WHS News

Workplace Occupational Health & Safety News


18 March 2024



Negligent bosses in NSW to face 20 years in jail for industrial manslaughter
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis has said she will bring in new industrial manslaughter laws which will significantly increase penalties for negligent employers. The move comes after 263 workers died on worksites between 2017 and 2022. In 2023, 41 workers died doing their job in the first six months of the year.
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Victoria to limit WorkCover compensation for stress after deal struck with opposition
Under the changes, workers suffering stress and burnout will no longer be able to access weekly WorkCover benefits. They will instead be eligible for 13 weeks of provisional payments to cover medical treatment, along with access to enhanced psychosocial support services.
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Worker required to have a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine awarded workers compensation following adverse effects
After initially having his workers compensation claim declined, the South Australian Employment Tribunal has awarded a public servant with weekly payments of income support and medical expenses after suffering post-vaccine pericarditis following a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which was required under emergency management directions to enable him to work for his employer.
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Bullying at work – your workplace rights
This article explores what behaviour constitutes bullying under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and explains the formal complaint pathway to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop bullying at work.
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Sexual harassment is still common in workplaces, with employers urged to step up
Data from the Australian Human Rights Commission illustrates the scale of the sexual harassment problem. In a five-year period to 2022, more than two in five women and just over a quarter of men reported having been sexually harassed at work. In male-dominated sectors, that's even higher.
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Why are convictions over workplace deaths so rare in Australia?
With one young father killed in a workplace accident on Wednesday and another fighting for his life in hospital, debate over Australia's industrial manslaughter laws has been reignited.
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Minister welcomes historic Qantas fine for standing down Health and Safety worker over COVID concerns
The NSW Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis has welcomed the landmark conviction and fine of Qantas one of the nation’s largest companies for standing down a worker who raised work health and safety concerns.
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NSW Government to transform SafeWork NSW into standalone work, health and safety regulator
The New South Wales Government will transform SafeWork into a standalone regulator following a 12-month inquiry by former judge The Hon. Robert McDougall KC. The Government has released the independent report as it continues work to create a modern, strong and fit for purpose work health and safety regulator.
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Millions of Australians have a chronic illness. So why aren’t employers accommodating them?
73% of people believed their chronic illness was at least partially caused or worsened by their job. Almost one in five people believed work entirely caused or worsened their illness.
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Questions about the mental health of employees at Mental Health Commission
In New South Wales, the Mental Health Commission is grappling with significant internal challenges highlighted by a recent employee survey, marking it as one of the least happy workplaces in the public sector.
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16 Feb 2024



Australia’s child workers are vulnerable to injury, harassment and exploitation thanks to weak and inconsistent laws
Young workers under 18 years of age occupy a unique and poorly understood position in Australia’s labour market. They contribute to crucial industries and the economy, but are uniquely vulnerable. Compared to adults, child workers experience high rates of workplace injuries, bullying and sexual harassment, wage theft and unpredictable hours.
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WorkSafe NSW report submissions expose shocking stories of nurses and tradies dying at work and a regulator accused of inaction
When a workplace safety regulator is accused by workers, inspectors, unions and victims of being timid, ineffectual and suffering from systemic cultural and operational issues, it's time for a massive overhaul.
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Regional hospital records 'extremely alarming' 80 per cent rise in violence and aggression towards staff
A Victorian health service says staff are taking mental health leave or leaving the health sector altogether in response to an average of 30 to 40 incidents of violence and aggression each week.
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A string of workplace fatalities prompts desperate calls for employers to ensure safety
The deaths of five people at NSW workplaces within just four days has prompted calls for business owners to stay on top of safety and compliance.
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How Would You Sentence an Employer Who Failed to Provide a Safe Workplace?
Marking the first major review in 20 years, the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council has published two reports about the sentencing of occupational health and safety (OHS) offences. The first is a consultation paper seeking community views on areas for possible reform, and the second is a deep dive into court data about how OHS offences are sentenced in Victoria.
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Thousands protest for safer worksites amid claims of rising heat stress incidents on worksites
The CFMEU says one worker has died and more than 20 others have been hospitalised since Christmas due to heat-related illness and injury.
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Charges against health service after patient death
WorkSafe has charged Monash Health following the death of a mental health patient at Dandenong Hospital.
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Sitting at work leads to higher risk of early death, study finds
A new study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that those who mostly sit at work had higher mortality risks than those who do not.
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Report: Australian university sector scores poorly when it comes to workplace health
A large survey of Australian university employees over the past four years paints a bleak picture, with almost 73% of professionals and academics reporting poor work environments in 2023.
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WorkSafe Awards finalists highlight safety excellence
Seeking safer and healthier workplaces through fresh approaches and tenacity is the common thread among the finalists for this month’s WorkSafe Awards.
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7th Nov 2023



$290,000 in fines for first sexual harassment conviction under VIC workplace safety laws
WorkSafe Victoria said the offending behaviour occurred as far back as 2014, and that while the businesses had policies related to sexual harassment and online bullying, they failed to provide sufficient information to employees hoping to make a complaint.
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Push for more workplace heat awareness ahead of El Niño summer
There are no government-enforced ?temperatures that force outdoor workers to down tools when it gets too hot experts believe there needs to be more regulation. Death from occupational heat stress ?is rare but 17 Australians died from heat-related causes between 2000 and 2015.
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Employee Assistance Programs: what are they and do I need one?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your meet your legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.
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Taking the ‘silly’ out of ‘silly season’: Managing employee conduct at end of year functions
Recommended actions for HR managers in the lead up to the festive season.
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Stapling signs to a power pole could kill you, Brisbane electricians warn
Energex's north Brisbane area manager Chris Graham said a man was lucky to be alive after he tried to nail a sign to a pole in August this year.
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Court body fined almost $380,000 for deadly work culture
Court Services Victoria has been convicted and fined $379,157 over a toxic workplace culture at the Coroners Court of Victoria that contributed to the suicide of one worker and numerous others taking stress leave.
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Tony Burke calls on states to act on recommended ban on engineered stone benchtops
The Australian workplace safety watchdog has recommended a national ban on engineered stone and a special licensing scheme for the handling of existing benchtops, finding no level of cancer-causing silica is “safe” for tradies.
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SafeWork warning follows upward trend in failure to notify and disturbance of scenes
SafeWork NSW is warning businesses they will face fines and potential prosecution if they fail to report incidents after the workplace regulator this year issued 140 compliance notices and over $55,000 in fines for breaches with one-third of all offences occurring in the construction industry.
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Principles that apply to WHS duties – new case studies
Safe Work Australia has published 2 case studies for the franchising and outsourcing industries. The case studies practically demonstrate the 4 model WHS Act principles that apply to work health and safety duties and the duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other duty holders.
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Feeling depleted by work? This is how Melanie beat burnout without quitting her job
Burnout affects two in three Australian workers, according to a nationwide survey of 1,017 workers carried out by NSW Work Health and Safety (WHS) in January 2023.
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17th Oct 2023



Automated external defibrillator saves tradie's life after workplace cardiac arrest
Dylan Holmes was chatting with a colleague in the workshop when he collapsed. He says all businesses should invest in the device that saved his life.
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SafeWork SA urges better safety and training to protect retail workers
Retail workers as young as 14 are facing abuse from customers, as South Australia's workplace safety regulator says employers need to do more to address the risk of violence and aggression.
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Working together to support all workers this National Safe Work Month
All workers have the right to be safe at work. When designing safe systems of work, it’s essential to consider the needs of all workers. This includes understanding and addressing the factors that mean some workers may be at higher risk of harm.
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New laws bring tougher penalties, longer imprisonment and better protections for dust diseases
The Minns Labor Government has doubled penalties and prison terms under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 as part of a suite of measures to create safer workplaces across the state.
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Food delivery platform fined for not training more than 1000 employees
SafeWork NSW has fined a food delivery company for not adequately training more than 1000 food delivery riders in hazard and fatigue management, road safety, the use of PPE and work health and safety duties and obligations.
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What is an injury in Workers Compensation law? It’s not as simple as it looks
For a worker to be entitled to workers compensation they must suffer an injury. And that raises a deceptively subtle question: what exactly is an injury?
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Victoria ramps up regulation to address psychosocial hazards in the workplace
WorkSafe Victoria has established a specialist Psychosocial Inspectorate to investigate psychosocial hazards and has released information on the risk categories that are more likely to lead to a WorkSafe investigation and potential prosecution.
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NSW worker’s compensation claims due to aggravation of a previous injury
It’s a common question: Can I claim worker’s compensation if my injury is an aggravation of a previous injury? The short answer is yes!
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“Unreasonable workloads” and psychiatric injury – when does a duty to protect employees arise?
A High Court decision marked a significant development in the law about psychiatric injuries and an employer’s duty to take steps to prevent risk of harm.
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Workplace loneliness is the modern pandemic damaging lives and hurting businesses
Loneliness is a much discussed social issue, but it is rarely considered to be a workplace problem that needs to be managed like other health issues at work. The Social Connection in Australia 2023 report acknowledges loneliness hurts businesses, as it causes employee absenteeism and reduced productivity.
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18th Sept 2023



Keep those around you safe this summer with new SeasonalSAFE tool
As the temperature continues to rise, SafeWork NSW is reminding all businesses of the responsibilities they have to keep their employees and customers safe from the dangers presented by extreme weather this summer.
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Assaults on retail workers to attract stronger penalties
People who assault retail workers will face tougher penalties under a Bill introduced to Parliament recently by the NSW Government.
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Childcare operator jailed after exposing his own $430,000 WorkCover fraud
A Roxburgh Park man who faked a serious mental injury to scam the WorkCover scheme while secretly operating a childcare centre and overseeing multiple developments has been sentenced to 22 months jail.
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Need a mental health day but worried about admitting it? You’re not alone
There are days when it’s hard to face work, even when you aren’t physically sick. Should you take a day off for your mental health? If you do, should you be honest about it when informing your manager?
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Why insecure work is finally being recognised as a health hazard for some Australians
Whether you are labourer engaged by a labour hire company, a checkout operator, a ride-share driver or a university lecturer on a casual contract, job insecurity can harm both your physical and mental health.
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Every worker is entitled to be safe at work, but casual workers can fall through the cracks
While laws to protect workers from mistreatment already exist in Australia, the government recently signed a United Nations convention that recognises a broad definition of work and an expansive definition of violence and harassment.
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Failing to give notice of injury in time
While there are provisions in the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) which prevents the recovery of compensation if an injured worker has failed to give notice of an injury within the prescribed time frames, these are rarely applied.
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Introduction of industrial manslaughter offence and increased workplace penalties
On 4 September 2023, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke introduced into Parliament the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Bill), outlining significant changes to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act). This article explains some of the proposed amendments.
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Pinnacle College in Adelaide fined over death of student, who drowned at Browns Beach
A private college in Adelaide's north has been fined more than $400,000 after a 16-year-old student drowned during a school excursion.
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Implementing the new Respect@Work legislation: Steps for organisations
The Good Practice Indicators Framework for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Sexual Harassment (Framework) guides employers on how to comply with the new Amendments. The Framework suggests focusing on two key areas – prevention and response.
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4th September 2023



Proposed reforms to workplace incident notification obligations
Australia's workplace safety laws could see significant changes as Safe Work Australia (SWA) seeks submissions regarding incident notification obligations. The proposed changes could expand the types of incidents that are required to be reported to regulators, and mandate regular reporting of complaints such as workplace bullying and traumatic events. SWA is seeking public submissions and feedback on these proposals until 11 September 2023.
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Safe Work Australia to propose new laws for notifying psychosocial incidents
Safe Work Australia has recently called for stakeholder feedback on proposed changes to notification requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), following the recommendations of the original Boland Review of WHS laws in 2018 (Review).

A consistent view expressed in the consultation process conducted by the Review was that the incident notification provisions need to be clearer and capture all relevant incidents. .
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The unseen struggle: Identifying and responding to the risk of psychiatric injury
Employers have a non-delegable duty of care to their employees to provide a safe system of work and to take reasonable steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable injuries. This paramount duty arises under both statute and common law and extends beyond physical safety to encompass psychological well-being.

