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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

26 October 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the Media

Promising results in Comcare rollout of workplace mental health program
Comcare’s expansion of an early intervention mental health program across Commonwealth workplaces is delivering strong recovery and productivity outcomes, an independent evaluation has found (20 October 2021).  More...

Victoria's largest meat processor found guilty following employee's death
Almost four years after the death of one of its employees in western Victoria, Midfield Meats has been found guilty on one of two charges for failing to provide a safe work environment (20 October 2021).  More...

Qantas charged over workplace safety law breaches
Qantas has been charged with discriminatory conduct and alleged breaches of workplace health and safety laws after it stood down an employee who raised concerns about the risk of COVID-19 while cleaning aircraft inbound from China in early 2020 (19 October 2021).  More...

Flexible working and psychosocial safety
Read about our research to keep your flexible workers psychologically safe.  More...

Incident report review recommended by RSHQ
Resources Safety and Health Queensland is recommending coal mine operators review their incident reporting after a significant decrease in the number of High Potential Incidents reported by Queensland coal mines during the 2020/21 fiscal year (18 October 2021).  More...

Hazard 2020 safety campaign draws to a close
18 October 2021 marks the end of the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner’s Hazard 2020 safety campaign (18 October 2021).  More...

Ambassador roundtable to discuss workplace mental-health
The NSW Government is urging all small and medium businesses to engage with SafeWork NSW around workplace mental health after a recent survey showed 20 per cent of operators admitted to having mental health and stress concerns from current challenges including COVID (15 October 2021).  More...

Improving powerline safety with tree clearance regulation
ESV has stepped up its regulation of Victorian council pruning practices, reducing safety and reliability risks associated with trees touching powerlines (14 October 2021).  More...

Mushroom farm fined $130,000 for workplace incident
The wholesale produce business was fined $120,000 and the director $10,000 for exposing individuals to a risk of death or serious injury under Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011. At sentencing, Magistrate Noud took into account the director’s cooperation with the WHSQ investigation, his lack of previous convictions, and good character (14 October 2021).  More...

BHP mandates COVID-19 vaccines, AWU criticises the decision
BHP has mandated full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry to its Australian workplaces, by 31 January 2022 – a decision met with criticism by the Australian Workers' Union (13 October 2021).  More...

Tailings dams technology receives Federal funding
The Federal Government is supporting the resources sector with a grant to mass-produce a technology which enhances safety in mine tailings dams (11 October 2021).  More...

Tingalpa construction given hefty fine for unsafe work practices
A 50-year-old Tingalpa construction company and its director have been fined $90,000 following a 2020 workplace incident that saw a man suffer a traumatic brain injury after a fall from height (11 October 2021).  More...

Solar installer fined $500,000 for multiple unsafe worksites
A solar panel installer has been convicted and fined $500,000 for safety breaches at sites across Victoria, including a 2019 incident where a worker suffered serious injuries after falling through a skylight (13 October 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 14 October, 102 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).

The SWA Annual Report 2020–21
The SWA Annual Report was tabled in Parliament on, 20 October 2021.  More...

In practice and courts

Safe Work Australia: Think, work and be safe – make sure you have Clean Air. Clear Lungs. at your workplace
17 October 2021 – occupational lung diseases are conditions of the respiratory system caused by workplace exposure to dusts, gases, fumes and vapours. This week we will be releasing a series of information sheets about different occupational lung diseases which include:
Silicosis
Asbestosis and Mesothelioma
Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis and mine dust diseases
Q fever
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

NSW

Incidents, alerts & investigations
2 September 2021 – safety Bulletin SB21-05 - Fire risk of battery units for underground battery electric vehicles.  More...

Mine Safety News
14/10/2021 – Mine Safety News

Queensland

Rural plant code of practice review
The Rural plant Code of Practice 2004 (the Code) is currently under review. The review will consider what changes are necessary to ensure the Code remains fit-for-purpose and supports the agriculture industry to meet legislative obligations and ensure worker safety. You are invited to read the Rural Plant Code of Practice 2004 – Issues paper. Consultation closes 29 November 2021.  More...

WorkSafe Qld Bulletins

October 2021 edition eSAFE Electrical newsletter
Watch out for deteriorated wiring or cracked and brittle Bakelite fittings in older electrical installations; Electrical licensing disciplinary action.  More...

Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria Safety alerts: Inspection and maintenance of patient hoist weigh scale devices and associated equipment
WorkSafe is issuing an alert about the hazards and risks associated with the use of patient hoist weigh scale devices and associated equipment in an aged care facility. Weigh scales and associated equipment that bear the patient’s load once connected to a patient hoist are an item of plant for the purposes of Part 3.5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (13 October 2021).  More...

WorkSafe Victoria Newsletters
Safety Soapbox October 2021 20 October 2021

Cases

SafeWork NSW v Askfay Pty Ltd; and; SafeWork NSW v Anthony Elias Felix Grima [2021] NSWDC 572
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 – totality of sentence - appropriate sentence OTHER – s 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) – s 20 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).

SafeWork NSW v JA Investment Group Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 569
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 – defendant involved in automotive dismantling – electric equipment in close proximity to the petrol storage area - worker used electric gurney to clean ute tray in workstation – fire and explosion when electric gurney turned on – serious burn injuries – inadequate instructions and training provided in relation to working with flammable liquids and hazardous chemicals.

SafeWork NSW v ABC Tissue Products Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 552
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 – previous convictions - appropriate sentence OTHER – s 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).

SafeWork NSW v Silver Stone Hardware Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 551
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 sentence OTHER – s 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes
Global Renewable Energy Solutions Pty. Ltd. (in liquidation)
Werribee Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) Outcome11 Oct 2021
Fine $500,000.00 Failure to prepare a SWMS; Falls/work at height offences; High risk construction work.

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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