WHS News

Workplace Health & Safety News

12th July 2021

Reminder — Workplace Exposure Standards Closes for Public feedback In 3 weeks
Only 3 weeks left to comment on the workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants. Safe Work Australia is reviewing the Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants (WES) to ensure they are based on high quality evidence and supported by a rigorous scientific approach. Consultation for the final release of the draft evaluation reports closes 30 July 2021. No extensions or late submissions will be accepted..
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Harassment rife in WA mines, say workers as leaders call for inquiry
Mining workers from across WA say sexual assault and harassment is rife in FIFO (fly-in fly-out) camps. The state's number one industry is under scrutiny as politicians and mining giants back calls for a parliamentary inquiry into women's safety on mine sites.
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If a disability carer is hurt at work, who is responsible?
A quirk in Australia’s workplace laws means people with a disability and their families who hire independent contractors to help with their daily needs may end up having obligations under work health and safety laws, backed by steep fines.
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Keeping Australians safe on our roads
A new parliamentary committee has been appointed to investigate how to reduce trauma and deaths on Australian roads. The inquiry will focus on the practical and immediate steps that can be taken to reduce trauma and deaths on our roads.
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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. Recruitment Select Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Wangaratta Magistrates' Court on Monday to a single charge of failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work. It was also ordered to pay costs of $10,438.
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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 today.
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Victoria introduces reforms to expand worker protections
The Victorian Government has introduced the Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 to parliament, to make Victorian workplaces safer. The new reforms are expected to expand worker rights and protections, boost employer accountability and streamline enforcement.
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Occupational lung diseases, monitor and review – checklist
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.
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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.
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Casual workers to get government-funded sick leave in Victorian trial
The Victorian government will provide sick leave to casual workers in a trial program developed in response to the spread of coronavirus in insecure workplaces during Melbourne’s second wave.
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17 June 2021

Updated Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces
The 6th annual Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces statement has been published on the Safe Work Australia website. The statement identifies data trends in accepted workers’ compensation claims arising from mental stress, and specifically those arising from workplace bullying and harassment.
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Australia-first framework to improve mental health at work
NSW has become the first state in Australia to introduce an industry-wide Code of Practice to formally clarify the legal responsibilities businesses have to address hazards in the workplace that have the potential to cause psychological or physical harm.
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Company director jailed for death of worker in WA
A prison sentence recently handed down to a company director in the Magistrates Court serves as a timely reminder that regulators are willing to seek, and courts are increasingly willing to impose, tougher sentences on businesses that fail to meet their duties under workplace health and safety legislation.
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Reforms arising from Marie Boland’s review of WHS laws
The the NSW Government have introduced the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2021 (Bill), which proposes to create two new offences relating to industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). A conviction may result in a maximum $10.1 million penalty for a body corporate and 25 years’ imprisonment for an individual. These reforms are key recommendations arising from Marie Boland’s Final Report following her review of the model work health and safety laws.
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Horseplay in the workplace leads to $662,102 in damages
A certain amount of joking, skylarking and horseplay in the workplace is usually harmless and lightens the atmosphere, keeping up the spirits of workers. But when it goes too far and someone is injured, the consequences can be very serious and costly.
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Queensland workers with psychological injuries are getting short-changed!
According to data released by the state’s worker's compensation insurer, those who have the misfortune of developing a psychological condition at work can expect to be "put through the wringer" in what's become an application process that is only guaranteed to bring you a standardised rejection letter.
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'This is a disgrace': Food delivery riders protest over NSW government's proposed new safety laws
The Transport Workers Union says the proposed laws will target already vulnerable riders rather than food delivery platforms, which are "left off the hook for exploitation and deadly pressures".
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"It's all secret and silent": Confidentiality agreements that silence victims to be investigated
The use of non-disclosure agreements that have silenced sexual assault victims and perpetuated a culture of cover-up in workplaces will be reviewed as part of the Victorian government's wide-ranging investigation into preventing sexual harassment at work. A new ministerial taskforce, chaired by parliamentary secretary for workplace safety Bronwyn Halfpenny and Maurice Blackburn workplace injury lawyer Liberty Sanger, was established this year with the aim of making workplaces safer for women.
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Unmasking the impacts of CIVID-19 on workplace mental health
The full extent of the toll COVID-19 has taken on workplace mental health in NSW has been revealed with the release of the results of a landmark study into the psychological impacts of the pandemic.
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WorkWell Toolkit hits 10,000 users
Victorian employers are being urged to join the more than 10,000 now using WorkSafe's free online resources to improve the mental wellbeing of their workers.
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13 August 2020

