work health and safety

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 is reasonably practicable in the circumstances. Therefore, compliance with the Code will be an essential part of organisations complying with their duties under the WHS Act in respect of psychosocial hazards and risks.

The Code offers practical guidance to persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and other duty holders under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (WHS Act) on the process for identifying and managing psychosocial hazards and risks at work, to assist PCBUs and other duty holders in meeting their WHS responsibilities.

Well known organisations that are convicted for work health and safety offences may face higher fines, following a recent decision of the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal.

Tho Services Limited pleaded guilty to three breaches of section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), after a work experience student sustained permanent eye damage while performing welding tasks without wearing appropriate eye protection.

The New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal fined Tho Services $240,000.  In doing so, it overturned an earlier decision of the New South Wales District Court, that Tho Services only be required to pay $28,000 for the prosecution’s costs.

Safe Work New South Wales v Austral Hydroponics P/L; Safe Work New South Wales v Eang Lam [2015] NSWDC 295

Safe Work NSW  has brought a successful prosecution against a Company  Austral Hydroponics Pty Ltd (Austral Hydroponics) and its Director Mr Eang Lam (Mr Lam).

This is one of the first successful prosecutions of a company and director under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 NSW (WHS Act).