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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.

Some workers compensation benefits in NSW will be restored, WorkCover NSW split up and the Dust Diseases Board changed in proposals announced by the NSW Coalition government.

The changes are part the NSW Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015.

The NSW Government is restoring some of the workers compensation benefits removed in 2012, now that the scheme is in the black.

Changes to medical benefits payments are among amendments. For those with up to 10 per cent permanent impairment, medical benefits will be provided for two years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 11 to 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for five years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for life.

Among other changes, workers’ weekly payments will be paid for up to 12 months past retirement age.

Employers’ workers compensation premiums will also be discounted by between 5 and 20 per cent for employers who maintain safe work places and help injured employees return to work.

The reforms also see WorkCover NSW split into three entities: SafeWork NSW will be the work health and safety regulator; Insurance & Care NSW (icare) will deliver insurance and care services; and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) will oversee all state insurance schemes.

Also, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority. “As part of the broader insurance reform package, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority, with all existing functions, expertise and staff retained,” said Dominic Perrottet, NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, in a media release.

“The Board of the Dust Diseases Board will become an Advisory Committee, providing expert advice to the new Insurance and Care entity.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW and the workers compensation changes

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

A number of people have been recognised on Australia Day for their health and safety work.

The Public Service Medal (PSM) has been bestowed on a number of recipients, including Dr Simon Andrew Barter, Amanda Louise Ritchie and Joseph John McLaughlin.

Barter received the PSM for outstanding public service to aircraft accident investigation and safety, in particular metal fatigue in military aircraft and the development of differentially corrected GPS-based debris mapping.

Ritchie was honoured for her outstanding public service in increasing employment participation of job seekers with disabilities, injuries and health conditions through her leadership at the federal Department of Human Services.

McLaughlin was recognised for his volunteer work in emergency services, including ensuring crew safety while carrying out rescues.

A full list of the PSM and other Australia Day awards recipients can be found at Australia Day Honours List

Truck drivers racked up thousands of safety offences in a one-month Australasian-wide blitz in May.

The multi-agency crackdown, Operation Austrans, targeted heavy vehicles across Australia and New Zealand. Police and road, transport and safety agencies focused on fatigue, speed, drug use and compliance.

Some 1383 work diary breaches were issued, which included failing to take the required rest.

Almost 940 offences involved speeding, while 42 breaches involved either possessing, trafficking or using drugs, and 21 were for drink-driving.

More than 13,500 defect or breach notices were issued for not speed limiting.

“These are worrying numbers,” said Jon White, CEO of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA), in a media statement.

“Heavy vehicles can weigh up to 65 tonnes and when they collide with another, smaller vehicle, such as a car or motorbike, the results are catastrophic,” he added.

For more details refer to blitz results.

Published on 3 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Victorian WorkCover Authority is investigating the death of a worker who was crushed when a wall collapsed during strong winds in Brighton East last week.

It is believed the man was standing next to the brick wall, which was under construction, when it collapsed on him. The man died at the scene.

WorkCover’s executive director of health and safety, Len Neist, described the incident as “tragic”.

In a media statement following the incident, Neist urged builders to take precautions during windy days, saying builders must ensure “partially completed buildings and structures are well supported. Brick, block and concrete walls should be adequately braced until work is completed.”

He also noted the dangers of flying debris.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the deaths of two workers on the Stena Clyde mobile offshore drilling unit on 27 August 2012 has been handed to Commonwealth prosecutors.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has been investigating the deaths.

In mid-June, NOPSEMA announced it had submitted a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) in April. The CDPP is deciding whether to prosecute.

For more details visit WorkCover and NOPSEMA.

Published on 3 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

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