WHS News

Workplace Health & Safety News

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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4 October 2018

South Australian police and infrastructure departments charged over death of cook in freezer

South Australia's workplace inspector has laid criminal charges against the state's police and infrastructure departments over the death of a woman in a freezer. Debra Summers, 54, was employed by SA Police as a cook and a cleaner when she was found dead in a freezer at the Echunga police training reserve on October 4, 2016.

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Worker dies in Shepparton pipeworks incident

A 25-year-old man has died after becoming caught in a conveyor belt at a concrete pipe manufacturing plant at Shepparton.

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Spotlight shines on Queensland safe work and return to work initiatives

Outstanding examples of safe work and return to work initiatives have been celebrated at a gala luncheon in Brisbane today. Member for Greenslopes, Joe Kelly MP represented Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace at the 2018 Safe Work and Return to Work Awards.

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Cairns business fined after apprentice suffered serious injury

A Cairns sand and gravel business has been fined $125,000 after one of its apprentices suffered a serious work injury last year. After pleading guilty, the company was sentenced in the Cairns Magistrates Court under Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker, exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury.

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Worker's arm partially amputated in quad bike collision with mechanical pruner

In August 2018, a worker's arm was partially amputated when the quad bike he was operating collided with a mechanical pruner. One worker was operating a mechanical pruner attached to the front of a tractor to prune the bottom branches from macadamia trees. Another worker was operating a quad bike nearby. The quad bike and its operator contacted the pruner resulting in a partial arm amputation. Investigations are continuing.

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Enforceable undertaking accepted following Mangoola Mine incident

The Department of Planning and Environment's Resources Regulator has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Mangoola Coal Operations Pty Ltd, following the Regulator's investigation into a workplace incident at the Mangoola Open Cut Mine in 2016.

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Cairns business fined after apprentice suffered serious injury

A Cairns sand and gravel business has been fined $125,000 after one of its apprentices suffered a serious work injury last year. After pleading guilty, the company was sentenced in the Cairns Magistrates Court under Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker, exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury.

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NSW commits to the safest workplaces in Australia

NSW workplaces are aiming to be the safest in the country after the Liberal National Government committed to ambitious new targets in a refreshed Work Health and Safety Roadmap. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the plan sought to reduce work-related deaths by 30 per cent, as well as injuries and illnesses by 50 per cent within five years.

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North Shore man fined $16,500 for causing tree felling incident

Executive Director of SafeWork Tony Williams said 47-year-old Daniel a'Beckett Rose pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to three counts of contravening the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

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10 September 2018

Government regulator left inspections of fatal ride up to Dreamworld

Queensland Government safety inspectors did not personally inspect, review or audit the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld for almost seven years prior to the accident in 2016 that killed four people. The revelation comes as the Palaszczuk Government moves to increase scrutiny of safety standards at theme parks in a bid to rebuild public confidence.

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St John Ambulance needs to better support NT paramedics, union leader says

It wasn't until Kenton Winsley was riding in an ambulance with a distressed patient that he says he realised the man "had a handgun in his bag". Another time, the former paramedic says a patient threw a knife at him, which she had concealed in her vagina.

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Mental health ward 'filled with addicts, used for detox' endangering patients, family and former staffer says

Family members are calling for better protections from patients with criminal histories and drug problems in a Gippsland mental health wing. It comes after more violent assaults by patients in Latrobe Regional Hospital's (LRH) acute mental health wing at Traralgon.

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Box Hill crane accident puts worksite safety in the spotlight

As the news chopper hovered above, and devastation settled below, the operator of the crane could only watch as the body of a colleague was pulled from beneath a giant container of concrete. Much later, when he finally climbed down, he covered his face and wept.

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High ropes adventure course operators told to review procedures after strangling incident

All Queensland high ropes course operators have been asked to review their procedures after a 14-year-old Brisbane schoolboy was strangled at a camp near the Sunshine Coast in May. Marist College Ashgrove Year 9 student Connor Petterson sustained critical, but non-fatal, neck and facial injuries when he fell from the high ropes course while on school camp at the Adventure Alternatives Centre near Woodford.

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Brisbane construction firm fined $400k for safety failure over Eagle Farm racecourse deaths

A Brisbane construction company has been fined $405,000 over the deaths of two workers who were crushed by a concrete slab at Eagle Farm Racecourse in October 2016. Ashley Morris, 34, and Humberto Leite, 55, died instantly when two concrete slabs toppled over at the worksite during the construction of a foul-water drainage tank.

