SafetyNet 335, August 19, 2015
We welcome our subscribers to the latest edition of SafetyNet, with OHS news from everywhere. Use the journal to promote health and safety in your workplaces, and please send me your views and any questions you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please follow us on Twitter: @OHSreps
Thank you! Renata
VTHC Health and Safety Reps Conference
We are still working on the final program for the VTHC OHS Reps Conference - but hopefully we will be able to provide more information over the next couple of weeks. Save the date: Tuesday October 27. Those wanting to attend will be able to register on the WorkSafe Week website. HSRs have the right to attend on paid leave under Section 69 of the OHS Act. Deputies and committee members should be speaking to their employer and requesting they be permitted to attend as well. The Conference is free
I'm currently new to the position of HSR and there are many amongst the staff who are applying for 'stand up' desks. They have been asking me for any information on the positives and negatives of them and how to use them correctly, eg 'For how long should I stand?' etc. The information that comes with them doesn't explain much, and searches on the internet usually send me back to the supplier, so I was wondering whether you have any info on them or be able to point me in the right direction of where I can find this out. Thank you.
What has become clear from the research is that it is very important that workers do not sit for very long periods – that is that they stand up, move around, take breaks, etc. An adjustable work station is one way of facilitating this. For a start for some background information, check out this page on our website, on Sedentary Work. Check the links at the bottom of that page for more information - including a link to an article which provides advice on how to choose a stand up desk. There's also an Age news item on a Baker IDI (which is doing a lot of work in this area) project which may also assist you: Office study makes a stand for better health.
Please send any OHS related queries in to Ask Renata - your query will be responded to as quickly as we can – usually within a couple of days.
Herald Sun Home Show, August 13 – 16
AsbestosWise ran a fabulous stand at the Herald Sun Home Show last weekend. We spoke to hundreds of people who were either contemplating renovations or had general questions about asbestos. Helping on the stand were hygienists and licensed asbestos removalists, as well as the AsbestosWise volunteers. We also had a squad of young people surveying attendees on their knowledge of asbestos – part of a research project the organisation is doing for ASEA.
Victoria: government to begin first phase of asbestos removal from schools
Victoria's Minister for Education James Merlino announced on Monday that more than 150 public schools will share in $27 million to fix ageing buildings and infrastructure. Almost 330 buildings at 153 schools will be renovated and refurbished. The funding is in addition to regular maintenance funding all schools receive.
Funding is being directed to buildings that were identified during an independent audit of every school building as being in the most need of renovation. The Andrews Labor Government's first Budget includes $325 million to renovate, refurbish or rebuild 67 schools and it will also fund the first stage of an extensive asbestos removal program.
Read more: Victorian Government News Release
Gippsland group warns Australian public on imports
Vicki Hamilton, CEO of the Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS appeared on WIN News, Gippsland, recently to raise the problem of imported items containing asbestos. "This is a very important issue for the community to know about - buyer beware!" said Ms Hamilton. "Asbestos is in all sorts of products coming into this country. The Australian community must be very careful of what they purchase from overseas. This is another area where we must stop the trade of asbestos coming into this country." The Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS participated in the delegation to Canberra organised by the ACTU to raise the issue with politicians and Border Control.
See the item on ACV/GARDS Facebook page
Fact sheet on importation of asbestos
As noted above, despite being a prohibited import in Australia, goods containing asbestos are still being located at the Australian border – and too often getting in. The agency has produced a fact sheet to assist the community in understanding the restrictions and what to do if asbestos is detected in a product that has been imported into Australia. The fact sheet can be downloaded from the ASEA website.
The Agency's chair, Mr Geoff Fary, last week told a Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products a wide range of imported goods and materials have been found with asbestos and not just in the building industry. This meant that was no guarantee Australian buildings constructed post the 2003 ban on asbestos imports were free of it.
