Australia: Inside track: Work Health & Safety - In the media, reports, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 1 July 2019
Most Read Contributor in Australia, July 2019

In the media

Help us improve safety culture within manufacturing
The Centre for Work Health and Safety is teaming up with the Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab to work on how we can improve safety culture within the manufacturing industry. A new toolkit will look to improve safety culture in the manufacturing sector, for different sized businesses across Australia. (18 June 2019). More...

Switch off for safety's sake in Victoria
WorkSafe inspectors will focus on electrical safety this month to ensure employers keep workers safe from the deadly risks of working 'live' or near live electrical equipment (18 June 2019). More...

Peabody Wilpinjong mine subject of investigation
The NSW Resources Regulator inspectors assessed the incident the following day and did not identify any material breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The causal investigation will help the Resources Regulator to fully understand the causes of the incident and pass on lessons to the industry (18 June 2019). More...

NSW mines regulator gets set for compliance rampage
The inspections will focus on general compliance with mining regulations and site safety management systems, the standard supervision and the behaviours of supervisors in dealing with non-compliances and mine sites rehabilitation (18 June 2019). More...

WHS conviction overturned, retrial to follow
The Queensland Court of Appeal has released its reasons for overturning Multi-Run Roofing Director Gary Lavin's conviction last month, citing a judge's mis-instruction to the jury as the cause (17 June 2019). More...

Death of Yallourn power station worker Graeme Edwards caused by equipment fault says Energy Australia
Power company Energy Australia has taken blame for an equipment fault which led to the death of unit controller Graeme Edwards who worked at the Yallourn Power Station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley for 30 years (14 June 2019). More...

Charges over injuries at Campbell Barracks
Three companies have been charged over two separate incidents that caused injuries to workers during the redevelopment of Perth's Campbell Barracks (13 June 2019). More...

Comcare: Laboratory explosion results in WHS charges
CSIRO has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an explosion at a Melbourne research facility (12 June 2019). More...

Health service charged after patient death
Melbourne Health has been charged by WorkSafe following the death of a patient at its Broadmeadows aged persons mental health unit. WorkSafe lodged three charges against Melbourne Health under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the OHS Act) (12 June 2019). More...

Billboard company fined $250,000 over powerline shock to worker
A Queensland billboard company was recently fined $250,000 after a worker received an electric shock from a powerline that the company knew was a hazard and which was closer than the three-metre exclusion zone required under state law (11 June 2019). More...

CFMMEU penalised for putting workers in "harm's way"
The Federal Court has awarded penalties of $137,000 against the CFMMEU and one of its Tasmanian officials for unlawful actions and putting workers' safety at risk at the Living City Project in Devonport in June 2017 (06 June 2019). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Working out at work reduces health risks
A new study has found that workplaces that introduce a personalised active lifestyle program targeting employees with metabolic syndrome (who are at high risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes) can have a positive influence on their health outcomes. More...

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 6 June, there have been 64 Australian workers killed at work in 2019. 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

New Safety Standards - AS 4024.1100:2019
Safety of machinery - Application guide
Standards Australia

Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner has been transferred to the Attorney-General's Department as a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order amendments introduced on 29 May 2019. This site will be updated to reflect these changes.

SafeWork Australia feedback: Moving from GHS 3 to GHS 7 under the model WHS laws
Safe Work Australia will shortly be consulting on the proposal to adopt an updated edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace hazardous chemicals. Stay informed by subscribing to our hazardous chemicals mailing list, and go to our consultation platform Engage to register to have your say in July 2019. More...


WorkCover Queensland: Operator severely injured by skidder winch
In May 2019, an operator of a forestry skidder at a rural property became entangled in the cable winch mechanism at the rear of the machine. Operators must always be aware and alert when using the winch as this fitted part is extremely powerful and can, at times, pull the skidder backwards. Higher order risk controls including a safe system of work should be implemented to manage the risks associated with inspection and maintenance (19 June 2019). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Safety observers essential for live electrical work
A safety observer must be used when there is no reasonable alternative to performing energised electrical work (live work). The only exception to not requiring a safety observer is when the live work consists only of testing and a risk assessment shows there is no serious risk associated with the proposed work (14 June 2019). More...

HPW: Plumbing and Drainage reforms
To further protect the health and safety of Queenslanders, a new mechanical services licence, which includes medical gas work, will make sure that critical building services such as heating and cooling systems are delivered in a way that will protect the public from the dangers of legionella and other diseases. New plumbing laws and regulations are coming into on 1 July 2019. More....


WorkSafe Victoria Alert: Precast concrete panel falls from truck
WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the risks involved with loading precast concrete panels (18 June 2019). More...

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Soapbox
The latest edition was posted June 19. This edition's editorial is on a perennial problem in the construction industry: Asbestos access the June 19 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

WorkSafe Victoria Alert: Glass panes at early childhood education and care services
An alert about the risks associated with glass panels breaking from child impact at early childhood education and care services (12 June 2019). More...


Kovic v SafeWork NSW [2019] NSWIRComm 1040
Work Health and Safety – application for external review – Provisional Improvement Notice issued by Health and Safety Representative – request to SafeWork to appoint an inspector to review the notice not made within seven days after the notice was issued – decision of inspector to cancel notice – internal review upheld the decision of the inspector – whether the decision by the inspector to cancel the notice was invalid

SafeWork NSW v AKA Civil Australia Pty Ltd [2019] NSWDC 257
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury
PROCEDURE – whether proposed amendments to wording of summons prejudicial
PROCEDURE – application by defendant for proceedings to be quashed – functions of indictment – fair trial – prosecution to identify measures that should have been taken and prove beyond reasonable doubt
PROCEDURE – application by defendant for proceedings to be stayed or dismissed – must be abuse of process – whether continuation of proceedings involves unacceptable injustice or unfairness – onus on applicant to prove

Victorian Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings

Diversion 9 of 2018-19 Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section25(1)(b) Outcome11 June 2019

K.C. & T.L. Murray Pty Ltd Bairnsdale Magistrates' Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)Outcome11 June 2019



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Work Health and Safety Amendment (Fees and Model Laws) Regulation 2019 (2019-267) — published LW 21 June 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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