Ammonium nitrate stored at 170 sites across SA, SafeWork SA says following Beirut blast
There is a renewed focus on storage of the chemical in Australia in the wake of the huge and deadly explosion in Beirut.
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Million-dollar fines and 25 years’ imprisonment: What businesses need to know about new industrial manslaughter laws
The most important thing to know about these laws is that they do not place extra duties on organisations and workplace leaders. However, they do make business leaders more accountable by increasing the penalties for failing to meet existing duties under each states' occupational health and safety legislation.
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Retailers see rise in workplace safety issues
Retailers have reported a 400 per cent increase in aggression and abuse following customer anger at retail restrictions, according to a new report from the National Retail Association (NRA). The NRA’s Health and Wellbeing of Australian Retail Workers report reveals new challenges facing retail staff during the Covid-19 crisis as well as the longer-term wellbeing struggles of the country’s second largest workforce.
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3 Tips To Support Employee Wellbeing After Coronavirus
As Australians cautiously venture back to work, a nagging sense remains that although one catastrophe has been averted, another one looms. Although we have been spared the soaring death rates of other countries, COVID-19 has nonetheless created layers of population-wide trauma and disruption arising from the abrupt shutdown in March — and the associated social isolation, illness fears, burnout, financial stress and job insecurity.
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Museum of Contemporary Art accused of 'toxic culture' in workplace stoush
The Museum of Contemporary Art has been accused of allowing a "toxic culture" to fester within its walls, with former staff members speaking out about their perceived mistreatment, and a current employee taking her case to the Industrial Relations Commission. The museum has been in damage control for weeks after a former staffer wrote about her "traumatic experience" while working as a trainee and a gallery host
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Warning: Employers are required to notify WorkSafe immediately when a worker tests positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
WorkSafe Victoria - Employers and self-employed persons, with management or control of a workplace must notify WorkSafe immediately after becoming aware that:
- an employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or self-employed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) and;
- the employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or self-employed person has attended the workplace within the relevant infection period.
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New advisory group to decrease workplace injury and fatality
Injured workers and those who have lost loved ones due to a workplace incident will help shape NSW workplace policy and support services through a new advisory group established by the NSW Government. Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the Family and Injured Worker Support Group will advise SafeWork NSW on the types of support given to those affected by workplace incidents, what services are available and how to access them, ways to improve service delivery, as well as advocating for increased workplace safety in NSW’s communities.
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SafeWork Inspector numbers boosted ahead of COVID safety crackdown
Inspector numbers have been boosted and their powers increased under the NSW Public Health Act 2010 in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. Venues found to be flouting the NSW Government’s new COVID safety measures face fines, and could even be shut down, as part of a joint operation between Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork and Fair Trading.
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Safe Work Australia has published Occupational lung diseases in Australia 2006-2019
The report provides an overview of occupational lung diseases in Australia and identifies industries and occupations where workers may be at risk, such as the construction, mining and quarrying industries, and those working with engineered stone. The report highlights several significant trend.
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14 July 2020

A slip during a work trip not compensable, says Federal Court
In the recent decision of Dring v Telstra Corporation Limited [2020] FCA 699 (Dring v Telstra), the Federal Court rejected a Telstra employee’s compensation claim for injuries sustained by slipping on wet tiles after a night out during a work trip.
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Transport and freight businesses urged to register as COVID safe
The NSW Government has launched a new suite of guidance materials to help all types of businesses manage the risk of COVID-19. Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said these new materials have been specifically created for non-customer facing businesses, to ensure everyone has access to industry specific, practical guidance to prevent the spread of the virus.
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Improving COVID safety on NSW construction sites
The NSW Government has launched a new suite of guidance materials to help all types of businesses manage the risk of COVID-19. The construction plan can be tailored to variables such as how many people are needed to assist with deliveries, numbers of passengers and where points of contact occur.
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Bulldozer company fined $375,000 for safety breaches
An international earth moving equipment company has been convicted and fined $375,000 after a worker received multiple severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, while servicing a bulldozer.
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Safe Work Australia: New COVID-19 work health and safety information hub for small businesses
Safe Work Australia has developed a small business hub with tailored guidance for small businesses to help you understand your work health and safety duties and manage risks arising from COVID-19.
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Victoria's new workplace manslaughter offences
Information for employers and other duty holders about the new workplace manslaughter offence.
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When and How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work
When you start a new job, you’ll probably be instructed to go to Human Resources (HR) if you ever experience any sort of harassment at work — but this path hasn’t always been the most useful for employees. In fact, according to a new survey from Zenefits, one out of five workers do not trust their HR departments, and more than one-third of respondents say that they avoid going to HR for any problems at all, at least partially because they fear retaliation.
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Workplace safety – Employers liability – Working from home
An employer’s duty to provide a safe environment for employees working at home extends well beyond ensuring that staff have positioned their chair at an appropriate height and are free of any trip hazards. That’s the message from the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the NSW Supreme Court, who recently determined that an employer was liable for the tragic death of an employee as a result of a domestic violence incident whilst working from home.
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Public comment sought - Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work
The Code of Practice on Violence and Aggression at Work focuses on the general principles of prevention and management of violence and aggression in the workplace. The intent is to provide guidance for workplaces where workers may be exposed to violence and aggression such as physical assault, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and harassment.
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Reducing the risks of falls on stairs at your workplace
Did you know that isolated, short steps and irregular or inadequate stair dimensions can cause falls?
and that there are recommended minimum and maximum number of steps in each flight of stairs?
This guide from Worksafe QLD explains best practice in design and use of staircases.
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18 June 2020