Read more: ASEA Factsheet; and Asbestos illegally imported into Australia in goods, materials, Senate hears ABC News online
Reminder: Updated Manual Registration Form
As noted in the last edition of SafetyNet, ASEA now has an updated manual registration form for the National Asbestos Exposure Register consistent with the online version. ASEA encourages those who choose to submit their registration manually to use the updated form. Previous versions which remain in circulation will continue to be accepted and registered manually by the agency. Although online registration remains the preferred method of registration, the printable and fillable PDF form is available on request via email@example.com or telephone 1300 363 079. The form may be returned to the agency via email, fax to (02) 6204-2029 or post to GPO Box 9880, Sydney, NSW 2001
2nd International Asbestos Conference - program available
ASEA has now posted the program for its second International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management, 22 - 24 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane. A reminder that while the conference fees are high for 'commercial' organisations, there is a reduced fee ($350 early bird) for community organisations. Please go to the ASEA Conference page for more information and to register. Remember early Bird registration closes September 15!
NT: Rio Tinto loses court appeal against mesothelioma compensation ruling to dying worker
The High Court has dismissed mining giant Rio Tinto's appeal against a dying worker's asbestos compensation claim, setting a precedent for the Northern Territory. Zorko Zabic, 74, worked at the Gove alumina refinery in the 1970s cleaning asbestos from pipes, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma after suffering chest pains early last year.
In January, the Supreme Court had ruled Mr Zabic developed the malignant mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos dust and negligence by the mine operators, Alcan Gove, (now owned by mining giant Rio Tinto). But the court ruled against the claim because the symptoms emerged after the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, which prevents such compensation claims being made in the courts after 1987. This was overturned by the NT Court of Appeal in March – a decision which was appealed by Rio Tinto.
By rejecting Rio Tinto's latest challenge, the High Court has upheld the Court of Appeal decision and in doing so set a precedent. Roger Singh from Shine Lawyers, who represented Mr Zabic, said the court decision would have widespread implications in the NT. Read more: ABC News online
Vietnam: Ban Asbestos Mobilization
A memorandum issued last week by APHEDA, the Australian Union based aid organisation tasked with overseas humanitarian work, documents the mobilization of support for the ban asbestos campaign in Vietnam amongst government ministers, trade unions and civil society groups over the last five years, and highlights the importance of the Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network (VN Ban). Currently, a proposal by the Deputy Prime Minister for a 2020 national asbestos ban is being considered. During a time when the environmental rights movement is growing in Vietnam, the campaign to ban asbestos is gaining vital grassroots support.
Read more: Stopping the Asbestos Death Trade in Vietnam. APHEDA Campaign News. Source: IBAS
Call for African Asbestos Bans
A document released on August 15 by the World Health Organization highlighted the data gaps regarding the incidence of asbestos-related diseases caused by occupational exposures in Africa, and the lack of progress on eliminating hazardous exposures which this information vacuum has caused. Reconfirming the WHO's call for national action on asbestos, Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said: "The most efficient way to prevent direct and secondary exposures to asbestos is to stop the production and use of all forms, including chrysotile."
Read more: Asbestos use continues in Africa despite severe health warnings. WHO Media Centre. Source: IBAS
Brazil: Bahia to Ban Asbestos?
On August 20, the legislative assembly of the Brazilian State of Bahia will discuss a bill to ban the mining, sale and use of asbestos. Of Brazil's 26 states, seven have already adopted asbestos prohibitions: Mato Grosso, Sao Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco and Amazonas. During the hearing, a presentation supporting this legislation will be made by a representative of the Bahia Association of the Asbestos-Exposed. See: AL-BA discutirá projeto que proíbe extração de amianto na Bahia [AL-BA project will discuss banning asbestos mining in Bahia]. Source: IBAS
Want to know about Asbestos laws and more? Go to the Asbestos section on the site.
Hazelwood worker: lung illness caused by mine fire
Last February and March the Hazelwooed coal mine burnt for 45 days, exposing the residents of Morwell and workers on the site to high levels of smoke and ash. At the time, David Briggs was working for RTL Mining and Earthworks, and operated excavators at the site as the fires burned. His work included digging out the burning coal and stockpiling it so it could not spread and could be more easily managed. He worked long hours and for up to seven nights in a row to help contain the blaze. While the firefighters fighting the blaze were wearing protective gear, Mr Briggs had no breathing apparatus or even a face mask. He said, "There was no supplied mask, there was never any mention of it."
