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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

13 April 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the Media

Comcare sharpens regulatory focus for major infrastructure projects
Comcare has established a specialist team of inspectors to focus on work health and safety risks at major infrastructure projects across Australia (09 April 2021).  More...

Dismounting from moving tractor causes death at North Queensland farm
A North Queensland produce company was fined $150,000 in the Bowen Magistrates Court for a 2019 incident that resulted in the death of a 37-year-old worker who was crushed when he dismounted from a moving tractor (07 April 2021).  More...

Right to disconnect looms as massive work change giving lives back to employees
Technology has extended the working day far beyond when employees are paid for their time. Unions are pushing to give workers the legal right to ignore non-emergency out-of-hours work calls, texts and emails (06 April 2021).  More...

$60,000 in fines after worker trapped under hoist
Timberwood Panels Pty Ltd and director Iain Agyeman pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court on Monday to two charges each of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide information and instruction (01 April 2021).  More...

Cracking down on dodgy solar installers
The Andrews Labor Government is boosting the number of specialised solar safety inspectors – to keep up with record demand for solar, it plans to shine a light on any dodgy installers and ensure solar installations in Victoria continue to be the safest in Australia (31 March 2021).  More...

Gig economy warned to prioritise driver safety
Six food delivery platform operators have been served with improvement notices after a SafeWork compliance blitz in Sydney’s metropolitan area revealed widespread non-compliance with NSW’s workplace health and safety laws (29 March 2021).  More...

Court backs electrical regulator decision on unlicensed operator
Action taken by the Queensland Government against a rogue operator accused of performing unlicensed electrical work has been supported in court (29 March 2021).  More...

Electrical licensing disciplinary action
In February 2021, the Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against five licence holders in Queensland (26 March 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 1 April, 24 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

Comcare: Workplace sexual harassment
Comcare’s guidance includes regulatory guidance for employers and practical guidance for employers, managers and supervisors, and workers. These guides should be read in conjunction with Safe Work Australia’s guidance on workplace sexual harassment, which includes preventing workplace sexual harassment and advice for workers (31 March 2021).

NSW

SafeWork NSW: Licence fees waived for flood impacted communities
We're waiving the cost of replacing a range of licence and permit fees for people who’ve lost them due to the recent NSW floods. Licence and permits eligible are listed here (31 March 2021).  More...

SafeWork NSW: Asbestos - cleaning and/or removing asbestos containing materials after storms and floods
SafeWork NSW always recommends that a licensed asbestos removalist is used to remove any amount of asbestos.Removal of friable asbestos, or 10 square metres or more of non-friable asbestos materials, must be done by a licensed asbestos removalist (29 March 2021).  More...

Mine Safety News
Mine Safety News to inform, educate and promote the enhancement of the health and safety culture of NSW mining alerts.
01/04/2021 - Mine Safety News

Gig economy roles and responsibilities in WHS: Research update
The Centre for Work Health and Safety’s research into the food delivery in the gig economy is currently underway. Phases 1 and 2 have been completed.
Phase 1 full report Work health and safety of food delivery workers in the gig economy
Phase 2 full report: Work health and safety perceptions of food delivery platforms in the gig economy
New research will establish a better understanding of the WHS perceptions and behaviours in the Australian gig economy context by focusing on food delivery services Project commenced: February 2020. Project completion: October 2021.  More...

Queensland

eSAFE construction
Latest editions of eSAFE Construction - a bi-monthly e-newsletter providing information on activities in the building and construction sector (30 March 2021).
March 2021 edition of eSAFE Construction newsletter

WorkSafe Qld Health and Safety Alert: Fake disposable respiratory protective equipment
Issued: 29/07/2020; Updated 31/03/2021
The purpose of this safety alert is to assist businesses in identifying fake (non-certified) respirators and highlight the risks associated with using them.  More...

WorkSafe Qld: COVID-19 rescue and resuscitation training exemptions
From 1 August 2021, exemptions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pole top rescue and low voltage switch board rescue (LVR) training will no longer apply.  More...

WorkSafe Qld: Changes to asbestos regulation
From 1 May 2021, low density asbestos fibre board (LDB), also known as asbestos insulating board, will be classified as a friable material in all circumstances. This means LDB can only legally be removed by a class A asbestos removal licence holder. If you’re a class B asbestos removal licence holder and want to be able to remove LDB after 1 May 2021, you will need to apply to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland for a class A asbestos removal licence.  More...

Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria HSR newsletter
WorkSafe has this week issued its latest edition of the HSR newsletter (24 March 2021)
In it WorkSafe provides advice on: Returning to work (after the COVID working from home measures); Infection Prevention and Control training for Disability Service Provider Workers; The role of the HSR vs the OHS Committee; Support Officers; WorkWell: WorkSafe’s Workplace Mental Health Guide for COVID-19.

WorkSafe Victoria issues Safety Alert after fatality
The VWA has issued the alert to highlight the dangers of overhanging items in storage racking, following the death of an employee in March 2021. In the event that a forklift strikes overhanging items, the items could become dislodged or unstable, putting employees at risk of serious or fatal injuries due to falling items. The Safety Alert, Employee dies after overhanging items fall from storage racking, sets out recommended ways to control the risks, and reminds employers of their legal duties (24 March 2021)

Cases

SafeWork NSW v McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Limited (No. 3) [2021] NSWDC 105
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 – general deterrence – specific deterrence – substantial harm, injury, loss or damage – parity principle – victim impact statement – appropriate penalty COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – Unrestrained steel headstocks fell on rigger working on a barge — no adequate risk assessment for landing headstocks on barge and working upon them — deck space not cleared to lay headstocks down — no visual inspection of barge despite contractual obligation.

SafeWork NSW v Elgas Limited [2021] NSWDC 101
CRIME – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – duty of employers – risk of death or serious injury SENTENCING – objective seriousness – deterrence - aggravating factors – mitigating factors – good prospects of rehabilitation – plea of guilty – remorse.

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes
Makmur Enterprises Pty Ltd
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(e) Outcome 07 Apr 2021
Tristaff Recruitment Ltd
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1) & 21(2)(a) Outcome 07 Apr 2021
Timberwood Panels Pty Ltd Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1); 21(2)(a) & 21(2)(b) Outcome 29 Mar 2021
Iain Agyeman Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section144; 21(1); 21(2)(a) & 21(2)(b) Outcome 29 Mar 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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