Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 1 May 2018

Last Updated: 5 May 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Tree safety goes digital with new SafeWork NSW campaign
A targeted digital campaign to promote safe tree work has been launched by SafeWork NSW today, through sites like Facebook, eBay and Gumtree. SafeWork NSW Acting Executive Director, Operations, Tony Williams said the campaign aimed to raise awareness about safety in an industry that suffered too many serious injuries (26 April 2018). More...

RSRT an industrial answer to a safety problem says ALC
Safe rates and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) remain hot-button topics in transport and logistics, two years after it left the stage. The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says RSRT resurrection suggestions are part of a continuing industrial campaign that will do nothing to improve heavy vehicle safety (24 April 2018). More...

Ricegrowers Ltd fined $260,000 following maintenance worker's death
Agricultural processor Ricegrowers Ltd has been convicted and fined $260,000 following the death of a maintenance worker at a stock feed plant in Tongala. Ricegrowers pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide or maintain plant that was, so far as reasonably practical, without risks to health and safety (24 April 2018). More...

Workplace study unveils mega trends
A new study released by Safe Work Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 group reveals that robots and automation generally will make work safer for future generations (23 April 2018). More...

NatRoad says no pay-safety link
There is no link between how much truck drivers are paid and how safely they drive, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has reiterated in a rejection of claims made by the Transport Workers Union of New South Wales (23 April 2018). More...

Central Coast company fined after worker injured in fall
A Central Coast kitchen cabinet manufacturer has been fined after a Wyong man was injured when he fell 4.5m from a cool room, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. Wholesale Joinery Pty Ltd was fined $120,000 in the Sydney District Court (23 April 2018). More...

Concerns over unsafe working conditions in prisons
A state-wide strike last week highlighted overcrowding within NSW prisons, the need to address recidivism, and a shortage of support services, an expert says (20 April 2018). More...

Crane driver charged with manslaughter over Canberra hospital construction death
The Work Safe ACT says risks were "obvious and ignored" in the lead-up to the death of a 62-year-old worker during the construction of the University of Canberra Public Hospital in 2016 (19 April 2018). More...

'Sham' Work for the Dole program slammed after teen's worksite death
The Work for the Dole program is a "sham", putting young job seekers in unsafe and potentially deadly situations, say unions, lawyers and the family of a teenager who was killed on a Queensland worksite two years ago (19 April 2018). More...

Australian-first mandatory labour hire laws now in effect
With Queensland's pioneering mandatory labour hire licensing laws starting this week, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has today launched the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme. Ms Grace said "In the past there have been cases of workers being underpaid or unpaid, being sexually harassed, forced to work ridiculously long hours, housed in crowded, sub-standard accommodation, or exposed to serious risks to their safety" (17 April 2018). More...

Broken Hill mine prosecuted by the Resources Regulator
A mine operator has been fined $500,000 following an investigation and prosecution by the Resources Regulator relating to the serious injury of a worker at the Perilya Broken Hill Southern Operations Mine in 2012. Perilya Broken Hill Limited was convicted of a Category 2 offence for failing to comply with a health and safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (16 April 2018). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 20 April, there have been 40 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. More...

SafeWork Australia: Workplace Safety Futures
We partnered with CSIRO's Data61 to produce a new report, Workplace Safety Futures. The report explores the impact of emerging trends on WHS and workers' compensation over the next 20 years. Learn more about the future of work by reading the report on the Data61 website (19 April 2018).

In practice and courts

SafeWork Australia - Revised version: Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022
We have published a revised version of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 to ensure it continues making a difference in Australian workplaces. Some minor language changes and more explicit reference to workplace bullying, harassment and occupational violence will keep the Strategy relevant for the next five years (24 April 2018). More...

NHVR: EWDs get the green light

The NHVR will accept applications for approval for Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs) from May 28, after releasing the final consultation. More...

Australian Government inquiry into workplace health and safety (WHS): consultation
The inquiry will examine the framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia. Status: Accepting Submissions, closing on 06 June 2018, Reporting Date: 20 September 2018. More...

