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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

27 October 2020

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the media

Poor supervision of new worker costs business $40,000
At a recent hearing in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court, a company was fined $40,000 for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers, resulting in exposure to risk of death or serious injury. In particular, the defendant failed to adequately supervise an employee (21 October 2020).  More...

$60,000 fine after incident left worker with partial thumb amputation
A Brisbane warehousing, transport and distribution business has been fined $60,000 over an incident which left a young worker with a partially amputated thumb which had to be surgically repaired (16 October 2020).  More...

Industrial manslaughter charge laid against Gympie business owner
The independent Work Health and Safety Prosecutor, Mr Aaron Guilfoyle, has commenced an industrial manslaughter prosecution against the owner of a Gympie business which sells and services electric motors, under s.34C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (16 October 2020).  More...

FSC Accreditation Scheme Snapshot
The OFSC is increasing industry awareness of the Australian Government WHS Accreditation Scheme with the release of enhanced data analysis and Scheme performance publications. The FSC Accreditation Scheme Snapshot is a new, informative summary of key metrics the OFSC captures from over 500 accredited companies on an ongoing basis (20 October 2020).  More...

FSC Hazard 2020 campaign launch
The Office Federal Safety Commissioner launched its Hazard 2020 campaign, the first data-driven campaign run by the OFSC and will focus on the two high risk hazards that have accounted for the most safety incidents reported by accredited companies over the last 5 years – Mobile Plant and Scaffolding (16 October 2020).  More...

Safety of Curtin University worksite questioned after building collapse which claimed life of apprentice
The Electrical Trades Union says workers had previously raised concerns about safety on the site of a roof collapse at Curtin University where a 23-year-old apprentice fell to his death and two others were injured (14 October 2020).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
Safe Work has not updated its fatality statistics since October 8, at which time there had been 121 worker fatalities notified to the national body. 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).

ABCC Industry Update – 15 October 2020 edition
For the October edition of Industry Update we take an in-depth look into Right of Entry, featuring case studies and a need to know guide. Also featured are our upcoming wages and entitlement activities as well as recent court outcomes.  More...

In practice and courts

Comcare: Latest guidance on COVID-safe workplaces and transition planning
As COVID-19 restrictions ease across Australia, Comcare has developed guidance to help employers support workers as they transition back to usual workplaces (16 October 2020).  More...

Safe Work Australia National Health and Safety Month
A reminder of the upcoming national health and safety month in October. Safe Work Australia has a dedicated National Safe Work Month website. There are resources available to download including a WHS best practice checklist for employers.

Safe Work Australia: Guidance to help businesses navigate the transition to GHS 7
Australia will begin a two-year transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Revision 7 (GHS 7) on 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.


NSW Safe Work Consultation: Help to improve mental health at work
The draft SafeWork NSW Code of Practice for managing the risks to psychological health is being developed to provide simple and practical guidance for workplaces to promote improved mental health. Individuals and organisations are invited to comment on the consultation paper here. A copy of the Draft Code and an explanatory paper released with the draft Codeare accessible here. Comments are due by October 31. 



Two workers injured by tractor slasher
In September 2020, two workers were injured, one seriously, when a tractor slasher lowered unexpectedly.
21 October 2020

Fall-arrest systems for continuous vertical ladders on tower cranes
The purpose of this safety alert is to highlight that specific fall-arrest systems are required if a continuous vertical ladder is in place for accessing the total length of a crane tower. The Tower Crane Code of Practice 2017 (the Code) sets out these requirements.
16 October 2020


Safety Soapbox - 21 October edition
In this edition, the editorial reminds the construction industry about the risks associated with the use of scaffolding, use of ladders and works at height. The edition also has news that WorkSafe is running a blitz on electrical safety. Other news in the bulletin: Mandatory training for solar workers.  More...

ESV: Licensing lineworkers and CPD for electrical workers
ESV will license lineworkers from 1 January 2021. As part of the development of the new licensing regime, ESV has released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) and the associated regulations for consultation.
Read more and download both documents. Information on making a submission as part of the consultation process on either licensing or CPD, may be found here. We will be accepting submissions until September 25.


SafeWork NSW v J & CG Constructions Pty Limited [2020] NSWDC 614
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 – fall from height over unprotected edge – risk of the dangers posed by the void were known – failure to adequately implement work health and safety management system plan – inadequate fall protection – absence of exclusion zones to prevent or restrict access to risk areas – failure to ensure scaffolds, catch decks and adequate handrails were installed before incident – failure to use individual fall arrest systems prior to the incident.

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings

Baptcare Ltd - Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business - risk of death or serious injury as a result of a delay in emergency treatment being provided, in the event of an emergency, as all contractors may not have been aware of the location of emergency / call buttons at the workplace. Offender failed, so far as was reasonably practicable, to ensure that contractors were sufficiently inducted at the workplace so they knew, should an emergency arise where the emergency / call buttons were located. The offender pleaded guilty and was with conviction sentenced to pay a fine of $20,000 and to pay costs of $5,633
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 23(1) Outcome 15 Oct 2020.

TAD Pty Ltd - Werribee Magistrates’ Court
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business - Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision. The offender was a labour hire provider who provided labour hire services to a co-offender. Three employees of the offender at the workplace were tasked with cutting, trimming, felling and removing 16 trees using a chainsaw. In performing the task there was a risk of the chainsaw blade making contact with workers using or in the vicinity of the chainsaw. Employee in the vicinity of the chainsaw was injured when the chainsaw kicked back, when cutting through weedmat. The offender pleaded guilty and was, without conviction, fined $20,000.00 and ordered to pay costs in the sum of $3,000.00.On 2 March 2020, the co-accused pleaded guilty to a similar rolled up count arising from the above incident and was, without conviction, fined $27,500.00 and ordered to pay costs in the sum of $3,000.00
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1) & (2)(e) Outcome 12 Oct 2020.



Bills introduced – 23 October 2020

Work Health and Safety Amendment (Food Delivery Workers) Bill 2020

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 23 October 2020
Work Health and Safety Amendment (Information Exchange) Bill 2020


COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Act 2020 (Vic)
Act Number: 27/2020 Date of assent: 20 October 2020
Division 4—Occupational Health and Safety Act2004915 New Part 16 inserted

Victorian legislation can be accessed here

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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