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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

30 March 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the Media

State's scaffolds under scrutiny
SafeWork inspectors will be visiting construction sites across NSW to inspect scaffold structures, issuing on-the-spot fines and stop-work notices for failure to comply with NSW’s safety standards (25 March 2021).  More...

Migrants encouraged to learn about their health and safety rights in Australian workplaces
A new campaign is hoping to assist workers from culturally diverse backgrounds to better understand their health and safety rights in the workplace by translating resources into 19 languages (24 March 2021).  More...

An individual was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $2,000 in compensation for unlicensed gas work resulting in serious injury to a worker
On 18 March 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court for carrying out unlicensed gas work and failing to comply with safety requirements by leaving an open-ended pipe uncapped. The defendant was also ordered to pay $2,000 in compensation to the injured worker (24 March 2021).  More...

Display of Fair Work official’s figurines a ‘psychological hazard’: Comcare
Scantily clad pop-culture figurines in a senior Fair Work Commission official’s office didn’t breach any workplace health and safety laws, Comcare has found, but their display was considered to be a “psychological hazard” (23 March 2021).  More...

NSW regulator flags collision communication concerns
The New South Wales Resources Regulator has determined a lack of communication is behind a collision between a grader and haul truck at an open cut mine earlier this month (22 March 2021).  More...

Safety bureau probes Carrapateena helicopter crash
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has revealed that a helicopter pilot strayed from usual protocol for unknown reasons before crashing near OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia (19 March 2021).  More...

Gold Coast jumping castle business fined $50,000 after two workers suffered serious burns
At a recent hearing in the Southport Magistrates Court, a Gold Coast jumping castle business was fined $50,000 for failing to comply with its primary health and safety duty, exposing workers to a risk of serious injury or death (19 March 2021).  More...

Victorian trainer charged over track rider's death
O'Brien Thoroughbreds has been charged with a single alleged breach of section 21(1) and section 21(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing, as far as reasonably practicable, to provide a system of work that was safe and without risks to health (19 March 2021).  More...

Are we relaxing COVID measures at work too soon?
Employees’ biggest concern is whether their companies are doing enough to safeguard them against COVID-19 infections at work: 61% are afraid management will relax health and safety measures too soon, research from workplace tech firm Envoy found (18 March 2021).  More...

Make workplace safety a life saver in 2021
WorkSafe is calling on all Victorians to prioritise health and safety in the workplace following the tragic deaths of 65 workers in 2020. The most dangerous occupation was truck driving following the deaths of nine workers in 2020, a decrease from 13 in the year before (16 March 2021).  More...

Defence fined over safety failures at RAAF base
The Department of Defence has been convicted and fined $350,000 under federal work health and safety laws after a worker was critically injured during a maintenance operation in Queensland (15 March 2021).  More...

WHS charges over detention centre death
The Department of Home Affairs and its healthcare provider International Health and Medical Services have been charged with breaching Commonwealth work health and safety laws over the death of a man in immigration detention (15 March 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Statement of Regulatory Intent - COVID-19
Safe Work Australia: Publication date 1 Apr 2020; Modified date 17 March 2021
This Statement provides the principles for the regulatory approach that Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulators can take to ensure compliance with WHS laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.  More...

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 18 March, 23 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).

In practice and courts


Safe Work Australia: WHS duties and COVID-19 vaccines – small business fact sheet
A new fact sheet for small business about work health and safety (WHS) duties and COVID-19 vaccines is now available. Go to the 5 things to know about your WHS duties and COVID-19 vaccines fact sheet (22 March 2021).  More...

Safe Work Australia: COVID-19 statement of Regulatory Intent
WHS Regulators have revised the statement on their approach to WHS compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement now includes information on the COVID-19 vaccine as an additional control measure that employers should consult their workers about to manage COVID-19 workplace risks (18 March 2021).  More...


SafeWork NSW Statement of Regulatory Intent - Regulatory approach to NSW work health and safety legislation - COVID-19
This statement sets out the enforcement approach that SafeWork NSW will take to ensure compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information please refer to coronavirus advice and guidance for NSW workplaces or (25 March 2021).  More...