Mr Briggs is now suffering irreversible lung disease, and is on anti-rejection drugs, waiting for a lung transplant. He says he is sure his sickness was caused by the Hazelwood mine fire. Read more: Hazelwood worker says lung illness caused by mine fire The Age
International Union News
New Zealand axes safety rep training
The NZ Council of Trade Unions is being forced to end its Health and Safety Representative Training program in its current form this November – the result of a government decision to end funding to support high risk industry health and safety representatives. This program, run for over 12 years with support from the Governments Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), has seen over 33,000 HSRs upskilled by the CTU. The training costs were met by the ACC from the injury prevention levy, meaning that employers, while having to meet the costs of two days leave, did not need to pay for the course itself.
CTU Secretary Sam Huggard has condemned the move: "At a time when the Government's own Health and Safety Taskforce identified lack of worker participation as a core missing element leading to New Zealand's poor health and safety record… The Government is not only removing the rights for workers to elect representatives in small businesses but is also cutting the funding for the approved course required for any representative before they can act in the role. It's bizarre and shows the impact of the Government disregard for the important role workers play in health and safety." He added, "Last year the HSR Training was attacked by then Minister Judith Collins, and lobbyist Jordan Williams, despite it receiving positive evaluations and the Minister herself approving the program." The CTU is exploring ways to continue to offer the training program to the many employers outside of ACC funded program who have paid for staff to attend what they appreciate as a high quality program. Read more: CTU Statement Source: Risks 715
China: Tianjin blast kills at least 114
Chemical explosions which rocked the north-eastern Chinese coastal city of Tianjin on Wednesday last week, have killed at least 114 people, officials said -- with many more bodies likely trapped in the rubble. There could be many missing, not only those in the area at the time, but also the almost 100 Chinese firefighters sent to tackle the deadly explosions. Reports are now suggesting that 70 times the permitted quantity of sodium cyanide, used in mining, had been stored at a warehouse near the blasts. Rescue workers wearing gas masks and hazard suits were working desperately to clear the area before the weather changed - wind could spread the toxins and rain could cause a dangerous reaction with chemicals at the site.
Chinese officials found what they believe to be 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide at two locations within the site of the blasts, according to state media. Some reports suggested the company that owned the warehouse where the blasts originated, Rui Hai International Logistics, may have been illegally transporting chemicals. Authorities have set up an exclusion zone – but there have been conflicting reports regarding the size of the exclusion zone and how many people had been affected. Reports were that 6,300 people were displaced by the blasts, with shockwaves being felt by residents in apartment blocks miles away. Read more: The Guardian Tianjin explosions: sodium cyanide on site may have been 70 times allowed amount
US: Unions criticise chemicals giant DuPont
The United Steelworkers (USW) and the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) have released an open letter asking DuPont to address recent serious safety concerns. The letter cites recent incidents pushing the company to provide safer working conditions for workers and states "It's critical that the two companies work in good faith with their employees and the unions representing them." ICWUC president Frank Cyphers said: "It's clear that there are very serious safety problems at DuPont". USW international president Leo Gerard said: "We have close relationships on safety and health with many employers. But in the past DuPont has rejected any involvement by union safety and health professionals. We have the right to represent our members on safety and health."
The US-based company often claims to have a great safety record. It bases its safety culture on "behavioural safety" which focusses on changing worker behaviour, rather than removing or controlling hazards. Unions have disputed DuPont's claims for many years. In fact as early as 2005 the Steel Workers Union published a damning report Called "Not Walking the Talk: DuPont's Untold Safety Failures". Last week the US Department of Labor's health and safety wing, OSHA, issued citations to DuPont for three willful, one repeat and four serious violations at their chemical manufacturing plant in La Porte.