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Dark day for workplace safety in Victoria

Two people died in two separate incidents, and a third suffered life threating injuries, in what was a dark day for workplace safety in Victoria yesterday. A man in his 40s died when he was struck by a kibble containing wet concrete which fell from a boom crane at a construction site in Box Hill shortly after midday.

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Builder fined $70,000 after worker fell from roof

A building group has been convicted and fined $70,000, and ordered to pay $5577 in costs, after a worker received serious injuries in a fall from a two-storey house in Warrnambool. Concord Builders Group Pty Ltd was found guilty on Friday of two contraventions of the OHS Act for failing to ensure it provided, as far as reasonably practicable, a workplace that was safe and without risk to health.

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Blitz on dangerous chemicals will target inner west

WorkSafe will lead a blitz on industrial premises in Melbourne's inner western suburbs to ensure that potentially dangerous chemicals are being stored correctly. Starting next week, WorkSafe inspectors will conduct visits to ensure site occupiers are complying with regulations about the labelling, storage and handling of chemicals, and have the correct emergency controls and safety equipment in place.

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Worker killed in fall from air-conditioning duct

In August 2018, a worker was killed after falling twelve metres onto a concrete floor. Early investigations indicate he was undertaking scheduled maintenance of air-conditioning ducts and was in the fresh air intake pre-conditioned outside air (PCOA) unit. A co-worker returned to the area and found a void where a floor grate had been. He looked through the void and saw his colleague on the concrete floor below. This particular PCOA is the only vent open to external, often hot and humid air, and as such is a high corrosion area. Investigations are continuing.

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Hamilton Island transport provider fined after horrific buggy crash

A transport services company has been fined $220,000 for offences under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 after a golf buggy crash in 2016 left eight Hamilton Island resort guests and one worker badly injured. The company transports guests and their luggage to and from resort accommodation.

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16 August 2018

New round of graduates to keep Victorians safe at work

WorkSafe's newest inspectors will begin the task of keeping Victorians safe and healthy at work this month following their graduation from a rigorous 17-week training program. The 15 graduates were presented with their instruments of appointment by WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies and Member for Geelong Christine Couzens at a ceremony at WorkSafe's headquarters today.

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Sydney light rail investigation finds four others received shocks at CBD site

A damning investigation into how a teenager received an electric shock while walking near the Sydney light rail construction site has found four other people were also given shocks from a traffic signal pit that may have been faulty for months. Anna Lambden, 15, was taken to hospital in June after she felt a sensation like pins and needles coursing through her body while walking in wet socks along George Street in Haymarket.

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New boat safety rules requiring self-deploying emergency beacons 'unlikely' to have saved Dianne fishermen, family says

The brother of one of the six men who died in a fishing boat tragedy says it's unlikely new safety measures would have saved the fishermen's lives. Joel Feeney lost his brother Zac and several close mates in Queensland's worst maritime tragedy involving the sinking of the commercial fishing boat Dianne off the central Queensland coast in October.

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A new approach to helping injured workers (that could also help the economy)

Karen Wilson's injury didn't get easier with time, as they say. It became harder. Ten years ago, she seriously broke her wrist after falling over in the car park of a Sydney golf club where she worked as a supervisor. "I've had six operations," she says. "I am up for number seven."

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Workplace exposure standards framework consultation regulation impact statement released

Safe Work Australia has published a consultation regulation impact statement (consultation RIS) for the workplace exposure standards framework. The consultation RIS will assist Work Health and Safety ministers to determine the impact of, and best way to implement an update to the workplace exposure standards. It also explores if the workplace exposure standards should remain mandatory under the model WHS laws or if advisory status is more appropriate.

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First things first - power off before cover off

An incident in Victoria where an electrician received a shock after touching live metal parts is a stark reminder to always double check power has been turned off before conducting maintenance, repairs, alterations or adjustments to electrical equipment. The electrician received an electric shock while making adjustments to a passive infrared (PIR) sensor.

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Sunshine Coast employers can do better on workers' compensation compliance

Businesses in the Sunshine Coast region have more work to do to ensure they are protecting workers against injury with 22% of 188 employers visited during a recent WorkCover Queensland compliance audit found to be operating without appropriate workers' compensation insurance.

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Major changes on the way for amusement ride safety

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has announced the Palaszczuk Government will set world-class safety standards for the theme park and amusement ride industry.

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Woolworths, Victorian subcontractor charged by NT WorkSafe over death of itinerant man

The supermarket giant Woolworths and a Victorian-based transport company have been charged over the death of a 47-year-old itinerant man, who was run over after falling asleep in a loading dock in Darwin. The driver of a prime mover fatally struck the Maningrida man, who he did not see, while exiting a loading dock at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre in Leanyer on October 7, 2016.