However, the risk of psychiatric injury is often less apparent than in cases of physical injury. Employees often keep their struggles to themselves until symptoms become prominently visible.
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Employee’s exaggerated complaints created psychosocial risk
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has found in R v Virgin Australia Airlines PtyLtd [2023] FWC 1501 that an employee had a pattern of behaviour of making false and/or exaggerated complaints about his colleagues and that this created a risk to their psychosocial safety.
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Psychological injury claims after employer implemented vaccine mandates
Two recent decisions in the NSW Personal Injury Commission (PIC) have awarded compensation to workers who suffered a psychological injury as a result of the employer’s implementation of a vaccination public health order.
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Commission rejects application for stop bullying orders
Differences in opinion, dysfunctional relationships and disagreements between employees may occur from time to time in the workplace. Generally, these instances of workplace conflict do not amount to bullying behaviour, which is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour causing a risk to health and safety.

However, if left unaddressed, instances of low-level conflict can exacerbate and lead to bullying behaviour and psychosocial hazards in the workplace.
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Why insecure work is finally being recognised as a health hazard for some Australians
In an Australian first, Western Australia has formally recognised this in its new Code of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace, which provides practical guidance on how WA workplaces can comply with their duties under the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
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Every worker is entitled to be safe at work, but casual workers can fall through the cracks
In an Australian first, Western Australia has formally recognised this in its new Code of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace, which provides practical guidance on how WA workplaces can comply with their duties under the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
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PCBU? - The Meaning Of ‘person Conducting A Business Or Undertaking’
This document provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the concept of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ used in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations.
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The emotional impact of your workplace injury
Sustaining a physical injury at work not only leads to physical pain and financial burden but can also profoundly impact your emotional well-being. In New South Wales (NSW), workers compensation claims may trigger emotional consequences that deserve your attention and support. This article explores some emotional repercussions you may face navigating the workers compensation process and highlights the importance of addressing these alongside your physical recovery.
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13th July 2023



NSW Work Health and Safety Minister furious over 'shocker' Newcastle building sites
New South Wales Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis says she is shocked by the state of two Newcastle building sites that have been issued stop work orders. Work has ceased at sites on Brunker Road in Adamstown and Watt Street, in Newcastle's CBD, after NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler raised serious safety concerns. Ms Cotsis said she was alarmed.
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Juice company Nippy's fined, criminally convicted over scalping of 18-year-old worker
A juice company has been fined $120,000 after an employee was scalped in a workplace incident described as "traumatic". An 18-year-old working at a Nippy's Waikerie Producers Pty Ltd packing shed in South Australia's Riverland had her entire scalp torn from her head in November 2020.
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Failing to give notice of injury in time
While there are provisions in the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) which prevents the recovery of compensation if an injured worker has failed to give notice of an injury within the prescribed time frames, these are rarely applied. In the matter of Jarvis v State of New South Wales (Northern Sydney Local Health District) & Ors [2023] NSWPIC 20 the time limit provision found in section 254 of the 1998 Act was found to operate in relation to the first respondent, Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD).
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Manufacturer fined $280,000 after fatal machine crush
A metal manufacturing company has been convicted and fined $280,000 after a machine operator died at its Epping factory in February 2021. Rapid Perforating Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing, as far as was reasonably practicable, to provide or maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health.
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Fraudster caught claiming injuries on fake jobs
A man who twice made worker injury compensation claims in the names of employers that he didn't work for, including his sister-in-law's business, has had to repay $135,000. Khaled Haouchar, 43, was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week after pleading guilty to two charges under the Crimes Act of obtaining financial advantage by deception, and one charge under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act of fraudulently obtaining payments.
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Company charged after crane collapse puts lives at risk
WorkSafe has charged a crane company after workers were exposed to the risk of serious injury or death on a Parkville construction site in July 2021. Sergi Australia Pty Ltd is facing two charges under section 26(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure that a workplace under its management and control was, so far as was reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.
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Expiry of COVID-19 vaccination information regulations
WorkSafe is reminding employers that pandemic regulations put in place to assist with the collection, recording, holding and use of COVID-19 vaccination information from specified persons expired today.
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Worker seriously injured after fall from incomplete scaffolding
A person was seriously injured after falling from scaffolding at a residential construction site. The injured worker was doing rendering work on the top level of the scaffold before they fell. The scaffold was incomplete. It was missing planks, guard rails, mid rails and ties. The scaffold also had loose planks and excessive gaps between the scaffold and the building.
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Glen's story
As a long-haul truck driver, Glen Bennett was used to calling his family from the road to say goodnight. So, in early August 2020, when Glen called his wife Roni to say goodnight from a truck stop near Bundaberg, he couldn’t have known that the next time he’d be calling her would be from an ambulance to say goodbye, because he thought he wasn’t going to make it.
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New scheme to improve workplace safety and culture within Ambulance Victoria
A new scheme is underway to help rebuild trust, strengthen safety and respect and improve the culture at Ambulance Victoria. Findings from the 2020 Independent Review into Workplace Equality within Ambulance Victoria outlined behaviour and a culture that the state government has called unacceptable. The new independent restorative engagement scheme will be established as recommended by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC).
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15th June 2023



Survey of state: WHS regulation and reform relating to psychosocial risks
This provides an overview of where each State and Territory is up with regard to WHS laws relating to psychosocial risks.
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Can employers be vicariously liable for actions of intoxicated workers?
Vicarious liability is where an employer may be held legally responsible for the actions of employees (and others) for harm caused in the workplace. The employer need not have specifically or directly caused the harm themselves.
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Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 1)
Jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions can be complex. This is because prosecutions can be brought under various pieces of legislation which trigger different jurisdictions. The jurisdiction which is triggered determines not only the court in which a prosecution is to be commenced, but also the broader system. The system in which a prosecution proceeds then determines various other things, including where an appeal lies and the nature of the relief a party may seek.
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Establishing jurisdiction in work health and safety prosecutions (Part 2)
We continue our discussion on the litigation, emphasising the implications of making mistakes about jurisdiction and the need for careful consideration of these matters.
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Principles that apply to WHS duties – new fact sheets
Did you know that under the model WHS Act there are 4 principles that apply to work health and safety duties, including those of persons of persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs)? Safe Work Australia has produced resources to explain these principles, as well as the duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other duty holders.
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Thales fined over Bendigo fatality
Defence contractor Thales Australia has been convicted and fined $450,000 for safety failures that resulted in the death of a worker at its Bendigo factory.
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Cleanaway charged over Canberra WHS incident
National waste management company Cleanaway has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an incident that injured a Canberra worker.
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Release of new statutory rates
Comcare has published new statutory rates for various sections of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
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Essential Good Work Design resources for managers and supervisors
This guidance may help managers create psychologically safe teams and better manage psychosocial risks at work.
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The sexual harassment framework: Your guide to recent reforms
Australia’s sexual harassment framework has been subject to significant law reform over the last two years. This guide outlines the major changes from the Amending Acts, the avenues for dispute resolution and six steps to assist employers meeting their obligations.
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20 April 2023



Guide to managing the risks of tree work
Safe Work Australia has published updated work health and safety guidance for tree work. The Guide to managing the risks of tree work updates the previous Guide to managing risks of tree trimming and removal work. The most significant changes in the guide relate to duties around managing the risk of falls when accessing trees and when to consider providing an additional backup safety line for single-rope access systems.
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Summary of workers’ compensation arrangements in Australia and New Zealand 2022 report
The Summary of workers’ compensation arrangements in Australia and New Zealand 2022 report has been published. The report provides an overview of recent developments in workers’ compensation schemes across all jurisdictions. This report follows on from the Comparison of Workers’ Compensation Arrangements in Australia and New Zealand (2021).
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WA farm deaths inquiry finds 'risk-taking culture', recommends more inspections and safety education
An inquiry into workplace safety in Western Australia's agricultural sector has recommended establishing a levy on industry to allow WorkSafe to increase oversight and hire six new inspectors. WorkSafe independent inquirer Pam Scott has released her report into agricultural safety with eight recommendations to improve safety, the majority being supported by WorkSafe commissioner Darren Kavanagh.
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Senior doctor stable after alleged stabbing at Burnie hospital
Tasmania's premier Jeremy Rockliff says the condition of a senior doctor allegedly stabbed while working in the emergency department at Tasmania's North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) is improving.
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Young tradie warns of silica-related illnesses after needing lung transplant
Rising temperatures, tiredness, struggling to breathe, weight loss and changing skin textures. Hak Kim was in his mid-20s when he started noticing these changes in his body. At 25, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which he developed after breathing in silica dust particles while working in demolition.
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Nurses, midwives call for 24/7 onsite security after violence, threats in regional SA hospitals
Staff are being spat at, kicked and threatened with violence at a regional South Australian hospital and urgent action is needed, the state's nursing union says. The Riverland General Hospital is one of the few remaining large regional hospitals in SA without 24/7 onsite security. Hundreds of signatures have been added to a petition calling for round-the-clock, restraint-trained security staff to be stationed at the hospital.
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MSF Sugar won't stand trial over electrocution death of employee Brett Quinn
An industrial manslaughter case against one of Australia's largest sugar milling companies will not proceed to trial, after a magistrate found there was not enough evidence it was responsible for the electrocution of an employee. MSF Sugar worker Brett Quinn, 49, was killed while working on a crane that either touched or came too close to overhead powerlines in Far North Queensland in July 2019.
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Restaurant fined over hot oil burns
Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Frankston Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday after pleading guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment and failing to notify WorkSafe immediately after an incident. The company was also ordered to pay $4,409 in costs.
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Gate repair company charged after fatal crush
Gate Automation Systems Pty Ltd is facing a single charge under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to health and safety risks. The 59-year-old truck driver was fatally crushed at a Dandenong depot after a 12 metre wide automatic sliding gate fell on him. WorkSafe alleges Gate Automation Systems had left the gate in an unsafe condition by removing parts such that it could only be moved manually, without addressing the risk that the gate could fall from its rails and crush a person, causing death or serious injury.
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Managing psychological health and safety at work: the guidance provided by each Australian state and territory
In December 2018, Marie Boland released a report (Boland Report) that recommended the development of additional regulations on how to identify psychosocial risks in the workplace and the appropriate control measures to manage those risks. This fact sheet explains the changes and what employers should do to ensure they are compliant.
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NSW Workers Compensation – Claims for Psychological Injury
Mental Health conditions suffered by those in the work place, including psychological injury as a result of employment is a significant concern for employers Australia wide. This is not only due to the negative effects of mental illness on employees but in turn the significant costs incurred by businesses due to absence from the work place and generally, the payment of compensation or increased insurance premiums, when injury occurs in the workplace.
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22 March 2023



Boss charged after alleged harassment of young workers
WorkSafe has charged a director, a worker and two companies after multiple allegations of sexual harassment of young workers at hospitality outlets at two Melbourne hospitals.
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Truck driver found dead in cool room
The 50-year-old was found deceased about 2.30pm on Wednesday after his vehicle was spotted at the workplace, unattended and with the engine running, two hours after he had finished work. The death is the third workplace fatality of 2023, compared to 11 at the same time last year.
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Safe unloading of stone or other heavy slabs
WorkSafe is reminding employers about controlling risks associated with hazardous manual handling in the construction and manufacturing industries.
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Court hits demolition company with $85,000 penalty
A demolition and asbestos removal company has been convicted and fined a total of $64,500 in two prosecutions for working from height and asbestos removal safety breaches.
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Review into Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme
The Queensland Government has announced an independent review of the state’s workers’ compensation scheme is underway. Head of the Office of Industrial Relations Kym Bancroft welcomed the review, which under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, must be carried out every five years.
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Canberra school principals experience highest rate of violence and abuse in Australia, survey finds
Three in four principals in Canberra have been subjected to threats and physical violence — the highest rate in the country — according to a new survey of school leaders. The Australian Catholic University (ACU) surveyed 2,500 principals nationwide about their mental health and wellbeing.
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Half of migrant workers in Australia feel unsafe at work, survey finds
Half of all migrant workers in Australia feel unsafe at work, experiencing discrimination, bullying and verbal abuse, while 58% experienced wage theft, new research has found. The Migrant Workers Centre surveyed more than 1,000 workers in Australia about their experiences in the job market and migration system, and found many migrants experienced discrimination in job application processes because of their visa status, despite having work rights, which pushed them towards insecure work and exploitative employers.
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Junior doctors say they're expected to work overtime for free. Now they're suing hospitals
A string of class actions against health services in Victoria, NSW and the ACT is underway over claims junior doctors have been underpaid. The legal action began in December 2020 when a class action was filed against NSW Health on behalf of junior doctors across the state to recover millions of dollars in allegedly unpaid wages.
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Australian Reforms Tackle Psychosocial Hazards, Including Sexual Harassment, in the Workplace
In the wake of recent government inquiries into alleged bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, in Australian workplaces, Australian legislatures and work health and safety regulators have become increasingly focused on the psychological health and safety of workers. These developments have highlighted the need for employers to better understand and proactively manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace in order to safeguard the psychological, as well as physical, health and safety of all persons in the workplace.
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Luke Corderoy says CBD worksite where Wesley Ballantine died was 'unsafe' but denies it was his reponsibility
A man has told Perth Magistrates Court that a CBD worksite where a teenager died was "unsafe", but it was not his responsibility. Wesley Ballantine died in the early hours of January 5, 2017, after falling at the old General Post Office building in Forrest Place.
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ASP Piling fined $60,000 after worker's arm crushed on construction site
A major Queensland construction company has been fined $60,000 over a workplace accident that resulted in a man's arm being crushed in a concrete pump. ASP Piling pleaded guilty to one count of failing to comply with a health and safety duty that exposed a person to death or serious injury or illness.
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The ‘great resignation’ didn’t happen in Australia, but the ‘great burnout’ did
You’ve probably heard about the “great resignation” which saw large numbers of people resigning from their jobs in the US in 2021 and 2022. We didn’t see resignations over and above what is normal in Australia. However, we did see workers resisting the post-COVID return to the office. To better understand these trends, we conducted a study of 1,400 employed Australians in 2022 to see how they were faring two years after the start of the pandemic.
And the answer is: not great.
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23 Jan 2023



