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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

07 July 2021

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the Media

Building sites fail on falls while solar firm fined $300k
Employers across the state are being put on notice after recent SafeWork visits to construction sites in northern Sydney and the Sutherland shire revealed more than 20 percent of sites had working at heights risks while two thirds required intervention on unsafe practices (01 July 2021).  More...

Labour hire company fined after worker's death
A labour hire company has been fined $50,000 following the death of a worker at a Benalla timber mill in 2018. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the company should have done more to assess the risks at the workplace (30 June 2021).  More...

New scaffolding rules protect building workers
New rules around scaffolding kick in from tomorrow to protect the lives of Queensland construction workers (30 June 2021).  More...

CFMMEU penalised over safety claims including first aid bed was “too high” on Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project
A CFMMEU shop steward who directed workers to stop work at the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel project in 2019 after claiming a first aid bed was too high has been penalised $5,000 and the union $85,000 for taking unlawful industrial action following a Federal Court decision (28 June 2021).  More...

BHP commits to zero-harm tailings management approach
BHP has supported demands for more transparency with tailings storage facilities to ensure they are more safely and sustainably managed (25 June 2021).  More...

Excavator collides with dozer at Maules Creek coal mine
A dozer and excavator have collided at the Maules Creek open cut coal mine in New South Wales with the regulator encouraging more personal awareness around mining machinery (25 June 2021).  More...

Abattoir operator fined $90,000 following forklift crush
Midfield Meat International pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates' Court on Thursday for failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The company was also ordered to pay costs of $2000 (25 June 2021).  More...

Farm worker fatally injured while handling hay bales
WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert about the hazards and risks associated with handling and storage of hay bales, following the death of a worker when handling hay bales near a haystack (24 June 2021).  More...

Victoria introduces reforms to expand worker protections
The Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 intends to expand worker protections, boost employer accountability and streamline enforcement (23 June 2021).  More...

Electrical company fined for unsupervised apprentice
An electrical company that left a first-year apprentice with only two months' experience to work unsupervised with live equipment has been convicted and fined $10,000 (22 June 2021).  More...

NSW leading the country in workplace safety
SafeWork NSW has allocated an additional $6.4 million to increase the number of inspectors and associated support staff which will further the NSW Government’s successful work in reducing NSW’s workplace injury and fatality rates (22 June 2021).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia: Monitor and review – checklist – 22 June 2021
How to monitor and review your workplace to keep your workers safe from occupational lung diseases
A useful checklist for all workplaces and industries which outlines the steps and process for reviewing your control measures when work processes change, or a new hazard is identified.  More...

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
Safe Work Australia updated its statistics on fatalities on June 24, at which time it had been notified that 51 Australian workers had been killed at work this year, eight more than the previous update on June 10.
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

Clean Air. Clear Lungs.
Identify the risks that cause occupational lung diseases. This article looks at common hazards in two high risk industries, engineered stone and agriculture. (28 June 2021).
Learn more about identifying the hazards in these industries using the tailored case studies, information sheets and checklists available on the websiteMore...

Learn about the latest evidence on preventing musculoskeletal disorders
Safe Work Australia has published 4 new videos showcasing the latest evidence and systems thinking to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in Australia, accounting for more than half of all claims (30 June 2021).  More...

NSW

Annual work health and safety reports can now be submitted online
Work health and safety reports for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 are now available on the Resources Regulator Portal for mine operators to submit. Refer to our work health and safety reports webpage and the guide for more information about reporting (01 July 2021).

Mine safety alerts – 21 June 2021
SA21-06 Worker knocked from ladder
SA21-05 Potential crush point on personnel transport vehicle

Queensland

WorkCover Qld: Incident alerts
Worker suffers electric shock forming concrete slab
In May 2021, a worker received an electric shock while he was preparing to form up a concrete slab next to an existing structure (1 July 2021).

Victoria

Safety Soapbox June 2021
WorkSafe Victoria Newsletter , 23 June 2021.  More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Dangerous goods regulations
From 1 July, the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 will require all duty holders occupying premises with prescribed quantities of dangerous goods to notify WorkSafe at least every two years. Existing duty holders will have six months from 1 July to submit a notification to WorkSafe that complies with the amended regulations.  More...

