WHS News

Workplace Health & Safety News

12th December 2017

Farm fatality rates show no signs of improvement, study shows

There are calls for more to be done to boost farm safety after a report found work-related death rates had not improved for more than a decade in New South Wales.

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Tip Top trucks deemed defective after inspections reveal safety issues

All Tip Top-owned bread delivery trucks at its western Sydney depot have been issued with defect notices after an inspection by road safety authorities.

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Ageing Tasmanian fire trucks putting lives at risk, union warns

Tasmanian firefighters are being let down by old equipment, including failing brakes on fire engines and issues with replacement hoses and uniforms, the union says.

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Work safety must improve on farms, industry leaders warn

More people working in agriculture die than in the construction and mining industries combined, data reveals, as industry leaders urge an improved focus on work safety.

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Cleaning company fined $30,000 after worker’s hand crushed

A commercial cleaning company has been convicted and fined $30,000 after a worker’s hand was crushed at a Cobram meat processing facility.

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One dead, one seriously injured at Leitchville

One man has died and another has sustained life threatening injuries in a workplace incident at Leitchville near Echuca.

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VicRoads and roadworks firm fined $1.55 million over worker’s death

VicRoads and roadworks firm Downer EDI have today been convicted and fined a total of $1.55 million over the 2011 death of a traffic controller.

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Multiple reckless conduct charges laid for 2016 Eagle Farm deaths

Nine complaints and summonses have been issued to four people and one business for their alleged involvement in the deaths of two workers at Eagle Farm Racecourse on 6 October 2016.

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ALERT: Installation of shoring boxes and other trench support systems

The purpose of this safety alert is to highlight the risk of trench collapse when a shoring box, or any other trench support system, does not extend for the full depth of the trench. Shoring boxes are also known as trench shields or drag boxes.

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ALERT: Worker burnt in fuel vapour explosion

A young worker was draining the fuel system of a boat when residual fuel that had collected in the bilge of the boat caught fire. He sustained significant burns to his arm, face, nose and throat requiring hospital treatment.

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1st December 2017

'Lifesaving' register of defibrillators to help South Australians survive heart attacks

A register of defibrillators is being set up in South Australia and it might just save your life. The SA Ambulance Service wants businesses, community groups and individuals to report automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that are publicly accessible.

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Combustible cladding identified at five additional ACT Health buildings

Combustible cladding has been found at five more buildings in Canberra, all belonging to ACT Health, the Government has revealed.

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Where are the most unsafe workplaces for tradies in Australia?

ACT records highest serious workplace injury rates in range of industries, Safe Work Australia data shows

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Gayle's Law passes SA Parliament to offer better protection to remote nurses

A law named for murdered nurse Gayle Woodford passes the South Australian Parliament, meaning health workers will no longer be permitted to work alone in remote areas.

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Notice to improve safety at Melbourne Market upheld

An attempt by the Melbourne Market Authority (MMA) to overturn a WorkSafe improvement notice in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has been unsuccessful. WorkSafe issued the improvement notice after a MMA employee working at the Melbourne Market in Epping was struck from behind by a powered mobile buggy travelling in the wrong direction along Buyers Walk in May 2016. The employee was knocked to the ground and suffered bruising.

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Charges laid over Work for the Dole showgrounds death

Queensland Office of Industrial Relations on Wednesday laid four charges over the death of a teenager on the Work for the Dole program at the Toowoomba Showgrounds in 2016. An Office of Industrial Relations spokesman said the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland, NEATO Employment Services Pty Ltd and Work for the Dole project coordinator, Adrian Strachan, have been charged for alleged breaches of the Work Health Safety Act 2011 after the death of Joshua William Park-Fing at the Toowoomba Showgrounds on April 19, 2016.

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More safety inspectors to board light rail project after recent breaches

More safety inspectors are to be deployed to the ACT light rail project by the end of the year after a series of recent breaches and as construction ramps up. Contractors were hit with $14,000 in fines and Prohibition and Improvement Notices for several breaches, including a fire incident.

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Sexual harassment a risk in small businesses, too

The latest sexual harassment allegations should be a wake-up call for small enterprises that are at risk from moronic employees who cannot keep their hands or inappropriate comments to themselves in the workplace. The truth is, we don't know enough about the incidence of sexual harassment in small businesses that have fewer than 15 employees or $2 million in annual revenue. Or whether small enterprises are taking enough steps to safeguard against harassment risk and protect employees.

