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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

29 September 2020

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

COVID-19 updates

New WHS resources for National Safe Work Month
To help you prepare for National Safe Work Month – Work Health and Safety through COVID-19, new work health and safety (WHS) resources have been published on the National Safe Work Month website (18 September 2020).  More...

Guidance to help manage the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace
New guidance outlining best practice for managing the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace has been released by the Federal Government (17 September 2020).  More...

Keeping WHS a priority in your workplace - information sheet
17 Sep 2020
Every Australian workplace has been impacted by COVID-19. This information sheet provides guidance on how you can continue to model best practice WHS through COVID-19 and beyond, regardless of the size of your business or the industry you work in.  More...

COMCARE safety and prevention in a pandemic – PPE, facemask’
Comcare’s new micro-learn ‘Safety and prevention in a pandemic – PPE, facemasks’ is available now on our website and learning management system, Comcare LMS. In a pandemic, facemasks may be required in the workplace as personal protective equipment (PPE). This micro-learn provides guidance for employers and employees on the wearing of facemasks to maintain safety in the workplace. Watch the Safety and prevention in a pandemic – PPE, facemasks micro-learn or you can read the transcript (18 September 2020).  More...


Health and Safety Month helping to navigate COVID-19
WorkSafe has announced that the focus of its first fully virtual Health and Safety Month will be helping employers and workers navigate through coronavirus (COVID-19). Throughout October, WorkSafe will offer 16 free online seminars to help employers and workers maintain safe, healthy and connected workplaces during the pandemic and beyond.  More...


NSW buffet restaurant busted as patrons caught serving themselves
A Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has been fined $5,000 for having an open buffet where diners shared crockery, cutlery and food. There was no safety marshal in place or stated limits on the maximum number of customers allowed on the premises (21 September 2020).  More...

In the media

CFMMEU and six officials hit with $201,500 in penalties over ACT entry breaches
The Federal Circuit Court in the ACT has penalised the CFMMEU $138,000 and six officials a further $63,500 following breaches of right of entry laws across three apartment project sites, failing to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and hindering workers on one or more of the sites and acting improperly (21 September 2020).  More...

Yancoal reviews NSW mine risks following 2019 incident
Yancoal has introduced a number of safety actions at the Ashton Coal mine in Camberwell, New South Wales after a dangerous incident last year (21 September 2020).  More...

CFMEU warns WestConnex workers potentially exposed to deadly contaminants
Dozens of workers on the WestConnex project may have been exposed to a toxic cocktail of poisonous chemicals including asbestos, silica dust and lead, the CFMEU NSW has warned, following a ‘shocking’ safety breach discovery (18 September 2020).  More...

$800,000 fine over workplace burns fatality in Yatala
Yatala based Oil Tech International Pty Ltd was recently fined $800,000 over a workplace incident in which a man was burnt to death. Oil Tech pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless conduct and to breaching its duty of care under Queensland's Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Charges against the director of the company were dropped (18 September 2020).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

WHS best practice for employers - checklist
17 Sep 2020
The WHS best practice checklist provides guidance on how to assess what your organisation is doing to implement best practice WHS.  More...

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 10 September, there have been 110 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

NSCA National Safety – September 2020
The National Safety September 2020 edition is now online. It features:
The evolving nature of COVID-19; Occupational lung cancer – Causes and case studies
Miscommunication – Literacy, language barriers and WHS; Colin Seery – We all need a lifeline right now 
Reopen safely – Pandemic plans and risk mitigation strategies; Certifying competency – Standards and WHS legislation 

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.


SafeWork NSW response: NSW Ombudsman's report: Investigation into actions taken by SafeWork NSW Inspectors in relation to Blue Mountains City Council workplaces
SafeWork NSW acknowledges the findings and accepts all of the 11 recommendations in the special report to Parliament under sections 26 and 31 of the Ombudsman Act 1974; Investigation into actions taken by SafeWork NSW Inspectors in relation to Blue Mountains City Council workplaces (15 September 2020).  More...

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. An explanatory paper released with the draft Code. Go to this page to access the draft Code and the explanatory paper. Comments are due by October 31. 

NSW Resources Regulator: Four mining compliance priorities
The Resources Regulator has published its July - December 2020 Compliance priorities document which sets out the key compliance priorities for the next six months. Publishing this document serves to increase transparency, community and industry confidence in regulatory activities and increase levels of voluntary compliance.
Between July and December this year the Regulator aims to complete four compliance priorities targeting: Respirable dust (revision to the exposure standards); Progressive rehabilitation; Subsidence management and Non-reporting of incidents.


WorkCover Qld Alert: Fall from earthmoving machinery
Preventing a similar incident: The operation of powered mobile plant which includes but is not limited to earthmoving machinery (e.g. graders, scrapers, bulldozers and excavators) at workplaces, exposes people to a range of health and safety risks (21 September 2020).  More...

WorkCover Qld Alert: Farm worker dies in quad bike incident
Preventing a similar incident: Quad bikes are popular for work and recreational use because of their perceived versatility and ease of operation. They are commonly used for mustering, spraying and towing on farms; for recreational activities on private properties; and adventure tourism. If not operated correctly, quad bikes can pose significant safety risks (15 September 2020).  More...


September edition of Safety Soapbox
The September edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox editorial in this month's edition is once again on the risks of working at heights without adequate fall protection, after number of recent incidents including one serious incident. Access the September 2020 edition of Safety Soapbox here.

WorkSafe Victoria Alert: Entanglement risk from loose fitting face coverings
WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert to raise awareness of the risk of employees being injured if loose fitting face coverings become entangled in rotary power tools and equipment (23 September 2020).  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.


Bennett Developments (FNQ) Pty Ltd v Steward [2020] QDC 235
CRIMINAL LAW - appeal pursuant to s 222 Justices Act 1886 - category 2 offence under s 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) – sentence of fine of $250,000 with no conviction recorded and costs order of $1596.15 - Was the plea entered according to law and therefore a nullity that vitiates the whole sentence - is the sentence manifestly excessive per se or because the learned magistrate erred - whether too much weight on the penalty range disclosed by a national scheme as opposed to the sentencing regime for Queensland under the Penalties and Sentences Act – whether failed to properly consider the considerations of s 48 of the Penalties and Sentences Act to set the amount of the fine and appellant’s capacity to pay – whether took into account irrelevant considerations as to the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry approach to payment arrangements - whether the defendant should be resentenced – appeal dismissed.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Qld s 32

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Tatura Fresh Pty Ltd
Shepparton Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1)
Outcome14 Sep 2020
Kane Constructions Pty Ltd
Werribee Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section23(1)
Outcome10 Sep 2020
Barro Group Pty Ltd
Geelong Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section26
Outcome10 Sep 2020
Yarra Valley Snack Foods Pty Ltd
Ringwood Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)
Outcome10 Sep 2020



Work Health and Safety (Hazardous Chemicals) Exemption 2020
25/09/2020 - This instrument provides an exemption for manufacturers, importers, suppliers and end users of chemicals who comply with GHS 7 to be exempt from certain Work Health and Safety regulations as agreed by Safe Work Australia Members.

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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