Wrecking yard directors escape jail, but judge calls out 'disgraceful behaviour' after worker's death
Two men have been handed suspended jail terms over the death of a worker at a Brisbane wrecking yard in the first prosecution under Queensland's new industrial manslaughter laws.
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WorkCover sues AFP over systemic bullying and harassment
WorkCover has taken the unusual step of suing the Australian Federal Police (AFP) concerning alledged bullying of a staff member over many years by senior manager Julie Drummond. If successful, the suit could mean employers may face increased liability for injuries caused by workplace bullies if they fail to act on complaints of bullying.
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Key changes to NSW health and safety laws
On 4 June 2020, a bill to amend the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (Act) passed the NSW Parliament. The Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2020 (Bill) was assented to on 10 June and the changes have now commenced..
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Workplace apps update for the post-COVID office
As COVID-19 forces companies to rethink their office space and culture, workplaces apps are adapting to include new features and information.
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Working from home during coronavirus pandemic causing a spike in chiropractic injuries
Working from the kitchen table or bench during the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Australian necks, shoulders and backs. Chiropractors across the country began noticing an increase in work-related injuries within two weeks of the start of the lockdown.
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Employees must legally return from JobKeeper
The JobKeeper scheme has confused many employers and business owners since it was introduced, and now the confusion centres around asking employees to return to the workplace, mainly due to people’s coronavirus Health & Safety concerns.
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How To Stay Safe When You Go Back To The Office
Before you go back to your place of work, your employer must be able to ensure your safety. Here are the questions you should ask before heading back to your desk:
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Workplace cleaners are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. They need enough time to do their job
As many of us gingerly return to our workplaces, we are relying on cleaners to keep us safe. Employers have extra concerns. High quality cleaning is the key to shielding them from liability should their workers contract COVID-19 and they run the risk of having to shut their workplaces down again. SafeWork Australia and its state counterparts have prepared guidelines for keeping workplaces safe.
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Pressure to reopen office showers and loos
Office landlords are grappling with how to reopen bathroom facilities for workers to shower after they cycle or jog to work.
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12 March 2020

COVID-19 – is it business as usual?
With the coronavirus outbreak being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), employers must take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their staff and others at their workplace. But what does this mean, and what steps should you be taking to minimise the risk of injury from COVID-19?
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Gig economy workers fear livelihoods, customers at risk during coronavirus outbreak
Delivery services may become a lifeline for Australians stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, but what about the drivers?
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NSW building companies and bosses to face higher fines, jail
Employers who put workers at risk of serious injury or death will face tougher fines and jail under proposed workplace safety laws that include a new offence of "gross negligence."
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Dust exposure management requires more than PPE use
While the use of masks may seem protective, it is not always enough to prevent hazardous dust particles from entering the lungs. There are several ways site senior executives can ensure the correct safety measures are taken, according to Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy.
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Fencing contractor fined $25,000 after teenage worker suffered serious hand injuries at Camooweal
A sole trader operating as a fencing contractor has been sentenced and fined in the Mount Isa Magistrates Court for breaches relating to duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This follows an incident in 2017 when one of his young workers had three fingers badly crushed by a hydraulic post driver.
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'Systemic failure in all aspects of safety': Coroner delivers Dreamworld findings
The design and construction of Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride posed a "significant risk" to patrons' safety, according to a coroner who examined the deaths of four people on the ride in 2016.
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Acid accident leaves company director with $40,000 fines in NSW
The director of cleaning chemicals manufacturer B&J Industries has been fined $40,000 after an employee was left permanently scarred from highly corrosive acid which splashed onto his skin. Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the accident was entirely avoidable if the employer had provided the personal protective equipment required by law.
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Maximum penalty handed down against CFMMEU for abusing Victorian WorkSafe inspector
The Federal Court in Victoria has penalised the CFMMEU and its senior official Alex Tadic a total of $59,500 for abusing a Victorian WorkSafe official.
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WorkCover pays jewellery employee $270k compensation after failed third party theft
After Michael Hill Jewellery at Westfield Helensvale was the target of an attempted theft, an employee has been awarded more than $270,000 in damages for injuries she sustained preventing it.
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Causation – a battle of experts?
The decision is a reminder that the onus is on the injured worker to prove that their work was a ‘significant contributing factor’, not just a mere medical possibility.
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17 Dec 2019

Company fined $54,000 after elderly woman injured by water tank
A company in Queensland and one of its officers have been fined $54,000 after a woman was injured when a water tank being delivered to her property struck her. Both defendants pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court over breaches to section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with its duty under s.19(2)  More...

