Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 7 February 2018

Last Updated: 8 February 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, August 2018

In the media

Resources Regulator takes multinational company to Court
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Resources Regulator has commenced prosecution proceedings against Sibelco Australia Limited for alleged breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, sections 19 and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by failing to provide safe plant and equipment, a safe system of work and adequate supervision (31 January 2018). More...

Two dead, one injured in horror 48 hours
Two young workers have died and a third has been seriously injured in three separate incidents in Victorian workplaces over the past two days. Head of Operations and Emergency Management Adam Watson said it's important that employees starting at new worksites are properly briefed on how to perform tasks safely and that those returning to work are reminded of the risks (30 January 2018). More...

Workshops to improve safety in horse industries
The NSW Government will host a number of safety workshops across the state aimed at reducing horse-related injuries and fatalities among novice and beginner riders. The NSW Code of Practice for managing risks when new or inexperienced riders or handlers interact with horses in the workplace (COP) had been in place since February 2017 (31 January 2018). More...

NHVR approves personal use fatigue exemption
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has approved an exemption that will allow drivers of fatigue-related heavy vehicles additional time for personal use, with up to one hour of non-commercial use of a heavy vehicle allowed outside regulated driving hours (30 January 2018). More...

AAA points to poor progress of safety strategy
Nearly 90 per cent of the targets contained within the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) will not be met, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) states (30 January 2018). More...

Resources Regulator begins prosecution proceedings against Hunter mine operator and employer
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Resources Regulator has commenced prosecution proceedings against LakeCoal Pty Ltd and LD Operations Pty Ltd. The Regulator alleges that LakeCoal Pty Ltd, the mine operator, failed to provide safe systems of work, and proper training and instruction to workers (30 January 2018). More...

Make safety a priority in the shearing shed: SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW has urged farmers and sheep shearers to review shearing shed safety following an incident in November 2017 where a 20-year-old female suffered serious head injuries at Gulargambone (23 January 2018). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia - Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces:
According to the fourth annual national statement on workplace bullying from Safe Work Australia, the median direct cost of harassment and bullying-related mental stress workers' comp claims is nearly $25,000 higher than the all-claims cost. See Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces: Indicators from accepted workers' compensation claims, Annual statement, 4th edition, 2017. More...

Employers wrongly focus on workers' behaviour
Recent Australian research has found that most employers in two high-risk sectors focus on workers when dealing with musculoskeletal and mental health risks - which is contrary to the legislated hierarchy of controls and the need to target sources of risk.
Jodi Oakman, et al, Workplace risk management practices to prevent musculoskeletal and mental health disorders: What are the gaps? Australia, Safety Science, Volume 101, January 2018. More...

In practice and courts

NHVR: Personal use fatigue exemption approved
The NHVR has approved a user-friendly exemption to allow drivers of fatigue-related heavy vehicles additional time for personal use (30 January 2018). More...

NHVR: Simplified PBS design approval process extended
The NHVR has extended its pre-advised design approvals process to cover 80 per cent of new Performance-Based Standards scheme design (29 January 2018). More...

Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria: Compliance codes review
Comments are now invited on the following two proposed compliance codes (proposed codes) that align to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations): Prevention of falls in general construction and Prevention of falls in housing construction.
The proposed codes include changes to streamline content and bring then into line with the OHS Regulations. A summary of changes to the two proposed codes can be found here. Submissions will be accepted from 1 February 2018 to close of business 28 February 2018.

New South Wales

SafeWork NSW: New enforceable undertakings guidelines
The Enforceable Undertakings (EU) Guidelines have been updated and commenced January 2018. The new guidelines provide some high level information around the process of making an application for an EU. The new guidelines introduce two assessment stages. The first stage is an 'eligibility' assessment to decide if an EU is an appropriate enforcement measure, and the second stage is an 'evaluation' assessment of the merit of an EU proposal (29 January 2018).

SafeWork NSW: New prosecution guidelines

The SafeWork NSW Prosecution Guidelines have been updated and streamlined. Limited changes have been made to the policy intent of the former guidelines. Workers compensation content has been removed, as this area of responsibility now rests with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority. The guidelines are used to determine what enforcement action should be taken in response to risks which arise and incidents which occur, in NSW workplaces. (29 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.

Queensland

WorkCover Queensland: Beware of the risks of working with high voltage plant
Owners, operators and electrical workers using the Long and Crawford, or any oil-insulated fuse switch should not open the lid of these units unless it is completely isolated from the electricity supply (25 January 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Two workers die inside agriculture tanker
In January 2018, two men were found dead in the bottom of a fibreglass tank on a trailer. The tanker/trailer is a purpose built tri-axle trailer built for the transport of dunder and molasses. Working in a confined space can increase the risk of injury. Employers should ensure that people working in a confined space are safe by adopting the measures outlined here (31 January 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland publications
eSAFE Rural - January 2018 25 January 2018.

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. More...

Cases

Nash v Resource Pacific Pty Ltd (No 3) [2018] NSWSC 45
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY – trial – Resource Pacific Pty Ltd prosecuted under s 8(2) and s 10(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 – not guilty pleas – defendant operator of coal mine – transport of reject material from reject bin for disposal – reject material released from hopper situated in bin into trucks – loading cycle involved programmable electronic control system to facilitate correct positioning of truck when load released – truck driver killed when reject material released from bin onto cabin of truck – particulars of respective charges considered – findings of a failure to prove beyond reasonable doubt a contravention or the defendant had proved on the balance of probabilities it was not practicable to comply with the duties under s 8(2) – defendant found not guilty – charges dismissed.

SafeWork NSW v Broadspectrum (Australia) Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 7
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety SENTENCE – objective seriousness – safe systems – general and specific deterrence – acceptance of responsibility and remorse – post incident steps taken by defendant – defendant a citizen of good standing – plea of guilty Steel storage rack in yard exposed to corrosive elements – worker collecting item from rack – rack affected by rust and corroded – rack collapsed – fatal injury.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Bozweld Fabrications Pty Ltd 167 781 151 01/02/2018
Elevated work platform; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard assessment; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard identification; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Falls/work at height offences; Failure to prepare a SWMS; Failure to provide and maintain a passive fall protection device. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004; Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 5.1.9; 21(1)&(2)(a); Dandenong Magistrates' Court.

Park Street Child Care & Kindergarten Co-Operative Ltd 697 198 011 31/01/2018
Burns; Failure to provide a safe working environment. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(c); Frankston Magistrates' Court.

Defor Pty Ltd 005 844 860 31/01/2018
Elevated work platform; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Falls/work at height offences; Failure to provide and maintain a passive fall protection device. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e); Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Myrti Pty Ltd 162 476 753 25/01/2018
Falls/work at height offences; Non complied notice; Failure to provide a safe workplace; High risk construction work. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1); 112(5); Ballarat Magistrates' Court.

Birch Automotive Pty. Ltd. 131 759 781 25/01/2018
Failure to provide a safe system of work; Inexperienced employee; Labour hire. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 23(1); Dandenong.

Legislation

Victoria

Ports and Marine Legislation Amendment Act No 55 of 2017
Sections 34-38 of this Act came into operation on 31 January 2018 (SG433 12.12.2017)
The Parliament of Victoria enacts: Part 1 — Preliminary 1 Purposes The main purposes of this Act are (a) to amend the Marine Safety Act 2010 —(i) to apply safety duties to local port managers and to persons who manage boating activity events.

Statutory Rules made

No. 136: Building Amendment (Powers of Entry and Other Matters) Regulations 2017
Commencement: 31/01/2018: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-9: on 31/01/2018: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 19/12/2027.

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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