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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

20 January 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

COVID-19 news

Why Covid-19 is an opportunity to rethink wellbeing within construction
Coronavirus has caused industry leaders to rethink their approach to work. While for many sectors this has meant a review of where and when we work, for the construction sector the changes that can be made in the workplace are more subtle in nature (08 January 2021).  More...

New standard released for COVID-19 work protocols
Mining companies will start 2021 under a new International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standard, ISO/PAS (publicly available specification) 45005, to ensure safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic (08 January 2021).  More...

Comcare: Guidance and resources for managing COVID-19
Comcare is emphasising the importance of the effective use of face masks, which are currently mandatory in certain circumstances and locations in NSW and Victoria. Advice for each jurisdiction is available from the New South Wales Government and the Victorian Government.
Comcare provides comprehensive, practical work health and safety guidance to assist workers and employers to maintain safe and healthy workplaces during the pandemic: Face masks; WHS duties and risk management; Maintaining a COVID-safe workplace and Hygiene and cleaning regimes (07 January 2021).

In the media

The solar panel 'fire season' is getting more intense in Australia
A recent report rated Australia as one of the cheapest per kilowatt for solar PV, but it questioned our safety standards. Poor-quality solar rooftop components have led to an expanding list of product recalls (14 January 2021).  More...

Electrical lineworkers licensed for the first time in Victoria
More than 2,000 electrical lineworkers (including cable jointers) have signed up to receive their first lineworker licence under Energy Safe Victoria’s new licensing regime, which commenced on 1 January 2021 (12 January 2021).  More...

Overcoming the challenge of extreme temperatures
Heat stress management in mining, a sector highly exposed to hot climate conditions and the threats of climate change is benefitting from the use of advanced technologies (11 January 2020).  More...

NSW regulator warns against plant maintenance hazard
A contract maintenance worker has sustained injuries after a workplace accident at Graymont’s Attunga open cut limestone mine near Tamworth, New South Wales (06 January 2021).  More...

NSW adamant to keep dust exposure low
The New South Wales Resources Regulator has updated its key compliance priorities for the first half of 2021, while retaining respirable dust as one of its targets (04 January 2021).  More...

Falling building materials in Qld
In November 2020, glass balustrading from a high-rise balcony shattered and fell onto a ground level building access way. Initial enquiries indicate building rectification work was being done on the balcony at the time (24 December 2020).  More...

Trio convicted after worker’s death
Two companies and a director have been penalised $250,000 after a contractor died when he was run over by a trailer at a Mildura almond processer in 2018 (24 December 2020).  More...

Disaster clean-up company fined over asbestos dangers
A Gold Coast company specialising in disaster clean-up and repair has been fined $6,000 for three offences around working with asbestos, including the removal of more than 10m2 of asbestos containing material without holding an asbestos removal licence or authorisation (22 December 2020).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Model Work Health and Safety Regulations
Safe Work Australia: 07 January 2021
The current version of the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations, dated 1 January 2021, includes all amendments made
since 2011.
The amendments to the model WHS Regulations do not automatically apply in a jurisdiction. For the model WHS Regulations, including any amendments, to have effect in a jurisdiction, they must be made in that jurisdiction.  More...

What is a person conducting a business or undertaking
Safe Work Australia: 05 January 2021
This document provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the concept of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ used in the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations.  More...

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 31 December, there have been 166 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

Comcare: Guide to Work Health and Safety Undertakings
To provide guidelines in relation to Comcare’s acceptance of Work Health and Safety undertakings under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (December 2020).  More...

GHS 7 transition – updates to the model WHS Regulations amendment
Safe Work Australia has updated the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Hazardous Chemicals) Amendment 2020 and explanatory statement for the transition to GHS 7. Australia will begin a two-year transition to GHS 7 from 1 January 2021. These updated amendments will be inserted into the model WHS Regulations from 1 January 2021.
Safe Work Australia has published a dedicated GHS 7 web page and suite of information sheets. These information sheets provide details about classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals, and the duties of manufacturers, importers, suppliers and end users. Learn more on the new GHS 7 web page.

Safe Work Australia: Model WHS Act comparison table now available
Safe Work Australia has published a table comparing the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and the WHS Acts adopted by the harmonised jurisdictions. The table will be updated periodically in consultation with jurisdictions, for example, to reflect any amendments to the model WHS Act or jurisdiction WHS Acts. To learn more and to download the table, visit the Model WHS Act cross-comparison table web page (15 December 2020).


SafeWork NSW: General diving work – qualifications
The newly issued an exemption for the general diving work qualifications requirements of clause 171(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017. This exemption is granted until 31 December 2022. People who are qualified under AS 4005.2 – 2000 will need to complete three additional units of competency by 31 December 2022 to be legally qualified to undertake general diving work in NSW. 


esafe Newsletter - Electrical licensing disciplinary action
In November and December 2020, the Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against five licence holders (12 January 2021).  More...

Resources Safety & Health Queensland: Safety Notices

Unsafe transport of fireworks in a passenger vehicle | Resources Safety & Health Queensland
31 December 2020 | No 102
Explosives Inspectors have observed a number of examples of non-compliant stowage of fireworks in passenger vehicles, in contravention with the requirements of the Australian Explosives Code for the Transport of explosives by road.  More...

Tyre explosion following lightning strike | Resources Safety & Health Queensland
23 December 2020 | No 383
Tyre explosion on truck following lightning strike.
Subject: Explosions; Flying material or objects; Noise; Pressure storage or release; Weather events.  More...

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alerts

Crush injuries from working with unguarded plant
WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert about the risks associated with operating plant with inadequate guarding.
Safety alert published. Guarding and safety devices on older power presses may not prevent bodily access to the danger area of the plant and therefore will not meet current Australian Standards (22 December 2020).  More...


MPG Constructions Brisbane Pty Ltd v The Regulator under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 [2020] QIRC 235
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY - EXTERNAL REVIEW - INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION - APPLICATION FOR STAY OF OPERATION OF DECISION AND IMPROVEMENT NOTICE - whether jurisdiction to order stay pursuant to s 229C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 - whether stay should be ordered - whether the applicant has an arguable case - whether the balance of convenience and competing rights of the parties is in favour of the application - whether there is a risk of the review being abortive without the stay
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Qld s 229, s 229C; Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Qld r 315K

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes.

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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