OHS Regulator News

Victorian news
Media release on prosecution
WorkSafe has today released a statement on the conviction fine of hops grower Neville Handcock - as reported in last week's SafetyNet The death occurred in March 2017 when a worker he fell from a trailer towed by an out of control tractor

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said tractors were an important piece of equipment but were involved in more deaths and serious injuries than any other piece of machinery. "Tragically, in this case a failure to provide proper information and training and to have a safe system of work has cost a worker his life," Ms Nielsen said. "When using a tractor with attachments, such as trailers, it is essential to plan each task, assess the risks and select the right equipment for the terrain to reduce the potential of injury or death." 
Read more: WorkSafe media release

Safety Soapbox
The last edition of Safety Soapbox was posted on April 10, just after our journal was posted.  The editorial in this edition is on incidents involving mobile elevated working platforms (MEWPs), which are happening with alarming frequency, with seven significant incidents already this year. WorkSafe is working closely with the industry to develop a standard for safely using MEWPs. In the meantime, Safety Soapbox has advice for employers to follow while the standard is being developed.

Also attached to the electronic email is a document providing a summary of reported incidents for the month of March. During which this period the construction industry reported 202 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, five were potentially serious 'near misses' and 64 per cent resulted in injury. Of the injuries, 4 per cent were serious, 52 per cent 'significant' and 44 per cent minor. 23 incidents involved a young worker. 
Access the April 10 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the document on reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

ACCC urges mandatory protection on quad bikes
In a week when two boys were killed in quad bike incidents in rural WA and Tasmania, Australia's consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has called for rollover protection devices to be fitted to all quad bikes. This follows almost 18 months of deliberations, industry consultation and 119 submissions. However, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert will not be adopting the ACCC's recommendations, and has announced another round of public consultation that would not be completed until at least June 10, well after the May 18 Federal Election.

Safe Work Australia figures show in the eight years from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2018, 126 people died in quad bike incidents in Australia. Almost 11 per cent (14 fatalities) were children aged 11 years of age or under and more than one third (43 fatalities) were adults aged 60 years and over. The figures show over half (76 fatalities) of all fatalities were the result of a rollover and 77 fatalities occurred on a farm or property. The ACTU and unions have been calling for mandatory protection on quad bikes for years. So many avoidable deaths could have been prevented.

On Saturday afternoon a seven-year-old boy was killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in the tiny town of Dingup, in WA's South-West, while a nine-year-old Tasmanian boy died in an ATV incident at a family member's rural property at Sandford on Hobart's eastern shore. Both boys died after the quad bikes they were riding rolled over.
Read more: ACCC media release; Consumer watchdog calls for protection on quad bikes, The Weekly Times; Boys aged 7 and 9 die in quad bike accidents in rural WA and Tasmania, ABC News online; ACTU media releases, 2012 and 2013

Safe Work Australia news
Fatality statistics
The latest update remains as of 21 March, at which time 30 fatalities had been notified to Safe Work Australia. The workers killed have come from the following industries:

  • 10  Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 10 Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 4 Construction
  • 2 Public Administration & safety
  • 2 Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 2 Mining

To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage and in particular, here.

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