Australia: Inside track: Work, health and safety – in the media, published articles, papers and reports, in practice and courts and cases.

Last Updated: 21 May 2019
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall and Stephen Trew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, July 2019

In the media

Food retail manager fined for bullying storeman
The manager of a company selling nuts, dried fruits and candies in shopping centres has been convicted and fined $7500 for bullying a storeman. Sallama pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrates' Court on 17 April to a single charge under sections 144(1) and 21(1) & (2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (26 April 2019). More...

Fair Trading shines a light on electrical workers in building sector
'Operation Switch', an investigation led by NSW Fair Trading officers, identified high levels of compliance across businesses within the NSW residential building sector. Most of the workers who spoke to Fair Trading produced valid licences and were working safely, so that risks were minimised to their workmates, customers and the public (23 April 2019). More...

Recycler fined $160,000 after worker loses fingers
An easily preventable accident and the removal of a safety guard that would have prevented a worker from having his fingers crushed, were two contributing factors considered by a Gold Coast Magistrate as he fined a recycler a hefty $160,000 (23 April 2019). More...

Queensland Automotive mechanic struck by vehicle parts
In March 2019, a worker suffered serious head injuries when a suspension air bag assembly ejected under pressure from a heavy vehicle in a mechanical workshop. Performing work under an elevated load such as a heavy vehicle presents various hazards that require appropriate control measures (18 April 2019). More...

Hop grower fined $130,000 after worker dies in trailer fall in Victoria
A hop grower has been convicted and fined $130,000 after a worker died when he fell from a trailer towed by an out of control tractor. Neville Victor Handcock was sentenced in Wodonga County Court on 3 April after pleading guilty to one rolled up charge containing two contraventions under sections 21(1) and 145 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (17 April 2019). More...

Worker fatally crushed by planting machine in Queensland
In March 2019, a worker was killed on a rural property when he was crushed by the wheels of a planting machine that was being towed by a tractor. Tractors are essential for agricultural, green keeping, gardening, landscaping and other activities. They are usually quite safe when operated properly, but become dangerous if incorrectly used (17 April 2019). More...

Dubbo farming company fined $180,000 after worker became trapped in machine
A Dubbo company which produces farm animal feed has been fined $180,000 after a worker became entangled in a machine, seriously injuring his hand. Executive Director SafeWork Operations, Tony Williams said Macquarie Milling was handed the sentence at the Sydney District Court for failing to comply with health and safety laws (17 April 2019). More...

Company fined for concrete panel storage
A precast concrete manufacturer has been fined $30,000 without conviction for endangering workers by storing concrete panels weighing nearly three tonnes each standing on end and without supports (16 April 2019). More...

Police fined $390,000 over death of cook in freezer
South Australia Police will have to pay one of the state's largest ever fines for breaching workplace safety laws following the death of a woman working at a training centre (16 April 2019). More... 

Charges dropped against a drilling company over a workplace accident
Charges against a WA drilling company over a workplace accident, where a mine worker survived being crushed by a drilling rig, are dropped by prosecutors due to the "unavailability of witnesses" (11 April 2019). More... 

Work for the dole provider investigated amid claims of workplace safety breaches
The Federal Government launches an urgent investigation into a remote work for the dole provider, after the ABC obtained images raising serious questions about some work practices in a West Australian community (11 April 2019). More... 

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
No reported data from of 21 March. 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.

In practice and courts

OFSC: Hazards Research Project
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner is working with RMIT University on a research project to determine if the 19 high risk hazard criteria used in the WHS Accreditation Scheme remain appropriately targeted towards the hazards on building sites with the highest risk of injury. As part of the research, RMIT will be collecting and analysing data from Commonwealth and state and territory government sources as well as interviews with key stakeholders. For further information see the Hazards Research Project fact sheet .

New Australian Standards
DR AS 4024.2201:2019
Safety of machinery - Part 2201: Permanent means of access to machinery - Choice of fixed means and general requirements of access -Standards Australia 

DR AS 4024.2202:2019
Safety of machinery - Part 2202: Permanent means of access to machinery - Working platforms and walkways - Standards Australia 

DR AS 4024.2203:2019
Safety of machinery - Part 2203: Permanent means of access to machinery - Stairs, stepladders and guard-rails - Standards Australia 

DR AS 4024.2204:2019
Safety of machinery - Part 2204: Permanent means of access to machinery - Fixed ladders - Standards Australia 

National Safety Conference
28-29 August 2019 Save the date


NSW Resources: Weekly incident summary
The NSW Resources Regulator's Mine Safety unit publishes a reportable incidents summary each week. See Weekly incident summary week ending 12 April 2019 (18 April 2019).


WorkCover Queensland: Electrical safety codes of practice - Construction and operation of solar farms Code of Practice 2019
The new Construction and operation of solar farms Code of Practice 2019 will commence on 13 May 2019. The new code combines existing electrical and work health and safety requirements relating to solar farms. Commencement of the code of practice is accompanied by a regulatory amendment requiring the mounting, locating, fixing and removal of solar panels at solar farms to be undertaken by licensed electricians.


Labour-hire licensing scheme commenced 29 April 2019
Labour-hire providers will have six months to apply for a licence to operate in the State after this time. To obtain and keep a licence, labour-hire firms will need to pass a "fit and proper person test", which involves demonstrating long-term compliance with Victoria's OHS and workers' compensation Acts. More...

ESV Update: Application date – AS/NZS 3010:2017 Electrical installations – generating sets
ESV has published an update to the application date for AS/NZS 3010:2017 Electrical Installations – Generating Sets. This new 2017 edition of AS/NZS 3010 will be mandatory from 1 July 2019. More...

Worksafe Victoria: Employee fatally injured after fall from steel stillage
An alert about hazards and risk controls associated with working at heights and forklifts, following the death of an employee. Safety alert published 23 April 2019 Industries: Construction. More...


SafeWork NSW v MJM Painting Services Pty Limited; SafeWork NSW v Miro Maric [2019] NSWDC 124
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health & 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 COSTS – prosecution costs.

Victorian Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Matthew John Sallama Sunshine Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004; Section144(1); 21(1) & 21(2)(a) Outcome 17 April 2019
Ryan Meat Company (No 2) Pty Ltd Shepparton Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a) Outcome 16 April 2019

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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