Stress Leave Australia
This article will discuss workplace stress leave in Australia. What does this mean? Stress leave or mental health leaves allows workers/employees to take a leave from work when they are feeling overwhelmed, irritable, or troubled.
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Worker's compensation claims for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
This article will examine worker’s compensation claims for a CRPS injury and a recent Supreme Court judgment that awarded a plaintiff suffering with CRPS over $1.95 million in compensation.
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Bullied at work? What the Fair Work Commission looks for when making stop bullying orders
Employees who reasonably believes that they have been bullied at work can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop bullying. When assessing these claims, the Commission will consider the evidence and determine whether that evidence constitutes bullying behaviour.
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Food delivery riders' safety the focus in compliance operation
Inspectors from SafeWork NSW and NSW Police will visit parts of Sydney this week to ensure food delivery riders and platforms are complying with new safety laws.
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Compensation fraud ordered to pay more than $50,000
A truck driver has been ordered to pay $50,509 after he was discovered secretly working while receiving workers compensation payments.
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Workplace support for DV victims slow in coming
There is no denying that Australian workplaces have made progress to support those impacted by domestic violence. But unfortunately this progress remains slow. Most countries still have no national entitlements or protections for victims of domestic violence at the workplace level.
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Are you doing enough to manage workplace psychosocial hazards?
Conducting a thorough risk assessment of psychosocial hazards in the workplace is not an option for employers — it’s a must. Blanket training and policies to reduce psychosocial risks are not enough to satisfy new work health and safety (WHS) legislation. 
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Health service charged after patient death
WorkSafe has charged Monash Health following the death of a patient after an incident at Casey Hospital in Berwick.
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SafeWork SA forecasts rise in sexual harassment probes
South Australia’s workplace health and safety regulator is preparing to increase the number of investigations it undertakes into sexual harassment complaints and other issues associated with psychological harm at work.
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19 Dec 2022



Retail union warns of rough holiday season as workers report spike in abuse at Christmas time
Mother of three, Anna*, is employed by a large supermarket chain and forgoes time with her family to keep up with the extra work demands of busy holiday periods, such as Christmas. In return, she's been verbally abused and had things thrown at her while on the job.
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Energy Australia pleads guilty after death of Yallourn power station worker Graeme Edwards
The mother of a Yallourn power station worker who was killed at work has told a court she's still heartbroken and feels let down by the way his death was handled. Graeme Edwards, 54, was severely burnt in an electrical short circuit while performing routine maintenance at the plant on November 12, 2018.
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$325,000 fine after worker crushed by stone slabs
A stone benchtop company in Campbellfield has been convicted and fined $325,000 after a worker was crushed and killed by stone slabs weighing more than six tonnes in total.
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$130,000 fine after nail penetrates teen's skull
A carpentry company in Langwarrin has been convicted and fined $130,000 after a 16-year-old apprentice was injured twice in one day at a Glen Waverly construction site.
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Worker dies in telehandler incident
It is understood the 55-year-old was using the telehandler to move a large steel door frame when the load fell and struck him about 2pm. WorkSafe is investigating.
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Hay exporter charged after workplace death
Hay Australia Victoria Pty Ltd, now known as 623452924HAV Pty Ltd, is facing two charges under section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide and maintain a workplace that was safe and without risks to health.
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Risky, silicosis-causing stone product must be banned, construction union tells government
Pressure is growing on the government to end the use of engineered stone products that can cause silicosis in the workers who handle them. The CFMEU today announced that if the federal government did not ban production, importation and use of the material by July 2024, it would ban its members from handling it.
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Avoid heat stress in our sizzling summer
With temperatures peaking at more than 40 degrees in parts of Queensland this week, the Palaszczuk Government is reminding businesses to have plans in place to help keep workers safe. Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said employers had an obligation to protect their workers from heat related illness under work health and safety laws.
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Respect at work Bill enshrines preventative approach for employers
Changes to be introduced next year by the Federal Government will place an onus on employers to take a preventative, rather than reactive, approach to discrimination, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour in the workforce. On 28 November 2022, the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at work) Bill (the Bill) was passed by both houses of parliament and now awaits royal assent. The Bill aims to provide a fresh approach to addressing workplace harassment and protecting workers from it.
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Liability of Sport Clubs and Associations in claims of Harassment, Sexual abuse, Hazing and Bullying
While there has been much focus in the media on the occurrence of abusive behaviour in institutions like religious bodies and schools, sporting bodies are no less immune from the possibility of this type of behaviour occurring within their institutions and need to be mindful of ensuring there are adequate structures in place to detect and respond to this behaviour.
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22 Nov 2022



Recovery of bogged farm machinery
With floods and significant rain events happening at the moment, WorkSafe wants to remind farmers and agricultural contractors of the very real dangers associated with the recovery of bogged farm machinery. There have been recent fatal incidents caused by attempted recovery of bogged farm machinery without proper safety precautions.
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Auto electrician crushed by truck tailgate
An auto electrician has died while working on a truck in Campbellfield on Saturday. WorkSafe is investigating.
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Should your workers have an asbestos medical check?
Employers are legally required to identify any asbestos-containing material in a workplace. Asbestos removal licence holders are required to notify WorkSafe prior to any removal works, display appropriate signage, and ensure workers are wearing personal protective equipment during its removal.
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'Isolated and traumatised' workers subject to racist slurs call for employers to do more to stamp out bullying and harassment
When a former Indigenous employee of NSW Health complained about racist incidents in the workplace, including a colleague painting her face black at a work function and posting the image of it on the department's public Facebook page, she says she was told by a senior manager that she must be "sensitive" because of her Aboriginal heritage.
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Feedlot company to face court after farmhand electrocuted at Gerang Gerung property
The operator of a cattle feedlot in the Wimmera has been charged after a farmhand was electrocuted. WorkSafe has issued two charges against the operator, Harmony Operations Australia, after 29-year-old Adrian Wilde died while working on a property in Gerang Gerung, near Dimboola, in November 2020. 
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Australia-first criminal prosecution opens over Qantas standing down health and safety rep
Over the next two weeks, the District Court of NSW will be asked to determine whether Qantas’ standing down of a health and safety representative at the start of the pandemic was discriminatory conduct in criminal breach of the WHS Act.
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Alleged assault, sexual harassment claims spark probes at Bunbury Regional Prison
An alleged attack at a West Australian prison has sparked calls for staff to be equipped with pepper spray and handcuffs at all times. In the same week the ABC showed footage of a boy at Banksia Hill being restrained, a police investigation has been launched into an alleged assault at Bunbury Regional Prison that left an inmate with serious injuries. There have also been allegations that female workers have been subjected to inappropriate behaviour from colleagues.
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Inquest into death of German backpacker Jennifer Kohl set for Gold Coast, mother to attend
A coronial inquest into the death of a German backpacker in a ride-on mower incident in the Gold Coast hinterland will be held next year at request of the woman's mother. Jennifer Kohl, 27, was killed in 2017 at a farm in Mount Tamborine where she and her German boyfriend had been working picking avocados.
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Final report released into driverless freight train that sped out of control for 23 minutes
Concerns were raised about the safety of remote control technology in the lead-up to a driverless freight train speeding uncontrolled for more than 20 minutes in Tasmania, ultimately resulting in two people being struck with flying debris when it was forcibly derailed.
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Inaction could cost truckies their lives: Study
If nothing is done to improve the health of Australia’s male truck drivers, 6067 lives and AU$2.6 billion in productivity could be lost over the next 10 years, Monash University-led research has found. Researchers have also found that inaction could cost an estimated $485 million in healthcare costs and 21,173 lost years of life due to work-related diseases or injury in the truck driving industry.
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7 Nov 2022



Using data to make workplaces safer
Safe Work Australia's latest national work health and safety statistics, providing important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australia. Understanding the causes and the industries most affected can help reduce work-related fatalities, injuries and disease which have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the community.
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Safety watchdog ignored warnings at site where worker died
The NSW government will hold an inquiry into the operation of SafeWork NSW after a series of revelations about claims it had failed to act.
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Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations - one year on
State and Territory governments have all but scrapped mandatory self-isolation and vaccine requirements, leaving employers considering whether it is still appropriate to have mandatory vaccination policies in place.
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WorkSafe drops investigation into Victorian MP
WorkSafe has dropped its investigation into bullying allegations a former Victorian Labor MP publicly made against her party earlier this year.
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New guide: Supporting supervisors in small and medium businesses with return to work
In collaboration with the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government, Safe Work Australia has published a practical guide to assist supervisors support and stay in touch with injured or ill workers throughout the return to work process.
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Changing patterns of work bring fresh WHS issues
Hybrid work that involves time spent working in the workplace and remotely has become a popular arrangement since the onset of Covid 19, when many people were forced to work from home. However, while hybrid work creates many opportunities for employees, it also presents new challenges for employers.
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New QLD WHS rules to minimise psychological injury at work
Differing from NSW and the national model WHS Regulations the Queensland regime will require Queensland duty holders to apply the hierarchy of controls to psychosocial risks.
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Tough years for teachers, high safety risk
Australian educators have been warned they face a tough few years ahead due to workforce shortages, while new research shows they face a higher risk of assault at work than other professions.
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20th October 2022

October is National Safe Work Month
Every October during National Safe Work month, we renew our focus on safety at work. Your health and safety is always the highest priority for our union. Every day CPSU Health and Safety Representatives work to keep their colleagues safe at work. Here’s a snapshot of recent gains in keeping members safe at work.
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Worker killed at Hamlet underground gold mine in Western Australia's Goldfields
The company that owns the Western Australian gold mine where a worker was killed late on Tuesday says it will fully cooperate with investigators, describing the incident as a "devastating loss". The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety confirmed the worker died at the Hamlet underground mine, part of the St Ives gold operation near Kambalda.
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Queensland police discipline failures in ‘clear breach’ of workplace health and safety laws, says lawyer
The Queensland Police Service continues to employ frontline officers whose actions resulted in payouts worth millions of dollars to victims of bullying and harassment, Guardian Australia has learned. The commission of inquiry into Queensland police responses to domestic violence has revealed dozens of instances where officers were found to have engaged in racism, sexism, misogyny and bullying.
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Authorities investigating after worker killed at gold mine in WA's Pilbara
Authorities in Western Australia are investigating the second death in the state's mines within 72 hours, with a man killed at a Pilbara gold mine on Thursday. Capricorn Metals confirmed to the ASX that a "significant incident" at its Karlawinda Gold Mine, 65km south east of Newman, had resulted in the death of a contractor earlier on Thursday.
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As Victoria's COVID-19 pandemic declaration lifts, vaccine mandates and policies being scrutinised
As Victoria's COVID-19 pandemic declaration comes to an end, a behavioural scientist says the continuing use of vaccine mandates may be "ethically problematic" and should be carefully scrutinised. While, from 11:59pm Wednesday, the state government's mandate will only apply in healthcare, in many other sectors vaccination requirements will remain in place.
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After 14 deaths in 18 months, public hearings into safety on WA farms are set to begin
After 14 deaths on West Australian farms in the past 18 months, an inquiry by the state's workplace safety watchdog is set to get underway. The first of a series of public hearings chaired by WorkSafe independent inquirer Pam Scott will take place in Albany this morning.
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Artificial climbing structures
Since March 2022, four people, including children, have fallen and been seriously injured when using artificial climbing structures. These falls have been caused by equipment failures or misuse through inadequate supervision. Artificial climbing structures ('climbing structures') include climbing walls, ladders and other structures at artificial climbing venues and children's play and activity centres.
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Statement regarding concerns about MP bullying investigation
WorkSafe commenced an investigation in February, following a request to do so pursuant to section 131 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. Shortly afterwards, Ms Vaghela was contacted by both a WorkSafe Senior Inspector and a member of the WorkSafe support team.
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Manage WHS risks and prevent harm at your workplace
It’s week 3 of National Safe Work Month and this week is about managing WHS Risks and preventing harm at workplaces. Managing WHS risks means thinking about how things could go wrong at your workplace and what the consequences could be for your workers or other people.
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The importance of keeping a diary after a workplace injury
If you’ve been injured at work, there are a number of things you’ll be attending to like seeking medical treatment, lodging a worker’s compensation claim (WorkCover or Comcare), attending physio and so on. Taking care of these critical tasks may see you distracted about some of the crucial details surrounding your injury; date, time and place of the injury, precisely how it occurred, who you told etc.
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Further Respect@Work changes introduced to parliament
On 27 September 2022, the Federal Government introduced to parliament the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 (Bill). The Bill proposes to introduce a further seven recommendations from Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ ‘Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (2020)’ (Respect@Work Report), being Recommendations 16, 17, 18 19, 23, 25 and 43.
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3rd October 2022

