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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

01 September 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

COVID-19

Construction fines for breaching public health orders
NSW Government SafeWork NSW officers will be out in force this weekend visiting construction sites across Sydney after sites in Marsden Park, Riverstone and Liverpool were issued with $40,000 in fines for COVID breaches (21 August 2021).  More...

Qantas Group mandates full COVID-19 vaccination for all staff
Qantas has mandated coronavirus vaccination for all staff members, with pilots, cabin crew and airport staff to be vaccinated by 15 November 2021 (19 August 2021).  More...

Fair Work Ombudsman workplace vaccination guidance updated
The Fair Work Ombudsman has published its latest workplace vaccination guidance (13 August 2021).  More...

In the Media

Quarry operator charged over silica exposure
A Montrose quarry operator has been charged with six contraventions of the OHS Act after workers were exposed to respirable crystalline silica. WorkSafe alleges the company failed to implement control measures, including the use of respiratory protective equipment, to reduce the risk of workers being exposed to dust (26 August 2021).  More...

NSW government supports research to protect ageing workforce
Australians are continuing to work for longer than ever before, with a growing proportion of people aged 65 years and over now in the workforce (25 August 2021).  More...

Company fined $450,000 after roof plumber falls almost seven metres
A worker fall through a penetration at the new Perth Museum marks one of the first prosecutions and fines under Western Australia's stronger penalties regime, introduced in 2018 (23 August 2021).  More...

Failing to notify a serious incident is an offence
The company pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by not reporting a notifiable incident to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) immediately. WHSQ first heard about the incident from the injured worker more than a year after it occurred (19 August 2021).  More...

Developer fined for multiple safety breaches
A Melbourne developer that repeatedly failed to address safety issues at a Doncaster building site has been convicted and ordered to pay fines totalling $75,000 (18 August 2021).  More...

Manufacturer fined following worker's fall
A smallgoods manufacturer has been fined $30,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries in a fall at a Carrum Downs workplace in 2019, to one charge of failing, so far as reasonably practicable, to provide or maintain a safe system of work (17 August 2021).  More...

Unlicensed electrician convicted for forging licence and carrying out shoddy work
Energy Safe Victoria has prosecuted a man who forged electrical credentials and safety certificates for dodgy and dangerous electrical work carried out at properties in Melbourne’s east. Michael Bojic was convicted and fined $11,000 August after he breached 11 provisions of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (16 August 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

FSC Accreditation Scheme Snapshot: June 2021
The Federal Safety Commissioner’s (FSC): 18 August 2021
The past three months has seen the Scheme pass the milestone of $150 billion worth of Scheme projects. We’ve seen lost time injury frequency rates continue to trend downwards. View the Accreditation Scheme Snapshot.

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 19 August, 73 Australian workers were killed at work in 2021. 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

Safe Work Australia: Work in construction? Manage the risk of hazardous air
Construction workers are at risk of breathing in hazardous air, including through: Cutting, grinding, polishing and crushing concrete, pavers, tiles and bricks; cutting drywall/plasterboard; using paints, glue and varnishes, welding, and cutting and sanding some types of wood. Some of the ways you can manage these risks are outlined here (23 August 2021).  More...

New guide helps farmers safety knowledge grow
23 August 2021 – cotton industry guide to safety 2021/22.  More...

NSW

Mine Safety news
19/08/2021 – Mine Safety news

NSW Resources Regulator: Key compliance priorities updated
The Resources Regulator has published the July – December 2021 Compliance priorities which sets out the key compliance priorities for the next six months.  More...

Queensland

WorkSafe Qld Safety Alert: Truck driver exposed to phosphine gas
In July 2021, a truck driver began feeling very unwell after transporting grain to a feedlot with his semi-trailer. You must store, handle, use and dispose of aluminium phosphide in accordance with the product label and safety data sheet which contains information on the fumigation, ventilation and re-entry periods as well as precautions required to manage the health and safety of workers and others (23 August 2021).  More...

Victoria

Safety Soapbox
The latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox was posted. This month WorkSafe’s focus is on the new infringement notices recently introduced by the Victorian government, with links to a YouTube video of WorkSafe's webinar on this topic. Access the August 2021 edition of Safety Soapbox here.

