Inside track: Work Health & Safety

20 February 2019

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the media

New Zealand triple tragedies prompt quad bike safety reminder
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has urged Queenslanders to heed quad bike safety warnings following recent vehicle rollovers in New Zealand, where three people lost their lives and two others were seriously hurt. Quad bike rollovers are the major cause of critical injuries in rural workplaces. The most common types of quad bike-related incidents are rollovers, usually caused by a collision or fall from the bike (13 February 2019).  More...

Jail sentence and $1m fine over roofing fall fatality
Sunshine Coast company director Gary Lavin has been sentenced to a year in prison and his company, Multi-Run Roofing fined $1 million in Queensland’s first Category 1 prosecution under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This was the first charge of reckless conduct to be successfully tested at trial in any Australian state or territory working under similar work health and safety legislation (12 February 2019).  More...

Work to remove chemical stockpiles begins
A WorkSafe-led task force including EPA and fire services has begun the complex task of removing chemicals stockpiled at eight sites in Epping and Campbellfield. In January it was announced that WorkSafe would step in under the Dangerous Goods Act to lead a multi-agency task force to oversee the removal (06 February 2019).  More...

Contractors face federal WHS charges over NorthLink incident
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed a total of four charges in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia against John Holland Pty Ltd, Omega Constructions Pty Ltd and Universal Reo Pty Ltd. All charges are Category 2 offences under the WHS Act, each carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million. The charges relate to alleged failures in providing safe systems of work and instruction (06 February 2019).  More...

Assaults on NSW SafeWork inspectors won’t be tolerated
Following a number of recent incidents involving SafeWork inspectors, businesses and workers are being reminded that it is a criminal offence to hinder, obstruct, assault, threaten, or intimidate an inspector (06 February 2019).  More...

More care needed to prevent workplace deaths
WorkSafe Victoria said most of the deaths in 2018 occurred in the construction and agriculture sectors, which recorded nine and eight respectively. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said failure to identify and manage hazards was an ongoing concern, especially on farms and where vehicles and plant were involved (05 February 2019).  More...

Port operator fined over safety threats
A port operator has been convicted and fined $475,000 after threatening workers who raised safety concerns. Patrick Stevedores Holdings Pty Ltd (PSH) was sentenced in relation to six counts of engaging in discriminatory conduct contrary to section 76 of the OHS Act (04 February 2019).  More...

ABCC launches case against CFMMEU over threats and intimidation at Palmerston Police Station site
The ABCC has commenced proceedings against the CFMMEU and six of its Queensland-based officials alleging they intimidated NT Worksafe Inspectors and demanded that the head contractor shut down construction at the Palmerston Police Station site (04 February 2019).  More... 

Greater effort needed to reduce workplace death toll
The number of workplace deaths has decreased in the past twelve months, however seven of the 2018 deaths involved workers aged 25 and under. The Labor Government has started work on important workplace manslaughter laws and the establishment of an implementation task force (01 February 2019).  More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia infographic: Workplace mental health
Providing a mentally healthy workplace not only protects workers from psychological harm, it positively enhances their mental health and can improve business productivity (updated 05 February 2019).  More...

In practice and courts

National inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces
The focus of the national inquiry is on the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, the drivers of this harassment and measures to address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. To assist interested parties to develop submissions to the inquiry, the Australian Human Rights Commission has also prepared a Conversation toolkit. Submissions closed on 31 January 2019.

New South Wales

New South Wales "eToolkit" to improve young workers' safety
SafeWork NSW has created the Young workers eToolkit to help people entering the workforce deal with bullying, abuse by customers, workplace injuries, mental health challenges and other issues. The resource also includes tools to help employers train and supervise young workers.


WorkSafe QLD: Documented testing procedures and test reports
In recent disciplinary hearings, the committee found there were no formalised testing procedures or documented test records. You can create your own test sheets or use versions provided by others. Industry associations such as Master Electricians Australia and the National Electrical and Communications Association can provide members with a range of testing documentation (14 February 2019).

WorkSafe QLD: Electrical apprentices must be supervised during flood recovery work
During flood recovery activity in North Queensland, Electrical Safety Office inspectors have come across several instances where electrical apprentices are performing electrical work without adequate supervision. This is an urgent reminder for employers that it is vital apprentices are supervised at all times by licensed and competent workers (13 February 2019).  More...

WorkSafe QLD: The North Queensland flood register - Tradies sign up now
The North Queensland flood register will allow flood affected home owners to search for licensed contractors who are available to help with repairs, to make homes safe, secure and habitable. The register is now open for licensed contractors, including licensed asbestos removalists and electrical trades to submit their details here (11 February 2019).


Work Safe Victoria alert: Employee fatally electrocuted while using an elevating work platform
An alert about hazards and risk controls associated with elevating work platforms (EWPs), following the death of an employee while undertaking roadside tree trimming (11 February 2019).  More...

Work Safe Victoria Safety Soapbox February 2019
Issued on 7 February 2019.
There were a total of 96 incidents reported to WorkSafe in January. Seven of these involved serious near misses. Of the 96 incidents, 74 per cent resulted in injury.  More...


BGC POS Pty Ltd v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union [2019] FCA 74
INDUSTRIAL LAW - Appeal against decision by the Federal Circuit Court that appellants had contravened s 502 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) by intentionally hindering or obstructing union officials in the exercise of their rights under Part 3-4 - where union officials exercising rights under s 484 to enter to premises to hold discussions with workers - whether there was a failure to agree under s 492(2) - consideration of the meaning of 'intentionally hinder or obstruct' - appeal dismissed.

SafeWork NSW v Neville George Hetherington [2019] NSWDC 11
CRIMINAL LAW – Prosecution – Work Health & Safety – duty of persons undertaking business - risk of death or serious injury.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – Pleadings – strike out – amendment of Summons – application to quash Summons refuse – application for stay refused – parts of Summons struck out – leave to replead.

Byrne Demolition Pty Ltd v SafeWork NSW [2019] NSWIRComm 1008
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – Prohibition Notice – confirmed on internal review – external review – reasonable belief.

Victorian Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings

GVP Fabricators Moorabbin
Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) Outcome06 Feb 2019.

K & S Pallets Pty Ltd Shepparton
Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) Outcome04 Feb 2019.

Charles Power, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9942
E: charles.power@holdingredlich.com

Benjamin Marshall, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9864
E: ben.marshall@holdingredlich.com

Stephen Trew, Managing Partner, Sydney
T: +61 2 8083 0439
E: stephen.trew@holdingredlich.com

Michael Selinger, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0430
E: michael.selinger@holdingredlich.com

Rachel Drew, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0617

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 publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. 

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