Onus would be on employers to prevent sexual harassment under new laws
Employers would have to take a proactive approach to preventing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace under laws to be introduced into parliament on Tuesday. Australia’s human rights watchdog would be empowered to enforce a positive duty on businesses to protect their workers from harassment after the government committed to fully implementing the recommendations of the landmark 2020 Respect@Work report.
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Concrete manufacturer fined $35,000 after crane incident
Precast Civil Industries Pty Ltd, trading as Icon Septech Vic, pleaded guilty in the Shepparton Magistrates' Court on Friday to a single charge each of failing to provide a safe system of work and failing to provide necessary training for employees to perform their work safely. The company was fined $35,000 with conviction and also ordered to pay $3,716 in costs.
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Companies fined $50,000 following arm injury
Brick manufacturing company, PGH Bricks & Pavers Pty Ltd, was sentenced in the Heidelberg Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide plant that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. The company was convicted and fined $40,000.
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‘I vomited almost every morning’: not enough being done to protect apprentices, report finds
Victoria needs to undertake more field checks on employers of apprentices to deter bullying and increase retention, says McKell Institute CEO. Alia De Savery says she ducked from containers of food thrown at her more times than she’d care to remember during her apprenticeship. She abandoned her three-year apprenticeship last year, after being electrocuted while cleaning an e-water system, slicing one finger on a meat slicer and walking herself to hospital after cutting her thumb on a mandolin slicer.
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Safe workloads would help fix Australia’s nurse shortage, union says
Achieving safe workloads for nurses is more important than higher wages when it comes to stopping health workers from cutting back hours or leaving the sector altogether, the nurses union has said, as the jobs and skills summit begins in Canberra. Annie Butler, the national secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, said governments needed to pay more attention to keeping registered nurses in the profession, rather than training new recruits or scouring overseas markets for them.
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Community rallies after Ballarat council awards tender to company convicted over worker deaths
A regional Victorian council will review its tender processes after community backlash regarding its decision to award a multimillion dollar contract to a company convicted of a workplace safety breach. Pipecon has previously been fined for failing to provide adequate supervision after two employees, Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins, died in a trench in 2018.
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Dial-A-Tow fined $600,000 over crushing death of former SANFL footballer Lee Ravlich
A tow truck company has been fined $600,000 over the crushing death of a former SANFL footballer in a workplace accident, while the manufacturer of the tilt tray mechanism that killed him has been fined $350,000. The South Australian Employment Tribunal found the death could have been prevented with a device worth $5,000.
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Inquest into Gareth Dodunski's death on Queensland mine site provides his parents 'some answers'
The parents of a drill rig worker who was killed on a remote Queensland mining site are hopeful a coroner's findings will bring an end to a nine-year battle for answers so they can start to properly grieve their son. Gareth Dodunski was crushed by heavy duty hydraulic machinery, known as an ST80 Iron Roughneck, while working in the Surat Basin, north of Roma, in June 2013.
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How jobs summit shifted the focus to gender equality
The last time an Australian government hosted a national jobs summit, only one woman was present. It was 1983, and that woman was Susan Ryan, a minister in the Hawke government and the trailblazing architect of the Sex Discrimination Act. Fast-forward 39 years to the 2022 jobs and skills summit and half of all participants and presenters were women.
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Is workplace bullying and sexual harassment putting your business at risk?
It is no secret that workplace bullying and sexual harassment issues are rampant across Australia’s hospitality sector. A recent survey revealed a staggering 90 per cent of Australian hospitality workers have experienced sexual harassment, and workplace bullying is estimated to cost employers up to $36 billion every year.
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6th September 2022



The workplace safety issue facing Australia’s tradespeople
It’s easy to take our hearing and eyesight for granted when we can seamlessly see and hear. But if we fail to protect them on the job site we could be needlessly putting ourselves at risk of long-term damage. New Specsavers research shows that 56 per cent of Australian tradies surveyed do not wear appropriate hearing protection when working in loud environments or using machinery, while half admit to never wearing protective goggles.
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Introducing Positive Duties to Eliminate Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Australia’s federal anti-discrimination laws currently hold employers vicariously liable for unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment by their employees, unless the employer can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the act occurring. It is generally accepted that the defence by employers that they took reasonable steps to prevent the conduct from occurring is established as long as they had implemented training and policies regarding discrimination and harassment, and took action when a complaint of discrimination or harassment was made.
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Qantas staff fear the airline's stellar safety reputation is at risk as pressure from management mounts
Qantas has an enviable safety record, consistently ranked as either the safest airline in the world or not far from it. Since the dawn of the Jet Age, it has never suffered a fatal accident or lost an aeroplane hull, which is a credit to its staff and its leadership.
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Ernst & Young to review staff safety after woman found dead in Sydney offices after social event
Ernst & Young will conduct a “comprehensive and wide-ranging” review of the company’s health, security and social policies after a woman was found dead in the company’s Sydney offices in the early hours of Saturday morning. NSW police said emergency services were called to the George Street offices at 12.20am on 27 August where officers located the body of a woman.
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Worker’s compensation for stress-related illnesses in NSW
If you’re suffering stress and unable to work, the National Employment Standards entitle you to paid sick leave. This is available to all employees except casuals and is for any injury or illness, including stress and pregnancy-related illnesses. But what if the stress you are experiencing is related to your work? Are you able to make a worker's compensation claim for stress in NSW?
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Win for Queensland spray painter’s terminal condition WorkCover claim
In this article, we explore a case where a worker’s claim for terminal benefits under worker’s compensation was denied by WorkCover Queensland as the medical evidence did not suggest the condition would terminate his life. Upon application to the Workers’ Compensation Regulator, that original decision was confirmed. The worker appealed to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (‘QIRC’) who overturned the prior decisions and the worker’s compensation claim for benefits for a terminal condition was ultimately accepted.
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Fair Work Delivers a Key Decision for a Vaccine Mandate in a Workplace
A recent decision delivered by the Fair Work Commission has confirmed a South Australian shipbuilding yard can dismiss employees for failing to comply with the company’s vaccination requirements. The Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) introduced a COVID-19 Policy which required employees and contractors be double vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the worksite at Osborne, South Australia.
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Managing Sick or Injured Employees
At some point, every employer will confront managing an employee who is suffering from an injury, medical condition or disability. When this occurs, it is important to know that there are legal protections for injured and ill employees and for employees with a disability. Whilst at times, an employee cannot continue employment due to illness or injury, failures of process in managing or terminating the employment of an ill or injured employee can result in employees having a substantial legal claim against their employer.
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Work Health and Safety Duties and Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace by Non-workers
It is common for businesses (particularly those in the service industries) to experience bullying and harassment when interacting and dealing with complaints from customers and other non-employee workplace participants (‘non-workers’) in the business. This can cause stress and anxiety for staff in the work environment.
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Construction site visits highlight safety issues
The operation focused on raising awareness about the risks of falls from height and exposure to crystalline silica dust, which can cause deadly lung and respiratory diseases if inhaled. Inspectors from both authorities also advised on issues such as electrical safety, hazardous substances, site security and Safe Work Method Statements.
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Managing psychosocial risks at work
Managing psychosocial risks at work is just as important as managing physical risks. Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), such as employers, must eliminate or minimise psychosocial risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
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15th August 2022



New model WHS Regulations and Code of Practice to help prevent psychological harm at work
Preventing psychological harm is an essential part of creating a healthy and safe workplace. The model work health and safety (WHS) laws now include regulations on psychosocial hazards. A new model Code of Practice on Managing psychosocial hazards at work explains the laws and how to comply with them, including practical steps to manage workplace risks to psychological health.
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Communicating health and safety across languages
The Communicating Occupational Health and Safety Across Languages Compliance Code applies to workplaces where the use of languages other than English is required for employees to understand health and safety information, receive training and participate in consultation. It replaces the 2008 compliance code, with updates to more clearly describe the duties and obligations employers have under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations for communicating health and safety information in appropriate languages.
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Charges after Yarraville depot fatality
The 65-year-old man died after slipping or tripping on discarded wood debris and falling into the path of a truck and trailer being driven by another worker. Malec Holdings Pty Ltd is facing three charges under section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
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Call to stand against gendered violence
A WorkSafe campaign that calls out workplace violence that targets people because of their gender or sexual orientation will hit television screens for the first time tonight. The campaign – 'It comes in many forms' – seeks to raise awareness and educate employers and workers of the harm gendered violence can cause.
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Worker fatally injured following fall through shed roof
A horticulture worker was fatally injured when they fell through the roof of a storage shed. The worker had been undertaking maintenance tasks on the roof when a brittle sky-light gave way. Falls are a leading cause of workplace fatalities. Falls often occur as a result of inadequate fall prevention or incomplete systems of work when working at height.
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Safe jobs for a safe climate
Opponents of proper action on climate change have long claimed that a transition to cleaner energy would amount to job losses. But a safe climate and secure jobs can and must go hand in hand. The truth is climate change is union business and there are many ways for Australia to make this transition and ensure employment security for all its workers.
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Women gather to acknowledge long-sought bill for paid domestic violence leave, supported by Anthony Albanese
Huddled on the lawns of Parliament House in the frosty Canberra air, women's safety advocates gathered for a vigil to remember women who have been killed in acts of family and domestic violence and those still trapped within their own homes. They were also there to mark the prospect of gaining a new legal right that could support women to flee violent relationships, which has been over a decade in the making.
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The dark underbelly of Australian workplaces was exposed. Now migrants are being asked for their stories
Migrant and refugee women in Australia are being called on to share their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace in a first-of-its-kind national survey. Monash University launched the survey on Tuesday in partnership with not-for-profit organisation Harmony Alliance, which works to elevate the voices of migrant and refugee women in Australia.
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More to be done on mining workplace safety
Accountable leaders are the key to psychologically safe workplaces, the recent Diggers and Dealers Mining Conference has been told. According to panellists at the event’s Leadership Breakfast convened by the Gold Industry Group, there is a need for industry to look forward and work on solutions together, with the mining industry on a journey towards ensuring respect and inclusivity.
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1st August 2022



