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Following significant increases in work injuries footwear and clothing retailers are under scrutiny in Western Australia.

During 2011–12 lost time injuries at footwear retailers doubled compared to those in 2009–10, WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said in a media statement.

Two-thirds of these injuries were serious (resulting in five days or more off work).

Injuries at clothing retailers also increased significantly, with a 33 per cent rise in lost time injuries in 2011–12, Attard said.

Three-quarters of these injuries were serious or severe (resulting in 60 days or more off work).

Attard said WHS inspectors are targeting manual tasks, slips, trips and falls and falls from heights in both retail sectors during 2013–14.

They are also scrutinising security measures for cash handling and hold-ups, workplace facilities, personal protective equipment, emergency procedures, new and young workers, electricity and hazardous substances/chemicals.

Meanwhile, automotive repairers are also under scrutiny.

Inspectors are targeting hazardous substances, electricity, manual tasks, training of new and young workers, machinery guarding and slips, trips and falls.

Spray booth safety, personal protective equipment, emergency procedures, mobile plant, health surveillance and pressure vessels are also a focus.

For more details, visit the WorkSafe inspection program regarding retailing and automotive repairs.

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

15 Aug 2013

Poor vigilance causes crush injury

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A company’s failure to remain vigilant has led to a worker being seriously injured.

The worker was cleaning the flop gate chute of a concrete mixer at Boral Hollostone Masonry (South Australia) Pty Ltd when he was crushed by the gate.

His co-workers reportedly freed him from behind the flop gate and provided first aid.

The worker was treated in the Royal Adelaide Hospital and had two months off work. Since then he has gradually returned to his usual duties.

The company was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to breaching the South Australian Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 in the South Australian Magistrates Court.

Magistrate Michael Ardlie said the incident happened despite having a safety system in place.

“It was unfortunate that there was a [series] of events namely, a failure in training, a failure to ensure that interlock switches were properly functioning and the diversion of a person designated as a spotter in relation to the confined space work being undertaken,” Ardlie said.

“It is often the case that notwithstanding the best endeavours on the part of an employer as regards work health safety, unless the employer is vigilant on a continual basis, systems fail and workplace incidents occur.”

The company was convicted and fined $70,000 plus legal fees.

For more details, visit the case .

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

15 Aug 2013

NT hands down model safety fine

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A company has been fined for failing to report a notifiable incident under the new work health and safety laws in the Northern Territory.

Perkins Welding & Fabrication Pty Ltd was prosecuted in the Darwin Court of Summary Jurisdiction for failing to report a notifiable incident after a worker was injured last year.

“Under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act, companies must immediately report notifiable incidents to NT WorkSafe,” the Work Health Authority’s Doug Phillips said in a media statement.

“A notifiable incident includes the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person or a dangerous incident.”

The company was also prosecuted for failing to take out compulsory workers compensation insurance under the Northern Territory Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act.

The company was fined $16,000 for not reporting the incident, and $58,225 for failing to take out the insurance.

For more details, visit the authority.

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

An investigation into bullying at the CSIRO has raised the possibility of establishing an integrity unit to deal with the problem.

“We are inclining towards recommending to CSIRO that it establish a discrete Conduct Integrity Unit to manage workplace bullying, other significant inter-personal misconduct and issues relating to scientific integrity,” the investigator’s report says.

Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO is leading the two-phase investigation, which has so far found that bullying is under reported at the scientific organisation.

It has also found that informal bullying complaints are left to individuals to fix with support from the organisation.

The investigator’s report says the CSIRO needs to shift its thinking: “It should be the Organisation’s responsibility to ‘fix’ the problem, although not without support from the individual.”

Despite these and other findings, the report says the bullying problems uncovered at the organisation are no different to those in other organisations.

“We do not expect that the problems we have referred to above are unique to CSIRO,” the report says.

“We do not say that CSIRO is any better or any worse at responding to workplace bullying complaints than any other organisation. It has simply not been our role to measure comparative performance.”

The investigation is ongoing.

For more details, visit the report and the CSIRO

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Ongoing legal argument about paying workers compensation for injuries sustained during sexual intercourse at work is back in court.

Last week in the High Court, Comcare appealed against a Full Federal Court ruling that allowed workers compensation to be paid for injuries sustained during sexual intercourse in a motel room on a business trip.

The motel room had been booked and paid for by the worker’s employer.

Comcare argued that the Full Federal Court had incorrectly accepted the following proposition:

“… once you are at a place where the employer encouraged, required or induced you to be, then absent gross misconduct, any injury you suffer at the place is compensable …”

Comcare said this was an incorrect reading of the law.

It argued that an injury could only be sustained in the course of employment if the person was doing the work they were employed to do or something incidental to it. And the worker’s actions at the time of the incident didn’t fit this definition.

On hearing Comcare and the worker’s arguments the High Court reserved its decision.

For more details, visit the court transcript

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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