Proposed Workplace facilities, amenities and work environment compliance code – public comment
One of the most important Compliance Codes has been redrafted and updated by a tripartite committee and has been released for public comment. The proposed Workplace facilities, amenities and work environment compliance code (proposed code) was made available for public review and comment from 1 June 2021.
There is a dedicated webpage for public comment on the Victorian Government’s consultation platform, Engage,  until 28 June 2021.

Cases

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Parker [2021] FCA 704
 INDUSTRIAL LAW – imposition of civil penalties – quantum of penalties in respect of admitted contraventions of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (Cth) – where elected union delegate held safety concerns – where a direction to stop work was given – where concerns held by the delegate about the adequacy of a first aid room were reasonable but there was no imminent risk to health and safety – where the Union to which the delegate belonged derivatively liable – where the Union has committed itself to putting in place measures designed to change the cultural and normative conduct of the contravening behaviours of its officers and employees insofar as work safety issues are concerned
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – declarations sought by consent – proposed declarations bare of contextual detail – declarations not made
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)
 The First Respondent pay to the Commonwealth of Australia a penalty of $5,000
The Second Respondent pay to the Commonwealth of Australia a penalty of $85,000.

Cummins v Guilfoyle [2021] QDC 127
CRIMINAL LAW – APPEAL AGSINT CONVICTION – appeal pursuant to s 222 Justices Act 1886 – charge of intimidating a Work Health and Safety inspector contrary to s 190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) – sufficiency of reasons for decision – whether reasons adequate to disclose onus and standard of proof to sustain verdict – witness credit – onus of proof – whether defect in evidence and other reasons militate against a retrial
Justices Act 1886 Qld ss 222, 223(1), 227; Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Qld s190; Criminal Code Act 1899 Qld ss 24, 31, 270.

Palace v RCR O’Donnell Griffin Pty Ltd (in liq) [2021] QCA 137
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – JOINDER OF CAUSES OF ACTION AND OF PARTIES – PARTIES – GENERALLY – where the appellant sustained injuries in the course of his employment in 2018 while working on a solar farm project – where the respondent was the designer and operator of the subject solar farm and entered into a subcontract with the appellant’s employer – where the subcontract contemplated a degree of shared responsibility between the respondent and the appellant’s employer for the safety of employees such as the appellant – where the appellant mistakenly served a company related to the respondent before being informed that the respondent was the proper respondent to the appellant’s personal injuries claim – where the primary judge refused to grant the appellant leave to add the respondent to the proceedings under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) – whether the primary judge erred in refusing the grant of leave on the basis that the appellant had not demonstrated that there was a serious question to be tried, that there was a degree of complexity of the legal and factual issues involved in the grant of leave and that the damages which the appellant may recover was greater than the deductible under the insurance policy
CORPORATIONS – WINDING UP – CONDUCT AND INCIDENTS OF WINDING UP – PROCEEDINGS BY OR AGAINST THE COMPANY – LEAVE TO PROCEED – GENERALLY – where the respondent was placed into voluntary liquidation – whether the appellant should be granted leave to proceed under s 500(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) against the respondent – where the primary judge refused to grant leave for the reasons given in respect of the grant leave under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld).

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes
Midfield Meat International Pty Ltd
Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section23(1)
Outcome 24 Jun 2021
A2C International Trade Pty Ltd
Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)
Outcome 24 Jun 2021

Legislation

Subordinate legislation as made – 30 June 2021
No 81 Electrical Safety and Other Legislation (Fees) Amendment Regulation 2021

Subordinate legislation as made – 18 June 2021
No 75 Resources Safety and Health Legislation (Fees and Other Matters) Amendment Regulation 2021

Victoria

Bills

Date of second reading speech: 23 June 2021
Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Vic)

Statutory Rules - reminder
No 49 Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Amendment (Notification) Regulations 2021
Notification to Authority, From July 1, 2021, the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 will require all duty holders occupying premises with prescribed quantities of dangerous goods to notify WorkSafe at least every two years.

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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