Charges laid following milk processing plant death
WorkSafe has charged a Cobram engineering company, a Bendigo crane hire company and a New Zealand engineer following the death of a worker at a decommissioned cheese factory in Leitchville, near Echuca  More...

Brisbane builder fined over work safety breaches
A Brisbane builder was fined $24,000 this week over breaches of Queensland work safety laws. The company was sentenced in the Holland Park Magistrates Court for three breaches of section 193 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with improvement notices issued by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland  More...

Fatal fall at tourist attraction in Queensland
In October 2019, a patron died, and another was seriously injured while using a zipline attraction as part of a rainforest adventure tour. A person conducting a business or undertaking has duties under WHS legislation to ensure the provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety including safe systems of work  More...

Charges laid after assault on youth justice worker
WorkSafe has charged the Department of Justice and Community Safety for alleged health and safety breaches. Two charges have been filed at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, for failing to provide and maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health  More...

No stone unturned in major strategy on silicosis risks
A cross-industry strategy lead by SafeWork NSW has dramatically increased awareness of silicosis and standardised practices of exposure prevention  More...

Electrical licensing disciplinary action in Queensland
The Electrical Licensing Committee has disqualified an electrical worker from holding an electrical work or contractor licence for five years. He had advertised his services online to perform unlicensed electrical contracting work  More...

Rumble strips a welcome improvement to roadwork safety
Rumble strips help keep workers and motorists safe around roadwork sites and are a simple way to remind drivers and motorists that they are in a higher risk area.  More...

NSW mining and petroleum WHS laws up for review
NSW mining and petroleum work health and safety laws and regulations will be back under the microscope next year for their five-yearly review  More...

Innovation and intervention to prevent workplace accidents
Construction sites, hazardous chemical facilities and sites with mobile plant equipment are some of the workplaces targeted in a new High-Risk Workplaces Strategy launched by the NSW Government  More...

Paint manufacturer ordered to upskill senior staff in safety
An industrial paint mixing and manufacturing company, MMP Industrial Pty Ltd, was ordered to provide essential safety training to key staff after a worker was seriously burnt during cleaning activities. MMP Industrial was also fined a total of $75,750 for two breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011  More...

Industrial gas and liquid supplier fined $200,000 after worker dies from hose whipping
A large national company with ties to an international entity which specialises in the manufacturing and supply of industrial gases was recently fined $200,000 for a breach under section 32 of Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011  More...

Safe Work Australia urges caution on swimming pool chemical OHS
Safe Work Australia recently released a new information sheet for storing swimming pool chemicals for small and medium businesses which do not have major chemical stores/expertise in managing the risks of chemical storage  More...

Qld mechanical services providers require new licence
From 1 January 2020, Qld mechanical services contractors, nominee supervisors and those finishing relevant apprenticeships must hold a mechanical services licence  More...

HIA:  Workplace Manslaughter Bill Passed
The Victorian Government has passed the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Bill 2019. The Bill inserts a new workplace manslaughter offence into the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004  More...

Companies charged following crane death
WorkSafe has charged a North Melbourne construction company and a Thomastown crane hire company following the death of a worker crushed by a concrete kibble at a building site in Box Hill  More...

SafeWork NSW to visit transport industry to warn of fall risks
SafeWork NSW inspectors will be visiting businesses in the transport, distribution and warehousing sectors across Sydney/Metropolitan area as part of Falls from Heights Advisory Program aimed at reducing injuries related to falls  More...

Hazelwood Power guilty after mine fire, court rules
Hazelwood Mine's operator has been convicted after it exposed workers and the public to dangerous conditions during a major fire in 2014  More...

Queensland contemplates prosecution for safety breach
Queensland’s Mines Inspectorate has reiterated a zero tolerance stance for unsafe practices in light of two fatal incidents at Jacks Quarry near Collinsville and Fairfield Quarry near Clermont last year  More...

