Australia: Inside track: Work Health & Safety - In the media, in practice and courts, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 11 September 2019
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2019

In the media

Construction site supervisor fined $21,000 for setting apprentice on fire
An Adelaide construction site supervisor who doused an apprentice in flammable liquid and set his clothes on fire is fined $21,000 for breaching workplace safety laws (29 August 2019). More...

Comcare: WHS charges over Townsville incident
Prosecutors have filed federal work health and safety charges against the Department of Defence after a worker suffered critical injuries during a maintenance operation (26 August 2019). More...

Targeting employers flouting workplace safety rules
A new workplace health and safety awareness campaign targeting employers who risk workers' lives is warning they face tough penalties if they do the wrong thing. The Andrews Labor Government has already announced that WorkSafe will employ up to 40 new inspectors over the next four years to focus on health and safety in the construction industry (21 August 2019). More...

Qld: Safety audits of plumbing businesses performing electrical work
Plumbers who perform electrical work under their QBCC trade contractor licence are deemed to hold an electrical contractor licence. The Electrical Safety Office is auditing plumbers performing restricted electrical work as part of their business to ensure they are meeting their electrical safety duties (20 August 2019). More...

Have your say on the NSW draft formwork code of practice
The NSW Government is seeking feedback on a draft formwork code of practice, which aims to provide practical guidance for workers and businesses when working with formwork and falsework. The nature of formwork construction puts workers in high-risk situations (20 August 2019). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 1 August, there have been 83 Australian workers killed at work in 2019. The numbers and industries may vary from one report to the next, as Safe Work receives more detailed information. More...

In practice and courts

NSW

SafeWork NSW
Updated 23 NSW Codes of Practice are now available for download on our website. The codes were revised by Safe Work Australia and come into effect in NSW on 30 August 2019 and align with the model codes of practice developed under the harmonised work health and safety legislation (30 August 2019). More...

Building Information Modelling (BIM) for WHS management
What is the best practice and implications of using BIM in WHS management?
Timeline of project: Project commenced: August 2019; Project completion: Mid 2021. More...

Queensland

WorkSafe Queensland: Worker burned by hot cane mud and liquid
Sugar mill operators must develop a risk register as described in the How to manage work health and safety risks Code of Practice 2011, assess the risks, implement controls and monitor and review the systems used to control those risks. If a risk remains, it must be minimised so far as reasonably practicable by using personal protective equipment (23 August 2019). More...

WorkSafe Queensland: Segregation of telecommunications and electrical cabling
Electrical contractors, electrical workers and metering providers involved in the roll out of smart meters must ensure that antenna/communication wiring systems are suitably segregated from electrical wiring in accordance with the Wiring Rules (19 August 2019). More...

Victoria

Safety Soapbox
News for the construction and utilities industries - 21 August 2019
This month the construction industry reported 214 to WorkSafe. Of these, 66 per cent resulted in injury. More...

Cases

SafeWork NSW v Sydney Hoist and Scaffolding Pty Ltd [2019] NSWDC 442
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – objective seriousness – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – plea of guilty – general deterrence – specific deterrence – appropriate penalty COSTS - prosecution costs OTHER – Scaffolding – insufficient ties and bracing to prevent instability and risk of collapse – no documented plan detailing bracing of the scaffold and dismantling of the scaffold – scaffold structure not reviewed by competent engineer – incomplete scaffolding – missing ties – missing bracing – missing handrails.

SafeWork NSW v PNA Property Developments Pty Ltd [2019] NSWDC 435
CRIME – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – duty of employers – risk of serious injury – worker injured SENTENCING – objective seriousness – general deterrence – specific deterrence – aggravating factors – significant ongoing disabilities – mitigating factors – no record of previous convictions – good prospects of rehabilitation – remorse – plea of guilty – assistance to law enforcement authorities – good corporate citizen WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – obvious risk – known to the offender – inadequate instructions – no documented safe work procedure – risk control measures available at low cost COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – bricklaying – fall from height.

SafeWork NSW v Silver Raven Pty Ltd [2019] NSWDC 425
CRIME – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – duty of employers – risk of serious injury – worker injured SENTENCING –objective seriousness – general deterrence – specific deterrence – aggravating factors – substantial injury ¬ mitigating factors – no record of previous convictions – good prospects of rehabilitation – remorse – plea of guilty – assistance to law enforcement authorities WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – obvious risk – known to the offender – lack of training – risk control measures available at low cost COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – high pressure water cleaning – uncontrolled hose.

Victorian Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Caelli Constructions (Vic) Pty Ltd Melbourne Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 23. Outcome: 19 Aug 2019.
Action Events Group Pty Ltd
Wonthaggi Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 23. Outcome: 16 Aug 2019.

Legislation

Victoria

Bills

Dangerous Goods Amendment (Penalty Reform) Bill 2019
Date of second reading speech: 28 August 2019
The amendment brings the penalty in line with the equivalent provision of failing to comply with a direction given by an inspector under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. The penalty increase recognises the significance of the offending and the potential adverse consequences where there is failure to comply with a direction of an inspector.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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