowering and transporting material.

Too often meatworkers are hurt on this machinery. WorkSafe has prepared material to explain more about guarding.

Click here and find out more about Machine Guarding

Experience in USA is too familiar

Experience in USA is too familiar

U.S. meat and poultry employers put workers at predictable risk of serious physical injury even though the means to avoid such injury are known and feasible. In doing so, they violate the right of workers to a safe place of employment.

The meat industry employers in the USA answer the article in the Washington Post

Health and safety activists answer the meat industry employers in the USA

More from the USA showing that injuries have not decreased, just under-reported


Victorial Trades Hall Council has an e-journal for health and safety representatives and others. Check out the VTHC health and safety reps network website. Find the journal on SafetyNet

Bullying and Violence

Bullying and Violence

Bullying and violence is too common in workplaces. It may be violence to workers which is visible, such as the situation when the worker was subjected to racist abuse and belted around the shoulders by the supervisor. But it may be less visible forms of bullying that don't result in visible bruises, such as being given work overload or the hardest tasks continuously.

Unfortunately one of the most common situations where bullying occurs in meatworks is the way that workers, who have legitimately claimed WorkCover, are treated by some of the employers in the industry. This is not all of the employers in the industry, but is happens too often. 

No forms of bullying or violence should be accepted. They have never been legally acceptable, but it has been hard to raise with employers (particularly when perpetrated by management) but at last there is a WorkSafe Guidance Note. Find out what has to be done to address workplace bullying and violence.

Its OK to Say NO

Can be Bloody Dangerous


Machinery used can pose major risks of cutting, crushing, burns or electrification. But your employer is responsible to make if safe. This can be by redesign, isolation, guarding and at the very least, training or all of these can be necessary to provide protection. The outcome of employers not doing what they have to can be horrifying. Find our what can happen please be aware that the images are very disturbing.


Some of the machinery that can cut off workers' limbs because it is used to split animals includes band saws, carcase saws, hock cutters and horn cutters. The injuries can be horrific, too many amputations can occur. Crushing or flaying could occur from augers, hide pullers, strapping machines, tripe spinners or wrapping machines. Stun guns or any of the electrical equipment could cause electrification if machinery is not properly maintained.


If employers don't identify, assess and control the risks it can be necessary to say NO. Risks must be eliminated or controlled. If your employer won't put the controlling measures in the place soon enough and provide training before you are asked to operate this equipment IT IS OK TO SAY NO. Take the issue to your health and safety representative and they can take up the issue. If the employer will not control the risks your health and safety representative can stop the use of the dangerous machinery.


It is OK to say NO

Cut the Crap


USA = Fast Food Nation

Meatpackers are 3 times more likely to be injured than the average factory worker. It's an inherently dangerous job, but it's made even more dangerous by the speed of production. At Smithfield Packing Plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, the 5,500 workers at the plant slaughter, cut, pack and ship up to 34,000 hogs every day. That's one hog every 5 to 8 seconds! At Smithfield, the pressure to keep up puts workers at risk and 3 workers at the plant are injured every day. Ask Smithfield's CEO to help protect his workers by slowing down the line.

Fast Food can kill workers The Meatrix 2.5 shows how.

 Health & Safety Guidelines

The National Guidelines for Health and Safety in the Meat Industry is available as a PDF file.
 You need Acrobat Reader to open it. It will take considerable time to download due to its size.


Worksafe Victoria has funded the AMIEU for Health & Safety Representatives' Support Officer. The new Support Officer is Evert Van Der Steeg (Call him EJ).

He worked at Gathercoles in Carrum  (a domestic abattoir) slaughtering beef and lamb for 13 years.

Additionally he spent time boning beef in a butcher shop. 


He was elected as Health & Safety Rep and was a Job Delegate for a few years and on the AMIEU Committee of Management.


After developing injuries in his hands, shoulders and elbows he had to "give the game away" ie leave the kill floor. Because he had work related injuries he was retrained going to Swinburne and doing a Health and Safety Diploma.


If you need help from the HSR Support Officer you can contact EJ on 9662 3766 or 0409 803 047


 Injuries Around the World

Injuries around the world?

Throughout the world the numbers of injuries at works are underestimated. In the USA, the advanced capitalist companies hide the injured along with the smaller companies. In Victoria Australia too many companies do not report injuries despite the fact that for 20 years the laws have required workplace injuries to be reported.

 OH&S Reps

Key H&S Reps

Elected worker health and safety representatives are key for workers survival. Employers mostly put profits first and if means that workers' health rates very low on their agenda. Health and safety representatives are key to making employers meet their responsibilities to providing workplaces that are safe and without risks to workers. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act health and safety representatives have rights.

 The Union and Health & Safety

What is the role of the union in health & safety?


 More evidence supports HSRs

Union HSRs Effective

Union safety reps make workplace safety campaigns effective, research for the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found.
Commenting on the findings, HSE chief executive Geoffrey Podger said: "This is an effective way to raise health and safety management in the workplace. Training and exposing safety representatives to new ideas on how to manage various health and safety issues is a valuable way of enabling the workforce to take action and educate those around them."
Rob Miguel, Unite health and safety officer, said: "Unite believes safety reps are an essential component to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions," adding: "Our vision to encourage reps to be proactive has proved. to be a very effective way to raise health and safety awareness...
The results prove beyond all doubt, that safety reps are an essential ingredient in achieving healthier and safer workplaces."

 New York Times

New York Times reports on the nightmares for workers in the Meat Industry in the USA exposed by Human Rights Watch

6th February 2005

Blood Sweat and Fear Human Rights Watch Report on the Meat Industry in America

Unless we stick together and remain unionised and fight for our rights, the industry in Australia could go down the same track.

 More detail on Human Rights

When Compensation Data shows the Injury Rate Falling - the State is not Probing Safety at the plant

Advocates in the USA say "Set up inspection programs that specifically target workplaces that report a large reduction in injuries". See Why. We agree. 

 Unionised Workplaces Safer


In July 2005 the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a new report which it says confirms evidence of a positive link between the appointment of safety representatives and levels of health and safety awareness and performance. It also finds that trade union support for the health and safety representative is key. 


Read all about it

 Workplace Safety

A Dangerous Business

"They will force you, you know, to care less about safety, and just do your work. And you got this point, you know, you reach this point, that you just don't care about you and you set your mind on work. And that's what they want, and that's how people get hurt."

Find out more about the story


Workers Die- Company President Guilty of Homicide

Occasionally, all too rarely, justice is done; those responsible for the preventable deaths of workers receive appropriate punishment.

Unfortunately the sentence handed down for Homicide was not appropriate punishment in this case either

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