Australia: Workplace Health & Safety - What's News - 17 July 2012

Last Updated: 21 July 2012
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Working too hard for bully boy boss
Workers who believe they have been driven too hard by the boss could mount a claim of bullying under radical changes to workplace laws. Unions NSW is pressing for an expansion of listed risk factors for workplace bullying to include "work overload, systems changes, exposure to violence and fatigue and bad safety practice" (13 July 2012) More...

Tumut concrete company fined $80,000 after man almost dies
A concrete manufacturing business that provides premix concrete and materials to construction sites throughout NSW has been fined $80,000 and ordered to pay WorkCover's legal costs after a 29 year old man almost died when he inhaled toxic fumes (09 July 2012) More...

Parliamentary inquiry revisits year-old workplace bullying law
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has pressed for harsher penalties on convicted workplace bullies and clearer definitions of the crime in their recent submission to an ongoing House of Representatives (12 July 2012) More...

Maritime Union calls for safety checks on all pearling vessels following diver's death
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has called for the immediate formation of an occupational health and safety audit squad to inspect all pearling vessels operating across northern Australia (12 July 2012) More...

Bones and brawn: musculoskeletal injuries remain national focus in 2012
The launch of WorkSafe Victoria's campaign to reduce the occurrence of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace coincides with the target end date of a similar project initiated by the NSW Government (05 July 2012) More...

Tatura company fined for placing worker at risk
A Tatura company that placed an apprentice at risk of injury by allowing them to crawl along two aluminium planks over a suspended ceiling in the dark while trying to remove a live bird has been ordered to pay $20,000. Despite Tatura Milk Industries knowing the task was being carried out, it failed to undertake a risk assessment for the job, which would have required fall protection (02 July 2912) More...

Safety reminder after spate of incidents
Workcover has issued a reminder to businesses across New South Wales to be vigilant about workplace safety following a spate of incidents in the past week. General Manager of WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division said it follows two fatalities involving forklifts, the death of a grain farmer and two serious falls where both workers remain critically injured (04 July 2012) More...

New restrictions in place for arsenic-treated timber
New restrictions on the use of copper chrome arsenate (CCA) for treating timber have begun as of 1 July 2012. CCA has been used to preserve wood in a variety of situations such as for telegraph poles, decking and fencing. It was also used for children's playground equipment (03 July 2012) More...

In practice and courts

NSW Safety alert: operating a mobile plant near power lines
WorkCover NSW has released a safety alert to remind businesses and workers of the dangers involved in operating mobile plant near overhead power lines (05 July 2012) More...

VIC: New workplace guidelines for Victorian construction industry
The guidelines will require tenderers for public sector work in Victoria to commit to compliance with the law, productivity, safety and freedom of association, including detailed plans which identify their approach to various matters including workplace safety (03 July 2012) New workplace guidelines in force for Victorian construction industry


Inspector Batty v Intercoast Refrigerated Transport Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 55
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Corporate defendant - breach of s 8(1) and s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - judgment as to liability - roadside repair of B double truck - repair performed by another corporation's mechanic but employee driver of defendant corporation assists - engine left on and brakes left off to inflate airbags - chocks placed on wheels too small - truck rolls forward - unsafe system of work and exposure to risk from movement of B Double - employee and another - plea of not guilty - failure by corporate defendant to have in place safe system of work for repair of vehicle - failure to properly instruct employee driver not to take part in repair and to stand clear of vehicle while under repair - s 8(2) charge proven - other particulars relied upon by prosecutor re drug use and fatigue and management of fatigue policy dismissed.
Individual defendant - Director - charges under s 8(1) and s 8(2) against director of corporation brought under s 26(1) deeming provision of OHS Act - similar particulars relied upon against director - director failed to provide safe system of work for repair of vehicle - employee of corporate defendant placed at risk - director guilty of charge under s 8(1) - defendant not guilty of charge under s 8(2) More...

Inspector Barber v Tegra Australia Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 67
The defendant is fined an amount of $80,000 with a moiety to the prosecutor. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Prosecution under s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - Worker suffered serious injury when working at a concrete batching plant - Uncontrolled release of cement powder during batching operations - Lack of breathing masks - Large quantity of cement dust inhaled by worker - Plea of guilty - Sentencing - Objective and subjective considerations - Penalty imposed – Costs More...

Inspector Michael Kent v All Spa Deliveries Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 59
Corporate defendant guilty of a breach of s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - corporate defendant is fined in the sum of $15,000 with a moiety to the WorkCover Authority.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - breach by corporate defendant of ss 8(2) and 86(1)(b) - breach by individual defendant of s 8(2) by virtue of deeming provision in s 26 - amended applications for order - guilty pleas - corporate defendant operated spa bath delivery business - contractor injured in delivery of spa bath - failed to provide safe system of work for person not employee - no mechanical aid to lift spa - no proper risk assessment undertaken - each delivery site would have particular risks - foreseeability - specific and general deterrence relevant - gravity of risk - serious breach - corporate defendant obliged to ensure notification of incident - unintended oversight - early pleas - corporate defendant and individual defendant of limited financial means - discount on penalty - individual and corporate defendants good corporate citizens - principle of totality not applicable - penalty to reflect objective seriousness of offence - penalty - moiety to prosecutor – costs More...

Inspector Batty v Autopool Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 56
The defendant is fined in the sum of $220,000 with a moiety to WorkCover Authority of New South Wales.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - breach of s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - early plea of guilty - defendant sent employee to inspect and repair the airbag suspension on a heavy combination vehicle - truck left with engine on and brakes disengaged - chocks in form of blocks of wood failed to prevent the vehicle from moving - driver of vehicle fatally injured - employee of corporate defendant placed at risk of injury - failure to implement safe system of work - failure to supply employee with purpose-manufactured wheel chocks - defendant aware of risk of a rig rolling away - lack of risk assessment of task - lack of formally documented work practices - simple measures available to avoid risk of injury - defendant now fully aware of its obligations - foreseeable element - general and specific deterrence an element of penalty - remorse and contrition demonstrated - good corporate citizen - small allowance made for contribution to the risk by third party - penalty – costs More...

Inspector Hutchinson v Tankworld Australia Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 66
The defendant is fined the sum of $110,000 with half that amount to be paid to the prosecutor by way of moiety;
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2000 - s 8(1), s 26(1) - use of highly inflammable substance in cleaning steel tanks - confined space - fumes ignited by electric buffer - pleas of guilty entered - substantial failure of safety system - serious breach established - general and specific deterrence considered - subjective factors - first offences - early pleas entered -penalties imposed More...

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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