According to the Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, "DuPont promotes itself as having a 'world-class safety' culture and even markets its safety expertise to other employers, but these four preventable workplace deaths and the very serious hazards we uncovered at this facility are evidence of a failed safety program." OSHA has also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program – which concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference towards creating a safe and healthy workplace by committing wilful or repeated violations, and/or failing to abate known hazards. It also mandates follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
Read more: News report; OSHA press release Source: Risks 715 Information on Behaviour Based Safety
US moves on beryllium
The United Steelworkers have commended the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for moving forward with a proposed reduction on the permissible exposure limit on occupational exposure to beryllium. Beryllium, which is used in the construction industry, metalwork, electronics manufacturing, the nuclear energy sector and laboratories that work with nuclear materials, is known to cause cancer and other fatal diseases, such as chronic beryllium disease of the lungs, when inhaled. USW International President Leo W. Gerard said "We applaud the release of this proposed rule. When it goes into effect, it will save not only the lives of USW members, but all workers exposed to beryllium." The USW represents thousands of workers who manufacture or use beryllium alloys and beryllium-containing products in a number of industries and have been calling for regulation of beryllium since the 1970's and OSHA first proposed a standard in 1977 only for it to be derailed by political pressure. "Beryllium is a highly useful metal, but beryllium dust and fume can cause severe, debilitating and sometimes fatal lung disease," said USW Health, Safety and Environment Director Mike Wright. "This rule has been long in coming, but we can finally see the finish line." Once the proposal is published in the Federal Registrar, there will be a 90-day comment period after which it is hoped that it will come into law. Read more: USW statement Source: Risks 715
Canada: Union calls for better mental-health supports following paramedic's suicide
The recent suicide of a paramedic in Canada has spurred calls for improvements in mental-health supports for emergency responders across the province. Chris Harris, president of the Paramedic Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, suggested that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could have been a factor in the man's death, but stressed that it was impossible to know for sure. A few days later, the National Union of Public and General Employees posted a message on its website quoting Jerry Earle, president of Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public Employees, urging the province to develop a better mental-health support system for paramedics and other professionals in emergency medical services (EMS).
Earle, a former paramedic, explained that while most people experience only a few traumatic incidents during their entire lives, "paramedics deal with this pretty well every day." It's an accumulative stress that builds up during constant traumatic incidents, he said, and there's no time to prepare or walk away from these experiences while on the job. "You just go on and provide services to the general population without the opportunity to actually get help for yourself." Read more: OHS Canada
Lebanon: Beirut port at a standstill
Work in the port of Beirut stopped on 13 August as workers staged a cautionary strike over serious health and safety concerns following the dumping of rubbish near the port. "We will not accept our port becoming the capital's dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk, workers, visitors and customers. We want the port authorities to talk to the union; we want to avoid further escalation to open-ended strike." said Bchara Asmar, president of the Union of Beirut port employees.
Rubbish collection in Beirut stopped in July after a commercial dispute between Sukleen and the government which raised people's concerns on health and safety. The union says the government has not provided a viable long-term waste management solutions to date and the municipalities have resorted to temporary solutions. This potential environmental crisis affects the general public in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Reports are that some 20 tons of rubbish have been dumped in the streets in the searing heat. A global ITF campaign has been launched in support of the union with transport workers being asked to demonstrate their solidarity and call on the government for immediate action.
Read more: Global campaign launched as waste crisis causes growing health risk ITF
Children of shift workers suffer academically and socially
A new study has suggested that the children of shift workers are negatively affected by their parents' work patterns. There is growing evidence that shift work is bad for the worker's physical and mental health (See: Shiftwork – Health effects) but this new research creates an added concern. The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of NSW and the US Economic Policy Institute, found that the children of shift workers have poorer academic results, worse behaviour and take more risks as teenagers. Shift workers are more likely to have irregular meal times; less likely to undertake activities like reading to their children; are more likely to be tired and stressed; and are more likely to resort to inconsistent/poor quality childcare arrangements. All of these things contribute to negative effects on their children.
The study, titled Parents' Non-Standard Work Schedules Make Adequate Childrearing Difficult, found the biggest impact was on children of shift workers in low income jobs (such as service industries), who have little control over their hours. Dr Leila Morsy, of the school of education at UNSW, said higher status shift workers, such as health care workers, were able to mitigate the effect of their irregular hours on their children. The research has been reported in both Australian and international media.