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Research shows tradies take better care of their tools than their health

Aussie tradies are almost twice as likely to take good care of their tools as their bodies despite having one of the highest injury rates of any occupation according to research by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) released today to mark the launch of Tradies National Health Month. The Empirica Research survey commissioned by the APA revealed that 79 per cent of tradies report taking good care of their tools compared to just 47 per cent who took good care of their bodies.

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1 August 2018

PFAS chemical contamination risk at Gold Coast Airport not explained, workers claim

When Craig Anderson raised concerns about PFAS contamination at the Gold Coast Airport, he says he was told the levels were so low the water would be safe to drink. The plumber spent about 18 months wading through groundwater to lay pipes for a major airport extension, starting in 2016 and finishing in August last year.

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Thousands of Australians turning up to work on methamphetamines

Thousands of Australians are turning up to work under the influence of methamphetamines, according to a new report from South Australia's peak business lobby. SafeWork Laboratories forensic toxicologist Andrew Leibie - who worked on the report - said almost a quarter of a million Australians were high on ice at work "on any given day".

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Afternoon update: Richmond crane incident

Work to disassemble the crane damaged by high winds in Richmond is progressing, with the majority of the recovery tasks expected to be completed this afternoon. Favourable weather conditions allowed for construction experts to begin the task of removing the crane this morning, and the crane's jib and A-frame have successfully been taken down.

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Farmer dies in tractor incident near Mansfield

A farmer has died in an incident involving a tractor on a farm at Barjarg, near Mansfield yesterday. The 56-year-old man was working alone about 3pm when the incident took place.

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OHS charges laid over Carlton's Corkman Pub demolition

WorkSafe has charged the owner of the Corkman Irish Pub site in relation to the identification and treatment of asbestos at the 2016 demolition of the historic hotel. The sole proprietor of the Carlton site, 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, is charged with breaching Section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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Precast wall panel failure

The purpose of this health and safety alert is to inform workers, employers, builders and designers of the risk of falling concrete elements attached to the perimeter of buildings under construction.

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New safety guide released for renewable energy electrical equipment

The Best Practice Guide: Battery Storage Equipment - Electrical Safety Requirements has been released to provide electrical safety guidelines for lithium-based battery storage equipment. It is the result of extensive collaboration between manufacturers, importers, safety regulators and other industry bodies.

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Workers foot amputated in screw conveyor

In July 2018, a worker was cleaning a decanter when he stepped back through an open grate into an operating screw conveyor, which amputated his foot just above his ankle. Also in July, a worker's arm was crushed when it became entangled in the chute of a ribbon mixer. Initial inquiries indicate that the machine guarding was inadequate to prevent a person coming into contact with the mixing blades.

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Driver fatally crushed by own truck

In June 2018, an owner/operator truck driver was reversing his single deck truck up to a loading ramp to load cattle used in a rodeo as part of the local annual show. It appears he placed the truck in reverse and began to idle backwards - the gearing of the truck in reverse was sufficiently low that it did not require the driver to have his foot on the accelerator. He then opened the door and stood on the running boards of the truck holding on to the steering wheel to manoeuvre the truck while looking backwards to where he was going.

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Workers hand crushed by mobile piling rig

In June 2018, a worker's hand was crushed when a mobile piling rig he was operating in crane mode rolled over. The operator was part of a team replacing a wooden railway bridge. Initial inquiries indicate that the piling rig was carrying a load across the tracks when it rolled over on to its side, squashing the cab and crushing his hand. Investigations are continuing.

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Musculoskeletal disorders symposium 2018

Join us on 8-9 November in Sydney at our Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Symposium where we will share research and ideas about best-practice approaches to managing hazardous manual tasks and prevention of MSDs in the workplace

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Driving down deaths in construction industry

A new plan has been launched today to reduce deaths and accidents in the NSW construction industry. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said it was critical to get construction safety right, with $80 billion to be spent on NSW infrastructure over the next four years.

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Quad bike safety gets (virtual) reality check

Farmers will now be able to experience quad bike safety on a whole new level, with the NSW Government today unveiling an innovative virtual reality training experience. Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean will officially launch the program, which simulates a quad bike accident, at the NSW Farmers Conference in Sydney today.

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Safety taskforce to protect stone industry workers

A new safety taskforce has been established to protect workers in the manufactured stone industry from lung diseases. The Manufactured Stone Industry Taskforce has been convened by SafeWork NSW and comprises industry, peak bodies, medical professionals, unions and other government agencies including the Lung Foundation, Australian Industry Group and Unions NSW. The Taskforce will review safety standards and consider safety improvements to better protect workers from crystalline silica dust exposure which can lead to the lung disease silicosis.

