Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 22 January 2014

Last Updated: 27 January 2014
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Sizing up Australia
Australia must undertake a new body-sizing survey if designers are to meet their obligations under the model work health and safety laws, says a recent report. According to the report 'Sizing up Australia – the next step', "... whilst there is a regulatory thrust to embed work health and safety into the design process, designers do not have available to them key data about the population for which they are designing" (16 January 2014). More...

Decline in workplace injuries in Victoria
New safety data released by the Victorian Government reveals that Victorian employers have continued to set high workplace occupational health and safety standards, says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone (16 January 2014). More...

Dozens of crush injuries prompts call for vigilance
Almost four dozen people have suffered crush injuries at work, WorkCover NSW research has revealed. The study shows in the 12 months from August 2012, 46 incidents occurred whilst people were working around large machinery or heavy vehicles (13 January 2014). More...

Death toll mounts up
Fourteen more fatalities have been added to the official work-related death toll, according to the latest figures from Safe Work Australia. The monthly notifiable work-related incidents report shows that eight workers and six bystanders —13 men and one woman — died in September 2013 (07 January 2014). More... More...

In practice and courts

Aviation safety regulation review - public comments
Submissions close 31 January 2014.
Hosted by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Aviation safety regulation review - public comments.

SA: Product recall on diving vest
Acting South Australian Minister for Business Services and Consumers Jack Snelling today announced a compulsory national recall of a faulty diving vest - the Saekodive Buoyancy Compensator, otherwise known as Saekodive BC. (08 January 2014). More...


Inspector Walker v The Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales [2013] NSWIRComm 116
The defendant is fined $175,000 with a moiety to the prosecutor.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (the Act) - plea of guilty to one charge under s 10(1) of the Act - workers undertaking maintenance work on F3 Freeway when prime mover veered into the eastern shoulder and struck an RTA vehicle which collided with a worker who later died from injuries sustained by the collision - other workers were seriously injured - systems of work in place at time of incident - foreseeability of the risk to safety - measures available to avert the risk - gravity of potential risk to safety - maximum penalty - deterrence - subjective factors – orders. More...

Inspector Cook v State of New South Wales (NSW Police Force) [2013] NSWIRComm 114
Matter No IRC 261 of 2011 - The defendant is fined an amount of $189,000 with a moiety thereof to the prosecutor.
Matter No IRC 262 of 2011- The defendant is fined an amount of $161,000 with a moiety thereof to the prosecutor.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - Prosecutions under s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - Guilty plea - Sentencing - NSW Police Force - Police officers exposed to hazardous substances whilst undertaking drug audit - Sentencing principles - Penalties imposed. More...

Inspector Cooper v Schwarz (No 2) [2013] NSWIRComm 112
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - labour hire - printing industry - employee injured when hand caught in printing press- objective seriousness - general and specific deterrence - subjective factors - financial position of defendants - Fines Act 1996 - principles - comparison of sentences - principles - plea of guilty - s 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure ) Act 1999 - penalties imposed – costs. More...

Inspector Christensen v Abigroup Contractors Pty Limited and Anor [2013] NSWIRComm 111
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - trial - two defendants - Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd prosecuted under s 8(1) and s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - charges in relation to failures to conduct risk assessment in respect of a particular (changed) work process and maintain safe system of work - GTE Workplace Management Pty Ltd prosecuted under s 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 - charge in relation to failures to assess risks, review risk assessments and instruct employees - both defendants entered pleas of not guilty - prosecutions arose from fatal incident in course of work involving the installation of rail panels - various subcontractors engaged at site - rail panels lifted into place via crane - switch panel misaligned - rectification work undertaken by workers on panel whilst panel still under weight of crane - head dogman/rigger and crane operator aware panel under weight - no person at the site other than crane operator and head rigger/dogman aware - tension from panel being under weight caused rails to come loose when clips attaching rails to panel removed by labourers - one worker killed - four workers injured. Prosecution of Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd - s 8 (1) - defendant had four employees at work at the site on the charge date - risk as particularised arose when rectification work involving the removal of Pandrol clips was conducted on a panel which remained under weight - no Abigroup employees present when work conducted in that manner - no Abigroup employee exposed to the risk as charged - Abigroup not guilty as charged - charge dismissed - s 8(2) -Abigroup principal contractor with respect to work being conducted at the site - non-employees of Abigroup (who were employees of subcontractors) exposed to risk as charged - failure to conduct further risk assessment proven - Abigroup failed to conduct a further risk assessment or require its subcontractors to conduct a further risk assessment when work processes changed contrary to its own safety systems - if fresh risk assessment conducted fact of panel remaining under weight would have been discovered via an inquiry of the head dogman/rigger or crane operator - fresh risk assessment would have obviated risk as charged - defence raised under s 28(a) of the Act - defence failed - failure to maintain safe system of work not proven - adequate communication systems at site between subcontractors - risk only arose when work of removing Pandrol clips performed on panel which was under weight - Abigroup guilty of charge under s 8(2) - date set for sentencing. Prosecution of GTE Workplace Management Pty Ltd - s 8(1) - defendant a labour hire company - defendant failed to review risk assessments applicable to work its employees to undertake at site - failed to visit site or inquire as to type of work to be performed - told employees would be undertaking fish plating and general labouring - employees competent for work - failure to review risk assessments not causally related to risk - GTE did not know and could not have foreseen that its employees would be exposed to particularised risk because work which gave rise to the risk (the removing of Pandrol clips from a panel under weight) was not contemplated by Abigroup and Taylor Railtrack until a short time before the incident - no failure to instruct workers - GTE not guilty as charged - charge dismissed. More...



Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 1 January 2014
Electrical Safety Act 2002 1 January 2014
Electrical Safety (Codes of Practice) Notice 2013 1 January 2014
Electrical Safety Regulation 2002 1 January 2014
Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 1 January 2014
Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2002 1 January 2014
Transport (Rail Safety) Act 2010 1 January 2014
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 1 January 2014
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 1 January 2014.

Queensland legislation can be accessed online. More...

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