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2015
Archive for: November

Falsified High Risk Work Licences are in the spotlight again after another was found in Western Australia.

WorkSafe WA is again warning employers to check the High Risk Work Licences of workers after a man, who goes by the name Peter Kevin Jenkins, falsified 12 classes of High Risk Work Licence.

The falsified licence says Jenkins is licenced for dogging, vehicle loading cranes, forklifts, tower cranes, advanced rigging, slewing mobile cranes, advanced scaffolding, hoists, concrete placing booms, boom-type elevated work platforms (EWPs), derrick cranes and portal boom cranes.

WorkSafe WA also issued warnings about falsified licences in March. “Mr Jenkins is one such operator, and I strongly advise anyone looking to employ a worker with a High Risk Work Licence to steer clear of him, and to satisfy themselves that anyone they are thinking of employing has the experience they claim to have,” WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said in a media statement.

“High Risk Work Licences are only issued to workers who have been appropriately trained and have the skills to perform high risk work safely and competently, which Mr Jenkins may not.

“The falsified licence he is using is not a particularly good copy, and has an old and outdated WorkSafe logo in the top right-hand corner.

“The licence number belongs to someone else and it has not been established whether he is using his real name or how many other aliases he may be operating under.”

For more detail, visit WorkSafe WA

Death toll climbs – National Safety Council of AustraliaNational Safety Council of Australia

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Australian rules club Essendon has been charged with allegedly breaching work health and safety laws following the supplements scandal that has engulfed the organisation for the past four years.

WorkSafe Victoria investigated Essendon’s 2011-2012 supplements program and charged the club with two alleged breaches of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

The first charge includes an alleged breach of section 21(1) of the act for failing to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. The second charge includes an alleged breach of 21(2)(a) of the act for failing to provide and maintain for employees a system of work that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

The Essendon Football Club says in a media statement that it has been “assisting WorkSafe with its investigation and agreed to the charges laid”.

“The charges reflect the governance failings of the club at that time, which the club has accepted responsibility,” the club’s statement adds.

WorkSafe also investigated the Australian Football League (AFL) for alleged breaches of the OHS Act. “Following a review of the available and admissible evidence, it could not be established to the requisite standard that the AFL breached the OHS Act,” according to a WorkSafe media statement.

For more detail, visit WorkSafe Victoria and Essendon Football Club

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

One in five women experience harassment in the workplace and family violence can spill into the workplace.

November 25 is the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day.

One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone they know, one in five women experience harassment in the workplace and 94 per cent of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women, according to a White Ribbon Australia media statement.

In a Victorian survey, 48 per cent of respondents who had experienced domestic violence disclosed it to a manager or supervisor, but only 10 per cent found their response helpful, said White Ribbon.

As disclosure is often traumatic for victims of violence as well as stressful for supervisors receiving the disclosure, training and support is critical, White Ribbon adds.

This week White Ribbon Australia accredited 14 workplaces for taking steps to prevent and respond to men’s violence against women.

Meanwhile, on November 19, the Sparke Helmore Lawyers sponsored film Iceberg, a documentary about family violence, will be launched at the Dendy Opera Quays in Sydney.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers is sponsoring the film as part of its Six Degrees initiative and is hosting the premiere, as it believes the film is an important tool for organisations as well as schools to use.

“Domestic or family violence is not just a private or personal issue. One in six female workers in Australia experience family or domestic violence and it’s important for those people to understand that they are not alone,” says Kristina Miller, Patron of Six Degrees and Sparke Helmore Partner.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call
1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency, call 000.

For men seeking pathways to stop using violent and controlling behaviour contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or visit mrs.org.au.

For more detail, visit White Ribbon and Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

The mandatory role of chemical exposure standards in Australia is under review.

Safe Work Australia has recently released the discussion paper, The role of chemical exposure standards in work health and safety laws. The paper examines how the exposure standards could be reviewed.

Exposure standards set the airborne concentrations of chemical substances in worker’s breathing zones. Currently the standards are mandatory in all jurisdictions, the paper notes.

“Australia’s workplace exposure standards were first adopted from the standards set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) in the 1980s by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” the paper states.

“They were first published by Safe Work Australia’s predecessor the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) in 1990. About 80 of the 644 standards were updated between 1995-2005 by NOHSC; however, the vast majority have not been updated since they were adopted.”

The paper is seeking feedback on the following: how exposure standards are currently used; the impact exposure standard compliance has on business and workers; the role exposure standards should have in the regulatory framework; and the processes that should be used to review and maintain Australia’s exposure standards.

Submissions close 5.30 pm on 18 December 2015.

For more detail, visit the paper

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

Thiess Services Pty Ltd has been fined a total of $600,000 after an overloaded barge capsized throwing three workers into the water seriously injuring one of them.

Thiess Services Pty Ltd was charged, prosecuted, convicted and fined for two breaches of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, following the overloading of the barge on two separate occasions at Patterson Lakes, Victoria, in April 2012. Thiess Services Pty Ltd was fined $250,000 for the first charge and $350,000 for the second.

In the first incident, on 19 April, the barge designed to carry about five tonnes was overloaded with a 15-tonne excavator, according to a WorkSafe Victoria media statement. Although the barge tilted dangerously, the excavator operator was asked to reposition the boom of the excavator to counterbalance the weight. The barge eventually made it to its destination without capsizing.

In the second incident, on 27 April, the barge was used to move a 13-tonne excavator. On this occasion the barge capsized. The excavator operator, who was in the cabin of the excavator at the time, and two other men on the barge were thrown into the river. The operator sustained three broken ribs, a lung infection, a smashed top dental plate, an enlarged heart and psychological injuries. The two other men were uninjured, WorkSafe Victoria said.

The court heard that in 2010, NSW Maritime had assessed the stability of the barge and told Thiess Services Pty Ltd of its concerns about the loading and transportation of a 5.3-tonne excavator, WorkSafe Victoria said.

NSW Maritime subsequently issued a Certificate of Survey for the barge, which included limiting the operation of the barge “in accordance with loading conditions in a NSW Maritime approved stability book onboard”, WorkSafe Victoria said. But the barge was used without the book until after the two incidents in 2012.

“The company had known for several years that experts had expressed concerns over the stability of the barge when carrying a weight of more than five tonnes,” WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety, Marnie Williams said in a media statement.

“Rather than minimising the risks by obtaining a stability book, and adhering strictly to the conditions it set out, the company simply chose to play Russian roulette with the lives of its employees and contractors.”

For more detail, visit WorkSafe Victoria

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.


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