23 Oct 2019

Workplace injury rate in Victoria remains at near record low
The rate of workplace injuries in Victoria rose last year but remains at a near record low, data contained in WorkSafe’s 2018/19 annual report reveals.
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Gayle's Law regulations rejected in SA Parliament after criticism from nurses and family
Regulations aimed at ensuring the safety of remote nurses in South Australia have been overturned after being criticised by nurses and the family of murdered outback nurse Gayle Woodford.
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Quad bike safety overhaul backed by grieving families
Families that have lost loved ones in quad bike accidents have backed changes to safety standards for the popular farm vehicles.
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Charges laid after assault on youth justice worker
WorkSafe has charged the Department of Justice and Community Safety for alleged health and safety breaches.
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Company fined $120,000 for unsafe worksite
Sandarra Electrics Pty Ltd has been fined $120,000 for exposing workers to risk of serious injury on a residential construction site in Geelong.
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NSW - New initiatives protect workers using sandstone and silica products
Workers involved in the cutting of manufactured stone, sandstone and building products will be better protected from dust diseases with the NSW Government announcing a range of new measures to prevent exposure to silica dust.
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NSW - Power in workers hands to 'Speak Up. Save lives'
Reporting dangerous work practices and risks to workers’ safety is now easier than ever with the NSW Government’s new mobile reporting system ‘Speak Up. Save Lives’. Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said the new mobile reporting tool will make it easy for workers who see workplace risks which could lead to injury or death to send photos of dangerous conditions they see straight to SafeWork NSW.
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Worker killed after tyre explosion
In September, a truck driver was killed while inflating a tyre. Initial indications are the transport firm employee sustained fatal injuries when the tyre he was inflating exploded.
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Young worker seriously injured by meat slicing machine
In August 2019, a young worker suffered serious hand injuries after an incident at a meat processing workplace. Early enquiries indicate he was operating a guillotine style slicing machine used to cut frozen meat.
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Should workplace bullying be treated as a health hazard?
Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed an evidence-based solution to recognise and prevent bullying in the workplace. Abusive behaviour stems from complex conditions and cannot always be blamed solely on individuals, according to Uni SA’s Associate Professor Michelle Tuckey.
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Why focusing on employee wellness is good for business and how to create a healthy culture in the workplace
Paul Henshall, CEO of ActionCOACH New Zealand and Australia, says that there are associated costs for business owners when they, or their employees, suffer from stress or mental health conditions related to it.
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Workers feel more stress and anxiety than ever before. We need to talk about this
Whether they’re slogging endlessly or just barely scraping by, people feel like they’re drowning. Why?
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3 Sept 2019

WA to introduce industrial manslaughter penalty into WHS law
The McGowan Government will introduce a new Work Health and Safety Bill that will modernise workplace safety laws, better protect workers and hold those responsible for any workplace deaths. One of the main features of the legislation is the introduction of two new offences of industrial manslaughter
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Health and safety officials under investigation for allegedly giving confidential information to CFMEU
Queensland's corruption watchdog has ordered an investigation into "serious allegations" senior government workplace safety officers have passed confidential information to the construction union and helped its officials target a Brisbane manufacturer.
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WA industry's workplace death law fears lashed as 'corporate arrogance'
As the WA government prepares to introduce industrial manslaughter laws, the mother of a teenage worker who died in a Perth CBD construction site in 2017 has rubbished calls from the state's peak industry bodies to vote against the proposal, saying it's "the essence of the self-serving corporate arrogance".
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Man dead after Bootu Creek mine wall collapse, unions call for industrial manslaughter laws
Current and former Bootu Creek mine workers have contacted the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) with concerns about the mine, said NT organiser Kane Lowth.
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Health, Safety Breaches In The Workplace Are Never 'Trivial' Matters
It might at the time seem like a ‘bit of fun’ but two recent workplace incidents highlight why employers and employees – especially in the extractive industry – should be mindful about safety.
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Men's club boss cops $116k fine for bullying staff
The head of invite-only men’s club The Brotherhood and his security company have been fined more than $116,000 for operating with an ‘‘entrenched’’ culture of bullying that left some staff with psychological damage.
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What is silicosis? And why is this old lung disease making a comeback?
Now one of the fastest growing occupational groups we are seeing with silicosis are people who make and install engineered stone products, the type of benchtops and tiles you might find in your kitchen or bathroom.
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Can virtual reality better train miners on safety measures in Australia?
“TELL ME and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” said Benjamin Franklin. To involve people and train them effectively, new-age educators believe virtual reality (VR) is the right tool.
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19 August 2019

