Regulator News

WorkSafe Victoria News

Nominations for WorkSafe 2020 Awards now open

Here's something to look forward to: the 2020 WorkSafe Awards are now open. The WorkSafe Awards are a way to recognise those individuals, teams or organisations that go above and beyond for workplace safety. They are also an opportunity to celebrate the people involved in helping injured workers return to work and health.

Keeping Victorians safe at work is a team effort and WorkSafe would recognise and celebrate our health and safety and return to work champions.  Nominate yourself, your fabulous HSR or your workplace.
Entries are now open across the following categories:
  • Health & Safety Representative of the Year
  • Health & Safety Invention of the Year
  • Best Solution to a Specific Workplace Health & Safety Issue

Entries close May 9 - so turn your mind to something pleasant, and get organised. For more information on the awards, and the nomination process, click here

Solar company charged over fatal fall

WorkSafe has charged a solar panel installation company with failing to control the risk of a fall from height at a residential property in Bendigo.  Solar 2.0 Pty Ltd was last week charged with two breaches of section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health. These charges relate to an incident on 30 November 2018, in which a 21-year-old young worker was killed after he fell from a ladder while installing solar panels in Bendigo suburb Kennington.

WorkSafe will also allege that the company failed to implement a Safe Work Method Statement for the high risk construction work. The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on 15 April 2020.

More charges for alleged chemical stockpiles

Last week WorkSafe charged Bradbury Industrial Services Pty Ltd with even more alleged breaches of the Dangerous Goods Act, relating to a chemical stockpile at a warehouse in Campbellfield. These follow 35 charges relating to stockpiles at other Bradbury’s sites in Campbellfield and Craigieburn already filed in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The company, which is now in liquidation, has been accused of committing seven offences under sections 31(1) and 45 of the Act. WorkSafe alleges Bradbury failed to: 

  • take all reasonable precautions to prevent a fire or explosion of dangerous goods at the premises
  • reduce the risks associated with dangerous goods storage
  • notify WorkSafe of an excess quantity of dangerous goods at the site
  • request the advice of the relevant emergency services in relation to a fire protection system, having exceeded the regulated fire protection quantity of dangerous goods
  • have a written fire protection plan
  • properly display HAZCHEM placarding and
  • keep a manifest of its dangerous goods.

The stockpile was uncovered in March 2019 as part of a joint WorkSafe and Environment Protection Authority investigation into chemical storage in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. The latest charges were listed for a filing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on April 3, 2020.

New Safety Alerts and guidance

  1. Employee fatally crushed in elevating work platforma reminder about the risks of being crushed against fixed structures on a mobile elevating work platform (EWP).
  2. Preventing electric shocks to electricians - for employers, electricians and electrical contractors. It provides information to help eliminate or reduce the risks of electric shock when doing electrical installation or repair work on smaller electrical installations, including houses, shops and small commercial premises. 
  3. Site supervision for housing construction - for principle contractors undertaking housing construction. Builders must provide adequate site supervision to ensure that work is carried out safely and without risks to health.

Latest edition of Safety Soapbox

The March edition of Safety Soapbox was posted last week.  In this edition, the editorial is on the Silicosis Summit held on 27 February. It attracted registrations from over 600 employers and workers from the stonemasory, construction, mining and quarry industries - all eager to learn about prevention. Among them were CEOs, senior executives and HSRs from companies that work with engineered stone, safety advocates, employees and medical experts, as well as suppliers of products containing engineered stone.

The Silicosis Summit was a powerful reminder that despite coming from different sectors and backgrounds, they shared a common goal: to raise awareness and education about the health and safety risks of crystalline silica dust exposure and to prevent others from becoming sick because of their work.

The edition has news of WorkSafe’s activities in the sector and links to new and updated guidance. There's also a reminder of the imminent arrival of the Industrial Manslaughter laws/ The roundup of information from other jurisdictions includes links to Safety Alerts alerts from around the country. 

This edition has the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe during February 2020, during which 153 incidents were reported to WorkSafe. Of these, 63 per cent resulted in injury with four serious 'near misses'. Access the March 2020 edition of Safety Soapbox here  - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

Statistics updated

WorkSafe Victoria has finally updated its two-year old data. It has made available contemporary injury claims data and reported death tallies for the state jurisdiction, plus helpful links back to annual reports and prosecutions for financial and enforcement information. However the data is still hard to the find from its jumbled home page and does not show in its meta-search. According OHSIntros, WorkSafe says the delay in data updates was due to the ongoing build of its new website.

Still missing from its data suite (available in the past) are death claims and compliance data. OHSIntos says: "It is not clear how this important, missing data can be accessed in a timely manner by the OHS community and other interested parties. There does not appear to be a pathway or process for this. Access to Victorian data is also important in a national context. WorkSafe Victoria claims to be a world leader in prevention and compensation. Holding on to that crown needs to be proven by being open and transparent about its performance and that of the Victorian scheme it manages."
Access the WorkSafe Data and Statistics here.

National Fatality Statistics

Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics since the last edition of SafetyNet. As at 12 March, there had been 38 worker fatalities notified to the national body - ten more since the previous update on 27 February. 

The fatalities this year have come from the following industries:

  • 16 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 9 in Construction
  • 5 in Public administration & safety
  • 3 in Mining
  • 2 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • 2 in Manufacturing
  • 1 in Arts & recreation services

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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