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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

16 March 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the Media

Enforceable undertaking to improve lab safety
CSIRO will spend $1.5 million on workplace health and safety improvements that will also benefit the broader research community under a commitment endorsed by Comcare (11 March 2021).  More...

WHS charges over detention centre death
The Department of Home Affairs and its healthcare provider International Health and Medical Services have been charged with breaching Commonwealth work health and safety laws over the death of a man in immigration detention (10 March 2021).  More...

Company charged over dangerous goods storage
WorkSafe has charged Crossroads Logistics Pty Ltd over alleged breaches of the Dangerous Goods Act (DG Act) at a site in Tottenham. The company is facing four charges under section 31(1) of the DG Act (09 March 2021).   More...

Let's be very clear about workplace sexual harassment
WorkSafe is encouraging all Victorian employers and workers to make it their business to stamp out workplace sexual harassment, with the Let's Be Very Clear campaign to raise awareness of what sexual harassment is to educate employers on their responsibilities. WorkSafe has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with VEOHRC to take a united approach to preventing workplace sexual harassment (09 March 2021).  More...

Charges laid over tank container fire
Fuelcraft Pty Ltd has been charged with four alleged breaches of section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act; three under section 21(2)(a) for failing to maintain safe systems of work; and one of failing to provide information, instruction and training under section (21)(2)(e) (04 March 2021).  More...

AHRC: Statement on Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces: Sex Discrimination
This Review will build on the landmark findings of Respect@Work, the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020. That review found that workplace sexual harassment is an insidious issue that affects every industry. The final report with findings and recommendations of the Review will be tabled in Parliament in November 2021 (05 March 2021).  More...

Mental health check up for workplaces
A new free digital platform has been launched to help workplaces identify and manage work-related psychology hazards and factors. Launched by Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities, the digital platform, People at Work, is dedicated to mentally healthy workplaces and is a joint initiative of Safe Work Australia (01 March 2021).  More...

Campaign targets 'bulletproof' farm safety attitudes
A confronting new WorkSafe campaign is highlighting that farm deaths and life-changing injuries can happen to anyone who doesn't prioritise safety. It focuses on high-risk hazards such as machinery, livestock and chemicals and will collaborate with the industry to improve the safety of vulnerable employees, including migrant and seasonal workers (01 March 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

ABCC Industry Update – 10 March 2021
Do you understand right of entry laws? Test your knowledge in the March edition of Industry Update, where we look at right of entry laws, delve into case studies and more.  More...

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 4 March,18 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: New COVID-19 vaccine information for workplaces
Safe Work Australia has published new information about work health and safety and COVID-19 vaccines.
The new guidance provides information about rights and obligations under the model WHS laws and how they relate to COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine work health and safety information is available for employers, small business and workers in 37 different industries and is accessible via the dropdown menu tool on the SWA site (19 February 2021).

Safe Work Australia: New workplace exposure standards: Public feedback
Australia is calling for public comment on the remaining 168 workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants. Safe Work Australia is reviewing the Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants (WES) to ensure they are based on high quality evidence and supported by a rigorous scientific approach.
You will be able to provide feedback for Release 15: Paraffin wax to Zirconium compounds until 30 July 2021 after which time feedback and recommendations will be finalised.  More...


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. The project commenced: February 2020. Estimated project completion: October 2021.  More...

NSW Resources Regulator
Mine Safety News is an online newsletter regularly published by the NSW Resources Regulator designed to inform, educate and promote the enhancement of the health and safety culture of NSW mining. Previous editions of Mine Safety News are available below:
04/03/2021- Mine Safety News


WorkSafe Qld: COVID-19 vaccines and your workplace health and safety obligations
The national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is a timely reminder for employers to review their workplace health and safety obligations. In late February 2021, the Australian Government updated its guidance for employers and workers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine (02 March 2021).  More...

WorkSafe Qld: Review of the Electrical Safety Act 2002
The review of the Act was a recommendation of the 2020 report Improving Electrical Safety in Queensland: A Report by the Commissioner for Electrical Safety
You can now provide feedback on the review. We want to hear your views on a range of issues and questions outlined in the issue paper document. Review of Electrical Safety Act 2002, Issue Paper 2021. Submissions close 18 April 2021.  More...

Fire on RC drill rig from compressed air system | Resources Safety & Health Queensland
9 March 2021 | 388
A serious accident when a fire occurred on a drill rig while a worker was adjusting an air compressor causing serious burns.  More...

Falls from walkways and platforms | Resources Safety & Health Queensland
3 March 2021 | 193
Coal mine workers have fallen through mesh walkways and platforms. The potential existed for the injuries to have been far more serious.  More...


WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alert: Employee dies after overhanging items fall from storage racking
WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert to highlight the dangers of overhanging items in storage racking, following the death of an employee (11 March 2021).  More...

ESV industry guidance for PV d.c. isolator installs
ESV has published guidance to assist industry with the safe and compliant installation of of PV d.c. isolators. The guidance includes information about preventing water ingress and premature failure, terminations, and inverter isolation methods (10 March 2021).  More...


SafeWork NSW v Kayrouz Constructions Pty Limited (No. 2) [2021] NSWDC 38
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 – parity COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – copper pipes passed up the exterior of a building by inexperienced, unsupervised workers – worker suffered serious injuries when the pipes came into contact with energised overhead power lines – risk of contact with power lines foreseeable – initial precautions and safety systems in place – failure to consider continuing risk once scaffolding removed – gaps in the documentation – gaps in induction processes.

SafeWork NSW v Better Truck Repairs Pty Limited [2021] NSWDC 37
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 – inappropriate method used to transport heavy piece of plant – unqualified workers operating forklifts – maintenance work conducted on excavator bucket whilst it was suspended from the forklift tines – worker launched into the air when his foot came into contact with the front edge of excavator bucket when it slid off tines – gaps in existing WHS systems – inadequate risk assessment – absence of Safe Work Method Statement or safe operating procedure relevant to task at hand.

SafeWork NSW v Rockfield Contracting Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 35
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of person undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury PROCEDURAL – elements of offence – whether defendant owed a health and safety duty – whether there was a failure to comply with that duty – whether that failure exposed workers to the risk of death or serious injury PROCEDURAL – reasonable practicability – likelihood of the risk – knowledge of the risk – what the defendant ought reasonably to have known OTHER — drill string and drill head containing stored energy broke free from earth and struck fatal blow to worker – need for exclusion zone, observation of whether worker positioned in danger zone, personal protective equipment.

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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