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

Last Updated: 20 December 2012

In the media

Company fined over highway death
A construction company has been fined $350,000 for failing to ensure the safety of an employee who was fatally crushed between two heavy vehicles at a Hume Highway upgrade site. A WorkCover investigation found Leighton did not ensure adequate safety when vehicles were refuelling at the site (14 December 2012). More...

New approach can reduce occupational health hazard risks in construction workers
Some of the most pressing occupational health hazard risks in construction" are associated with masonry operations, asphalt roofing, and welding, according to an article recently accepted by the Journal of Civil Engineering and Management (11 December 2012). More...

Newcastle Go-Kart business owner fined after Yagoona woman dies
Employers are obligated under OHS laws to become aware of and comply with the Australian Standards that apply to their operations, the NSW Industrial Court has stressed. The Port Stephens Go Karts owner was charged with a breach of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000, with the Industrial Court of NSW fined him $32,000 and ordered him to pay $18,000 in court costs (12 December 2012). More...

Inspectors to visit building sites, educate workers
Canberra's construction sector has been in the spotlight for several months, with an ACT government inquiry into safety in the industry finding a ''distressing safety record'' of four deaths and many injuries since December last year, and making 28 recommendations for change (11 December 2012). More...

ACT to move on shoddy engineers
The ACT could become the second jurisdiction in Australia to register engineers in an attempt to crack down on shoddy operators who have been responsible for serious construction collapses in the territory in recent years (10 December 2012). More...

Companies fined for lost leg
Two companies have been fined more than $250,000 for a workplace accident in which a man's leg was crushed while he was working on a reservoir at Eraring power station. Justice Haylen said they had failed to provide a safe system of work and did not provide adequate equipment (06 December 2012). More... More...

Steel company cops $56,000 fine
An Adelaide steel blasting company has been fined $56,000 over an accident that left a worker with a permanent leg injury. In sentencing the industrial court said the company had not carried out "hazard identification or risk assessment" on the trolleys before use (05 December 2012). More...

Industry commits to safety following WorkCover Crane Roundtable
A commitment to maintain and improve tower crane safety and emergency evacuation procedures in the building industry was the key outcome from WorkCover NSW's Crane Safety Roundtable. This was attended by representatives of the building industry, unions, crane suppliers (05 December 2012). More...

Mildura laundry owner fined $50,000 for bullying workers
The former owner of an industrial laundry in Mildura who subjected his staff to physical, psychological and verbal bullying over a two-year period was today convicted and fined $50,000 and ordered to pay $50,000 in costs (05 December 2012). More...

Fire protection standards updated
Standards Australia has published a new edition of AS 1851-2012, Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment, to upgrade fire safety standards across Australia. The update sets out requirements for the routine servicing (inspection, testing, preventive maintenance and survey) of fire protection systems and equipment and highlights that there is no capital cost expenditure requirement to adopt the latest standard (05 December 2012). More...

Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2010–11 report released
Data released today by Safe Work Australia shows the lowest number of Australian worker fatalities in eight years. The Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest number of fatalities with 60 deaths in 2010–11. This was followed by the Transport, postal and warehousing industry with 42 deaths and the Construction industry with 39 (03 December 2012). More...

In practice and courts

NSW WorkCover Task Force safety inspections for glass industry
A WorkCover NSW Task Force this week commences visits to 60 glass manufacturing businesses throughout Sydney, the Hunter and Illawarra in an effort to improve safety in the industry. During the visits inspectors will also provide advice and assistance on workers compensation, injury management and return to work policies and procedures (03 December 2012). More...

Safety Alerts and guides

QLD: Mines Safety Alert 297: Unplanned movement of material in ROM hopper: 3 December 2012
Department of Natural Resources and Mines – recommends all material is removed from dump pockets, chutes and apron feeders before working above or below these installations, or, a physical barrier or control put in place to prevent unplanned material flow or inundation. More...

New Standards December 2012

AS/NZS 60079.33:2012
Explosive atmospheres - Equipment protection by special protections. More...

AS 1851-2012
Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment. More...


Inspector Barber v Leighton Contractors Pty Limited [2012] NSWIRComm 145
The defendant is fined an amount of $350,000.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Prosecution for breach of s 8(1) of Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - Fatality - Construction Industry - Employee struck by front end loader - Plea of guilty - Factors relevant to sentencing - Prior convictions - Defendant convicted of offence - Victim impact statements - Penalty imposed. More...

Inspector Howett v K T Regal Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 144
The defendant, K T Regal Pty Ltd, is is fined an amount of $200,000.
The defendant, Kevin Tolson, is is fined an amount of $15,000.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Prosecutions for breach of s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - Mushroom growing industry - Pleas of guilty by corporate defendant and director of corporate defendant - Employee's arm became entangled in Winch whilst operating with no safety guard - Limb amputated - Victim Impact Statement - Guilty findings - Convictions - Penalties imposed. More...