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‘I was running on overdrive’: What needs to change in Aussie workplaces

Kerin Kenny was going through a divorce, doing two people’s jobs and highly stressed. She kept promising herself she’d pull back — until it was too late.

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Lendlease says it faces safety, engineering challenges

Lendlease has highlighted the challenges it faces in providing a safe workplace after three workers died on its construction sites in the last eight months. Chairman David Crawford and chief executive Steve McCann began Lendlease's annual general meeting on a downbeat note expressing condolences to the families of the workers who lost their lives.

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Workplaces can be safe spaces for women at risk

Employers can play an important role in helping women who experience family/domestic violence to stay safe, and rebuild their lives. But not all workplaces are the same when it comes to supporting victims of violence, despite more employers speaking out on the issue and there being more public discussion on the need for paid domestic violence leave.

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Nuclear Agency comes in out of the sun

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has become the first national government agency to be recognised as a SunSmart workplace by the Cancer Council of Victoria.

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17th November 2017

Worker dies after being stung by bees at Dunkeld

A man in his twenties has died after being stung by several bees at a property in Dunkeld.

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Spray painting firm fined $25,000 after vacuum cleaner triggers explosion

A Wodonga spray painting company has been convicted and fined $25,000 after a vacuum cleaner being used to clean up flammable liquid triggered an explosion in a confined space and burned a worker.

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Restricted electrical work licence

Restricted electrical work licences allow people to do electrical work incidental to a particular trade or calling.

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Improving quad bike safety: have your say

Quad bikes have been responsible for 114 deaths in Australia from 2011 to October 2017. Seventeen of these deaths were children under the age of 16.

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Worker killed on cane rail siding

A drivers assistant was struck and killed by rolling stock on a cane rail siding.

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Workers skull fractured by tree branch

A tree lopper was hit by a branch cut by another worker in an elevating work platform approximately 8-10 metres above him.

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Dealing with stress as festive season nears

As many of us look forward to winding down for the Christmas break, spare a thought for those in industries which can be more affected by stresses and strains in the lead up to Christmas.

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Two workers seriously burned after contact with high-voltage powerlines

Two workers on a rural property in the Western Downs region of Queensland received serious burns from an electric shock.

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Lidcombe buisness fined $300,000 over worker's death

A Lidcombe business has been fined $300,000  and its director fined a further $60,000  after a worker was killed in an excavator incident, the Minister responsible for SafeWork NSW, Matt Kean said today.

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Industrial manslaughter laws in Queensland: How the new legislation could affect you

The industrial manslaughter legislation that has been passed in Queensland could send company officers to jail

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ACT records highest serious workplace injury rates in range of industries, Safe Work Australia data shows

Canberra carpenter Callum White was working on a construction site left messy and hazardous by other tradespeople when he stepped onto a loose brick and severely twisted his ankle.

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19th October 2017 

Meet the man teaching tradies to conquer mango madness

Have you heard of a heat hangover? Some experts think you might have suffered one without even realising.

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Mental health app trial looks at FIFO and other workers

A five-month trial of a mental health app to assist companies develop workplace wellbeing programs shows some unexpected results for FIFO workers.

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Construction company fined $24,000 for working too close to powerlines

A Preston construction company which allowed a crane to operate near high voltage powerlines without carrying out the proper pre-work safety assessment has been convicted and fined $24,000.

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State Government Releases First-Ever Snapshot Of Nsw Workplace Mental Health

The findings show nearly half of the businesses have no measures in place that specifically address mental health in the workplace

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New Asbestos Guide To Protect Rural And Regional Residents

A new guide to help protect people living and working in rural and regional NSW from the dangers of naturally occurring asbestos was launched by the NSW Government today.

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Fines issued following long weekend fireworks crackdown

A woman from Allworth in the Hunter Valley and a fireworks licence holder from Parkes have been fined by SafeWork NSW following a crackdown on fireworks safety over the October long weekend.

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Industrial Manslaughter offence introduced to Queensland

The maximum penalty under the new offence is up to 20 years’ imprisonment for individuals and up to a maximum fine of $10 milion for corporations.

