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Inside track: Work Health & Safety

08 December 2020

#Workplace Relations & Safety

Inside track: Work Health & Safety

In the media

'Extremely hazardous': Electrician who had to help lift 400kg switchboard wins $1.3m compensation
An electrician who injured his back helping to carry a 400-kilogram switchboard is awarded almost $1.3 million for injuries he sustained while working for Canberra electrical company ActewAGL (03 December 2020).  More...

Falls remain high work risk: Safe Work Australia
Working from heights remains the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in Australian workplaces, according to data from Safe Work Australia (02 December 2020).  More...

Working at heights is a high risk activity and a leading cause of death and serious injury in Australia
Safe Work Australia data shows that over the past 5 years, there were 122 fatalities from falls from heights. This accounted for 13 per cent of worker fatalities. In most cases, a combination of control measures will provide the best solution to minimise the risk to the lowest level reasonably practicable (30 November 2020).  More...

Concrete company owners appear in court charged with employee's manslaughter
A father and son owners of an Adelaide concrete company face court after an investigation into a fatal truck crash in the Adelaide Hills that killed one of their employees (01 December 2020).  More...

Safework targets scrappy sites and dirty dunnies
SafeWork Inspectors will visit construction sites in Wollongong this week, targeting high-risk harms and the hygiene of site amenities including lunchrooms and toilets (01 December 2020).  More...

Juice company fined after bottler's hand became trapped in machine
A court hears Lencia Fruit Juices replaced bottling equipment with a second-hand unit but didn't install protective guarding (30 November 2020).  More...

Mining fatalities retain steady average
The number of fatalities in the mining sector last year has matched its five-year average from 2015 to 2019, according to a Safe Work Australia report (30 November 2020).  More...

South32 to update procedures following Appin North accident
The New South Wales Resources Regulator has urged mining companies to complete a risk assessment when equipment is replaced, changed or needs to be replaced while safety controls are removed (26 November 2020).  More...

WHS charges over Adelaide incident
A national transport and logistics company has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an incident that severely injured a worker in Adelaide (27 November 2020).  More...

New taskforce to investigate gig economy deaths
The NSW Government has established an investigative Taskforce led by SafeWork NSW and Transport NSW to examine whether any avoidable risks may have contributed to a number of recent fatalities of food delivery riders (25 November 2020).  More...

New campaign shines light on electrical risks
The new campaign will be delivered with a number of industry partners including unions, energy retailers and CHOICE to educate and encourage NSW homeowners to install switches and to undertake regular checks (24 November 2020).  More...

ALRTA welcomes release of National Ramp Standard
The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Australia (ALRTA) has welcomed the publication of an Australian Standard for the Livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing pens (AS 5340:2020) (23 November 2020).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Pandemic sees rise in support for working from home; Compressed weeks, and job sharing
Research commissioned by the FWC as it considers inserting a WFH clause in the clerical award has found that support among workers for performing their duties from home, compressing their hours and job sharing has increased dramatically during COVID-19.
Research report: Preferences for flexible working arrangements: Before, during and after COVID-19, A report to the Fair Work Commission, November 2020.  More...

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 19 November, there have been 147 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

GHS 7 transition – updates to the model WHS Regulations amendment
Safe Work Australia has updated the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Hazardous Chemicals) Amendment 2020 and explanatory statement for the transition to GHS 7. Australia will begin a two-year transition to GHS 7 from 1 January 2021. These updated amendments will be inserted into the model WHS Regulations from 1 January 2021.  More...

Safe Work Australia: Guidance to help businesses navigate the transition to 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.


Centre for WHS: The ageing demographic of the Australian workforce: Prevention of work health and safety harm
The Centre for WHS is interested in research that will provide greater understanding of how to prevent psychological and physical harm among older worker.
Click here to apply for the EOI (Closes 28 January 2021)
Click here to download the horizon scan PDF.


Dangers of working in ceiling spaces
A telecommunications worker received burns when he came into contact with a rodent-damaged cable while installing CCTV in a ceiling space. The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated.
Ceiling space hazards are outlined here. Learn more about working on roofs and in ceiling spaces (26 November 2020).  More...

WorkSafe Qld publications

eSAFE Construction
Latest edition of eSAFE Construction, 30 November 2020
November 2020 Includes: Scaffolding on medium-rise construction sites; Non-compliances on residential construction sites

WorkSafe Qld Incident Alerts
Workers caught in conveyor belt system 30 November 2020
Falls from height result in serious injuries 26 November 2020
Snorkelling fatality 26 November 2020
Patron injured falling from amusement ride 23 November 2020


WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alerts

Decanting and storing dangerous goods
WorkSafe safety alert about the hazards associated with decanting dangerous goods into unlabelled containers. The employees mistakenly thought the liquid in the container was water when it was actually a flammable liquid (02 December 2020).  More...

Managing the risks of overhead powerlines
WorkSafe a safety alert about managing the risks of overhead powerlines. Over the past 2.5 years, there have been two fatalities involving overhead powerlines on farming properties (27 November 2020).  More...

ESV blitzes solar installations
Responding to increased activity following the changes to restrictions as part of the Third Step of the Roadmap for Recovery, ESV carried out a weekend blitz of solar installation work across Victoria. Overall, industry are meeting their obligations by ensuring appropriate licensing, supervision and compliance. ESV and WorkSafe have developed a safety guide for installing PV systems.(26 November 2020).

ESV: Worker electrocuted on a farm in North West Victoria
Energy Safe Victoria has warned all people working on farms using large machinery or vehicles to beware of overhead powerlines. Know your area for work and check for powerlines before work commences.
More information can be found in the ESV Electrical safety on farms brochure. Property owners can also get a free farm safety sign, warning people entering the property of the presence of powerlines. For more information click here (02 December 2020).  More...


Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (The Bruce Highway Caloundra to Sunshine Upgrade Case) [2020] FCAFC 203
INDUSTRIAL LAW – right of entry – entry by union officials under s 81(3) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) – whether exercise of “State or Territory OHS right” within meaning of s 494 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell [2017] FCAFC 89; (2017) 251 FCR 470 applied
INDUSTRIAL LAW – accessorial liability for contraventions of ss 494(1), 497 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – conduct and state of mind of officials imputed to union under s 793 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether union thereby knowingly concerned in officials’ contraventions within the meaning of s 550 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth); Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth); Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

SafeWork NSW v All Cranes 4 Hire Pty Ltd [2020] NSWDC 738
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 – unsecured load fell on workers while being lifted by a crane – absence of exclusion zone – failure to provide sub-contracted workers with proper instruction, training or information regarding safely working near a crane – failure to implement existing Safe Work Method Statement.

Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings
Information about the most recent prosecution and Enforceable Undertaking outcomes.
Turnkey Communication and Power Solutions Pty Ltd
Melbourne Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) ; 21(2)(e) & 327
Outcome 01 Dec 2020
Viscount Rotational Mouldings Pty Ltd
Frankston Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)
Outcome 01 Dec 2020
Taylor Ferguson & Co. Pty. Ltd
Melbourne Magistrates’ Court - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section21(1); 21(2)(a); 38(1) & 39(1) Outcome 30 Nov 2020
Lencia Fruit Juices Pty Ltd (in liquidation)
Mildura Magistrates’ Court - Section21(1) & 21(2)(a)
Outcome 30 Nov 2020

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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