Regulator news

WorkSafe news

New simplified PIN form now available for HSRs

WorkSafe has redesigned the Provisional Improvement Notice it has available on its website. 

The document provides HSRs with a blank PIN form to capture information about OHS laws being contravened by an individual employer. What needs to be completed on the PIN form include:

  • the name of the HSR completing the PIN form
  • who will receive the PIN
  • check box that the HSR has consulted the person receiving the PIN before it is issued
  • how the PIN will be issued
  • details of how OHS laws that have been contravened
  • how the HSR believes the contravention can be fixed

Important: The PDF needs to be downloaded to a computer. It can then be filled in using Adobe Reader. Check it out here.

Updated information on ARREOs

WorkSafe Victoria has, in consultation with unions and employers, revised and updated its information on ARREOs - Authorised Representatives of Employee Organisations. The guidance provides advice on ARREOs right to enter workplaces following suspected contraventions of occupational health and safety legislation (the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 or the Regulations). Read more: Guide to right of entry by authorised representatives.

New Safety Alert

WorkSafe Victoria has issued a new Safety Alert Decanting and storing dangerous goods after two workers were seriously burnt when they attempted to extinguish a machine fire with liquid from an unmarked container. They mistakenly thought the liquid in the container was water when it was actually a flammable liquid. The Alert reminds employers and occupiers that if dangerous goods are transferred into a portable container for use at the workplace that:

  • the container into which the dangerous goods are transferred must be clearly labelled with the class, subsidiary risk and product name of the dangerous goods, or
  • if this is not possible, another means of clearly identifying the dangerous goods is used

Trial of Pipecon delayed 

In December last year, Ballarat-based construction company Pipecon was committed to stand trial on charges relating to the death of two young men, Charlie Howkins, 34, and Jack Brownlee, 21, in a trench at a Ballarat housing estate in March 2018.

Pipecon pleaded not guilty, but Magistrate Gregory Robinson found there was sufficient evidence to support conviction on both charges after a two-day contested committal hearing. This week there have been reports that the trial is not expected to start until ‘late next year’ - despite the case being classed as 'high priority'. 

The deaths of Charlie and Jack triggered a significant union and community campaign, and the tireless efforts of their families in lobbying for reform and the introduction of industrial manslaughter legislation in Victoria played a huge role in the Andrews government's commitment to the law and its eventual introduction. Note: Pipecon is not being charged with industrial manslaughter as the offence was not in effect at the time of the fatalities. 

There is a nominal two-year deadline for bringing OHS cases to court but no deadline on proceedings. Prominent OHS experts are asking whether it is time for a re-think. OHSIntros asks: “Is it time for an industrial court to fast-track such matters? Is the American system on pre-emptive penalties a better option? The point is made that this would be an issue for the new ministerial committee on work harms – which, however, has still not been formed after six months. The responsibility for this sits with the DOJ and new workplace safety minister, not WorkSafe.” 

SafetyAtWork's Kevin Jones, says "Justice delayed is justice denied" - apparently the reasons for the delay include renovation works on the courthouse and the workload of the Court. Sources: OHSIntros; SafetyAtWork blog; The Ballarat Courier

Other news

Safe Work Australia warns of dangers of working in heat and in air pollution

The national body warns that this time last year, parts of Australia were badly affected by extreme heat and bushfires. Working in heat and/or in air pollution can be hazardous and can cause harm to workers in both indoor and outdoor work environments.

Employers must take precautions this summer and know the risks of working in heat and/or air pollution and protect worker health and safety.

Over the 10 years from 2009-10 to 2018-19, there were 1,774 workers’ compensation claims resulting from working in heat.

1,679 of these claims were from working in the sun

  • 940 of these claims were cancer-related
  • 441 of these were claims regarding heat stroke or heat stress
  • 95 of these claims were from working in hot indoor conditions

Check out the web-based version of the bulletin, which has a list of useful resources on working in heat. 

National Fatality Statistics 

Safe Work Australia  updated its fatality statistics on December 3, at which time there had been 150 worker fatalities notified to the national body, three more since the previous update on November 19. Two of these were in the Transport, postal & warehousing sector. The deaths this year have been in the following sectors:

  • 51 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 30 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 26 in Construction
  • 15 in Public administration & safety
  • 12 in Manufacturing 
  • 5 in Mining 
  • 3 in 'other services' 
  • 2 in Arts & recreation services
  • 2 in Administrative & support services
  • 1 in Accommodation & food services
  • 1 in Retail trade
  • 1 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Education and training 

Note that the figures are based on preliminary reports, and so at times will change. To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage.

 

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