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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2376


Senator RICHARDSON —I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Science and Technology. As the Minister is no doubt aware, the Craig report on occupational safety and health standards in Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation laboratories was recently handed down. The report was commissioned after an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of a CSIRO scientist in Victoria, Dr Ron Bermagasco, had found that while the doctor's death could not be directly related to his work, there were severe defects in the working conditions of the CSIRO's Fishermans Bend site. The report, the first of its type--


The PRESIDENT —Order! Will the honourable senator ask his question?


Senator RICHARDSON —Considering the serious nature of the report and the fact that the cost to the CSIRO of occupational accidents and disease approaches several million dollars annually, can the Minister tell me what action the Government has taken to implement the report's recommendations?


Senator RYAN —A number of steps have been taken following the publication of the Craig report on occupational safety and health standards in the CSIRO. The CSIRO executive has accepted the general thrust of the Craig report's 45 recommendations. The Central Occupational Health and Safety Unit has been established. The anticipated number of five and a manager and engineer have been appointed and an administrative officer selected. Advertisements for an hygienist have been placed and the CSIRO staff are negotiating with the Public Service Board for approval to engage a medical officer.

Arrangements for safety committee establishment and operation are being overhauled. A new ADP-based accident statistics system is under development in the CSIRO. Systems for carrying out safety audits at each of the CSIRO's sites are being designed. Staff access to information on potential hazards is being increased. Efforts are being made to achieve heightened awareness of occupational health and safety throughout the CSIRO. In the context of the 1984- 85 Budget, various essential capital works proposals have been developed to upgrade occupational safety and health standards in several CSIRO laboratories. Other recommendations of the Craig committee will be implemented progressively.


Senator Chaney —I ask that the Minister table the paper from which she quoted.


Senator RYAN —I table the paper.