Farmer killed while unloading bulka bags
This safety alert is a reminder of the hazards and risks when suspending and unloading flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC) commonly known as 'Bulka bags'. A farmer was fatally injured when he was crushed between a FIBC load and a seed bin. The lifting loops on the FIBC failed resulting in the farmer being fatally crushed between the FIBC load and bin.
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Tipper truck and trailer rollover crushes traffic controller
WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the importance of managing the risks associated with tip trucks and trailers following a recent fatality. In a recent incident, a traffic controller was fatally injured when the trailer of a tip truck rolled while unloading gravel into a culvert, the trailer was fully elevated.
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Employers need to step up and support workers through COVID peak
It’s going to be a tough road ahead for workers as we hurtle into the third wave of COVID-19. In alarming news for all workers, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly warned yesterday that COVID case numbers will soon surpass all previous peaks. Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil called on employers to act on their obligation to consult and cooperate with workers about making work safe and healthy.
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NSW minister for safe workplaces accused of bullying employee
Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos, who is responsible for keeping the state’s workplaces safe, has rejected accusations of improper conduct linked to her office following media reports that she harassed a male employee, using terms such as “retarded” and “stupid”.
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Artificial intelligence can monitor workplaces for safety breaches. Experts say privacy laws are lagging
The emergence of artificial intelligence that uses cameras to check for health and safety breaches in the workplace has raised concerns about a creeping culture of workplace surveillance and a lack of protections for workers. AI technology which uses CCTV cameras can be trained to identify breaches such as when a worker is not wearing gloves or a hard hat, or to identify hazards like spills.
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St Basil's accused of OH&S breaches
A criminal case against a Melbourne aged care home where 45 coronavirus-infected residents died during outbreak in 2020 will drag into next year. St Basil's Home for the Aged was charged by WorkSafe in July this year with nine breaches of Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
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Driver consultation essential for workplace safety
Work should not hurt, yet in too many workplaces, it still does. There are too many workplaces where managers do not know what is required of them under Australian workplace safety laws. There are too many workplaces where hazards of all kinds are tolerated and often ignored. There are too many workplaces where a persistent refusal to address deadly pressures in transport is sending hundreds to their graves every year.
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Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica at work
Exposure to silica dust occurs in a variety of work settings in Australia with processing of silica-containing materials such as engineered and natural stone and concrete. Silica dust is generated through processes such as cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing of silica-containing materials. Safe Work Australia is calling for public submissions on how to best manage the respirable crystalline silica (silica dust) in Australian workplaces.
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Control measures for COVID-19
With the recent increase in COVID-19 case numbers, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must protect the health and safety of their workers and eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as much as reasonably practicable.
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Companies charged following worker's death
The 23-year-old man died in hospital after he was found unresponsive beside a scaffold at the Moonee Ponds site. Construction company Camillo Builders Pty Ltd and scaffolding company Max Scaff Pty Ltd have each been charged with two breaches of section 23(1) of the OHS Act.
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Worker deaths prompt truck safety reminder
WorkSafe is reminding employers and workers of the hazards involved in working around trucks after four workers died in separate incidents in the past two months. On 11 July, a 29-year-old diesel mechanic died after he was run over while working underneath a B-double trailer in Werribee South.
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27th June 2022



Inquiry launched into spate of agriculture-related deaths in Western Australia
Western Australia's safety authority has announced an inquiry into the agriculture sector following the 12th death in as many months. WorkSafe commissioner Darren Kavanagh announced the inquiry on Wednesday, a day after a 24-year-old man was killed on a farm between Lake King and Varley Creek in the state's Great Southern region. The man was attempting to move a bogged vehicle with a tractor when the towing equipment failed, fatally striking his head.
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Amendments to the model WHS laws
The amendments implement a number of recommendations from the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws. The amendments do not automatically apply in a jurisdiction. For the model WHS Act and model WHS Regulations to have effect in a jurisdiction they must be enacted in that jurisdiction.
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Working at heights: New industrial rope access systems guide
Safe Work Australia has published new guidance to assist persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to manage the health and safety risks of industrial rope access systems. An industrial rope access system is a work positioning system used for gaining access to, and working at, a workface, usually through vertically suspended ropes.
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Company fined over crystalline silica exposure risk
A Dandenong stonemasonry company has been convicted and fined a total of $25,000 after failing to control deadly risks associated with exposure to silica dust. Hilton Stone Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday to two rolled-up charges of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.
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Death sparks diving tank warning
Divers who filled their air tanks or cylinders at an East Gippsland dive shop have been urgently warned not to use them after an inspection revealed unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. WorkSafe inspected Cross Diving Services in Marlo yesterday after the death of a diver in Queenscliff in April, which is the subject of an ongoing coronial investigation.
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Dairy company fined $50,000 after amputations
A cheese processing and packaging business has been fined $50,000 after two workers were injured by the same machine in separate incidents at a Heidelberg West factory in 2019. Australian Dairy Packaging Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in Heidelberg Magistrates' Court on Friday to two charges of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment. The company was, without conviction, fined $25,000 for failing to provide and maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health and $25,000 for failing to provide a safe system of work.
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WorkSafe investigates death of hotel guest
WorkSafe is investigating the death of a man who fell at a Carrum Downs hotel on 12 June. It is understood the 50-year-old guest walked through an aluminium screen and fell 60 centimetres onto the concrete below, striking his head.
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NSW budget to include $100 million investment in women's safety measures
The NSW government has announced a $100 million investment to women's safety in public places, at home and in the workplace as part of next week's budget. The multi-faceted package is the latest in a series of budget announcements that focus on social issues across the state. It also follows calls from domestic violence service providers for more support in the upcoming state budget.
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Mark Latham says 13,699 NSW teachers are not allowed to teach because of vaccine mandates. Is that correct?
The claim: as teachers in NSW speak out about "atrocious" staff shortages and increasing workloads, NSW MLC for One Nation and former federal Labor leader Mark Latham has suggested vaccine mandates are to blame. "The latest data shows that 13,699 teachers on [the NSW Education Department] payroll system are not allowed to teach because of inadequate vaccination status," Mr Latham said on Twitter.
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Major boost for workplace mental health and mines safety
The McGowan Government has announced two major workplace initiatives that will further support the health and safety of Western Australian workers. Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has appointed an independent expert to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) protocols for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the mining industry.
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30th May 2022



Lead safety breaches prompt warning
Victorian businesses are being warned of the potentially deadly risks of working with lead without adequate safety controls after a WorkSafe operation found unsafe practices at 11 workplaces in the past six months
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Footy giants reunite for workplace health and safety
Returning for a 21st season, WorkSafe's sponsorship of country footy and netball helps promote workplace safety in regional areas while giving back to local communities with a week of activities and recognition of long-serving club volunteers.
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Farm worker crushed by seed load
WorkSafe is investigating after a 54-year-old man died while attempting to unload a bulk seed bag into a semi-trailer at Crowlands, north-east of Ararat, yesterday.
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New VIC regulations against silicosis should be rolled out nationwide
Key steps on the road to worker safety in Victoria this month should be mirrored nationwide when dealing with silica dust. Australia is facing an epidemic of silicosis – a fatal but preventable lung disease caused by exposure to high levels of silica dust – partly due to the growth in popularity of artificial stone products (also known as “engineered stone”).
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Safe Work Australia is reviewing the high risk work licensing for cranes to ensure it remains relevant to contemporary work practices and equipment.
The discussion paper will focus on any perceived issues with the model WHS laws related to crane licensing that may have a significant impact on workers, businesses and the community. Information and evidence gathered will be used to identify any areas that could be improved and assist ministers in deciding whether amendments to the model laws or other action may be needed.
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Albemarle Bunbury lithium facility facing workplace safety investigation after complaints
A WorkSafe investigation is underway at a West Australian lithium plant after complaints about an unsafe work environment. The investigation into the Kemerton lithium hydroxide facility, about 150 kilometres south of Perth, began in early April following an incident in which staff were exposed to potentially harmful gases.
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Zagi Kozarov sued after her job gave her PTSD. Her case is groundbreaking for those who do stressful work
When solicitor Zagi Kozarov took up a new job in 2009, the workload was heavy and the subject matter extremely confronting. At Victoria's Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP), her role involved prosecuting serious sex offences. She had to observe graphic images as evidence and meet with complainants – both children and adults.
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EnergyAustralia to plead guilty to three charges related to death of worker Graeme Edwards
Yallourn Power Station operator EnergyAustralia says it will enter a guilty plea in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court to three charges relating to the death of a unit controller in November 2018. Graeme Edwards, 54, died in the Alfred Hospital a day after he was badly burnt in an electrical short circuit while reinstalling a high voltage circuit breaker at the station.
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Workplace safety reforms target exposure that can lead to lung conditions like silicosis
Cheryl Millership was devastated when she found out her four decades as an art teacher and ceramicist had caused her to develop a chronic lung disease. Her 2018 diagnosis of silicosis forced her to abandon the career she loved, most of which she had spent on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
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Safety claims spur probe of Australian veterinary school
Australian authorities are investigating union claims that a hospital at one of the country's seven veterinary schools has unsafe working conditions that are causing staff and animals to suffer serious harm.
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National Disability Insurance Agency accused of discriminating against employees with disability
Kerriene Minjoot never felt like her blindness was a barrier to her succeeding at work, until she joined the very government agency tasked with improving the lives of Australians with disabilities. "I did not expect to go into working at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and ending up feeling more disabled than I ever have before," she said.
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3rd May 2022



Indigenous doctors call for cultural reform in health sector to address workplace discrimination
Growing up in Milingimbi in north-east Arnhem Land, Yolngu man Dr Mangatjay McGregor was always drawn to a career in medicine. Dr McGregor is a mental health registrar in Melbourne and is believed to be the first Yolngu doctor from the Northern Territory. While the 29-year-old has made great strides in his career, his journey has not come without its challenges. During his time as a junior doctor, he said he experienced bullying and discrimination by senior staff in the workplace.
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Australia's biggest meat company JBS is repeatedly failing to protect its workers from horrific injuries
The grieving mother of a young man who was killed while working for global meat giant JBS says the multi-billion-dollar company is refusing to pay for her son's funeral costs and ambulance bill. Warwick Ranclaud suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body during a fire at a JBS facility in regional New South Wales five years ago.
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Company charged over serious safety breaches
Titan Australia Pty Ltd is facing three charges under section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide and maintain a workplace that was safe and without risks to health. It's alleged the company twice breached section 21(2)(e) of the OHS Act by failing to provide instruction, training or supervision.
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Worker dies in hospital after garbage truck crash
A man has died after the garbage truck he was driving collided with another garbage truck at Mount Wallace on Monday. The 69-year-old was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but died on Wednesday. WorkSafe is investigating the incident.
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Safety reminder as regional construction booms
WorkSafe accepted 772 claims from construction workers in the regions in 2021, an increase on the 715 claims in 2020 and 654 in 2019. Tragically, three construction workers lost their lives due to workplace incidents in regional Victoria last year. WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said it was important that employers and workers maintained a strong focus on safety, even as the sector faced increasing demands and challenges.
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Japanese encephalitis: duties under the model WHS Laws
Safe Work Australia has developed new work health and safety (WHS) guidance on Japanese encephalitis for persons conducting a business or undertaking. Japanese encephalitis is caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It is spread through mosquito bites and is more common in areas of increased mosquito activity.
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New obligations in agribusiness
The Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA) (Act) commenced on 31 March 2022, following the publication of 3 sets of regulations under the Act. The new laws provide a framework to protect the health, safety, and welfare of workers in WA workplaces, including farms, and of other people who might be affected by the work.
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Respect@Work: positive duties for a new age
Two years after the landmark Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces Report (Respect@Work Report), it is clear that the prevention of and response to sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace will continue to be a significant issue for employers, irrespective of which party wins the federal election.
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New OHS regulations dealing with psychosocial hazards
The Victorian government is on the way to making employers more accountable for the mental health of their employees. Important amendments relating to psychosocial hazards have been proposed to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic). The proposed changes are to commence on 1 July 2022. We expect the proposed changes will largely be made in their current form.
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Vaccine mandates for school teachers are unlawful, Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) asserts
Although the pandemic panic has subsided somewhat, case numbers remain high and “no jab, no job” vaccination mandates remain in place for millions of workers across Australia. In some cases the definition of being ‘fully vaccinated’ – which once meant having two doses of an approved Covid vaccine could be about to change, meaning that people will be required to have three doses of the vaccination.
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Strippers create online hub for dancers to take a stand against alleged exploitative work culture
It took a colleague telling her she was sexually assaulted at the strip club they both worked at for Luna* to take a stand against what she describes as an exploitative work culture. "There were no cameras, we didn't have any sort of duress buttons and there was no security up there," she said of where the alleged assault occurred. Luna said she raised concerns about the lack of safety measures to protect dancers with their employer, Adelaide strip club The Firm.
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12th April 2022



