Tag archives: WHS

SafeWork NSW approves Code of Practice on managing psychosocial hazards

SafeWork NSW has approved Australia’s first Work Health and Safety (WHS) Code of Practice on managing psychosocial hazards at work (the Code). The Code took effect on 28 May 2021.

The WHS Act provides that an approved code of practice is admissible in Court proceedings as evidence of whether or not a duty or obligation under the WHS Act has been complied with. A Court may have regard to an approved code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard or risk, risk assessment or risk control, and rely on the code of practice in determining what … Continue Reading

West Australian Director becomes first person jailed in WA for WHS breaches

For the first time in the 37 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act) came into effect, an individual has been sentenced to imprisonment in Western Australia. The successful prosecution may be one of the last prosecutions brought under the OSH Act which is soon to be replaced by the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act).

In March 2020 a 25-year-old worker, Mr Jake Williams, was killed and his 21 year old co-worker was seriously injured after they fell nine meters from the roof of a shed they were … Continue Reading

Outcomes of Australian WHS Ministers’ meeting to respond to recommendations arising from the Boland independent review

The long-awaited meeting of Australian WHS Ministers to discuss the response to the 34 recommendations contained in the Marie Boland independent review of the model Work Health and Safety Laws final report (published in February  2019) (Boland report), took place on 20 May 2021.  We have previously discussed the Boland report and its recommendations in the following blog articles (see here, here and here).

According to the Communique and ‘Agreed response to the Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws’ recently published, key issues agreed by the Ministers were, amongst other things, that:… Continue Reading

Workplace sexual harassment: New WHS guidance materials

The focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, particularly as a risk to the psychological health of employees, has continued in 2021.

Australian Human Rights Commission report into workplace sexual harassment

The Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces published in March 2020 (Respect@Work Report), found that whilst the Model Work Health and Safety Laws impose a positive duty on employers to eliminate or manage hazards and risks to workers’ health there is no express prohibition on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Report made 55 recommendations, including that the Model WHS Regulation be amended … Continue Reading

Western Australia set for WHS Reform

The Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 (WA) received assent on 10 November 2020 (WHS Act). The WHS Act introduces the offence of industrial manslaughter and will harmonise WA’s work health and safety (WHS) laws with most other Australian states and territories. This harmonisation is long overdue in WA with the other states and territories having adopted the model WHS laws between 2011 and 2012, with the exception of Victoria which has nonetheless still amended its legislation to provide for industrial manslaughter.

The WHS Act is expected to come into full effect in the first half of 2021 … Continue Reading

WHS regulators issue guides and codes of practice on psychological health and managing sexual harassment claims

Earlier this year, the Respect@Work – National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission made key recommendations addressing psychological health and sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. Specifically the inquiry recommended:

  • the model WHS Regulations should be amended to address psychological health by identifying and appropriately controlling work-related psychosocial risks (consistent with the 2018 Boland Review recommendations); and
  • WHS Ministers develop guidelines or Codes of Practice on sexual harassment, allowing it to be dealt with in a ‘consistent, robust or systemic way’.

Since the publication of the Inquiry’s final report, SafeWork NSW and … Continue Reading

Record fine imposed on Ardent Leisure Limited over Dreamworld fatalities

Background

On 25 October 2016, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Cindy Low & Roozbeh Araghi suffered fatal injuries on Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids Ride after the raft they had been travelling in collided with another raft.

Coroner James McDougall undertook a Coronial Inquest (Inquest) which resulted in the Findings of Inquest (Findings) delivered on 24 February 2020.  We discussed these Findings in a podcast which can be accessed here.

The charges

The Coroner found that it was “…reasonably suspected that Ardent Leisure may have committed an offence against workplace law” and he made a … Continue Reading

Can injuries sustained working from home, including death, be considered to have occurred in the course of employment?

The Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales considered this issue in Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer v Hill [2020] NSWCA 54,[1] confirming that a death which happened while working from home occurred as a result of injury arising out of and in the course of the deceased’s employment.… Continue Reading

Sometimes it isn’t about the destination: Journey-claims and the associated risks for employers

Most employers are conscious of their health and safety obligations for when employees are at work, but what about employer obligations to employees travelling to and from work?  A recent New South Wales decision highlights the importance of employers taking a holistic approach to fatigue management both within and outside of the workplace.… Continue Reading

New South Wales responds to Marie Boland Review recommendations

New South Wales has introduced a WHS Amendment Bill (Bill) in response to the recommendations of the Marie Boland report issued in February 2019 (see our blog article here regarding the Marie Boland review). The changes, if passed, will commence on the day they receive royal assent.

The Bill proposes to:

  • increase maximum penalties (with the maximum penalty for category 1 offences to increase from $3 million to $3.46 million);
  • create a penalty unit system to ensure maximum penalties increase every year to reflect changes to the consumer price index;
  • prohibit insurance against safety fines for offences under
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