Her son was the first known victim of a deadly workplace disease, now Di White is speaking out A new wave of silicosis is affecting workers across Australia. The mother of the first known victim says her son needed a ventilator to breathe and "really didn't have a life" for 16 months before his death.
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WA primary schools put on notice over 'worrying levels' of workplace safety issues WorkSafe has put a number of WA primary schools on notice after inspections revealed “worrying levels” of compliance with hazardous substance regulations and workplace safety laws. The inspections were carried out at 53 primary schools, and saw 239 improvement notices handed out to different schools throughout the state.
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Workplace safety trainer fined $200,000 for dodgy certificates The court heard ATTA gave students certification for completing a two full-day course – when in reality each day had finished by lunchtime. ATTA's certification also stated certain mandatory topics had been covered, even though evidence from students suggested this had not taken place.
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Construction worker ‘spat on safety inspector’ A Victorian construction worker has been fined in court for “assaulting a WorkSafe inspector”, during which it was claimed the inspector was spat on and sworn at after asking workers to get down from an unsecured ledge.
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SAI Global reveals the seven workplace hazards commonly overlooked by employers Can you guess what they are?
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'Lunch in their cars': Workers battle stress and trauma in their jobs Almost half of 25,000 working people say they have experienced trauma or distressing situations at work, a survey has found. And just under a third (31 per cent) said they had experienced violence after being abused, threatened or assaulted by clients, customers or co-workers.
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Hydro Tasmania wins national mental health award Expanding its workplace health program to put a greater focus on mental health has netted Hydro Tasmania a national award. Hydro Tasmania won the Workplace Life Award for its A New Mindset program at the 2019 National Suicide Prevention Australia Conference.
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2GB radio host reveals former producer is taking him to court over bullying claims Sydney radio broadcaster Ray Hadley has revealed a former colleague who previously accused him of bullying is pursuing legal action.
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Passenger safety at risk from ‘putrid’ air traffic control workplace culture
A damning report into Australia’s air traffic control centres has found the workplace culture to be so bad it could compromise passengers’ safety.
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29 July 2019

OH&S Training organisation fined $200,000 for fraud
An occupational health and safety training organisation has been convicted and fined $200,000 for falsifying scaffolding and forklift training records. An assessor employed by the company has also been fined $25,000 without conviction
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Construction site supervisor who set fire to apprentice pleads guilty in tribunal
An Adelaide construction site supervisor who doused an apprentice in flammable liquid and set his clothes on fire has pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act.
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Queensland takes action following string of mining accidents
The resources industry responded by calling for a safety reset at mines and quarries across Queensland by the end of August. Queensland mining’s reset is intended for discussions between management, operational staff and union representatives on risks and safe practice covering all workers.
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New resource to protect outdoor workers from skin cancer
In Australia, skin cancer accounts for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers each year and UV radiation from the sun is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. With high UV radiation year-round in many parts of Australia, people who regularly work outside face a higher risk of developing cancer from sun exposure.
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Taskforce to clean up additional dangerous goods site
The WorkSafe-led taskforce overseeing the removal of waste chemicals in the northern suburbs will clear another site in Campbellfield. The outdoor site was initially discovered during joint inspections with Environment Protection Authority Victoria earlier this year. It was assessed as containing mostly industrial waste and 24-hour security was put in place.
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WHO recognises emotional state is key to healthy workplaces
In its recent 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), The World Health Organisation recognised the serious effects of burnout, defining it as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
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Foundry fined $650,000 after worker’s death
A foundry and metal casting business has been convicted and fined $650,000 following the death of an employee at the company’s Wodonga foundry. Bradken Resources Limited was fined in the Melbourne County Court today after last month being found guilty by a Wangaratta County Court jury of failing to provide and maintain safe plant following a 10 day trial.
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Tradesman convicted in relation to bullying young workers
SafeWork NSW is encouraging businesses to remember mental health at work after a Hunter tradesman was convicted of failing to take reasonable care that his actions did not adversely affect the health and safety of two young workers.
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$150,000 fines imposed after deadly duck farm fall
The trustee of a duck farm operator and a maintenance contractor have each been fined $75,000 following the death of a worker at a property near Nhill. The pair were convicted and fined on 27 June at Melbourne County Court following the March 2016 death of a man who fell from the bucket of a front end loader.
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Fine imposed for high-pressure clean of asbestos roof
A recent ruling in the Southport Magistrates Court has highlighted the dangers of cleaning asbestos roofs and that codes of practice must be followed. A company which operates childcare centres was fined $3,500 for a breach of section 446 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
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29 January 2018