Sexual Harassment Update in the Fair Work Commission
A recent decision of Deputy President Beaumont in the Fair Work Commission ('FWC') (Application by Ranmeet Kaur [2022] FWC 487) has examined the scope of the FWC’s power to make orders to stop sexual harassment which were introduced under amendments to the Fair Work Act ('FWA') in 2021. The case examined both the jurisdictional requirements necessary for the FWC to make orders and the evidentiary requirements for it to be satisfied that a contravention had occurred, warranting the making of orders.
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WorkSafe urges rethink on trailer safety
WorkSafe is reminding agribusinesses, farmers and workers to not ignore the dangers of riding on the back of trailers and attachments following a number of serious incidents. A 70-year-old worker suffered critical head injuries and later died in hospital after falling from a trailer being towed by a tractor at Woorinen South in February. Sadly, it was the third life lost in a workplace incident involving falls from trailers and attachments since 2018, with a number of serious injuries also recorded over this period.
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Workplace sexual harassment and compensation
Everyone has the right to a workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Despite legislation across multiple Acts of Parliament aimed at protecting workers against sexual harassment, incidents continue to occur. In this article, we look at the options for compensation for those who have experienced sexual harassment at work.
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Dismissal of unvaccinated employee supported by Fair Work Commission due to vaccination being a ‘regulatory requirement’
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has again confirmed that although a worker can refuse COVID-19 vaccinations, terminating their employment for that reason will not be considered harsh, unjust, or unfair when there is a vaccine mandate in place, making vaccination an inherent requirement of the role.
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Individual jailed for WHS Industrial Manslaughter in Queensland
Gympie business owner Jeffrey Owen was found guilty of an industrial manslaughter offence under Queensland’s work health and safety laws, and sentenced to a five year jail term (with 18 months to be served until the remaining period is suspended). This is the first successful prosecution of an individual since this offence was brought onto Queensland’s statute books in 2017.
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NT WorkSafe charges Darwin construction company with industrial manslaughter
The Northern Territory's work safety watchdog has launched its first industrial manslaughter prosecution, over the death of a worker in a remote Aboriginal community two years ago. The 50-year-old man suffered fatal injuries after a chain allegedly failed during a towing operation in Maningrida, about 370 kilometres east of Darwin.
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Consequential conditions – circumstances where a diagnosis is required
In the recent case of Grant v Dateline Imports Pty Ltd [2022] NSWPICPD 3, on appeal, Deputy President Wood confirmed the worker must have evidence of a diagnosis in support of an alleged consequential condition. The presence of symptoms, rather than a diagnosis, was insufficient to support a finding of consequential injury.
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Crane contractor sentenced in workplace fatality
In the final chapter of the long-running prosecutions arising out of the tragic death of Herman Holtz at the University of Canberra Hospital site in 2016, a crane contractor has been fined $300,000 in the ACT Industrial Court. RAR Cranes did not provide the operator on the day of the incident with information, training or instruction about how to safely operate the crane, how to use the superlift mode, or how to fit the associated counterweight. The operator in question did not correctly fit the counterweight on the day of the incident.
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Major construction safety blitz underway in NSW
SafeWork NSW is set to crack down on dangerous work practices with a targeted three month operation across the state. Inspectors will be on the lookout for unsafe concreting practices, issuing on-the-spot fines of up to $3,600 for safety breaches. Minister for Fair Trading Eleni Petinos said the construction industry employs over 360,0000 people across New South Wales and inspectors will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to lives being placed at risk from formwork and concrete placing equipment activities.
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'Speak Up Save Lives' app revolutionises work safety
A revolutionary app is making workplaces across NSW safer for all employees. The ‘Speak Up Save Lives’ app allows workers to anonymously raise safety concerns with SafeWork NSW. Last year alone saw 560 reports trigger interventions in high-risk safety issues. Minister for Fair Trading Eleni Petinos said anonymity is a major concern for workers, who fear speaking up could lead to punishment or even the loss of their jobs.
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31st March 2022



Why all Australian organisations need to address racism in the workplace, DCA report
Organisations looking to effectively address racism in the workplace, will now have access to evidence-based guidelines thanks to a new report by Diversity Council Australia. The report, Racism at work, combines the survey responses of more than 1500 Australians across industries, pinpointing the barriers facilitating racism in workplaces and how corporations can address the issue.
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Fair Work Commission’s power to stop sexual harassment
The Fair Work Commission’s (‘FWC’) anti-sexual harassment jurisdiction commenced on 11 November 2021. Section 789FF of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (‘FWA’) provides that the FWC may make orders to stop bullying or sexual harassment in a workplace if the FWC is satisfied that the worker has been bullied at work by an individual or a group of individuals, and/or the worker has been sexually harassed at work by one or more individuals.
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A FIFO Tale: Tell him he’s dreamin’: Employer liable for sleepwalker who urinates on co-worker
The Queensland Court of Appeal recently reignited the debate on the liability of an employer for an employee’s conduct while ‘working away from home’. For contractors pursuing or taking on ‘remote’ work, this should be a reminder to carefully consider the implications of FIFO living arrangements for workers. Employers and contractors may find themselves legally responsible for the actions of their employees and workers in circumstances usually considered to be outside their scope of control.
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Worker’s compensation claims NSW – your entitlement to medical and other expenses
If injured at work in NSW, you may be entitled to a range of workers compensation benefits. This could include weekly payments for loss of income, a lump sum payment for permanent impairment and cover for, or reimbursement of expenses related to medical treatment and other injury related expenses. In this blog, we will look at what medical and other expenses are available for injured workers in NSW.
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Next step in WA’s work health and safety reforms
Senior Associate, Gemma Wheeler – Carver, and Lawyer, Kai Yuin Yeo, in our Employment and Dispute Resolution teams have outlined the new work health and safety laws that will be coming into effect on 31 March 2022. Now that the work health and safety regulations are finalised, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) will have clarification on how the new laws will work and what is different from the previous regime. This article focuses on the General Regulations which applies to most workplaces.
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Symptoms of anxiety and stress do not amount to a psychological condition
Ms Fittock was employed by Services Australia as a customer service officer in Queensland. Ms Fittock had an accepted claim for workers’ compensation regarding “aggravation of an adjustment disorder”, sustained on 21 April 2017. On 25 June 2020, she submitted a further claim for workers’ compensation in relation to an aggravation of her adjustment disorder, with mixed anxiety and depressive symptoms, which she first noticed on 30 May 2020. Ms Fittock claimed that her condition was caused by the conduct of her team leader, because she was not transferred to an alternate team when she requested it and due to the workers’ compensation claims and litigation processes.
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“But I don’t want to go” – a subjective belief of unlawfulness cannot amount to a reasonable excuse
On 22 December 2020, Comcare advised Mr Hanel that an appointment had been made for a further IME with Dr Ewer. Mr Hanel failed to attend the scheduled appointment, as well as two additionally scheduled appointments. Mr Hanel advised Comcare that he did not believe a further IME was necessary and he challenged Comcare’s power to issue the section 57(1) Notices, given the matter was before the Tribunal.
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Two dead in separate workplace incidents in Victoria
A 53-year-old crane operator died in Dandenong South after he was crushed by steel beams weighing several tonnes at about 11.15am. Less than three hours later in Kyabram, a 56-year-old worker died after a tractor-spreader combination he was operating overturned. The two deaths bring the workplace fatality toll to nine for 2022, six fewer than at the same time last year.
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Anxiety in the workplace costs the economy billions. Here are some ways to manage it
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in Australia, which means it's in our workplaces too. Sometimes people's anxiety has nothing to do with their work but it affects their ability to do their job. Other times, work causes anxiety. The cost of all this poor mental health is billions of dollars in lost productivity, absenteeism and income support payments. So what can you do if you or your staff have anxiety?
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WHS duties for COVID-19
Safe Work Australia reminds employers, workers and small businesses that WHS duties still apply despite COVID-19 public health orders and directions easing across some states and territories. Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their workers and minimise the risks of COVID-19 as much as reasonably practicable.
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15th March 2022


New WA safety laws an Australian first
The Western Australian Government’s new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws will improve protections for the state’s workers, including those in the mining and resources sector. In a first for Australian regulations, the new laws bring together WHS for general industry, mines and petroleum operation under a single WHS Act.
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Bereaved parents call on employers to make workplace safety the number one priority
When Simonette Randall and Jim Taifer learned there were 66 workplace deaths in Victoria last year they felt sick. Their families are still reeling from the death of their son, Damien Taifer, at work in May 2017. The 21-year-old was killed when the water truck he was driving rolled down a steep hill in West Gippsland.
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Scientists, CFMEU raise concerns over air quality and poor ventilation in remote mine site dongas
Scientists and the mining union have raised concerns over potential poor air quality for mine workers forced to isolate in on-site dongas, under COVID-19 directions. Carbon dioxide build-up in poorly ventilated rooms is known to have health impacts, including fatigue, nausea, and in some cases impaired cognitive function.
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Port Augusta firefighter speaks out over text sent by SA Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan
A Port Augusta firefighter has spoken out about text messages sent by South Australia's Deputy Premier, asking her to "spare a thought" for a former colleague who physically shoved her at work. In 2018, the SA Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) Disciplinary Committee found a senior Port Augusta firefighter had behaved in an "intimidating manner" when he grabbed the back of Kim Quinn's neck and pushed her head towards the ground in a shed at the fire station.
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Appointment of Joanne Farrell as Chair of Safe Work Australia
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Joanne Farrell as Chair of Safe Work Australia for a three-year term, to commence 1 February 2022. Safe Work Australia develops national policy to improve Work Health and Safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. Ms Farrell brings to the role a wealth of experience in industry and WHS, and will ensure that Safe Work Australia continues to make an important contribution to the safety of Australian workplaces.
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3,000 flood-affected Brisbane streets need kerbside collection, council defends standing down Mud Army
More than 3,000 flood-affected Brisbane streets are waiting for kerbside collection a week after floods rushed through south-east Queensland.
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Even Google agrees there’s no going back to the old office life
The great enforced global experiment in working from home is coming to an end, as vaccines, the Omicron variant and new therapeutic drugs bring the COVID-19 crisis under control. But a voluntary experiment has begun, as organisations navigate the new landscape of hybrid work, combining the best elements of remote work with time in the office. Yes, there is some push for a “return to normal” and getting workers back into offices. But ideas such as food vouchers and parking discounts are mostly being proposed by city councils and CBD businesses keen to get their old customers back.
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Australia is creating an underclass of exploited farm workers, unable to speak up
As a senior official in Australia’s Immigration Department in the late 1990s, I frequently met counterparts in Europe and North America who were exasperated by their inability to make headway against the exploitation and abuse of hundreds of thousands of migrant farm workers. They also worried about the infiltration of criminal gangs who controlled how the migrant workers were allocated to farmers, profiting from that control.
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Abattoir fined $55,000 after worker hit by forklift load
A meat processor has been fined after a worker was injured in a forklift incident at a Colac abattoir in 2019. Australian Lamb (Colac) Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Colac Magistrates' Court today after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of failing, so far as was reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health.
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Company and director fined $320,000 after unprotected fall
A residential building company and its director have been convicted and fined a total of $320,000 after a renderer was seriously injured when he fell 3.2 metres while working without fall protection. Palladian Three Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today after earlier being found guilty of a single charge of failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risks to health.
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Charges over shipping container crush
Best Benchtop and Stone Pty Ltd is facing three charges under section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure that a workplace was safe and without risks to health. It follows the death of a man who was helping the company's director unload a shipping container when approximately 30 stone slabs weighing 220 kilograms each fell onto him.
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3 February 2022



Keeping workers COVID-safe requires more than just following public health orders
So far in the pandemic, state public health advice has been front and centre of public messaging about protecting the community from the spread of COVID-19. But merely following the public health orders won’t necessarily meet employers’ obligations to protect staff from COVID, especially as restrictions ease in the Eastern states.
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Employer fined $124,000 for injuries sustained by teenager on 14-day work trial who repeatedly failed to follow instructions
In an important lesson for employers, this case demonstrates that a worker’s disobedience or failure to follow instructions does not excuse inadequate safe work procedures and training.
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‘Unpalletable’: Scott Morrison hits reverse on plan to allow under-18s to drive forklifts
Prime minister’s proposal was labelled a ‘brain fart’ and rejected by all states and territories at national cabinet
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Workplaces can help promote exercise, but job conditions remain a major hurdle
We know regular exercise is really good for health, but even with the best of intentions, many workers do not exercise as much as they should. To get more workers in all types of workplaces to be active, public health messaging must move away from making it only an individual’s responsibility to be more active. It should instead recognize the important role employers can play in creating the conditions for workers to focus on exercise.
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Unions threaten industrial action unless action taken on COVID-safe work plans
Unions have demanded a new plan for tackling the current COVID-19 outbreak, including free rapid antigen testing for staff who cannot work from home.
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Free expert advice to build safer construction industry
On average, nine people every day were injured working in construction last year and sadly, 33 lives have been lost in the industry since 2019, including 12 last year alone. WorkSafe's OHS Essentials program is available to help make construction workplaces safer. It provides independent consultants who give free, confidential and tailored safety advice for small to medium businesses.
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Near-miss leads to $25,000 fine for unsafe lifting
A heavy-duty trailer manufacturer has been convicted and ordered to pay more than $30,000 after a trailer fell while being lifted, narrowly missing three workers.
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Fraud scores own goal in greedy compensation ploy
A man caught working while receiving workers' compensation payments after he lodged a new injury claim has been ordered to pay back more than $35,000.
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Respirators or cloth? An Australian guide to face masks in the age of Omicron
Should you swap your reusable mask for a P2, N95 or KF94? And which is best? We ask the experts
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Repeated instances of unreasonable behaviour do not necessarily constitute workplace bullying
To constitute bullying in the workplace, the test of ‘repeatedly behaving unreasonably towards an employee’ requires more than a mere finding that unreasonable behaviour has occurred repeatedly. While this appears confusing, it was confirmed and explained by the Industrial Court of Queensland in the recent case of Greenall v State of Queensland (Queensland Corrective Services) [2021] ICQ 19.
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9th December 2021



