Prosecutions

Caravan park charged after camper's death:

WorkSafe has charged a Healesville accommodation business after a man was crushed by a tree branch in March 2021.

Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park Pty Ltd is facing two charges under Section 26(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure that the workplace was safe and without risks to health.

The camper was sleeping in his tent at the caravan park when a large tree branch fell and killed him.

WorkSafe alleges the company failed to take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of that branch falling and reduce the risk of other branches falling causing serious injury or death.

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 26 May 2022.

Nationally:

John Holland Pty Ltd has been granted permission to enter a $1.2 million enforceable undertaking (EU) in lieu of prosecution over a worker's seven-metre fall through a hole on a major infrastructure project, and will develop a freely available virtual reality app for identifying height risks.

The construction giant, licensed under the Comcare scheme, was charged with a category-2 breach of the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011, in relation to the September 2018 fall.

The PCBU was accused of failing to comply with its section-19(3)(a) duty to provide and maintain a work environment without risks to health and safety.

The worker who fell was a DJD Brick and Blocklaying Pty Ltd contractor engaged to perform construction work at the Sydney Metro rail project's Castle Hill Station.

The man was on a mezzanine level when he stepped on a board covering a void and the board gave way, causing him to fall through the hole and land on the concrete floor below, suffering a broken leg and other injuries.

John Holland's alleged contraventions included failing to ensure the board was properly fastened in place.

For the EU, the PCBU has committed to sharing insights from the incident and its working-at-height initiatives, and making the virtual reality training app available for free to the broader construction industry.

The PCBU's other EU commitments include: improving it site induction process using 360-degree cameras and virtual reality systems to increase the understanding of site risks and hazards; partnering with Indigenous and cultural diversity organisations to provide new job opportunities; and supporting a mental health initiative for the industry.

It has committed to spending $1,221,840.

Read more: John Holland Pty Ltd enforceable undertaking

WHS changes to follow Qld inquest into nine quad deaths:

Queensland's Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 could be amended to block workers from operating quad bikes unless they wear a helmet and have undergone nationally recognised training on safely operating the notoriously hazardous vehicles.
In a 12-page discussion paper open for comment until 17 June, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland also proposes:
  • requiring quad bike operators to be at least 16 years of age
  • prohibiting passengers on quad bikes unless the bike is designed to carry a passenger and the passenger is at least 16
  • requiring side-by-side vehicle (SSV) operators to be at least 16, wear a helmet, and wear a seatbelt where fitted
  • preventing young children from being passengers on SSVs.

WHSQ notes that using quad bikes and SSVs is associated with a high number of fatalities and serious injuries, and this prompted a Queensland coronial inquest into nine quad bike deaths in the State between March 2012 and January 2014.

The inquest found such fatalities often occur in "quite benign conditions", such as on gentle slopes and coincided with a NSW inquest into eight quad bike fatalities and one SSV death and was followed by a Tasmanian inquest into seven quad bikes deaths.

Tassie recently introduced new WHS laws for the vehicles.

The discussion paper says that while current WHS provisions do require PCBUs to properly train and issue PPE to quad bike operators, they "do not explicitly mandate helmet use and training, nor prohibit children using adult-size quad bikes and being carried as passengers in workplaces".

The proposals do not apply to the private non-work-related use of quad bikes and SSVs.

Source:

 

 

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