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Principal contractor and employer escape liability for construction accident

This case highlights the precautions employers, labour hire companies and contractors should exercise to minimise or avoid exposure to liability claims and reminds workers of their responsibilities for their own safety.

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Australians lagging behind OECD countries in work/life balance, home ownership and safety

Australians have one of the worst levels of work-life balance in the world, the latest national snapshot shows.

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10th October 2017 

World’s first work health and safety international standard

The world’s first work health and safety (WHS) international standard, ‘ISO 45001’, is currently being developed. It is expected to be approved in its final form in November 2017 and published in March 2018.

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SafeWork NSW Statement: Opera House Renovations

SafeWork NSW is investigating after asbestos was identified during renovations at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday, 5 October 2017.

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Farmers Recieve $1M in Quad Bike Safety Rebates

NSW farmers are safer on their properties after receiving $1 million in quad bike rebates from the NSW Government’s Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

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SafeWork NSW Launches Musculoskeletal Disorder Strategy

SafeWork NSW’s Musculoskeletal Disorder Strategy was launched today to reinforce the NSW Government’s commitment to helping workers and business reduce the number and severity of serious work related injuries.

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Work plays vital role in injury rehab and getting back on the job

When it comes to getting back to meaningful work after an injury, the best results are achieved when employers encourage and support injured staff to recover at work.

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Brisbane brekkie heralds start of Safe Work Month

The annual community breakfast in King George Square is always fun, entertaining and informative, but it has a serious side – the event marks the start of Safe Work Month which runs across Australia throughout October.

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Return to work services panel tender agreements extended

WorkCover Queensland has extended the tender agreement for its return to work services panel for a further two years.

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Recycling company fined $175,000 after worker crushed under skid steer loader

A Geelong recycling company has been convicted and fined $175,000 following the death of a worker who was struck and run over by a skid steer loader at its Grovedale transfer station.

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New push to tackle tradie suicide in Melbourne’s southeast

A PILOT program is being launched to add “emotional muscle” to the tool belts of Chisholm apprentices in an attempt to curb suicide rates among young tradies across Melbourne’s southeast.

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Woman left lying on ground ‘like a cockroach’: Fresh hell at Aussie farms

AN Australian woman has told of her near-death experience while working in one of the country’s most dangerous and unregulated jobs.

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2nd October 2017 

Employers take note: High Court to determine duty of care owed by employers during workplace investigations

Workplace investigations are increasingly becoming a feature of the employment landscape, and as a result are attracting significant attention from tribunals and the Courts.

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Farmer dies in quad bike rollover

A man in his late 60s has died after a quad bike he was operating overturned on a mixed farm at Hesket, near Romsey, about 80km north of Melbourne.

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Crowd controller convicted over $190,000 fraud

A crowd controller who received almost $190,000 in compensation benefits for a workplace injury while continuing to work was this week convicted of fraud in Heidelberg Magistrates’ court.

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Braeside fatality takes workplace toll to 18

A 39 year-old male worker has died in hospital from his injuries after an incident last month where the elevating work platform he was operating was struck by a car at Braeside.

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Worker struck in head by portable hydraulic jack

In September 2017, a worker sustained serious head injuries while operating a portable hydraulically powered jack. He was using the jack to expand a semi-circular shaped metal bracket when it dislodged and struck him in the face.

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Roof collapse

Sudden roof collapse can occur without warning. This alert provides guidance for building owners, schools, local government, building managers and body corporates about minimising the risk of roof collapse.

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New fines to protect NSW workers from falls

SafeWork NSW will soon have the power to issue penalty notices of up to $3600 to NSW workplaces if they fail to protect employees against falls from heights.

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Workplace mental health in the spotlight

Millions of workers will be the focus of New South Wales’ first ever summit aimed at developing a statewide strategy to improve mental health in the workplace.

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Mental health first-aid courses helping those in need, breaking down stigmas

If someone close to you breaks a leg or suffers a burn, you probably know enough basic first aid to help them until medical help arrives.

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Asbestos contamination risk at Alice Springs hospital 'minimal', report says

Patients taken into the pathology unit of the Alice Springs Hospital before it was shut down due to asbestos contamination have not been notified that they may have been exposed to the toxic substance, the Central Australian Health Service says.