Lawsuits and workers compensation claims to rise as workers catch COVID
Workers compensation claims are expected to rise as COVID-19 restrictions ease and borders reopen, leaving businesses open to being sued by staff if they get sick at work.
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Effective dust and noise monitoring essential to worker safety
Mining sites pose higher occupational health and safety hazards compared with many other working environments, and among those risks are dangerous exposure to dust and noise.
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Department fined $200,000 over student's death
Victoria's Department of Education and Training has been convicted and fined $200,000 following the death of a seven-year-old student whose wheelchair tipped over at the bottom of a ramp at a special school in 2018.
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CFMMEU held to account over officials’ improper conduct on Perth’s Doubletree Hilton site
The Federal Court has penalised the CFMMEU $23,000 following the union admitting to a breach of the Fair Work Act through the actions of two of its officials during construction of Perth’s Doubletree Hilton Hotel. The contravention occurred in February 2019 when the officials, John Windus and Stephen Parker, attended the site over safety issues related to scaffolding.
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Victoria to introduce Australian-first silica dust licence scheme
From 15 November 2022, businesses working with engineered stone will require a licence, under new regulations to help protect workers from exposure to deadly silica dust.
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NSW: Quarterly safety report released for July to September 2021
The Quarterly Safety Report for July to September 2021 has been released to assist industry to improve safety management systems and undertake risk assessments at their sites. The report details incidents and trends relating to hazard management, in addition to sector specific information.
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Operator charged after car wash fatality
The 73-year-old Mulgrave man had driven into the car wash before walking out to re-enter an access code. As the man attempted to get back into his vehicle he was crushed when the wash cycle started and his car door was struck by a gantry. He died from his injuries in hospital three days later.
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Compensation fraud to repay almost $60,000
A man has been ordered to pay back $58,121 and complete 250 hours of community service after he was discovered working multiple jobs while receiving workers' compensation payments.
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Half of Australian women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime
That’s according to a survey conduced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which also found that the most common kind of harassment women received was inappropriate comments about their body or sex life.
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BHP's COVID vaccine mandate at NSW mine unlawful, Fair Work Commission finds
More than 30 workers at BHP Billiton's Mt Arthur coal mine were stood down after being unable to provide evidence of their vaccination status.
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15th November 2021

Work-related fatalities in 2020 report released

Safe Work Australia has published the Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2020 report, which provides the latest detailed national statistics on all workers and bystanders fatally injured at work.
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ASIC publishes whistleblower policy review
As ASIC welcomed in the new whistleblower regime in 2019, it warned covered entities that it would be conducting ongoing surveillance to monitor and enforce compliance. Now, the first findings from those surveillance programs have been released.
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Victorian health service can fire nurses who refuse Covid vaccine, court rules
An injunction to stop Victoria’s largest public health service from firing nurses who are refusing the Covid-19 vaccination or refusing to disclose their vaccination status has been thrown out by the federal court ahead of a trial challenging the vaccine mandate. Nick Ferrett QC is representing about 90 nurses at Monash Health, and told the court on Wednesday that under Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, the nurses should be consulted before any disciplinary action is taken against them.
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New guide helps employers meet first aid needs
The First Aid in the Workplace Compliance Code offers practical guidance for employers to ensure they are complying with their duty to provide a safe workplace. It replaces the 2008 code, with updates including recommendations to consider adding asthma-relieving inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors (Epipens) to first aid kits and to consider training for first aid officers to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis.
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Licence scheme to protect engineered stone workers
From May next year, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Crystalline Silica) Regulations 2021 also introduce new duties for businesses across a range of industries that work with other materials containing silica – including quarrying, construction and tunnelling. The regulations will also extend the ban, first made in 2019, on uncontrolled dry-cutting, grinding and polishing of engineered stone, and prohibit the use of compressed air for cleaning and untreated water to suppress dust.
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Company fined after trench collapse tragedy
Pipecon Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Ballarat County Court today after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide workers with necessary supervision. The workers were laying pipes at a housing development in the Ballarat suburb of Delacombe in March 2018 when the trench collapsed and they were engulfed.
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New strategy to boost mental health at work
The Mental Health Strategy 2021-2024 outlines WorkSafe's plan to prevent mental injury, build capacity for mentally healthy workplaces and support injured workers. Last year, WorkSafe received 3,518 new mental injury claims. The proportion of all new workplace injury claims that relate to a primary mental injury has grown from nine per cent in 2008, to 13 per cent in 2020.
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How to safely manage COVID-19 in the workplace
As we move closer to full reopening in Victoria and NSW, the challenge for businesses is how to reopen safely. Open-plan offices, common areas such as meeting rooms and kitchens, hot-desking and the importance of air ventilation are factors that impact the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted in the office. But for all businesses across Australia, even those not under lockdown, the key emerging issue is the impact on safety, if any, of the interaction between unvaccinated workers and visitors.
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Workplace Bullying – What do Employees & Employers need to know?
It is a feeling familiar to many employees; anxiety, loss of confidence, persistent stress. Perhaps there are concerns about your work performance. Maybe comments or actions from colleagues have started to affect your life outside of the workplace, you are not as happy as you would like to be and this has led to a decrease in your productivity. These feelings may even manifest themselves in physical signs of stress such as headaches or poor sleep.
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Do You Need to Review Your Whistleblower Policy?
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) has begun raising concerns and urging corporate entities to review their whistleblower policies to achieve compliance with the whistleblower provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the “Corporations Act”).
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5th October 2021

Workplace culture the focus for Safe Work Month
Safe Work Australia is encouraging people involved in the resources industry to make health and safety a central part of their workplace culture by thinking safe, working safe and being safe as part of this year’s Safe Work Month. National Safe Work Month in October provides an opportunity to build awareness of work health and safety, encourage discussion about safety at work and share best practice.
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WorkSafe charges Victorian health department over COVID hotel quarantine program
The health and safety watchdog has charged Victoria's health department with 58 breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to the state's hotel quarantine program. WorkSafe alleges the Department of Health, formerly the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to provide a safe working environment for its employees and put non-employees at risk.
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‘Special Risk’ and the hurt-on-duty pension of a totally incapacitated NSW police officer
A NSW police officer (attested as a constable of the NSW Police Force (‘NSWPF’) before 1 April 1988) who is a contributor to the Police superannuation fund established under the Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act 1906 (NSW) (the ‘Act’) and who is medically discharged from the NSWPF with infirmities of the body and/or mind certified by the Commissioner of Police (‘COP’) as being hurt-on-duty (‘HOD’) is entitled to a superannuation allowance (‘HOD police pension’). The medically discharged police officer will be paid a HOD police pension of 72.75% of the police officer’s attributed salary of office as at the date of the police officer’s medical discharge.
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A game changer? Aspiring to the new standard on workplace mental health
Work health and safety regulators have been more active in the area of mental health risks over the last two years, following a review of the model work health and safety laws. A wealth of guidance material, codes of practice and amendments to regulations have been produced to assist businesses to understand and reduce the risk of psychological injuries at work.
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Make health and safety part of your workplace culture
This National Safe Work Month, Safe Work Australia encourages all Australians to make health and safety a central part of their workplace culture by thinking safe, working safe and being safe. “I encourage workplaces across Australia to take part in National Safe Work Month and show their ongoing commitment to health and safety at work as we continue to face the challenge of living and working with COVID-19,” said Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter.
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New Guide on Managing the Risks of Elevating Work Platforms
Safe Work Australia has developed guidance for managing the risks of elevating work platforms (EWPs). Incidents relating to EWPs have resulted in death and serious injury, with at least 9 fatalities and 355 workers’ compensation claims during the period 2015-2019.
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Can an employer force an employee to have a COVID-19 vaccination?
Yesterday the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision that will provide guidance on this interesting question. It dealt with influenza injections but will have application to COVID-19 vaccinations. The decision was an appeal from a decision of Commissioner McKenna in an unfair dismissal application by Ms Jennifer Kimber. Ms Kimber worked in an aged care facility. Her employer required her to have an influenza injection which was consistent with the Federal Governments policy.
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Employers Mandating Vaccinations: COVID-19 Update
Over the past month there have been various developments in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around the role of vaccinations as the major tool for reopening the economy and returning to work. We have set out below the major updates in relation to employers mandating vaccinations and employment law.
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Don’t believe the hype: dismissal of employee who refused to be vaxxed was not unfair
This week’s decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission in Jennifer Kimber v Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care Ltd [2021] FWCFB 6015 has hit the headlines, primarily due to comments in the dissenting opinion of Deputy President Dean regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.
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Australian Court raises the bar on Compensation Award for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
On 9 August 2021, the Industrial Court of Queensland in Australia handed down its judgment in Golding v Sippel and The Laundry Chute Pty Ltd [2021] ICQ 14 awarding combined general and aggravated damages of $130,000 to an employee, Ms Goulding, who had been subjected to sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace. Ms Golding was also awarded an additional sum of $28,702.60 for economic loss, bringing her total award of compensation to almost $160,000, which is a record-breaking amount of damages in the State of Queensland.
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Victorian workplace watchdog alleges hotel quarantine system put staff ‘at risk of illness or death’
The Victorian health department has been hit with more than 50 criminal charges for alleged breaches of work safety laws in the state’s hotel quarantine program. WorkSafe Victoria announced on Wednesday it had laid 58 charges against the department for failing to provide a safe working environment for staff during the initial hotel quarantine program between March and July 2020.
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Court orders injury frauds to pay more than $140,000
A man who lied about being injured at work and a woman who secretly worked while receiving workers' compensation payments have been ordered to pay $140,986 between them. Shannon Keating pleaded guilty in the Frankston Magistrates' Court on Wednesday to a single charge of fraudulently obtaining payments.
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Charges laid for unsafe truss work
WorkSafe has charged a roofing truss manufacturer for unsafe work practices at a residential building site in Point Cook. Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd has been charged with breaching section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide a safe working environment.
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Managing risk in construction: Concrete pumping
Safe Work Australia has published guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to identify and manage the work health and safety risks associated with concrete pumping. There have been a high number of injuries (including 2,100 workers’ compensation claims) and 3 fatalities associated with concrete pumping in the last 5 years.
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Union win for ETU members at Sydney Trains
The nature of the modifications to the Sydney Trains vehicles meant the vehicles no longer complied with the Light Vehicle Standards Rules and had the potential to compromise the safety of occupants in the event of an accident – including, for example, by potentially impacting the proper deployment of airbags and restricting passenger leg room.
Read more

Nursing: a profession under "enormous stress"
Nursing, already under pressure, is reaching breaking point due to the pressures of COVID-19 and a disjointed healthcare system, including the acute, primary and aged care sectors. We must act now to protect our nurses and healthcare; the time has come for a national reckoning on nursing in Australia.
Read more