Cases

SafeWork NSW v Simos Scaffolding Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 443
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 – worker was electrocuted after a 4.7-metre reo bar protruding from a scaffold deck over a plywood hoarding made contact with high voltage power lines – fitted hoarding was not an impenetrable barrier – high voltage power lines were visible from the scaffold deck – absence of electrical hazard warning signs.

SafeWork NSW v Crawfords Freightlines Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 442
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 – workers were loading aluminium billets into a shipping container – a load on the tines of a forklift truck shifted and fell onto a worker standing inside the container – lack of adequate supervision – training gaps – unsafe shipping container loading procedures.

SafeWork NSW v Plasser Australia Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 441
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 – workers were engaged in oxy-propane cutting of waste solvent drums – top joint of the drum failed and explosive release caused the detachment of the drum lid – failure to undertake a risk assessment on the risks associated with the “de-heading” of waste drums – inadequate safe work procedures – training gaps.

Enco Precast Pty Ltd v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union & Ors [2021] ICQ 15
INDUSTRIAL LAW – QUEENSLAND – APPEALS – APPEAL TO INDUSTRIAL COURT - where union officials holding entry permits under the Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (the Safety Act) sought entry to the appellant’s work site – where the appellant initially denied entry – where entry was allowed – where any right of entry without consent was dependent upon the permit holders having a reasonable suspicion of contravention of the Safety Act – where any right of entry was also dependent upon workers on site being eligible for membership of the union – where the appellant applied to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) for relief concerning a “dispute” as to the right of entry – where the QIRC determined that there was no relevant dispute as to reasonable suspicion of contravention of the Safety Act – where alternatively the QIRC found there was reasonable suspicion held by the permit holders – where the QIRC held that the burden of proof lay upon the operator to prove the Union did not have coverage – where the QIRC held that a lack of union coverage had not been established – where the QIRC refused relief – where the appellant appealed - whether there was error of law or jurisdiction in the QIRC decision
INDUSTRIAL LAW – WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – GENERALLY – where union officials who held entry permits under the Safety Act sought entry to a workplace operated by the appellant – where entry was dependent upon a reasonable suspicion of contravention of the Safety Act and workers on site being eligible for membership of the union – where entry was allowed by the appellant – where the operator applied for relief to the QIRC – where the jurisdiction to grant relief depended upon there being a “dispute” – whether, given entry had occurred, there was a relevant dispute about the union’s coverage – whether, given that entry had been allowed, there was a relevant dispute about reasonable suspicion of contravention of the Safety Act
INDUSTRIAL LAW – QUEENSLAND – INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE – INDUSTRIAL ORGANISATIONS – MEMBERSHIP – ELIGIBILITY – where union officials holding entry permits under the Safety Act sought access to the appellant’s site – where the right of access depended upon workers at the site being eligible for membership of the union – where the union claimed coverage based on the Federated Engine Drivers’ and Firemen’s (FEDFA) Rule and the Terrazzo Rule – whether the FEDFA Rule gave coverage to the union – whether the Terrazzo Rule gave coverage to the union
EVIDENCE – PROOF – BURDEN OF PROOF – GENERALLY – where union officials holding entry permits under the Safety Act sought entry to the appellant’s premises – where there was dispute about the existence of preconditions to the right of entry – where entry was allowed – where the appellant sought relief in the QIRC claiming the preconditions for the right of entry did not exist – whether the burden of proving that the preconditions existed fell upon the union – whether the burden of proving that the preconditions didn’t exist fell upon the appellant
Fair Work Act 2009 Cth s 481, s 482, s 483; Industrial Relations Act 2016 Qld s 447, s 448, s 451, s 557
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Qld s 3, s 116, s 117, s 118, s 119, s 128, s 131, s 132, s 133, s 141, s 142, s 143, s 156, s 191, s 192, s 193, s 194, s 230; Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Qld s 28.

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes
Cyco Systems Corporation Pty Ltd
Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)
Outcome 23 Aug 2021.
David Franklin Builders Pty Ltd
Ballarat Magistrates’ Court – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1)
Outcome 17 Aug 2021.
\DT Pty Ltd
Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court – Dangerous Goods Act 1985,Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Section17C(4); 26(1) & 111(4)
Outcome 16 Aug 2021.

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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