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Standing too much at work? You might be doubling your risk of heart disease

There's been a lot of interest in the harmful effects of prolonged sitting at work, from academics and the public alike.

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First aid: Australia has lowest rate of training, says Australian Red Cross

Do you know what to do if someone burns themselves with hot water at home?

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12th September 2017 

New quad bike helmet design tries to reduce deaths on farms

The all-terrain vehicle industry has come up with a new design to try to convince farmers to wear helmets and reduce fatalities on quad bikes.

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Poultry contractor fined $1.13m over forklift tragedy

A poultry contractor was today convicted and fined $1.13 million over an incident in which a man was struck and killed by a forklift on a farm at Lethbridge, near Geelong in 2015.

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Builder convicted and fined $880,000 over death of apprentice

A Moorabbin building company and its director were yesterday convicted and fined a total of $880,000 over the death of a 21-year-old apprentice at a Caulfield South construction site in August 2013.

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New laws crack down on mine health & safety

Mine operators who fail to keep their workers safe face tough new penalties of up to $126,150 under legislation introduced into Parliament today.

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Billboard workers overhead powerlines electric shock

On 7 August 2017, two workers in an uninsulated elevating work platform contacted an 11 kV powerline with the six metre aluminium sail track they were reinstalling on a billboard. Both workers suffered a severe electrical shock and burns from contacting the high voltage lines.

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Serious falls from height at the Gold Coast

There have been several recent falls from height at the Gold Coast which are being investigated by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).

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Cross-Border Safety Program to Focus on Young Workers

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW will focus on young workers when they team up in Yarrawonga – Mulwala this week as part of this year’s Cross Border Construction Program.

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Workplace the Focus of New Mental Health Plan

The serious impact of mental health issues in the workplace will be addressed in a new strategy, being launched today in front of businesses, academics and non-government organisations (NGOs).

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North West Businesses Embrace Safety Program

A pilot safety mentor program involving businesses from across the North West has been declared a success at an event in Tamworth today.

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SafeWork Appeals for Information About Unlicensedm Tradies Offering to Remove Asbestos in Western NSW

SafeWork NSW is appealing for information from the public about tradespeople reportedly offering to carry out unlicensed asbestos removal work at bushfire-damaged properties in western NSW.

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Nearly a quarter of miners have a drink before work, 10 per cent of farm workers have 'breaky bong'

Research is showing a disturbing trend towards alcohol and drug consumption before work for people in mining and agriculture.

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17th August 2017 

Canberra teachers paid more than $1 million a year in compensation

Canberra public school teachers have received almost $6 million in compensation since 2012 with new figures showing almost 700 school staff were assaulted in a single year.

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Government hits back at union claims safety watchdog has no bite

WorksafeACT says it has stepped up its workplace inspections and safety awareness efforts, rejecting union claims that the watchdog needs to lift its game. UnionsACT says a new report by Safe Work Australia confirms the Territory as the second least safe jurisdiction in the country.

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What businesses can do to stamp out slavery in their supply chains

Under the Australian Workplace Health and Safety Act, businesses are responsible to look for situations that have the potential to cause harm or damage - and they are required to do something to prevent incidents from happening within the boundaries of their organisation. But at this stage, workplace conditions at overseas suppliers’ plants are not covered by the Act.

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Woolworths worker wins more than $230k in compensation appeal case

A Brisbane supermarket worker who says he felt forced to skimp on safety to lift 2,100 heavy cartons a day has been awarded compensation for an ongoing injury in a landmark Court of Appeal case in Brisbane.

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Injured tradie passes lesson on to trainees

Ipswich chippie Clinton Halliday knows all too well the dangers of workplace safety risks and the importance of using proper safety equipment, especially while working at heights. The young dad's life and 16-year career changed when he fell from a roof less than a year ago and dislocated his knee and broke his leg.

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Injury battle drives home farm safety message

FOR more than 30 years, Dave Gallagher has made a living working with his hands. He's worked across a range of agricultural industries over this time and has enjoyed plying his trade in the ginger fields of Eumundi in recent years. However, Mr Gallagher's life was turned upside down in 2015 when a normal day's work left him with a debilitating injury.

