COVID-19 updates

COVID-19 information for workplaces
A reminder of the information for workplaces on the SWA website - for specific industries, case studies, how to do risk assessments, and much more. More...

Join National Safe Work month and support WHS through COVID-19
Safe Work Australia is pleased to launch the theme for this year's National Safe Work Month: Work Health and Safety through COVID-19 and associated campaign kit (27 July 2020). More...


No second chances for venues flouting COVID safety rules
The Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle was this week singled out by Liquor & Gaming inspectors as 'the worst pub seen so far' for a litany of COVID safety breaches (12 August 2020). More...


Victoria: Workplace COVIDSafe plan
Under Stage 4 restrictions now in place in metropolitan Melbourne, all open businesses and services must now have a COVIDSafe plan in place (as of 7 August). This plan must focus on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. Meat processing plants (including poultry and seafood) around the state must also have COVIDSafe plan. More information can be found on this section of the Business Victoria website.

New regulations require Vic to report COVID-19 diagnoses
Under new regulations, Victorian employers and self-employed persons must inform WorkSafe Victoria if a worker receives a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis (07 August 2020). More...

Melbourne builders Secure COVID advocacy wins
Melbourne's construction sector has secured significant advocacy victories as new guidelines have addressed several concerns regarding Stage 4 COVID lockdowns. Following consultation between government and industry, however, new guidance issued by Business Victoria has addressed several concerns (07 August 2020). More...

Melbourne workers must have permit to attend site
Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements (05 August 2020). More...

Office of the Safety Commissioner: COVID-19 update – revised OFSC audit arrangements in Victoria
Considering current medical advice and having reviewed safety risks to workers of accredited companies and to Federal Safety Officers, I advise that the OFSC will further modify its audit activities in Melbourne and across Victoria until COVID-19 restrictions ease (07 August 2020). More...

Ensuring the safety of dangerous goods in the event of a shutdown or reduced operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
WorkSafe is issuing an alert about the importance of having a plan to manage the risks of dangerous goods when temporarily shutting down or reducing the extent of your operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (10 August 2020). More...

In the media

Company fined $60,000 over bee sting death
A mining contractor is fined $60,000 over the death of a contractor who suffered a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting (12 August 2020). More...

New advisory group to decrease workplace injury and fatality
Injured workers and those who have lost loved ones due to a workplace incident will help shape NSW workplace policy and support services through a new advisory group established by the NSW Government (11 August 2020). More...

Focus turns to Hunter building sites following $400K landmark fine
Building and construction sites in Newcastle can expect an unannounced visit from SafeWork NSW inspectors this week as the workplace safety regulator undertakes high-visibility safety checks across the region (10 August 2020). More...

Whitehaven to enhance safety with $800,000 investment
Whitehaven Coal has pledged more than $800,000 to fund safety projects in support of mental health initiatives and the provision of lifesaving equipment (07 August 2020). More...

Meat processor fined $130,000 after worker's hand crushed
A Laverton pork processor has been convicted and fined $130,000 after a worker was seriously injured when his arm became trapped in a waste chute in January 2019 (06 August 2020). More...

Construction company fined $850,000 after fatal fall
A residential construction company has been convicted and fined $850,000 after a worker fell to his death on a building site in Melbourne's north (04 August 2020). More...

New research triggers crane compliance blitz
Crane operators are being put on notice with SafeWork inspectors conducting a compliance blitz across the state next month. Inspectors will be on site checking safe slinging and load movements and issuing on-the-spot fines (03 August 2020). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 30 July, there have been 100 Australian workers killed at work in 2020. 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


SafeWork NSW: General diving work – qualifications
The newly issued an exemption for the general diving work qualifications requirements of clause 171(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017. This exemption is granted until 31 December 2022. People who are qualified under AS 4005.2 – 2000 will need to complete three additional units of competency by 31 December 2022 to be legally qualified to undertake general diving work in NSW. Read the exemption.

NSW Resources regulator: Practising certificates required from 1 October 2020
From 1 October 2020 this year, individuals will only be able to exercise a statutory function at a mine when they hold a practising certificate. The transitional arrangements that have allowed holders of certificates of competence to exercise statutory functions will end on 30 September 2020. Click here for further information on practising certificates, including how to apply.

NSW Resources Regulator: Four mining compliance priorities
The Resources Regulator has published its July - December 2020 Compliance priorities document which sets out the key compliance priorities for the next six months. Publishing this document serves to increase transparency, community and industry confidence in regulatory activities and increase levels of voluntary compliance.
Between July and December this year the Regulator aims to complete four compliance priorities targeting: Respirable dust (revision to the exposure standards); Progressive rehabilitation; Subsidence management and Non-reporting of incidents.


Storage requirements for security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN) | Business Queensland
12 August 2020 | Explosives information bulletin 53
This bulletin outlines the minimum safety and security requirements to store SSAN in Queensland, including the principles developed by the national working party on SSAN.
Subject Explosives; Explosives storage or transport; Explosives theft or misuse. More...

Managing Gas on Open Cut Coal Mines | Business Queensland
11 August 2020: Mines safety bulletin 186
Safety Bulleting for industry to help industry manage gas at open cut coal mines
Subject Blasts; Chemicals; Fumes; Gases. More...

Worksafe Qld Alert: Worker struck by grader
In June 2020, a grader was doing road works at a construction site when it struck a worker who suffered serious leg injuries. Powered mobile plant includes but is not limited to earthmoving machinery (e.g. rollers, graders, scrapers and bobcats), excavators, and mobile cranes. Managing work health and safety risks is an ongoing process. Risk management involves four steps (13 August 2020). More...

WorkSafe Qld: Electrical safety awareness sessions in regional Queensland
Ahead of Electricity Safety Week (7-11 September), a series of electrical safety awareness sessions have been scheduled around regional Queensland to coincide with local home shows (12 August 2020). More...

WorkSafe Qld: Electrical licensing disciplinary action
In May and June 2020, the Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against six licence holders outlined here (06 August 2020). More...


Safework NSW v Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd (No. 2) [2020] NSWDC 420
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and 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 – capacity to pay – appropriate penalty COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – site supervisor and apprentice roofer replacing polycarbonate skylight in roof with metal sheets – apprentice roofer put foot onto an old brittle polycarbonate skylight sheet and fell through the roof – worker died from injuries suffered in fall – neither worker had a fall arrest or restraint system in place at the time of the incident – both workers should have had their safety harnesses connected by a rope to the available static line.

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
SKM Services Pty Ltd
Melbourne Magistrates' Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1), 21(2)(a) & 21(2)(c)
Outcome 07 Aug 2020
SKM Services Pty Ltd
Melbourne Magistrates' Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(c)
Outcome 07 Aug 2020



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Subordinate Legislation (Postponement of Repeal) Order 2020 (2020-455) — published LW 7 August 2020
Work Health and Safety Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2020 (2020-457) — published LW 7 August 2020

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.