Inspector Brandie v Hogan [2012] NSWIRComm 138
The defendant is fined the sum of $32,000
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - prosecution under s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - defendant employer operated go-kart business - go-karts rented to members of the public to ride on a track at defendant's workplace - risk of injury to persons operating go-karts as a result of loose or baggy clothing becoming caught in moving parts of go-karts - patron of business wearing hijab - loose material of the garment not restrained - material became entangled in left rear axle of go-kart - patron strangled - fatality - plea of guilty - sentencing - objective factors - maximum penalty - Australian Standards relevant to assessment of objective seriousness of offence, not aggravation - defendant did not conform with guidelines set out therein - risk foreseeable - simple remedial steps available - general deterrence - specific deterrence minimal - defendant's level of control of business considered - limited "hands on" role in business at time of incident - defendant's responsibility to ensure safety at workplace could not be delegated to employees - offence serious - subjective factors - remorse and contrition - co-operation with the prosecutor - discount for plea - early plea - consideration of financial means of defendant - no claim for impecuniosity - no basis for reduction in penalty on financial grounds - reduction in penalty by virtue of mitigating factor and subjective factors - penalty imposed - moiety – costs More...

Inspector Bultitude v Eagles [2012] NSWIRComm 139
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2000 - s 8(1), s 8(2), s 26(1) - work being performed from scaffolding on construction site - scaffolding used by sub-contractors - sub-contractor removes ledger support to enable work to be performed in confined space - ledger not replaced - next sub-contractor to use scaffolding falls when work platform collapses because of absence of ledger support - requirement for weekly inspection of scaffolding - no inspections carried out - unqualified persons prohibited from adjusting or altering scaffolding - scaffolding altered on two occasions by unqualified person - serious injuries received in fall - guilty pleas entered by three defendants - offences found against construction manager, painting company sub-contractor and its director - serious breach - general and specific deterrence - subjective factors - early pleas entered - fines imposed More...

Inspector Halcroft v Hardy Bros Mining and Constructions Pty Ltd [2012] NSWIRComm 140
(a) the defendant, WesTrac Pty Ltd, is fined the sum of $150,000

(a) the defendant, Hardy Bros Mining and Constructions Pty Ltd is fined the sum of $105,000
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2000 - s 8(1) s 8(2) s 26(1) - construction of dam on mine site - sub-contractor using leased dozer - need to repair ripper tine - repairs the responsibility of company leasing dozer to sub-contractor - lack of appropriate lifting gear at site - repairs attempted in field - heavy tine falls during lift - leasing company employee suffers loss of leg in accident - serious risk foreseeable - leasing company bears most responsibility for accident - defects in systems used by all defendants - general and specific deterrence - subjective factors considered - contrition and remorse demonstrated - application under s 10 (Crimes) Sentencing Procedure) Act - application refused - penalties imposed More...

Inspector Brandie v Phillips [2012] NSWIRComm 137
the defendant is fined the sum of $75,000
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 2000 - s 8(1) s 66(a) - roofing work performed at height - fragile skylight not discovered prior to work commencing nor lack of safety net - employee falls nearly 9m - serious injuries suffered in fall - Inspector issues a s 62 notice to attend for interview - refusal to attend interview - pleas of guilty entered shortly before trial - both offences held to be serious breaches of Act - comprehensive failure of safe work system exposed - general and specific deterrence - subjective factors considered - penalties imposed More...

Inspector Ankucic v State of New South Wales (NSW Police Force) [2012] NSWIRComm 135
The defendant is fined an amount of $300,000 with a moiety thereof to the prosecutor.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - prosecution under s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - NSW Police - officers undertaking pre-planned stationary speed enforcement activity - fatality - objective seriousness - repeat offence - general and specific deterrence - subjective considerations - foreseeable risk - simple remedial measures available - serious offence - remorse - contrition - victim impact statements - plea of guilty - penalty imposed More...



Work Health and Safety Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) SLI 2012 No. 291
This regulation amends the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 to repeal subregulation 727(2), extend the transitional period for obtaining a high risk work licence for the operation of a reach stacker, amend Schedule 2 to include a new fee for the issue of a general construction induction card, and correct a minor drafting error in Schedule 2. (Registered 12 December 2012). More...


Other events
Rail Safety National Law National Regulations 2012(2012-617) — published LW 13 December 2012

Regulations and other statutory instruments
Dams Safety Amendment (Prescribed Dams) Proclamation 2012(2012-602) — published LW 7 December 2012
Rail Safety (General) Amendment (Offences) Regulation 2012(2012-598) — published LW 6 December 2012


Acts as passed

No. 75: Road Safety Amendment (Operator Onus) Act 2012
Assent: 4/12/2012 SG (No. 417) 4/12/2012 p. 1Commencement: NYP
Not yet in operation: Ss 1-13

Statutory Rules

No. 152: Electricity Safety (Equipment Efficiency) Revocation Regulations 2012
Date of Making: 11/12/2012 Commencement: 01/01/2013: reg 3
Not yet in operation: Regs 1-4: on 01/01/2013: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 11/12/2022
Victorian Acts can be viewed online. More...

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