Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 8 November 2017

Last Updated: 10 November 2017
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Spray painting firm fined $25,000 after vacuum cleaner triggers explosion
A Wodonga spray painting company has been convicted and fined $25,000 after a vacuum cleaner being used to clean up flammable liquid triggered an explosion in a confined space and burned a worker (03 November 2017). More...

A company and its director face charges for worker death at Yatala
Charges have been laid against Oil Tech International Pty Ltd and company director Michael Joseph Reid in relation to the death of worker Matthew Adam O'Brien at a waste recycling facility in Yatala on 5 November 2015. As a Category 1 offence involving reckless conduct, Reid faces a maximum five years' imprisonment or a fine of $600,000, while the company could be liable for fines of up to $3m (27 October 2017). More...

New strategy to support small business
A new strategy will help make it easier for small businesses to meet their work health and safety (WHS) and workers compensation obligations, and get on with running their business (27 October 2017). More...

State Government launches plan to help keep NSW farmers safe
Farmers will be safer in the workplace under a new state government plan to drive down injuries and fatalities in the NSW agriculture sector (27 October 2017). More...

NHVR invites heavy vehicle safety project submissions
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is inviting submissions for the next round of federal government funding to support industry-led safety projects (26 October 2017). More...

Australian workplaces failing workers with 'superficial' mental health policies
Australian businesses and their managers are failing employees when it comes to adequately addressing mental health and wellbeing issues, a new survey found (26 October 2017). More...

Worker killed by exploding wheel and tyre
A worker was killed in October 2017 after being struck in the face by an exploding wheel and tyre. Initial inquiries indicate that the worker attempted to weld up a small leak in the truck wheel, whilst the tyre was still pressurized (26 October 2017). More...

Changing workplace culture for better mental health
Despite the current spotlight on mental health and the impacts of mental illness in the workplace, icare Workers Insurance Group Executive, John Nagle, questions the extent to which employers are driving much needed change in workplace culture (26 October 2017). More...

More inspectors hit the beat to keep Victorians safe at work
Following an intensive 14-week training course, WorkSafe's latest group of inspector and investigator graduates have hit the beat to begin the task of keeping Victorian workers safe. The new recruits will be based in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton and Wangaratta (25 October 2017). More...

NSW Government launches plan to protect workers from dangerous workplace chemicals
The NSW Government today launched a five-year project to help protect workers against injuries and diseases from dangerous chemicals in the workplace. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said crystalline silica and formaldehyde have been given top priority by the government as those of greatest risk to NSW workers (24 October 2017). More...

$35,000 fine after member of the public trapped in hole
A civil construction company which failed to provide adequate site security at a housing subdivision site in Pakenham has been fined $35,000 after a member of the public on a late-night walk was injured after falling into a hole on the site and becoming trapped (24 October 2017). More...

NSW workplaces warned about dodgy breathing apparatus
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean has today issued a warning to NSW workplaces about an emergency escape breathing device (EEBD), due to serious safety concerns. EEBDs provide wearers with a short-term supply of oxygen so they can escape situations where the air has been contaminated by gas, smoke or chemicals (20 October 2017). More...

Authorities defend not prosecuting over Canberra bridge collapse
The ACT Government says it did not pursue prosecuting those responsible for a 2010 bridge collapse that hospitalised nine workers because its resources were diverted to more serious cases (20 October 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

NHVR On the Road, Issue 21, 23 October 2017
On the Road provides important information on the heavy vehicle industry, including the latest NHVR news and events, relevant law and policy changes, and resources to help industry members comply with the HVNL.

In practice and courts

NHVR: Funding boost for heavy vehicle safety projects
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is calling for submissions for the next round of Australian Government. More...


WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox
Safety Soapbox issue for 3 November 2017.


Consultation @ Work Conference
If you are a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), HSR training provider, an employer or a worker, you are invited to attend SafeWork's free Consultation @ Work Conference. This is the first time SafeWork NSW has held this conference. Places are limited (25 October 2017). More...


Safety alert: Removal of unsafe emergency escape breathing devices from vehicles and workplaces
This safety alert advises workplaces and the transport industry that the HFZY30 EEBD self-rescue respirator does not meet Australian Standard 'AS/NZS 1716 Respiratory protection devices' requirements and should be removed immediately from all workplaces, including from road transport vehicles (19 October 2017). More...

WorkSafe Queensland eSAFE – 27 October 2017
In this edition: Queensland Government seeks new offence of industrial manslaughter; Supply chain and subcontractor safety masterclass; Safe Work Month event tickets and sponsorships available; Poor machine guarding amputations lead to hefty fines; Expert group to shape state's safety leadership and culture; Time's up to renew your WorkCover insurance policy; and much more. More...


SafeWork NSW v Harris Holdings NSW Pty Ltd; SafeWork NSW v Harry Zizikas [2017] NSWDC 299
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury. SENTENCE – objective seriousness – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – plea of guilty – general deterrence – specific deterrence – appropriate penalty. SENTENCING PRINCIPLES – totality – remorse – contrition – appropriate penalty. COSTS – prosecution costs.

SafeWork NSW v Freyssinet Australia Pty Ltd [2017] NSWDC 290
CRIMINAL LAW – work health and safety – construction site – head contractor – defendant one of several sub-contractors – numerous workers on site – injured person employed by defendant fell from stairway – stairway and access used by all workers – responsibility for stairway – adequacy of edge protection on stairway – whether risk existed and was foreseeable – reasonably practicable measures available to the defendant.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Recoat Smash Repairs Pty Ltd 104 089 554
01/11/2017 Burns; Confined spaces; Dangerous goods; Explosion. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Wodonga Magistrates Court.

DFC Packaging (Sleeves) Pty Ltd 088 253 212
30/10/2017 Guarding; Unguarded plant; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Plant. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Dandenong Magistrates' Court.

The Greater Geelong City Council 30/10/2017
Failure to provide a safe system of work; Falls/work at height offences; Inexperienced employee; Failure to provide a safe working environment; Failure to provide a safe workplace; Failure to provide and maintain a passive fall protection device. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Geelong Magistrates Court.

Wodonga Rendering Pty Ltd 074 885 457
25/10/2017 Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to provide a safe working environment. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e); Wodonga Magistrates' Court.

Pinnacle Bakery & Integrated Ingredients Pty Ltd 161 203 005
24/10/2017 Crush injuries; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard assessment; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard identification; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Guarding. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e); Melbourne Magistrates' Court.




Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Operational Efficiency) Bill 2017
25/10/2017 - A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to agricultural and veterinary chemicals, annual; return and record keeping.


Subordinate legislation as made

No 225: Proclamation—Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017
27 October 2017 - By proclamation, the provisions of the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act relating to dispute resolution and right of entry, as listed in the schedule to the proclamation, will commence on 13 November 2017.


Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced by: Hon G Grace MP on 22/08/2017 Stage reached: Passed with amendment on 12/10/2017. Assent Date: 23/10/2017 Act No. 38 of 2017 Commences: see Act for details.
In October 2016 the Government announced a best practice review of work health and safety laws as a result of fatalities at Dreamworld and Eagle Farm. As a result of the Review, the Bill introduces a number of amendments including the introduction of an offence of industrial manslaughter and establishing an independent statutory office for work health and safety prosecutions.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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