Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 23 January 2018

Last Updated: 26 January 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, July 2018

In the media

NHVR to fast-track safety management system tools
The NHVR will fast-track safety tools and an education campaign to assist heavy vehicle operators implement Safety Management Systems. The NHVR will release a range of guidance and support tools in the coming months to assist heavy vehicle operators to improve safety and also help them meet new Chain of Responsibility laws, which will be introduced in mid 2018 (17 January 2018). More...

Automotive mechanic run over by vehicle
On 9 January 2018, a worker was run over by a vehicle while servicing it on sloping ground. Early investigations indicate the worker was underneath the vehicle while the driver was sitting in the cab with the engine running. Information on preventing similar incidents involving heavy vehicles and trailers hitting or crushing workers is available from the safety alert listed here (17 January 2018).

Legislative Activity for Queensland in 2017: Key Acts in Crime, Environment and Workplace Safety
In 2017, the Queensland Parliament passed a total of 44 Acts, with many of the key Acts focussing on criminal legislation reform, child protection, environmental issues and workplace issues (16 January 2018). More...

Government cracks down on dangerous use of gas appliances in NSW restaurants
The Government is cracking down on dodgy operators using portable gas appliances dangerously in NSW restaurants, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. Mr Kean said a recent SafeWork NSW blitz of restaurants, cafes and bakeries found an alarming rate of workplaces were using portable gas appliances unsafely (23 December 2017). More...

'Toxic' hospital culture left staffer 'suicidal'
Staff at a south-west Victorian hospital, at the centre of a damning review into workplace culture, say they were forced to seek psychiatric treatment and considered suicide at the height of "systemic" bullying allegations (22 December 2017). More...

Charges over Antarctica fatality
The Department of the Environment and Energy and a helicopter contractor have been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws in relation to a fatality in Antarctica (21 December 2017). More...

Worker's foot amputated after being crushed by crane
A silo manufacturing company in Rochester has been fined $30,000 after a mobile crane ran over an employee's leg and crushed his foot, which later had to be amputated (21 December 2017). More...

Worker seriously injured after company fails to provide training
A Roseville office fit-out company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured unloading glass panels, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. City Projects Pty Limited was fined $150,000 in the Sydney District Court for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers (20 December 2017). More...

Worker fatally crushed by elevating work platform
On December 2017, a 22-year-old worker was killed while operating a boom elevating work platform (EWP) on a construction site. Elevating work platforms are important for working at height but there have been many serious incidents where operators have been trapped or crushed between the basket and overhead obstructions such as ceilings, beams, frameworks or other fittings (20 December 2017). More...

Gold Coast builder fined over residential construction fall
A Gold Coast builder was fined $65,000 after a carpenter fell three metres through a staircase well and suffered a fractured skull. The company was fined after pleading guilty to breaching section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to meet its workplace safety obligations. However, no conviction was recorded (19 December 2017). More...

New collaborative approach to overcome culture of fear over sexual harassment in theatre
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance will work with all the major state theatre companies and freelance artists to develop more effective policies for dealing with sexual harassment, assault and bullying in live theatre in the wake of research that almost a quarter of victims do not make a complaint because they fear it will have repercussions for their career (18 December 2017). More...

Strengthening WorkSafe To Better Protect Victorians
The Andrews Labor Government will strengthen WorkSafe's role as the workplace safety cop on the beat, following an independent review into the enforcement of Victoria's health and safety laws (18 December 2017). More...

Managers face hefty fines under new fire-safety laws
New building fire-safety laws impose broad criminal and civil liability in NSW on directors and senior managers in respect of combustible cladding on buildings.

Published – articles, papers, reports

NHVR: 2018 Industry updates
On the Road, Issue 25, 18 January 2018 - NHVR newsletter
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 HVN.

In practice and courts

Comcare: The Work Health and Safety (Labelling Hazardous Chemicals)
The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was adopted in Australia under the model work health and safety laws in 2012 with a five year transition period. This transition expired in the federal jurisdiction on 31 December 2016 (22 December 2017). More...