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Bullying and harassment claims in the workplace – employers need to be aware of risks

The modern workplace continually presents challenges for business owners and operators who are trying to manage their enterprises effectively and to foster growth and profitability. One of these challenges lies in managing staff and being confident that interactions with them will not trigger allegations of bullying or harassment.

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Can subsequent section 74 notices trump a work capacity decision?

A recent decision of the Workers Compensation Commission in Lowes v Secretary, Department of Education on 12 July 2017 (Matter No:1435/17), found a change in circumstances and subsequent dispute notices were insufficient to provide the Commission with jurisdiction to decide a worker’s claim for weekly compensation.

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New Work Health and Safety Bill announced for WA

The new WA State Government has green-lighted the development of a Work Health and Safety Bill, which will bring Western Australia's occupational, health and safety legislation into line with the rest of the States and Territories other than Victoria. This announcement marks the start of a lengthy consultation period with stakeholders in which the Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament two years from now.

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Christmas party venue selection: the foundation for a good, safe time

It might be one of the less exciting aspects of event planning but the wrong choice of Christmas function venue could be a work safety nightmare waiting to happen.

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7th August 2017 

 

Towing company fined $275,000 over truck driver’s death

A towing company was convicted and fined $275,000 over an incident in which an employee loading a boom crane onto a truck parked on a suburban road was struck and seriously injured by a van.

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Manufacturer fined more than $22,000 after ignoring WorkSafe notices

A Moorabbin furniture manufacturer who failed to address WorkSafe notices to fix serious safety breaches has been convicted and fined more than $22,000.

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Not doing routine maintenance has fatal consequences

A waste recycling business which failed to do routine maintenance on an excavator and cost a worker his life has been fined $200,000 in the Richlands Magistrates Court.

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Roofing company exposed workers and public to asbestos

A Brisbane roofing company has been fined $100,000 and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for failing to handle and safely dispose of asbestos.

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Manufacturer commits $1.5 million to safety improvements after worker injured

Borg Manufacturing Pty Ltd has committed more than $1.5 million for safety programs and improvements following an injury to a worker at their Somersby plant in September 2014.

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Bullying 'prevalent in emergency services' and NSW Parliament wants answers

A former NSW Ambulance employee says workplace bullying and harassment was more devastating to her mental health than any trauma she experienced in her 25 years on the front line.

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Harnessing the power of technology to support safety

Drones, apps, computer simulations and the power of social media are supporting safety in construction by providing new ways to investigate incidents and share safety best practice.

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Recycler convicted and fined $150,000 after worker loses hand

A recycling company has been convicted and fined a total of $150,000 following an incident in Coolaroo in 2014 in which a worker lost his right hand in an aluminium bailer.

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We know too much sitting is bad for our waists — but is it bad for our brains, too?

In many aspects of life where we need to use our brain power, we also tend to sit down: at school, at work, sitting exams or concentrating on a crossword.

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Aldi says Spiral Spring Mixer Tap safe to use, following lead contamination scare

Supermarket chain Aldi has confirmed its Spiral Spring Mixer Tap has passed additional tests and is safe for use, after concerns the product may have be contaminating drinking water with lead.

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New helmets could save lives, reduce quad bike injuries

A newly developed helmet specially designed for farm workers could stem the rising death toll from tragic accidents involving quad bikes, experts say.

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New heavy vehicle cameras boost Queensland's road safety

Queensland's heavy vehicle safety will be boosted with the roll out of three new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras across the state's road freight network.

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4th July 2017

 

WorkSafe investigates North Melbourne scaffold collapse

WorkSafe is investigating the cause of a scaffold collapse at a demolition site in North Melbourne on the 3rd of July.

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Horror morning as stablehand and carpenter die in separate incidents

Two workers have died in less than two hours in separate incidents on the 27th of June.

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Two workers die in country Victoria in less than 24 hours

Two agricultural workers have been killed in less than 24 hours in separate incidents in country Victoria.

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Demolition company fined $25,000 over live power line incident

A demolition company was convicted and fined $25,000 over an incident at Phillip Island in which an excavator pulling down a house collided with live overhead power lines.

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It’s time to renew your WorkCover accident insurance policy

Your accident insurance policy—which covers your business for the cost of any work-related injuries—is due for renewal.

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Stability of stacked material

The purpose of this safety alert is to highlight the risks associated with stacked materials and to ensure a safe system of work is followed.