Thousands on Facebook group opposing mandatory vaccination, posting ‘no-jab’ jobs online
Social media websites have begun to see an influx of groups dedicated to opposing mandatory vaccines for work, as Australia prepares for life beyond lockdown upon meeting the government’s 80 per cent target.
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CFMEU Gold Standard construction sites meet 100% COVID safety compliance
The CFMEU is advocating for the reopening of Gold Standard construction sites. In most cases, these are the large-scale commercial operations we do not see in the suburbs. Only certain construction sites attain a gold standard, which is recognised and issued by the Vic Covid 19 taskforce.
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News Corp mandates COVID-19 vaccines for printing workers in industry first
Media giant News Corp has told staff at its printing plant in Sydney they will need to have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by next Sunday evening or be shut out of their workplace. While the vast majority of employees at the Chullora plant in Western Sydney are vaccinated, those who are unvaccinated by September 19, even for medical reasons, will have to speak to their manager and may have to take leave.
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Explainer: what is a ‘positive duty’ to prevent workplace sexual harassment and why is it so important?
Last week, the parliament passed six amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act out of the 12 recommended in Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’s Respect@Work report. The report contained a total of 55 recommendations, not all of which require legislative amendments to be implemented. The government was heavily criticised for not implementing all of the recommendations. One of the most important was Jenkins’s call to introduce a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.
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Rapid testing becomes the latest COVID-19 safety measure
You may have heard about the latest COVID-19 safety measure to be introduced - rapid antigen testing (RA testing). It has been introduced as part of a new requirement under a recent public health order announced by Ms Berejiklian on Friday 20 August 2021, requiring that from Monday 30 August 2021, authorised workers in NSW local government areas of concern must have had their first vaccination in order to travel out of their area for work unless their employer provides RA testing in the workplace.
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Construction compliance blitz after Victoria records 473 COVID-19 cases
Victoria's COVID-19 cases have surged again with 473 new local infections recorded today as a mass compliance blitz targeting the constructor sector is announced. The four-week compliance and vaccination blitz has been announced after construction sites across Victoria were found to be hotbeds for coronavirus transmission, with the average worker travelling 20 kilometres home on average after being infected at a site.
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7th September 2021

Court orders injury frauds to pay more than $140,000
A man who lied about being injured at work and a woman who secretly worked while receiving workers' compensation payments have been ordered to pay $140,986 between them. Shannon Keating pleaded guilty in the Frankston Magistrates' Court on Wednesday to a single charge of fraudulently obtaining payments.
Read more

Charges laid for unsafe truss work
WorkSafe has charged a roofing truss manufacturer for unsafe work practices at a residential building site in Point Cook. Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd has been charged with breaching section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide a safe working environment.
Read more

Managing risk in construction: Concrete pumping
Safe Work Australia has published guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to identify and manage the work health and safety risks associated with concrete pumping. There have been a high number of injuries (including 2,100 workers’ compensation claims) and 3 fatalities associated with concrete pumping in the last 5 years.
Read more

Union win for ETU members at Sydney Trains
The nature of the modifications to the Sydney Trains vehicles meant the vehicles no longer complied with the Light Vehicle Standards Rules and had the potential to compromise the safety of occupants in the event of an accident – including, for example, by potentially impacting the proper deployment of airbags and restricting passenger leg room.
Read more

Nursing: a profession under "enormous stress"
Nursing, already under pressure, is reaching breaking point due to the pressures of COVID-19 and a disjointed healthcare system, including the acute, primary and aged care sectors. We must act now to protect our nurses and healthcare; the time has come for a national reckoning on nursing in Australia.
Read more

Thousands on Facebook group opposing mandatory vaccination, posting ‘no-jab’ jobs online
Social media websites have begun to see an influx of groups dedicated to opposing mandatory vaccines for work, as Australia prepares for life beyond lockdown upon meeting the government’s 80 per cent target.
Read more

CFMEU Gold Standard construction sites meet 100% COVID safety compliance
The CFMEU is advocating for the reopening of Gold Standard construction sites. In most cases, these are the large-scale commercial operations we do not see in the suburbs. Only certain construction sites attain a gold standard, which is recognised and issued by the Vic Covid 19 taskforce.
Read more

News Corp mandates COVID-19 vaccines for printing workers in industry first
Media giant News Corp has told staff at its printing plant in Sydney they will need to have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by next Sunday evening or be shut out of their workplace. While the vast majority of employees at the Chullora plant in Western Sydney are vaccinated, those who are unvaccinated by September 19, even for medical reasons, will have to speak to their manager and may have to take leave.
Read more

Explainer: what is a ‘positive duty’ to prevent workplace sexual harassment and why is it so important?
Last week, the parliament passed six amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act out of the 12 recommended in Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’s Respect@Work report. The report contained a total of 55 recommendations, not all of which require legislative amendments to be implemented. The government was heavily criticised for not implementing all of the recommendations. One of the most important was Jenkins’s call to introduce a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.
Read more

Rapid testing becomes the latest COVID-19 safety measure
You may have heard about the latest COVID-19 safety measure to be introduced - rapid antigen testing (RA testing). It has been introduced as part of a new requirement under a recent public health order announced by Ms Berejiklian on Friday 20 August 2021, requiring that from Monday 30 August 2021, authorised workers in NSW local government areas of concern must have had their first vaccination in order to travel out of their area for work unless their employer provides RA testing in the workplace.
Read more

Construction compliance blitz after Victoria records 473 COVID-19 cases
Victoria's COVID-19 cases have surged again with 473 new local infections recorded today as a mass compliance blitz targeting the constructor sector is announced. The four-week compliance and vaccination blitz has been announced after construction sites across Victoria were found to be hotbeds for coronavirus transmission, with the average worker travelling 20 kilometres home on average after being infected at a site.
Read more


7th September 2021

Don’t mask don’t tell: What if an employee refuses to wear a mask?
In 2021, a mask is a necessity, not an accessory, but what does the law say about an employee who just says “no”? Delta’s relentless march in Australia means many of our workers are adjusting to mandatory masks in the workplace for the first time since the pandemic began.
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Construction fines for breaching public health orders
NSW Government SafeWork NSW officers will be out in force this weekend visiting construction sites across Sydney after sites in Marsden Park, Riverstone and Liverpool were issued with $40,000 in fines for COVID breaches. Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said following the two-week construction pause, sites were allowed to open only if they followed the COVID requirements for occupied and unoccupied sites under the Public Health Order.
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Qantas Group mandates full COVID-19 vaccination for all staff
The Qantas Group announced on 18 August that it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) as part of its commitment to safety. The policy follows consultation with Qantas and Jetstar employees, including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination.
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Quarry operator charged over silica exposure
Boral Resources (Vic) Pty Ltd has been charged with failing to provide and maintain systems of work that were, so far as was reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health, and failing to supervise workers to enable them to perform their work in a way that was safe and without risks to health.
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Company fined $450,000 after roof plumber falls almost seven metres
A roofing company has been fined $450,000 and ordered to pay $3056 in costs after a roof plumber fell through a penetration on the construction site of the new Perth Museum. In April 2019, Charman Australia Pty Ltd had been subcontracted to install roofing at the construction site, a large and complex project involving the integration of heritage-listed buildings and a new building. On the day of the incident, one of the roof plumbers had removed the cover from a penetration in the roof, creating an open space of around 600 mm x 600 mm.
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Failing to notify a serious incident is an offence
A Queensland transport company has been fined $5000 for failing to report a serious injury which hospitalised a worker for a week. The company pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by not reporting a notifiable incident to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) immediately. WHSQ first heard about the incident from the injured worker more than a year after it occurred.
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Agricultural workers at risk of lung disease
The air you breathe when working on a farm can contain dusts, gases, fumes or vapours. Agricultural workers can be exposed through dust generated during harvesting or in the stockyard, transporting grain, weed and pest control, and through several other tasks.
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Eliminate or manage hazardous air in manufacturing
Do you work in manufacturing? The air you breathe at work can contain hazardous dusts, gases, fumes or vapours resulting from manufacturing processes or materials. Manufacturing workers can be exposed to hazardous air, including through welding, spray painting, working with wood, and resources and mineral processing.
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The case for mandatory workplace vaccinations in Australia
Can employers in Australia compel employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and what issues does this raise, particularly in relation to health and safety, privacy and discrimination? Ius Laboris Australian firm Corrs Chambers provides a detailed analysis.
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Long-planned WA diving safety code quietly scrapped over 'baffling' industry pushback
The parents of a diver killed while working for a Broome pearling company say they've been left in the dark about why long-planned safety regulations for the industry have been quietly scrapped. Tony and Robyn Hampton have campaigned for a legally enforceable pearling industry code of practice after their son Jarrod died while working for Paspaley Pearling Company in 2012.
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Sunshine Coast hospital has to fix costly design flaws after man who was blind posthumously wins discrimination case
A man who was blind has posthumously won a lawsuit against the Sunshine Coast's newest and biggest hospital, which will force it to spend millions fixing "costly" design flaws. Peter Ryan wasn't alive to hear the Federal Circuit Court verdict because the 77-year-old died three months before the ruling was handed down in his favour in July.
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23rd August 2021


Sugar giant charged with industrial manslaughter after worker electrocuted in Far North Queensland
Charges have been laid against one of the country's biggest sugar millers after a worker was electrocuted on the job in Far North Queensland two years ago. Brett Quinn was killed while dogging for a crane that contacted, or came in close proximity to, overhead power lines while working on a cane rail system at Little Mulgrave, near Gordonvale, south of Cairns in 2019.
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Can you direct your employees to get vaccinated?
The landscape around mandatory vaccines has shifted since March 2021. As numerous States and Territories battle outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and Australia’s vaccination program is being rolled out the Fair Work Ombudsman has issued new advice for employers considering making the Covid vaccine mandatory for their employees.
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Fair Work’s latest guidance on workplace vaccination
Case law has been particularly influential of late in broadening Australia’s understanding of when employers can and can’t mandate a vaccine, and when they can and can’t discipline an employee for failure to adhere to a vaccine mandate. Recent cases have considered both COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
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SPC safely taking the lead
On 5 August 2021, the iconic Australian fruit and vegetable processor SPC announced it would be making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all its staff. It is the first Australian company to do so. This crucial step is to be supported, for the protection of SPC’s employees and the Shepparton community in which SPC operates. It is important to examine the lessons to be derived from SPC’s leadership and approach, as they may be applied to other businesses with similar working arrangements and circumstances.
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Manage the risk of hazardous air in construction work
The air you breathe at work can contain dusts, gases, fumes or vapours. Construction workers are at risk of breathing in hazardous air. Implementing the right control measures can eliminate or manage your workers’ exposure to these hazards and protect their lungs.
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Cherry grower Reid Fruits used 'mime' to induct migrant worker who died
Staff at a cherry orchard where a worker died used mime to induct workers with poor English skills and did "nothing" to stop people riding unsafely on trailers, a Hobart coroner says. Retbe Chide Negga had been working at an orchard in Glenora in Tasmania's Derwent Valley for a week when he slipped off the steps of a trailer and was crushed underneath it six years ago.
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Victoria's on-the-spot fines for OHS non-compliance now in force
The Victorian Government has introduced on-the-spot fines for employers who put the health and safety of their workers at risk, to eliminate bad behaviour and help ensure every worker gets home safely. The introduction of on-the-spot fines provides an immediate alternative to prosecution, for those employers who do the wrong thing. Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria can now issue infringement notices with penalties of up to $1817.40 for certain offences.
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ACT industrial manslaughter Bill passes carrying $16.5m penalty
In 2020, 182 Australians were killed at work. In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), a Bill passed on 5 August 2021 implementing wider reach and higher penalties for industrial manslaughter, which is now an offence under the Work Health and Safety Act. The changes came per the recommendations made in the 2018 Boland Review into work health and safety (WHS) laws, and the Federal Senate Inquiry on Industrial Deaths.
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You can’t please ‘em all - people pleasers and psychiatric injury in the workplace
In the workplace, people-pleasers are wonderful. They are true team players; they possess incredibly effective relationship skills and are fiercely committed to maintaining a harmonious culture. But all too often, people-pleasers find themselves saying yes to things that they don’t actually have capacity to do or opting against voicing their concerns due to fear of causing conflict.
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SES allegedly endangering emergency services workers and the public
Victorian firefighters have alleged the safety of emergency responders and the public is being put at risk during rescues at road crashes due to what they say is unprofessional and potentially dangerous conduct of volunteer State Emergency Service crews. A survey conducted by the United Firefighters Union yielded dozens of complaints from firefighters, which has led the union to file action in the Fair Work Commission alleging Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) is failing to provide a safe workplace for its members.
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Making Sex Work Safe Work
Sex work will be decriminalised in Victoria, ensuring sex workers have access to the same rights as any other Victorian employee. The current sex work regulatory system is out-of-date and no longer fit-for-purpose. A range of reforms will be implemented over the next two years to increase safety, reduce stigma and improve access to government health and justice services.
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Rapid antigen testing key for asymptomatic screening
NSW Health announced on Friday that all authorised workers who work outside their Local Government Area (LGA) of concern would only be permitted to work if rapid antigen testing was implemented at their worksite or if they had their first vaccination dose by 30 August. Rapid antigen tests are already being used by some Australian employers, including Opera Australia and Fortescue Metals.
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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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