Trench collapse deaths result in charges against construction company Pipecon
WorkSafe has charged civil construction company Pipecon over the deaths of two Ballarat workers who were killed when the trench they were working in collapsed on March 21 last year. Charlie Howkins, 34, was laying pipes in the Ballarat suburb of Delacombe when the trench he was working in gave way, killing him instantly and trapping his 21-year-old colleague Jack Brownlee.
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Victorian junkyard owner Maria Jackson sentenced to jail over employee's death
A South Gippsland woman has become the first person in Victoria to be sentenced to jail under Worksafe Victoria duty laws for recklessly endangering a worker. Maria Carla Jackson, 72, was convicted and sentenced to six months' jail in December last year after the death of a man at her scrap metal yard in Foster, 174 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.
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Canberra's recycling plant in Hume shut down over concerns for worker safety
Canberra's recycling facility has been shut down after numerous threats to worker safety were found at the Hume site. The Materials Recovery Facility in Hume was issued several prohibition notices by Worksafe ACT on Thursday evening, after an inspection discovered electrical issues, problems with fuel and gas supply, missing fire extinguishers and piles of rubble blocking safety exits.
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Truck driver dies collecting rubbish skip
A truck driver died yesterday after being struck by his own truck while collecting a hire rubbish skip bin at a workplace in Kew. The driver, 55, had left the cabin of his vehicle when the truck moved and struck him before it crashed through a side fence and into a garage on an adjoining property.
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Young worker electrocuted on roof
A young worker has died in an incident at a home in Melbourne's outer-west yesterday evening. It is believed the 19-year-old man was electrocuted while installing an air-conditioner on the roof of the two storey Plumpton dwelling.
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Court urges employers to take care of young workers
As thousands of youngsters prepare to kick start their careers this time of the year, a recent court case in Brisbane is a stark reminder of the responsibilities employers have with rookie employees. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's Tony James said employers must be aware that young workers will often take risks if they are anxious to please their bosses - and they must be protected against this blind enthusiasm.
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New and improved `Claims & return to work' pages
WorkCover Queensland and the Office of Industrial Relations have worked together to update the content previously found under the `Rehab & claims' section of this website, with the goal to improve your experience by making information easier to find and understand. We are pleased to announce that the outworking of this project-the revamped Claims & return to work section-is now live.
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Test before you touch
As we start the New Year it is a good time to remind all electrical workers to always test before you touch. Treat every circuit or piece of electrical equipment as live until tested and proven not to be live. When you correctly test before you touch, you can identify any faults that exist with the circuit connections of the installation or electrical equipment, before you commence working on it.
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Audiometric testing exemption
SafeWork NSW has issued a further two year exemption for the audiometric testing requirements of clause 58(2) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. This exemption is granted until 31 December 2020. This exemption is to ensure persons conducting a business or undertaking in NSW are provided with an appropriate time frame to prepare for the implementation of audiometric testing of workers who are frequently required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) in workplaces with noise levels that exceed the 'exposure standard for noise'.
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A lack of capacity to work can be a manifestation of a mental disability
Employers need to exercise caution when managing employees who have medical conditions or similar issues. Particular attention needs to be paid to ensure action is not taken because of a manifestation of the condition, such as side-effects of mental illnesses. A recent Federal Court decision saw Western Union Business Solutions fall foul of section 351 of the Fair Work Act because of this scenario.
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7 December 2018

Fishing fatalities prompt warning amid revelation working on boats more dangerous than mining
The owner of the largest fleet in Australia's most valuable prawn fishery has called on industry to tackle its safety problems amid revelations fishing is about 25 times more dangerous to work in than mining and construction. Arthur Raptis said a "culture of acceptance" had led many to believe a series of fatal and other serious accidents in recent years was "just part of fishing".
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Push for industrial manslaughter laws in the NT as grieving families are being 'left in the dark'
It's been more than a year since the death of her husband in a workplace accident, but Terry Delaney says she's still being left in the dark by authorities. Carl Delaney was working for a subcontractor on the INPEX Itchthys LNG Project when he was killed on the night of Wednesday, 29 November 2017.
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Three workers crushed in accident on Gold Cost Jewel development site
Three men have been crushed in a workplace accident at the site of the $1 billion high-rise Jewel development on the Gold Coast. The CFMEU said the accident happened about 8:45am when a steel tray carrying electrical cables collapsed. Queensland Ambulance's Gavin Fuller said the three men, aged 27 and 28, were working in a lower car park of the building when the cabling conduit fell two-and-a-half metres onto them.
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Labourer dies after falling from ladder
A 21-year-old labourer has died after falling from a ladder at a residential property in Bendigo on Friday. It is believed the man was on a ladder placed against the outside of a single storey property in the suburb of Kennington, when the incident occurred at about 12.30pm. He died in hospital later that day. WorkSafe is investigating.
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Carnival ride operator charged following child's death
The operator of an amusement ride has been charged by WorkSafe Victoria following the death of a child who fell from a ride at Rye Easter Carnival last year. The six-year-old boy received critical head injuries after falling from the Cha Cha ride on 17 April 2017, and died later in hospital.
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Father and son drown at beach lagoon
In October 2018, a father and his son who were on holidays from overseas drowned at Airlie Beach lagoon. It appears they got into difficulty in deeper water. Both were pulled from the water but could not be resuscitated. Investigations are continuing.
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Protecting bodies and minds against pre-holiday stresses
With the end of year fast approaching, ensuring your workers stay physically safe and mentally healthy is critical to avoiding unnecessary and costly injuries. Whether you're employing temporary workers to cover for a busy trading period or delivering complex projects to a tight deadline, ensuring a safe workplace and focussing on positive mental health care is a duty of care all employers share.
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$80,000 fine imposed after workplace incident results in amputation
Inadequate supervision and training for a young worker has been blamed for a workplace incident which resulted in an inexperienced labourer having his hand amputated. On Monday, the Rockhampton Magistrates Court heard the incident occurred while the worker had been employed as a pipeline labourer for a consortium near Biloela.
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Failure to protect young worker costs timber company dearly
A timber company has been fined $60,000 for failing to protect a young inexperienced worker who lost a thumb and three fingers following a workplace incident on 7 October 2015. At a sentence hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 4 December 2018, the company was found to have failed its obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 as a duty holder to protect the teenage employee.
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Queensland abattoir fined $200,000 following death of labourer
An Queensland abbatoir has been fined in the Maryborough Magistrates Court after it failed to ensure the health and safety of a worker and exposed him to the risk of death. The company was fined $200,000 for the death of a worker who suffered fatal injuries in 2017 when he was struck by a ramp while unloading a triple-deck truck laden with pigs.
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Safest NSW workplaces awarded
Riding for the disabled was a SafeWork Award winner. Riding for the Disabled, the University of Sydney and a number of innovative construction businesses are just some of the workplaces recognised as the safest in NSW for 2018. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean congratulated the winners of the 2018 SafeWork Awards, which are setting the benchmark for providing safe workplaces around the State.
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22 October 2018

