Australia: Occupational Health & Safety - What's News? - 22 May 2012

Last Updated: 26 May 2012
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016


Companies fined $140K for worker deaths
Two companies have been fined a total of $140,000 over the 2008 deaths of two workers at a Broome depot. Baker Hughes Australia Pty Ltd and Oilfields Transport Services Pty Ltd appeared in the Broome Magistrates Court today charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment causing the deaths of the two workers (15 May 2012) More...

Second prosecution in four years for company and its director
A company director and his Epping business have been prosecuted on serious workplace health and safety charges for the second time in four years (16 May 2012) More...

Research calls for renewed focus on eye safety equipment
The Centre for Eye Research Australia has found that more than half of the people presenting to the emergency department for eye damage caused by metal fragments were not wearing eye safety glasses at the time of their accident. The injuries were commonly caused by high-velocity impact machining, such as metal grinding, welding, repair work and drilling (09 May 2012) More...

Practice Notes


Coal mine worker hit by loose discharge hose - Queensland Mines Safety Alert No 286
Poor design, including hose layout and hose retention design, are major contributing factors in recent incidents (08 May 2012) More...

Working safely with tyres: highway-style trailer haulage – Mines safety Bulletin 118
The fatal injury of a driver of a bulk coal transport trailer while replacing a wheel has highlighted a risk for the mining industry that has long been recognised in the tyre manufacture and fitting industry: the premature failure of radial construction tyres. This safety bulletin examines what actions to take to avoid similar incidents and possible fatalities (15 May 2012) Mines Safety Bulletin 118 - Working safely with tyres: highway-style trailer haulage (PDF, 119 kB)


Inspector McGrath v McDougall [2012] NSWIRComm 41
A monetary penalty is imposed on the defendant of $10,000 with a moiety to the prosecutor.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - defendant deemed guilty of s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 by virtue of s 26(1) - early guilty plea after amendment of proceedings - appropriate penalty - failure to undertake risk assessment - failure to have in place protocols to prevent someone who is not skilled, trained or qualified in the safe use of forklifts from driving a forklift -objective seriousness - serious offence - strict duty and proactive obligation on employer - mitigating circumstances including actions of other persons - enhanced commitment to occupational health and safety following incident - general and specific deterrence - no prior convictions - contrition and remorse - good character - Victim Impact Statement - application under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 rejected - penalties imposed More...

Inspector McGrath v DMP Container Labour Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 40
A monetary penalty of $100,000 is imposed with a moiety to the prosecutor.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - breach of s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - guilty plea but not at earliest opportunity - appropriate penalty - failure to undertake risk assessment - failure to formulate Safe Work Method Statement - failure to ensure the proper supervision of contractors - failure to ensure that people who were not skilled, trained or qualified did not use forklifts -objective seriousness - serious offence - seriousness ameliorated by culpability of other persons - defendant did have in place some protocols and procedures - enhanced commitment to occupational health and safety following incident - general and specific deterrence - cooperation with the WorkCover Authority - no prior convictions - good character - penalties imposed More...

Inspector Scott Rand v Toffy Pty Ltd t/as ABC Tyrepower and Mechanical [2012] NSWIRComm 39
The defendant is fined in the sum of $65,000 with a moiety to the WorkCover Authority of New South Wales.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - breach under s 8(1) - amended application for order - guilty plea - corporate defendant - vehicle car tyre business -lift designed to move stock from ground floor to the mezzanine level - errors in design of lift installed - no proper risk assessment undertaken - hoist not approved or certified or registered to carry personnel - personnel using lift when incident occurred - no professional maintenance programme for lift - unsafe system of work in place - foreseeable element to the offence - breach serious - simple remedial steps available - safe system of work now in place - periodic maintenance check and repair of machinery now performed - elements specific of general deterrence in consideration of penalty - risk most serious - early plea - no prior convictions - discount on penalty - compliance with WorkCover Authority - defendant corporation of good character - unlikely to re-offend - corporation of limited means for the purposes of penalty - penalty to reflect objective seriousness of offence - penalty - moiety to prosecutor - costs Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000; Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 More...

Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd v The Queen; Smith v The Queen [2012] VSCA 82
CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Occupational health and safety - Recklessly engaging in conduct placing a person at a workplace in danger of serious injury – Employer fined $750,000 – Foresight of probable danger of serious injury – Judge erred in attributing to defendant foresight of probability of serious injury – Crown concession – High culpability offence – Defendant's culpability very high – Liability and offences of company and director separate and distinct – No double punishment – No different sentence should be imposed – Appeal dismissed – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) s 32, Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 281(1).
CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Occupational health and safety – Company breached duty to provide and maintain safe workplace – Failure to provide and maintain safe system of work – Company's breaches attributable to director's failure to take reasonable care – Director fined $120,000 – Very serious example of offence – Sentence not manifestly excessive – Appeal dismissed – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) ss 21(1), 21(2)(a), 144(1). CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Guilty plea – Adequacy of discount – Discount not examinable for specific error – Relevant only to manifest excess ground – Discounts in other cases of no assistance – R v Burke [2009] VSCA 60; (2009) 21 VR 471, Scerri v The Queen [2010] VSCA 287 applied. More...

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