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SafeWork announces construction industry safety crackdown

SafeWork NSW has today announced a safety crackdown on the construction industry, following a recent spike in serious injuries to workers on Sydney building sites.

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NSW leads the way on quad bike safety

A new research project which aims to reduce the high rates of injury on farms has been announced by the NSW Government, to better understand attitudes and behaviours around quad bikes and their use.

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Construction company fined $90,000 after worker's skull pierced by steel bar

A Sydney construction company has been fined $90,000 over an incident in 2013 where an 18 year old worker’s skull was pierced by a steel reo bar that flew into the cabin of the excavator he was operating.

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SafeWork blitz on food industry

SafeWork NSW has announced a blitz of restaurants, cafes and bakeries using LPG cylinders after a Marrickville baker was critically injured.

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Food delivery cyclists putting themselves at risk without proper training, expert says

Should food delivery cyclists be required to undertake formal training before hitting the streets?

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7 June 2017

Work for the dole is endangering workers without a safety net

The law is failing people engaged on the work for the dole program — inadequate training and fear of reprisal if they raise safety issues can lead to injury, and when they do get hurt at work, there is no safety net for them.

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Workplace Stress is Reaching Toxic Levels in Social Sector

A researcher looking at the high levels of work stress in the social sector has warned work stress and burnout are reaching “toxic” levels and is calling on the sector’s peak bodies to act.

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Queensland Government to create new criminal offence to target deadly workplace practices

The Queensland Government has announced that it will introduce a new criminal offence of ‘negligence causing death’.

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Fair Work Commission suspends investigation and disciplinary process to hear bullying claim

In the recent decision of Lynette Bayly [2017] FWC 1886, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued interim orders preventing the employer from finalising a workplace investigation or imposing any disciplinary action until the employee’s workplace bullying application is heard.

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Are Older Workers Forgotten in Construction Safety?

Considerable attention is rightfully afforded to the safety all workers on construction sites, but often with a greater emphasis upon younger staff.

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NBN contractor fears installer could die during Sky Muster rollout, Labor calls for safety review

A contractor working on the National Broadband Network (NBN) says he fears an installer could die during the rollout because of lax safety standards.

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Court rules on site bans for top CFMEU officials

Victoria's powerful construction union has suffered a major blow in a landmark court ruling that will see most of its senior officials barred from entering building sites without an invitation from management.

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Workplace stress taking its toll on teachers

In February 2016 Kathy Margolis, a Queensland teacher with over thirty years teaching experience made the decision to abandon her teaching career - not to travel around Australia in a caravan or experience a European summer, but in search of a job in another field.

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Surgeon assaulted at Box Hill Hospital 'the tipping point' for safety of doctors, nurses

An alleged assault at the Box Hill Hospital that left a heart surgeon with life-threatening injuries is a "tipping point" when it comes to safety, according to the organisations representing Victorian doctors and nurses.

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Why our school principals are in trouble

The 2017 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey was released today and the report’s author Associate Professor Philip Riley, 59, East Melbourne, said violence in schools is out of control.

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What lies beneath

A Fairfax investigation into hundreds of sites across NSW that may be contaminated with toxic hydrocarbons

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4 May 2017 

 

Inaccurate data hinders injury prevention

New research from the University of South Australia suggests workplaces are unlikely to be addressing injury prevention adequately because management decisions are influenced by inaccurate data.

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WorkSafe investigates ride incident at Rye

WorkSafe is investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident in which a five-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after falling from a carnival ride in Rye yesterday.

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New pain intervention guidelines

WorkCover Queensland has released new guidelines for medical providers to use for pain intervention billing.

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Quad Bike Safety Training Free For Farmers

Farmers will now receive free quad bike training in a major boost to the safety improvement program aimed at significantly reducing the number of deaths on rural properties across NSW.

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Union official found to be an accessory to adverse action against workers

Individuals are at risk of breaching workplace laws even if their conduct is found only to be silent encouragement of unlawful adverse action, according to the outcome of a recent Federal Circuit Court case.

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Remote nurse safety concerns affecting recruitment, national conference hears

The National Rural Health Conference in Cairns has heard safety remains a major factor in the challenge to recruit and retain remote area nurses and midwives.