King call for changes to Australia's workplace safety laws
IT is clear that sweeping change is needed in Australia's workplace safety regime after the handing down of a report in the Senate this week says Ballarat Federal MP Catherine King. Ms King comments come after a 120-page Education and Employment Committee's report was released in the Senate this week detailing 34 recommendations for the future of workplace safety in Australia.
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How to ensure your Workplace Safety Inspections can Identify Issues
What's worse than finding a safety issue at your workplace that could have potentially injured someone? Not finding the issue. Every workplace is different; organisations that have several locations will even sometimes have separate OH&S procedures and safety inspection documentation for each location. What's important is that your working environment has the best safety inspection system in place possible. Too often organisations and firms are relying on free mobile applications or simple paper check sheets that get put in that drawer somewhere - both of which are unreliable and inefficient systems.
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Canberra mental health nurses warn their lives are at risk from patient assaults
A nurse at Canberra's forensic mental health unit has warned "somebody is going to die" in her workplace unless staff conditions improve. It comes after a series of assaults on staff by one patient in July which left some nurses seeking treatment at the emergency department.
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Crane driver suffers suspected spinal and leg injuries after fall at Melbourne construction site
A crane driver is being treated for suspected spinal and leg injuries after he fell about 2 metres inside a tower crane on a construction site in Melbourne's CBD. Emergency crews were called to the Lonsdale Street site about 8:30am after the worker fell while he was climbing up a ladder inside the crane to the driver's cabin.
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Apprentice dies in confined space
A 20-year-old apprentice has died while working inside an open-ended tank at a Cranbourne West business. It is believed the man was working with power tools when he was overcome with fumes in the confined space, about 10am.
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WorkCover Queensland wins two national PIEF awards
WorkCover Queensland has been recognised for outstanding performance in managing serious injuries and for digital innovation in injury management at the national 2018 Personal Injury and Disability Management Awards.
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Worker injured in wall collapse
In September 2018, a worker received serious head, back and chest injuries while attempting to jump off a trestle to avoid the collapse of a 2.8 metre high block wall. He and another worker who was not injured were constructing the block wall. In August 2018, a five metre high core filled block wall collapsed at a separate construction site, although in this case there were no injuries. Investigations are continuing into both incidents.
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Worker's lower leg amputated as forklift strikes bollard
In September 2018, a forklift operator's lower leg was amputated when the forklift he was driving struck a bollard. Initial investigations suggest he was driving the forklift around a corner of a packing hall onto an exit ramp and his foot may have been outside of the manufacturer's designated operating position. Investigations are continuing.
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Worker severely injured by failed towing equipment
In September 2018, a truck driver suffered severe abdominal injuries when a chain failed during a semi-trailer recovery operation. The chain was being used with other heavy vehicle recovery equipment including a pulley (snatch block), winch rope and hook to move the jack-knifed semi-trailer.
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Ceiling space wiring - is your work compliant?
Ceiling spaces are high risk work locations where there's a risk of an electrical shock from contact with damaged or exposed live wiring or equipment. Electrical safety inspectors are currently auditing new and existing ceiling space wiring installations, as well as mid-construction, to check compliance with the Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000).
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