"On the spot fines" a reality from July 31 in Victoria
Fulfilling a 2018 election promise, the Victorian government this week made the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Infringements and Miscellaneous Matters) Regulations 2021 (Infringement Regulations), which contain 54 prescribed offences.
From July 31, WorkSafe inspectors will finally be able to issue on the spot fines - infringement notices - with penalties of up to $1,817.40 for offences such as not having an up to date asbestos register, license matters, or the use of equipment or substances that are not licensed or registered. Infringements can also be applied to both individuals and businesses failing to meet duties relating to the 54 offences.
Legal obligations have not changed: the infringement notice scheme allows inspectors to deal quickly with failure to comply with straightforward requirements. Read more: Victorian government media release; WorkSafe Victoria statement. The Infringement Regulations, including the table of offences, are also available on the Victorian Legislation website here. A summary of the new regs is being put up on the website here, and will completed soon.
Reminder - WorkSafe Infringement Notices Webinar
WorkSafe will be holding a webinar tomorrow where you can find out more information about infringement notices and take the opportunity to ask questions.
When: Thursday 22 July 2021
Time: 10am - 11am
Register now - The link to the webinar will be provided via email.
New Safety Alert: Refilling gas cylinders
Last week WorkSafe issued a safety alert about the hazards associated with refilling Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. The alert was issued after two recent incidents involving the refilling of gas cylinders, such as those used in forklifts and barbeques.
- Incident 1 – Fire Rescue Victoria and Victoria Police attended a service station where a member of the public had tried to fill a barbeque gas cylinder from a LPG dispensing bowser, causing a leak and releasing gas into the atmosphere.
- Incident 2 – an employee received burn injuries to their hands whilst refilling a forklift gas cylinder from a LPG dispenser.
Only minor injuries were sustained, however the incidents highlight the potential danger associated with filling gas cylinders from a LPG dispenser. The alert goes through the safety issues, and provides advice on how to ensure risks are controlled. Read more: Refilling gas cylinders
WorkSafe urges farming families to learn from the past
In a media release issued during this week's National Farm Safety Week, WorkSafe Victoria says: "Farming is a business often passed down through generations. Now is the right time to build safe practices into business operations to ensure an enviable farming lifestyle into the future."
Agriculture is one of the state’s most dangerous industries: four lives have already been lost in 2021 and 24 people have been killed as a result of workplace incidents in agriculture in the past three years. Further, every day more than one person working in agriculture is injured badly enough to lodge a worker’s compensation claim.
Beeac brothers Tom and Bill Alston, are managing directors of 6500-acre Stonyhurst Pastoral. Although following in their family's footsteps, they are always seeking new ways to improve their operation, including safety. In a video with WorkSafe, the third-generation farmers share how they have made improvements on the farm including introducing drones to muster sheep, which has brought both productivity and safety benefits. Check out the video. Source: WorkSafe Victoria media release
July edition of Safety Soapbox
The latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox was posted today. This month WorkSafe’s focus is on a 2019 formwork collapse on a construction site, when two packs of form ply were being loaded onto a deck under construction, seriously injuring a worker standing underneath it.
The editorial makes the point that WorkSafe Inspectors have identified a serious trend in heavy materials being landed atop of incomplete formwork decks on recent construction site visits.
Other items covered in this edition include: the new Infringement Notices; the recent introduction of provisional payments for mental health claims; prosecutions and interstate news.
The Safety Soapbox has the list of incidents reported to WorkSafe: In June the construction industry reported 166 incidents to WorkSafe. Of these, 79 per cent resulted in injury. There was one fatality that was due to a medical condition. 5 per cent of the injuries were serious. Access the July 2021 edition of Safety Soapbox here - the summaries of reported incidents can be downloaded from the Safety Soapbox.
Reminder: New Grants for workplace safety
These WorkSafe grants support initiatives that deliver outstanding workplace safety and education projects in Victoria. The latest round of grants, valued at up to $2 million, is open for applications until Wednesday, 18 August. Grants will be awarded across three tiers of funding - up to $50,000, $50,000-$500,000 and more than $500,000.
Applicants must be a community group or local organisation, an employer, or employer or employee representative group and have an ABN. Grant applications can be submitted online More information on how to apply for a grant.
National Fatality Statistics
Safe Work Australia has not updated its statistics on fatalities since July 8, at which time it had been notified that 58 Australian workers had been killed at work this year. The total numbers of fatalities have been in the following sectors:
- 23 in Transport, postal & warehousing
- 9 in Construction
- 6 in Manufacturing
- 4 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
- 4 in Arts & recreation services
- 2 in Mining
- 2 in Other Services
- 2 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
- 2 in Public administration & safety
- 1 in Wholesale trade
- 1 in Accommodation & food services
- 1 in Education & training
- 1 'unknown'
These figures are based mainly on initial media reports and provide a preliminary estimate of the number of people killed while working. Once the appropriate authority has investigated the death, more accurate information becomes available from which Safe Work Australia updates details of the incident, consequently sometimes the numbers of deaths in each sector change. Updated information is used to publish Safe Work Australia’s annual Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report which includes finalised work-related fatalities from 2003 onwards. 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.