Victoria

Independent Review of Occupational Health and Safety Compliance and Enforcement in Victoria
The Independent Review Report made 22 recommendations that focussed on WorkSafe's: compliance and enforcement framework; approach to planning and targeting; provision of information and support; and approach to collaboration and engagement (18 December 2017). More... More...

Worksafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox Newsletter
Safety Soapbox 15 December 2017

New South Wales

SafeWork NSW: Unpacking glass sheets
This safety alert reminds people who handle packs of glass sheets not to rely on the packaging to support the contents when the package is being lifted or opened. Our Glass and glazing page has more information on hazards and risks when working with glass (15 January 2018). More...

SafeWork NSW launches Consultation@Work toolkit
The Consultation@Work toolkit provides a wealth of practical information which will assist NSW businesses to comply with work health and safety laws and through effective consultation ensure their businesses are healthy, safe and more productive. One of the key deliverables from SafeWork's Consultation@Work strategy, the toolkit includes videos, fact sheets and other material on consultation arrangements, work groups, case studies and dispute resolution, as well as targeted information for health and safety representatives (12 January 2018). More...

SafeWork NSW: Audiometric testing exemption
SafeWork NSW has issued a further one year exemption for the audiometric testing requirements of clause 58(2) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (the Reg). The new exemption will apply for the period 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018. The exemption has been granted because a national review of the model WHS legislation is due to commence in February 2018, which could result in changes to the WHS Act and/or WHS Reg – including Clause 58 Audiometric testing. Please visit the NSW Government Gazettes 2001-2017 for the latest exemption (22 December 2017).

New code of practice for managing risks in stevedoring
A code of practice, 'Managing risks in stevedoring', has been developed by Safe Work Australia to address the high rate of accidents and injuries in the stevedoring industry, where the rate of serious incidents is more than three times the average rate of all industries. The code of practice commenced in NSW on 15 December 2017. More...

Queensland

WorkCover Queensland: Newsletter
eSAFE - December 2017 18 December 2017.

WorkCover Queensland: Regulation of the labour hire industry in Queensland
Queensland will establish a mandatory labour hire licensing scheme from 16 April 2018 to protect labour hire workers and safeguard labour hire providers that are ethical and responsible. Find out more, read the frequently asked questions, or register for updates on the development of the scheme and subordinate legislation (10 January 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Beware of electrical dangers when entering a ceiling space
As part of our response to this issue, we completed 600 mid-construction assessments of ceiling space electrical wiring installations to check if they were compliant with the Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000) before they were energised (20 December 2017). More...

Cases

Growthbuilt Pty Ltd v SafeWork NSW [2018] NSWIRComm 1002
INDUSTRIAL LAW – New South Wales – work health and safety – prohibition notice - application for external review – no decision on internal review – decision taken to have been made - test of reasonable belief – whether objective or subjective test – whether belief held by inspector was reasonable; STATUTES - acts of parliament – interpretation; Words and Phrases – "is occurring" - Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) s 195(1)(a).

SafeWork NSW v City Projects Pty Limited [2017] NSWDC 364
(1) The offender is convicted. (2) Order the offender to pay a fine of $150,000. (3) Order that 50% of the fine is to be paid to the prosecutor. (4) Order the offender to pay the prosecutor's costs agreed in the sum of $17,527.
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 OTHER – forklift – need for operator to be licensed – need for risk assessment for unloading operation.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011; Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999; Fines Act 1996; Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

SafeWork NSW v Erect Safe Scaffolding (NSW) Pty Limited [2017] NSWDC 365
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 OTHER – forklift – need for operator to be licensed – need for a spotter when view of operator is obscured.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Kalafatis Packing Pty Ltd 144 731 733 11/01/2018
Failure to provide a safe system of work; Guarding; Unguarded plant; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to provide a safe working environment; Plant. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 s21(1)&(2)(a); Shepparton.

Dhillon Scaffolding Pty Ltd 144 611 227 11/01/2018
Electric shock; Failure to provide a safe workplace. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 s26(1); Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court.

Roadhouse Burgers Pty Ltd 600 767 913 10/01/2018
Failure to forward claim. Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 s73(1); Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

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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