Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 19 September 2018

Last Updated: 21 September 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Australia Post delivers on dangerous drivers
Australia Post has called on motorists to take more care and be alert to postal workers after 768 posties were injured on Australia's roads in the past financial year (13 September 2018). More...

Human Rights Commission finds 71% of Australians have been sexually harassed
The Australian Human Rights Commission study to be released in Canberra finds 71% of Australians have been sexually harassed at some point in their lifetimes, with more than four in five (85%) of Australian women and more than half (56%) of Australian men over the age of 15 experiencing the behaviour (12 September 2018). More...

Bullying endemic in councils, Fair Work turns staff away
There are calls for reform of a legal loophole that sees council staff affected by bullying denied access to the Fair Work Commission. The local government sector ranks among the top of all sectors for worker compensation claims of bullying according to the federal watchdog Safe Work Australia (11 September 2018). More...

More than 60 cranes stop work after WorkSafe investigates Melbourne death
Worksites in Victoria are told to stop using dozens of cranes, and conduct safety checks on others, after investigators found the death of a Melbourne worker was likely caused by a mechanical failure (11 September 2018). More...

Crane owners, operators urged to conduct safety checks: Worksafe Victoria
Crane owners and operators need to check a key component following the preliminary results of a WorkSafe investigation into the cause of an incident which led to the death of a construction worker in Box Hill (11 September 2018). More...

Quarry operator charged over tip wall collapse death
A Gippsland quarry operator has been charged with two contraventions of the OHS Act after a contractor died when a tip wall collapsed and engulfed her truck. The company contravened section 26 of the OHS Act when it failed to ensure the means of entering and exiting the workplace were safe and without risk to health. More...

'It shouldn't happen': Union calls for 'aggressive' crane regulation after worksite death
It's not just investigators wondering how a man was killed in a crane accident in Melbourne , with the construction union saying it's not sure 'what's gone on' in the tightly regulated industry (7 September 2018). More...

Hamilton Island transport provider fined after horrific buggy crash
A transport services company has been fined $220,000 for offences under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 after a golf buggy crash in 2016 left eight Hamilton Island resort guests and one worker badly injured. Magistrate Young also took into account the defendant's early guilty plea after it had exhausted all legal options (6 September 2018). More...

Reforms strengthen high standards of Queensland's building and construction industry
The new legislations includes the creation of a new licence requirement for mechanical services to address the dangers posed by incorrectly installed medical gas systems, as well as legionella in commercial air-conditioning systems like those in large office buildings or hospitals (5 September 2018). More...

Builder fined $70,000 after worker fell from roof in Victoria
Concord Builders Group Pty Ltd was found guilty of two contraventions of the OHS Act for failing to ensure it provided, as far as reasonably practicable, a workplace that was safe and without risk to health (5 September 2018). More...

Brisbane building firm hit with $400k fine over Eagle Farm racecourse deaths
Brisbane company Criscon is handed a hefty fine for failing to prevent the deaths of two workers when a concrete slab collapsed in a pit at a construction site on Eagle Farm Racecourse in 2016 (4 September 2018). More... More...

Blitz on dangerous chemicals will target inner west
Starting next week, WorkSafe inspectors will conduct visits to ensure site occupiers are complying with regulations about the labelling, storage and handling of chemicals, and have the correct emergency controls and safety equipment in place (31 September 2018). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 6 September, there have been 92 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. The numbers and industries may vary from one report to the next, as Safe Work receives more detailed information. To check for updates and more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage.

Everyone's business: fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces
Australian Human Rights Commission: 12 September 2018
The Australian public has rightly demanded to know more about the pervasiveness and impact of workplace sexual harassment and to see concerted action taken to prevent this behaviour from occurring. Government and employers need reliable data to inform their actions and responses to workplace sexual harassment. See Australian Human Rights Commission media release and Ms Jenkins' address to the National Press Club. More...

In practice and courts

The framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia
On 26 March 2018, the Senate referred the inquiry into the framework surrounding the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 20 September 2018.On 16 August 2018 the Senate agreed to an extension of time for reporting until 4 October 2018. More...

Queensland

WorkSafe Queensland: Worker crushed by falling sheets of balustrading glass
In August 2018, a worker was crushed when multiple sheets of balustrading glass fell from a truck-mounted A-frame. Actions Preventing a similar incident are outlined here (7 September 2018). More...

WorkSafe Queensland: Worker killed in fall from air-conditioning duct
In August 2018, a worker was killed after falling twelve metres onto a concrete floor. Early investigations indicate he was undertaking scheduled maintenance of air-conditioning ducts and was in the fresh air intake pre-conditioned outside air (PCOA) unit. Preventing a similar incident and PCBUs are outlined here (6 September 2018). More...

QBCC: Safer buildings for Queensland
The Queensland Government recently amended the Building Regulation 2006 bringing in new safety laws in Queensland. From 1 October 2018 Building Owners may be required to register their buildings and complete the combustible cladding checklist. More...

Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alert: Mining – working near stope brows and ground failure
A recent incident at an underground mine occurred when around 100 tonnes of rocks collapsed into an open stope brow. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations), mine operators must, so far as is reasonably practicable, identify all mining hazards at their mine and assess the risks to health and safety from those hazards. More...

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alert: Tailgate lifters and loading ramps on vehicles and trailers
Two employees have received serious crush injuries in recent workplace incidents involving the uncontrolled fall of hydraulically operated loading ramps and tailgate lifters. Duty holders must provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. Some ways to minimise the risk of an uncontrolled fall of ramps or tailgates are included here (7 September 2018). More...

Safety Soapbox 2018
This issue's editorial talks of WorkSafe's current visits to construction sites to ensure the risks associated with setting up and operating truck-mounted mobile concrete boom pumps (boom pumps) are being controlled. There is also a roundup of information from other jurisdictions. More...

Cases

SafeWork NSW v Deicorp Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 251
CRIMINAL LAW – Prosecution – work health & safety – duty of persona undertaking business – risk of death and 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 Rock Form Group Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 252
CRIMINAL LAW – Prosecution – work health & safety – duty of persona undertaking business – risk of death and 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 Phong Warehouse & Distributor Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 253
CRIMINAL LAW – Prosecution – work health & safety – duty of persona undertaking business – risk of death and 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 – capacity to pay fines imposed.
COSTS – Prosecution costs.

Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd v The Regulator under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 [2018] QIRC 116
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – EXTERNAL REVIEW – INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION – APPLICATION FOR STAY OF OPERATION OF DECISION – Whether jurisdiction to order stay pursuant to s 229C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – whether stay should be ordered – whether the applicant has an arguable case – whether the balance of convenience and competing rights of the parties is in favour of the application – whether there is a risk of the review being abortive without the stay.

Legislation

Queensland

Subordinate legislation as made

Reminder SL No 110
Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld)
The policy objectives of the Regulation are to determine the extent of the use of potentially combustible cladding on existing private buildings in Queensland and raise awareness with building owners of the risks associated with potentially combustible cladding. The Regulation commences on 1 October 2018.

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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