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Some safety managers have experienced significant drops in remuneration, while the pressure to do more with less has risen, says a recent survey.

Project and state-level workplace health and safety (WHS) managers in Western Australia have experienced a 20.8 per cent drop in their average total annual remuneration in the past year, says the safesearch survey.

Pay drops have also been evident in Queensland, where WHS Managers’ remuneration is 10.7 per cent less than last year.

However, the situation has been slightly different in New South Wales and Victoria, where WHS managers have seen their pay increase 0.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The same survey also found that “pressure to do more with less in safety is on the rise”. “Forty-three per cent of General Managers of Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) are responsible for more than 50 sites, up 6 per cent on 2012/13, while 53 per cent have more than 6 direct reports, also up 6 per cent from 2012/13.”

Safesearch surveyed more than 1000 WHS and health safety and environment individuals at 130 “predominantly” ASX 200 companies about their remuneration.

For more details, visit the safesearch survey.

Published on 13 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Holders of temporary working visas have the same safety rights and responsibilities like everyone else, says SafeWork SA.

“Work health and safety is anything but temporary and all workers need to know that they have the right to safe working conditions, to refuse unsafe work, to report unsafe conditions as well as receive fair pay,” said SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director Marie Boland in a media statement.

“It is also important for workers to understand that they are required to take reasonable care to keep themselves safe, and not adversely affect the health and safety of others at work.”

Temporary workers have a right to be shown how to work safely – it’s not just down to common sense.

SafeWork SA has released a fact sheet outlining a number of steps employers should take to ensure the safety of workers on temporary visas.

Some of these steps include showing temporary workers how to use the equipment they will be operating; providing workers with safety gear and showing them how to use and wear it; introducing workers to their immediate supervisor, health and safety representative (HSR) and the people they will be working with; telling workers about the safety policies and procedures; and being clear about everyone’s role and responsibility for safety.

For more details, visit the SafeWork SA fact sheet.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Work health and safety (WHS) charges must include more detailed particulars about the alleged offences, a Queensland appeals court has ruled.

In June 2007, NK Collins Industries Pty Ltd was found guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court of Queensland for breaching the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 after one of its workers was killed.

Initially, the company tried unsuccessfully to appeal the ruling, arguing that the WHS charges levelled against it had failed to include specific acts or omissions.

It then took its case to the Supreme Court of Queensland – Court of Appeal.

The company based its appeal on Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1 (3 February 2010).

In line with the Kirk ruling, the Court of Appeal found “it was incumbent on the prosecution to identify the measure or measures which should have been taken to ensure workers’ safety from the risk …

“That would in turn clarify what the risk was… It would then fall to the applicant to make out its defence…”

The Court of Appeal has ordered that earlier appeal and review orders be set aside and the case be sent back to the Industrial Court to be determined according to the law.

For more details, visit the NK Collins case and the Kirk case.

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Court has found that an employee was threatened with the sack for carrying out his work health and safety (WHS) duties.

The court heard that in August 2011 a reversing forklift with an inaudible beeper surprised the employee, who was working at Visy Packaging Pty Ltd (Visy).

The employee, who was also the elected OHS representative, tagged the forklift and later a second forklift.

The tagging alerted others not to use the forklifts because they were faulty or unsafe.

In response, Visy investigated the incidents, suspended the employee from work and issued the employee with a final written warning.

The employee and the Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union (AMWU) took Visy and two of its managers to the Federal Court, claiming they had taken adverse action against the employee under s 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The court found that Visy and the managers, in investigating and suspending the employee and issuing the final written warning, had taken adverse action.

In explaining its finding, the court said the employee had been exercising a “workplace right” under the Fair Work Act when he tagged the forklifts.

And Visy and the managers had failed to establish that the employee exercising his workplace right was not “a substantial and operative factor in their decisions” to investigate and suspend him, and issue him with a final written warning.

Penalties will be determined at a later date.

For more details, visit the case.


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