Gig economy roles and responsibilities in WHS: Research update
The Centre for Work Health and Safety’s research into the food delivery in the gig economy is currently underway. Phases 1 and 2 have been completed.
Phase 1 full report Work health and safety of food delivery workers in the gig economy
Phase 2 full report: Work health and safety perceptions of food delivery platforms in the gig economy
New research will establish a better understanding of the WHS perceptions and behaviours in the Australian gig economy context by focusing on food delivery services Project commenced: February 2020. Project completion: October 2021.  More...

Mine safety news
Mine Safety News is an online newsletter regularly published by the NSW Resources Regulator designed to inform, educate and promote the enhancement of the health and safety culture of NSW mining.
18/03/2021 - Mine Safety News


WorkSafe Qld: COVID-19 vaccines and your workplace health and safety obligations
The national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is a timely reminder for employers to review their workplace health and safety obligations. In late February 2021, the Australian Government updated its guidance for employers and workers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine (March 2021).  More...

 WorkSafe Qld: Review of the Electrical Safety Act 2002
The review of the Act was a recommendation of the 2020 report Improving Electrical Safety in Queensland: A Report by the Commissioner for Electrical Safety
You can now provide feedback on the review. We want to hear your views on a range of issues and questions outlined in the issue paper document. Review of Electrical Safety Act 2002, Issue Paper 2021. Submissions close 18 April 2021.  More...

WorkSafe Qld: Changes to asbestos regulation
From 1 May 2021, low density asbestos fibre board (LDB), also known as asbestos insulating board, will be classified as a friable material in all circumstances. This means LDB can only legally be removed by a class A asbestos removal licence holder. If you’re a class B asbestos removal licence holder and want to be able to remove LDB after 1 May 2021, you will need to apply to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland for a class A asbestos removal licence.  More...


WorkSafe Victoria HSR newsletter
WorkSafe has this week issued its latest edition of the HSR newsletter (24 March 2021).
In it WorkSafe provides advice on: Returning to work (after the COVID working from home measures).
Infection Prevention and Control training for Disability Service Provider Workers; The role of the HSR vs the OHS Committee; Support Officers; WorkWell: WorkSafe’s Workplace Mental Health Guide for COVID-19.

WorkSafe Victoria issues Safety Alert after fatality
The VWA has issued the alert to highlight the dangers of overhanging items in storage racking, following the death of an employee in March 2021. In the event that a forklift strikes overhanging items, the items could become dislodged or unstable, putting employees at risk of serious or fatal injuries due to falling items. The Safety Alert, Employee dies after overhanging items fall from storage racking, sets out recommended ways to control the risks, and reminds employers of their legal duties (24 March 2021).

ESV to introduce Continuing Professional Development
Energy Safe Victoria is introducing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain safety, competency and compliance in the electrical industry. The CPD training will roll out in stages and will be a mandatory requirement for electrical licence renewals from 2023 (22 March 2021).  More...


SafeWork NSW v CCP Remedial Pty Ltd [2021] NSWDC 86
CRIME – work health and safety – risk of death or serious injury – duty of person undertaking business PROCEDURAL – reasonable practicability – likelihood of risk – knowledge of the risk – what the defendant ought reasonably have known OTHER – fall from height in unprotected void – risk of the dangers posed by the void were known – failure to adequately implement work health and safety management system plan – inadequate fall protection.

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

Victoria Ductwork and Sheetmetal Pty Ltd Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1); 21(2)(a); 21(2)(e) & 23 Outcome18 March 2021

Global Freight and Logistics (Aust) Pty Ltd Werribee Magistrates’ Court
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a) Outcome18 March 2021



Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management (Register) Charge (Excise) Bill 2020
Finally passed both Houses on 18 Mar 2021 - Part of a package of five bills to establish a national framework to manage the ongoing use, handling and disposal of industrial chemicals, the bill imposes an annual scheduling charge on registered introducers of industrial chemicals, so far as that charge is a duty of excise.

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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