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6 June 2018

Darwin bus drivers suffer 'battle fatigue' from passenger abuse, spitting, rock throwing

Getting spat on, pelted with rocks and even hospitalised has become all too routine for those on the frontline of Darwin's only public transport system. Earlier this month a bus driver resigned after a passenger spat in his face, which came as no surprise to his colleagues.

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Albury in shock as names of two workers dead after toxic gas leak revealed by police

It was a day like any other day for Ben Pascall and Lyndon Quinlivan. The two men went to work, as they usually would, at the Norske Skog mill near Albury in New South Wales. But they didn't come home that night. The two co-workers, both locals of the area, were carrying out routine maintenance at the plant on Thursday when they were overcome by fumes, thought to be deadly hydrogen sulphide gas.

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Worker dies in timber mill incident

A man in his 20s has died in a workplace incident at a timber mill at Benalla. It is believed the man died after becoming entangled on a conveyor belt about midday yesterday.

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Stone suppliers guilty after worker loses toes

A Brooklyn company has been fined $50,000 without conviction, and ordered to pay costs of $29,000, after a 182kg stone benchtop fell on a worker's foot, resulting in the loss of three toes. Baron Forge Contractors, trading as PazGroup, was found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court of committing two offences against section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

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Second company convicted after apprentice seriously burnt

A plumbing company has become the second business to be convicted and fined over an incident in which an apprentice was seriously burned when he made contact with powerlines. H&A Majestic Plumbing Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge containing two contraventions of section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 in that it failed to provide a workplace that was safe and without risks to health.

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Worker run over by forklift

In May 2018, a worker was struck and run over by a forklift in the loading bay of an industrial workplace on the Gold Coast. Initial inquiries indicate he was standing in the loading bay when the forklift reversed away after returning product to an outside rack. The forklift hit him, seriously injuring his leg and shoulder. Inquiries are continuing.

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Power line risk sparks innovation at Bishopp Billboards

Installing billboard signage can be a dangerous business, especially when working near overhead power lines. Sadly, there have been a number of incidents where billboard sign installers have been seriously injured by coming into contact with overhead power lines.

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Students to shine light on farm safety with calendar competition

Education and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has launched the 2019 farm safety calendar competition as part of Governing from Mackay this week, with students from Eton State School. Ms Grace said the competition, run by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, was a big hit with students in rural and regional Queensland.

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Worker crushed by hoist

In May 2018, a worker was pinned and crushed by a personnel and materials hoist on a multi-storey building project on the Gold Coast. He was working on the roof of Car 1 of the dual carriage hoist and was connected via a safety harness attached to Car 2. Our investigation to date indicates that Car 2 started automatically and as it moved up, he was lifted by his harness and pinned against a structural tie. The hoist operator then activated the emergency stop button bringing the hoist to a halt.

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When one time is one time too many: Serious safety breaches lead to fair dismissals

For the third time this year, the Fair Work Commission has upheld an employer's decision to dismiss an employee who was found to have breached a cardinal safety rule in the workplace. In each case, the breach of the relevant safety rule did not result in either incident or injury.

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Further primary producer Chain of Responsibility myths busted

The NHVR has released a second round of common questions raised by primary producers about changes to Chain of Responsibility laws. NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the information was gathered at a series of recent workshops for primary producers across Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria.

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22 May 2018

Flammable cladding fix on government buildings set to cost tens of millions of dollars

The Queensland Government is preparing to spend tens of millions of dollars to make dozens of government buildings safer, following its investigations into the use of flammable cladding. A year-long inquiry has found about 880 buildings need further investigation but at least 70 will require rectification work. The audit looked at the extent of combustible cladding in Queensland following the deadly Grenfell Tower disaster in London last year, in which dozens of people were killed.

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Delay in stab-proof vest rollout putting police officers' lives at risk: SA Opposition

The South Australian Government is putting the lives of police officers at risk by delaying the rollout of stab-proof vests, the Opposition says. Labor said it gave SA police $4 million in February - while it was in government - to buy stab-proof vests and tasers for all frontline police officers. Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas said the Government is now insisting on trialling the vests.

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SafeWork SA to face public inquiry after 'a number of complaints and reports' over five years

SafeWork SA has come under fire with confirmation of an evaluation into its practices, policies and procedures following several complaints against its integrity over the last five years.

