Australia: Workplace Health & Safety - What's News - 3 December 2012

Last Updated: 10 December 2012
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Safety watchdog to prosecute RailCorp over worker's death
RAILCORP is being prosecuted for the first time by the state's transport safety regulator, following the death of a track worker struck by a train at Kogarah. The Independent Transport Safety Regulator has confirmed it is prosecuting RailCorp and the area controller for breaches of the Rail Safety Act, 2008 (30 November 2012). More...

Trench collapse proves costly
Two companies involved in major sewage pipeline project at Templestowe were each fined $30,000 after a worker was injured when a trench collapsed. Each pleaded guilty to two charges under the OHS Act - failing to provide a safe working environment for their own workers, and failing to provide a safe working environment for the workers of the other company (29 November 2012). More...

Call for Victoria and Western Australia to harmonise OHS laws
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten recently called on Victoria and Western Australia to harmonise their OHS laws and introduce Bills based on the model Work Health and Safety Act (29 November 2012). More...

July Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report now available
The monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions. The report also includes details of the types of incident involved; the industry of the workplace at which the fatalities occurred; and the industry of the decedent's employer (28 November 2012). More...

ACT worksites in for overhaul
Up to 12 new safety inspectors will be employed as a matter of urgency, dodgy builders will be named and shamed and on-the-spot fines will be introduced in an attempt to urgently rebuild a safety culture across Canberra's construction industry (27 November 2012). More...

ACT worksites most dangerous in nation
There have been four workplace deaths in Canberra over the past 12 months, prompting the ACT Government to commission an inquiry into practices in the construction sector. The report has found that the ACT had a higher rate of serious claims in the last 12 months than all states except Tasmania (26 November 2012). More...

Company fined $170,000 over crane collapse
A drilling company has been fined $170,000 after pleading guilty to an incident in which a falling gantry crane injured one man and narrowly missed several others working on the Wonthaggi desalination pipeline project (20 November 2012). More...

In practice and courts

QLD: Commencement of a number of provisions in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld)

Delayed until 1 January 2014, , provisions in relation to the following matters pursuant to amendments made by the Work Health and Safety Amendment Regulation (No 1) 2012: audiometric testing (see s 58)

  • Protective structures on earthmoving equipment (see s 217)
  • certain asbestos regulations that are new in Queensland (see s 425, 429, 432, 433 and Div 1 of Pt 8.5), and design registration of concrete placing booms and prefabricated formwork (see s 779). More...

Safety Alerts

Mines Safety Alert 296 - Aerosol propellant ignition
This advises on aerosol crack-testing compounds (Crack testing is a non-destructive testing technique used for detecting cracks on metal surfaces) (21 November 2012). More...


Comcare v Post Logistics Australasia Pty Limited [2012] FCAFC 168
INDUSTRIAL LAW – breach of s 16(1) Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth) – quantity of penalty imposed under Sch 2 cl 4 – relevance of deterrence in assessing civil pecuniary penalties under Sch 2 cl 4 – relevance of prior breach of s 16(1) – foreseeability of risk of injury – whether primary judge failed to take into account admission and concession of the respondent – whether primary judge denied procedural fairness in rejection of proposed penalty ranges – whether manifest inadequacy of penalty
Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth) ss 3, 11, 16 and Sch 2 cl 2, 4, 5. More...

Inspector Middleton v Cafe C Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 131
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - prosecution under s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - defendant a corporation - operated cafe business - risk of injury to employees from coming into contact with electricity flowing from damaged cable - grease trap utilised at premises - square cavity under floor in kitchen known as the wet well - entrance to wet well covered by metallic plate - electrical pump housed in wet well for purpose of pumping waste water - cable of pump traversed kitchen floor to power outlet - cable became wedged between edge of wet well and cover plate - cable compressed and damaged - live conductor exposed - grease trap overflowed - surplus water on floor of kitchen - contact between live conductor and metallic cover plate and/or water on floor of kitchen - one worker electrocuted - one worker suffered electric shock - plea of guilty - sentencing - objective factors - maximum penalty - risk was foreseeable - systems in place prior to incident inadequate - simple remedial measures available - general and specific deterrence - culpability of defendant - contribution of third parties - responsibility of defendant to determine what services to engage and ensure services performed adequately - mitigating factors - offence serious - subjective factors - remorse and contrition - co-operation with the prosecutor - discount for plea - first offence - consideration of financial means of defendant - no claim for impecuniosity - defendant small family business - sole director - financial records show modest profits and assets - reduction in penalty by virtue of mitigating and subjective factors - penalty imposed - moiety – costs. More...

Inspector Christensen v Wadwell Group Pty Ltd (ACN 125 970 345) as trustee for the Wadwell Family Trust [2012] NSWIRComm 126
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Pleas of guilty by corporate defendant and directors of corporate defendant - Excavation for bungee pool as favour for friends - Trench collapse - One fatality and injuries to another person - Objective seriousness of offences - Need for general deterrence - Subjective considerations - Whether s 10 of Crimes (Sentencing Procedure Act) 1999 should apply to one director - Victim Impact Statements - Guilty findings - Convictions - Penalties imposed

Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999; Fines Act 1996; Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000; Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001. More...

Inspector Wright v Khouzame [2012] NSWIRComm 125
The offence is proven and a verdict of guilty is entered. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - prosecution under s 8(1) and s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - gardening and tree felling business - risk of injury to employees and non-employees by falling tree power lines and power poles - no procedures in place to avoid risk of serious injury - employees had no accreditation for carrying out tree felling work - plea of guilty - risk was foreseeable - simple remedial measures available - serious offence - no persons injured - significant damage to property - remorse - defendant a student - s 6 of the Fines Act 1996 - penalty reduced - penalty imposed- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000. More...

Inspector Nicholson v Gallagher [2012] NSWIRComm 121
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - prosecution under s 8(1) by virtue of s 26(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - defendant a director of a corporation - corporation went into voluntary liquidation after incident - risk of injury by coming into contact with dangerous moving parts of conveyor machine at waste recycling and disposal plant - employees required to transit in close proximity to conveyors - conveyor unguarded on day of incident - young and inexperienced worker exposed to risk - inadequate supervision - worker became entangled in conveyor - serious injury suffered - plea of guilty - sentencing - objective factors - maximum penalty - risk was foreseeable - systems in place prior to incident inadequate - simple remedial measures available - general and specific deterrence - culpability of defendant - defendant "hands on" manager - no aggravating factors - mitigating factors - offence serious - subjective factors - remorse and contrition - assistance to injured worker - impact on defendant - co-operation with prosecutor - discount for plea - first offence - consideration of s 6 of the Fines Act 1996 and the defendant's capacity to pay - discretion exercised to reduce penalty under Fines Act - strength of financial evidence before the Court affected by absence financial material - some reduction in penalty by virtue of mitigating and subjective factors - penalty imposed - moiety - costs reserved. More...

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