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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

10 June 2020

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

COVID-19 updates

Coronavirus impacts on absenteeism and presenteeism
Absenteeism is costly to Australian businesses and the economy at $44 billion per year and costs another $34 billion per year for presenteeism; employees not being able to fully function at work due to illness, according to Dr. Scott Allison, Director, Workplace Medicine Australia (01 June 2020).  More...

Victorian employers must keep workers at home, or risk $10,000 fines
New Stay Safe Directions and Restricted Activity Directions took effect in Victoria on Monday, replacing the ‘five reasons to leave home’ with a broader directive that Victorians can leave home for any reason, subject to certain restrictions (02 June 2020).  More...

Businesses pushed to prepare for ‘second wave’ of COVID-19
With state governments winding back coronavirus restrictions, many businesses, including mining companies, are being advised to implement screening measures to avoid a second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (29 May 2020).  More...

Risks of Legionnaires' disease in reopening buildings
As businesses across Australia prepare to reopen following coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdowns, NSW Health and industry bodies and experts are reminding building owners and occupiers of their legal obligation to ensure air-conditioning cooling towers are properly maintained, to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease (27 May 2020).  More...

Federal Safety Commissioner COVID-19: WHS Accreditation Scheme Auditing Update
​The commencing on 8 June 2020, the FSC will expand current auditing arrangements to include all accreditation applicants (not just those in time-critical tenders) and a monthly quota of low-risk accredited companies selected based on a range of factors including length of time that has passed since their last audit and reported safety incidents (29 May 2020).  More...

Safe Work Australia: COVID-19 workplace guidance
The Safe Work Australia website is continually being updated to provide a central hub of work health and safety guidance and tools to help Australian workplaces manage the health and safety risks posed by COVID-19. Hospitality industry information has also been updated, with additional guidance on Physical distancing and Hygiene for dine-in services.
Gyms and fitness centres – new industry added
Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems – information about restarting HVAC systems
Guidance on end of trip facilities in the COVID-19 guidance for Offices (Updated 04 June 2020).

SafeWork Australia fact sheet: Incident notification - COVID-19
This fact sheet provides information for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) on the approach to COVID-19 incident notification laws in each jurisdiction, including details on how to notify when required (26 May 2020). 

Icare: Top 3 areas to help employees feel COVID-safe coming back to work
Icare have recently developed an employer toolkit, offering practical steps to identify operational needs and protective strategies NSW workplaces can use during COVID-19 recovery. The employer toolkit identifies the top three areas employers can focus on to help their employees feel safe in coming back to work. See the COVID-19 Recovery Employer Toolkit (25 May 2020).  More...

In the media

Reducing the risks of working with lead
Employers at workplaces where lead processes are carried out are being urged to follow updated guidance as a new lead exposure standard and monitoring requirements come into force tomorrow. The amended regulations commence on 5 June 2020 (04 June 2020).  More...

Business fined after fatal workplace incident
A building company and its subcontractors were fined a total of $620,000 for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 after a brick wall fell on two men, killing one and injuring another at a building site in Carlingford (01 June 2020).  More...

Fine increased on appeal
A Mount Waverly developer has been convicted and fined $25,000 following an incident in which a sub-contractor fell six metres through a stair void (27 May 2020).  More...

"Grossly deficient" record keeping, coroner finds
Coroner David O’Connell delivered the findings on 22 May, which included a recommendation that the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy consider possible legal action against an individual manager at the mine. Coroner O’Connell also found that the mine’s record keeping was “grossly deficient” (27 May 2020).  More...

Mining executives face 20 years' jail under new laws
Mining executives are now facing up to 20 years’ jail if Queensland mine and quarry workers die because of their criminal negligence, following the passing of tougher mine safety laws by the Queensland Parliament on 20 May (26 May 2020).  More...

Qld passes industrial manslaughter laws
The Queensland Parliament has passed expanded industrial manslaughter laws. The new laws will create a criminal offence where negligence contributes to the death of a mineworker, and bring mining into line with other industries where individual executives and managers face jail time (27 May 2020).  More...

Fines follow young workers' burns in biofuel explosion
O2 Motorsports — a South Nowra, NSW motor vehicle repair shop — has been fined $135,000 for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) after two young workers were injured while making biofuel. The company’s director, Nathan Weissel, was also fined $22,500 following prosecution by SafeWork NSW (26 May 2020).  More...

Brisbane contractor fined $85,000 for not protecting workers against electric shock
In sentencing, Magistrate Robbie Davies indicated the defendant had attempted to make the site electrically safe through an enquiry prior to construction and using marker flags. However, his Honour deemed the defendant company had not done anything further or made a risk assessment of the powerlines as construction progressed (26 May 2020).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 21 May, there have been 76 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: Traffic control work
Information on the changes to the Work Health and Safety (Traffic Control Training) Regulation was made on 20 December 2019, with the the Traffic Control Training scheme transitioning from Transport for NSW to SafeWork NSW. The new regulatory scheme will commence from 1 July 2020.  More...


eSAFE Rural Newsletter
May 2020 edition of eSAFE Rural Newsletter, 28 May 2020.  More...

Uncontrolled Release of Energy - Polyethylene Pipe | Business Queensland
28 May 2020: Explosives safety alert 374
Uncontrolled Release of Energy from Polyethylene Pipe.  More...

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
From 1 July 2020 in Queensland, the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica will be halved from a time-weighted average airborne concentration of 0.1 milligram per cubic metre (mg/m3) to 0.05 mg/m3.
You should review current work practices — you may need to improve dust control measures to meet the new standard. Visit our website to find out more and for practical controls for workplaces.  More...


ESV: Type 27 LPG cylinder valve and revision of AS/NZS 5601.1 and AS/NZS 5601.2
Standards Australia has published two public comment drafts relating to AS/NZS 5601.1 and AS/NZS 5601.2. In addition to the references to the new LPG cylinder valve connection, the revision includes the following proposed changes outlined here. The public comment period closes on 16 June 2020. The draft standards can be downloaded and public comment can be submitted via Standards Australia (21 May 2020).

ESV Continuing professional development for builders and plumbers
DELWP has prepared a Consultation Paper outlining three high-level options for introducing CPD requirements in Victoria, with a particular focus on the possible CPD training content that could form part of the scheme.
The Consultation Paper is available on the Engage Victoria website. The public consultation period will close 24 July 2020.

WorkSafe Victoria: Side-by-side vehicle safety
Safety Alert 02 June 2020
Due to serious incidents, including fatalities, over the past 12 months, WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the importance of managing the risks of operating side-by-side vehicles.  More...

Two fatal falls in construction within a seven day period
Safety Alert 12 May 2020
WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the potentially deadly risks associated with working from heights without adequate fall protection, after two construction employees have died in separate incidents.  More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Employee crushed by stone slabs in shipping container
Safety Alert 11 May 2020
WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the dangers associated with unloading objects from shipping containers, following a recent incident where an employee was crushed and killed unloading stone slabs.  More...



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Work Health and Safety Amendment (Silica) Regulation 2020 (2020-244) — published LW 5 June 2020
Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Light Vehicle Standards Rules) Regulation 2020 (2020-229) — published LW 29 May 2020



Transport and Other Legislation (Road Safety, Technology and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2020
Introduced by: Hon M Bailey MP on 17/03/2020
Stage reached: 2nd reading to be moved on 29/05/2020

Bill and Exp Note

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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