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New safety plan launched to help protect NSW workers

Workers will be better protected thanks to a new safety plan that aims to reduce injuries and fatalities in the manufacturing sector, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. Mr Kean said manufacturing is one of the state's highest risk industries, and employs more than 240,000 workers. "The manufacturing sector is one of the state's most significant industries, producing a wide range of goods and injecting thousands of vital jobs into the economy," Mr Kean said.

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Don't cut old drums

Flammable substances can still be present in old drums. Even if they have been cleaned and rinsed, the introduction of an ignition source can create a disastrous explosion. Cutting old drums isn't worth the risk - watch this video safety alert for more details.

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Forklift load handling

If you work with forklifts, watch this video for simple steps to handle loads safely.

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Trucking industry blasts underspending on rest stops, fears it will take major accident to spark change

South Australia's trucking industry has slammed a lack of funding for vehicle rest stops, saying it could take up to 50 years before there are enough stops to meet the Government's own standards. According to the SA Road Transport Association (SARTA), Federal Government requirements stipulate there must be an available rest station for truckies every 80 kilometres.

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Trucking company fined over 'preventable' deaths of Irish construction workers

A trucking company has been fined $160,000 over the deaths of two Irish workers who were crushed by falling concrete panels at an East Perth construction site. Axedale Holdings pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the safety of Gerry Bradley, 27, and Joe McDermott, 24, who died while working on an apartment development near the corner of Bennett and Goderich streets in November 2015.

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Uncontrolled movement of a concrete truck

In April 2018, a concrete truck was parked on a wet, sloping driveway at a private property in Buderim in readiness for a concrete pour. The operator placed rubber chocks under the front wheels and timber chocks under the rear wheels of the truck. The operator stopped the mixer from turning to commence the pour. It is believed this caused the truck to move and the chocks to begin sliding. The truck slid down the driveway, across the road, into another property (narrowly missing the house) and off a 1.5 metre retaining wall before rolling onto its side and stopping against a tree. There were no injuries and investigations are continuing.

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Update to lower limb surgery guidelines

WorkCover Queensland has updated guidelines for medical providers to use for lower limb surgery billing and requests. The lower limb surgery guidelines have been developed by WorkCover with the assistance of relevant stakeholders, doctors and medical associations.

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Farmer dies after being struck by trailer

A man in his 70s has died after being run over by a trailer at a property near Ouyen. It is believed the man was standing alongside the moving trailer, feeding hay to sheep when he was knocked to the ground about 9.30pm on Monday.

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Excavation collapse on apprentice leads to $80,000 fine

A construction company has been convicted and fined $80,000 after an excavation collapsed leaving a 17-year-old apprentice plumber with life-threatening injuries. Olive Construction Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to one charge contrary to section 26 of the OHS Act for failing to provide a workplace that was safe and without risks to health.

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Builder, scaffold business fined more than $60,000

Two Melbourne companies have been convicted and ordered to pay a total of $62,000 in fines in relation to scaffolding at a Bentleigh East development site.

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7th May 2018

Workplace study unveils mega trends

A new study released by Safe Work Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 group reveals that robots and automation generally will make work safer for future generations. The Workplace Safety Future report explores how six mega trends - ranging from advancing automation and the gig economy to rising screen time and an ageing workforce - will impact on work health and safety (WHS) and workers' compensation in the next two decades.

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Tree safety goes digital with new SafeWork NSW campaign

A targeted digital campaign to promote safe tree work has been launched by SafeWork NSW today. Over the next six weeks, the campaign will reach tree work industry businesses, workers, their families and friends through sites like Facebook, eBay and Gumtree. SafeWork NSW Acting Executive Director, Operations, Tony Williams said the campaign aimed to raise awareness about safety in an industry that suffered too many serious injuries.

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Who is responsible for safety in a gig economy?

Safety in the `gig economy' is again making headlines, with Unions NSW taking on Airtasker once more as a source of potential unsafe work practices. Last year, Unions NSW focused on Airtasker from an employment law perspective after raising concerns about potential misclassification and underpayment of workers sourced through the company's website.

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International day of mourning

On 28 April each year, countries around the world pause to remember loved ones who have lost their lives due to a workplace incident or occupational disease. The International Day of Mourning is a sad reminder to all of us to take a moment to think about the significance of work health and safety and how workplace incidents affect those around us.

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High pressure water spray on asbestos roof

In April 2018, a contractor used a high pressure water spray on a roof believed to be asbestos containing material (ACM) which he had been engaged to clean and repaint. ACM debris was distributed throughout part of the property and the neighbouring property. The site was made safe, including an area where run-off from the roof downpipes had resulted in ACM debris being deposited into the road guttering.

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