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Workplace Health and Safety Penalties – Potential to Increase

The Queensland District Court has this week found that a fine of $90,000 imposed by the Queensland Magistrates Court in Williamson v VH & MG Imports Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 56 was “clearly manifestly inadequate” when compared with fines imposed in other harmonised jurisdictions under the model Workplace Health and Safety laws. The ruling affirms the importance of national consistency in penalties, with the Queensland District Court accepting that its WHS Act permitted sentencing courts to consider comparable decisions from states and territories subject to the harmonised legislation. This decision sets a precedent which may see more lenient courts increasing penalties to the level set by courts nationally.

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Worried about workers' compensation claims? High Court confirms directions to employees must be reasonable.

The High Court has clarified the administrative action exclusion under the Commonwealth’s workers’ compensation laws. In Comcare v Martin [2016] HCA 43, the Court unanimously held that the approach to whether an employer or insurer can utilise the exclusion and protect itself from a workers’ compensation claim is to be based on causation. Under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (Act), it is now clear that the sole question to ask is whether the employee’s injury or aggravation would have occurred had the reasonable administrative action not been undertaken.

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Survey finds whistleblowers need more protection

The survey has confirmed that while organisations may have processes which encourage and facilitate staff reporting of wrongdoing, and deal with alleged wrongdoing, often the weakest elements have been the mechanisms for protection and support of staff who report.

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Mandatory licensing to crack down on rogue labour hire operators

Mandatory licensing of labour hire companies will be introduced in Queensland in a bid to crack-down on rogue operators who are exploiting and mistreating vulnerable workers.

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6 April 2017 

 

Heavy vehicle safety a priority in Debbie’s wake

The NHVR is advising heavy vehicle operators travelling in Queensland coastal areas to be aware of emergency arrangements for areas impacted by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

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Study finds possible link between pesticide exposure and farmer health

A study has found farmers' nervous systems might be impacted by exposure to the some of the most widely used pesticides.

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Call for star safety ratings for quad bikes following hundreds of deaths in six years

A spate of accidental deaths around the country has prompted a joint call from the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Rural Doctors Association for a star safety rating system to be introduced for quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles.

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Elite male boxers to leave head guards at home for Adelaide championships

DElite male boxers will fight at this week's national championships without head guards, while all other competitors will don the safety gear after an exemption was granted under state law.

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WorkCover not liable for teacher’s fall during work-approved activity

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has dismissed an appeal against the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Regulator that an injury sustained by a teacher while attending a union event during ordinary paid hours did not arise out of or in the course of her employment.

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SafeWork NSW Fast-Tracking Asbestos Assessments On Flood Damaged Properties

SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification period to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from storm-damaged properties in north east NSW.

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The link between stress and muscle strain

Occupational stress can increase a worker’s risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder, more commonly known as a ‘muscle strain’.

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Supporting older workers in the workplace

As our Queensland population ages, so does our workforce, and while older workers are often the most skilled and productive employees, they may also be the most vulnerable.

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Ride operator receives record fine after death of worker at a school event

A sole trader operating an amusement ride business has been fined a record $80,000 after a worker was fatally crushed by an amusement ride at Collingwood Park State School’s Christmas Carols in 2014.

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Third tractor incident in a week claims another life

WorkSafe is calling on all workplaces to prioritise safety following the death of three workers in separate incidents all involving tractors.

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Farmer crushed in tip truck incident

A farmer has died after the tipper trailer he was operating collapsed and crushed the cabin of his prime mover.

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14 March 2017 

 

Bakery fined $40K after worker's fingers amputated

A bakery in Altona North has been fined $40,000 for an accident which caused a worker’s fingers to be amputated.

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Warnings ignored: forklift driver fined $11K for death

An employee has been fined $11,000 and ordered to pay $1745 in costs after his forklift struck and killed a co-worker at a hay bailing workplace. He had twice been warned not to drive with the forks raised.

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Milestone workplace prosecution in Queensland continues

Two family-owned businesses and their respective directors have been committed to stand trial following a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation into the death of a 62-year-old roofer.

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Industry call for change to quad bike culture to prevent more deaths

"Do you want to have your kids, or do you want them to have a bit of fun riding a quad bike?" That is the question roll bar designer Dave Robinson believes parents should be asked.

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