NHVR: Survey to measure industry's safety management
The NHVR will use feedback from a new safety survey to measure how the industry manages safety and provide an update on preparations for changes to Chain of Responsibility laws later this year. The survey was launched today and will close May 9. All responses to the survey are anonymous. More...

Release of draft Industrial Chemicals Rules and Categorisation Guidelines
An exposure draft of the rules and guidelines with explanatory notes are now available. Consultation is open until 4 May 2018. More...

Queensland

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...

Note: The regulation amends Division 3 Work health and safety and workers compensation obligations - 7 Information about work health and safety and workers compensation obligations—Act, s13.

Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox 20 April 2018
Access the April 20 edition of Safety Soapbox Safety Soapbox 20 April 2018 - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

Cases

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (The Bruce Highway Caloundra to Sunshine Upgrade Case) [2018] FCA 553
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – urgent interlocutory injunction – alleged contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) by union and union officials – serious question to be tried – balance of convenience.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – where union officials sought to enter site pursuant to rights under s81(3) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) – where union officials did not produce federal entry permits – whether Pt 3-4 Div 3 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) applies to entry under s81 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) – alleged contraventions of ss494, 497 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Petrus Paulus Hendrikus Johannes Janssen v South Western Sydney Local Health District [2018] NSWIRComm 1022
Victimisation application - applicant alleged he was victimised by the respondent because he made complaints about workplace matters – suspension during investigation constitutes detrimental action - evidence of decision-maker about reason for suspension – assessment of risks of remaining in workplace - s210(2) presumption rebutted – complaints not a substantial and operative reason - application dismissed.

Safe Work NSW v EC Throsby Pty Ltd; Safe Work v Mondex Group Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 102
CRIMINAL LAW – work health and safety offence –offence of exposing employee to risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – plea of guilty – statement of agreed facts - appropriate penalty – applicable discount for plea of guilty – no prior convictions. SENTENCE PRINCIPLES – parity – totality – mitigating factors – aggravating factors - circumstances – objective seriousness – specific deterrence – general deterrence – community values – remorse – contrition – timing of plea of guilty – prospects of rehabilitation – utilitarian value of plea of guilty – fine – capacity to pay – consideration of victim impact statement. WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – appropriate training of employee – experience of employee – work to be undertaken - disabling of proximity switch - WORDS AND PHRASES – injury to victim – injured worker – arm injury – laceration – compound fracture – severed tendon

Safe Work NSW v Wholesale Joinery Pty Limited [2018] NSWDC 91
CRIMINAL LAW – work health and safety offence –offence of exposing employee to risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – plea of guilty – statement of agreed facts - appropriate penalty – applicable discount for plea of guilty – no prior convictions. SENTENCE PRINCIPLES – parity – totality – mitigating factors – aggravating factors - circumstances – objective seriousness – specific deterrence – general deterrence – community values – remorse – contrition – timing of plea of guilty – prospects of rehabilitation – utilitarian value of plea of guilty – fine – capacity to pay – consideration of victim impact statement. WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – appropriate training of employee – experience of employee – work to be undertaken. WORDS AND PHRASES – injury to victim – injured worker – fall from height

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Australian Precast Pty Ltd 053 770 200 19/04/2018
Crush injuries; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Manufacturer offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Dandenong Magistrates Court.

Cornerstone HR Pty Ltd 145 074 102 18/04/2018
Crush injuries; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard assessment; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard identification; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Guarding; Labour hire; Unguarded plant; Plant Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Broadmeadow Magistrates' Court.

PJL Building Group Pty Ltd 606 368 012 17/04/2018
Failure to provide a safe system of work; Falls/work at height offences; High risk construction work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Vicrig Pty Ltd 114 869 591 17/04/2018
Crush injuries; Elevated work platform; Failure to prepare a SWMS; High risk construction work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(e); 21(1); Heidelberg 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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