Read more: Children of shift workers suffer academically and socially: UNSW researcher The Age; The Perils of Ever-Changing Work Schedules Extend to Children's Well-Being The New York Times
Non-occupational exposure to asbestos increases risk of mesothelioma
Casale Monferrato, in north-west Italy, is an area with an exceptionally high incidence of mesothelioma caused by asbestos contamination at work and in the general environment from the local asbestos-cement Eternit plant which operated until 1986. Italian researchers wanted to quantify the association between pleural malignant mesothelioma (PMM) and asbestos cumulative exposure using individual assessment of environmental and domestic exposure, as well as of occupational exposure.
After interviewing 200 people with PMM in the area (and 348 controls), they found that the risk of developing PMM increased with cumulative asbestos exposure and also in analyses limited to subjects non-occupationally exposed. Their results also provided an indication of risk associated with common sources of environmental exposure. They said their results are highly relevant for the evaluation of residual risk after the cessation of asbestos industrial use.
Read more: Daniela Ferrante, et al, Pleural mesothelioma and occupational and non-occupational asbestos exposure: a case-control study with quantitative risk assessment [Abstract] Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oemed-2015-102803
Study Links Polluted Air in China to 1.6 Million Deaths a Year
According to a newly released scientific paper, outdoor air pollution contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people in China every year, or about 4,400 people a day. The paper maps the geographic sources of China's toxic air and concludes that much of the smog that often covers Beijing is the result of emissions from the distant industrial zones.
The authors are members of Berkeley Earth, a research organization based in Berkeley, California, that uses statistical techniques to analyse environmental issues. The paper's findings present data showing that air pollution contributes to 17 percent of all deaths in the nation each year. The group says its mortality estimates are based on a World Health Organization framework for projecting death rates from five diseases known to be associated with exposure to various levels of fine-particulate pollution. The authors calculate that the annual toll is 95 percent likely to fall between 700,000 and 2.2 million deaths, and their estimate of 1.6 million a year is the midpoint of that range. The paper has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One.
Read more: Study Links Polluted Air in China to 1.6 Million Deaths a Year The New York Times; Robert A. Rohde, Richard A. Muller: Air Pollution in China: Mapping of Concentrations and Sources [pdf]
OHS Regulator News
Review of Victoria's OHS system after 30 years
On September 1 this year, it will be 30 years since Victoria's current OHS system was introduced. The independent OHS website OHSIntros.com.au has released a paper to mark the 30th anniversary of a system that began in financial turmoil under the Cain Labour Government in 1985 but in recent years has claimed it is Australia's leading health and safety regulator.
The paper plots the statistical history of the Victorian OHS system, and related compensation system, operated since 1996 by the Victorian WorkCover Authority, to look at its evolution under five state governments and 11 different ministers.
The scheme was introduced as a "significant social and economic reform". The hybridised workers compensation system and performance-based safety system were expected to reduce the number of workplace accidents and illnesses and at the same time reduce the cost of compensating workers for their injuries. OHSIntros believes that the system has been a success: over the 30 years claims have reduced from 64,564 to 26,588, reported deaths have dropped from 39 to 23, and compensated deaths have fallen from 251 to 28. However, the number of workers compensation claims for psychosocial injuries has increased. The paper questions whether the system is still working satisfactorily, or is it time for a change?
Read more: 30 years of OHS in Victoria [pdf] Read about this on the SafetyAtWork Blog by Kevin Jones
Border construction inspections coming up
Construction sites along the Murray River from Cobram and Barooga to Corowa are being urged to review their existing site health and safety practices ahead of site inspections later this month. Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW will be in the area as part of an ongoing Cross Border construction campaign to assist the border construction industry in understanding that construction safety requirements are consistent on both sides of the border.
Inspectors will visit sites in Moira and Corowa shires to talk with builders, sub-contractors and workers about basic construction safety practices that are required no matter which side of the Murray River they happen to be working on. While onsite, inspectors will ensure builders and sub-contractors are complying with health and safety requirements, including managing risks associated with high risk construction work, safe work method statements (SWMSs) and preventing falls down stair voids.
Read more: WorkSafe Media Release
WorkSafe Small Business Events
A reminder of WorkSafe Victoria's Small Business Events, are aimed at assisting small businesses to improve their business with health and safety. Free advice is provided from WorkSafe on both OHS and Return to Work. As part of the Small Business Victoria Festival, businesses are invited to attend free WorkSafe seminars in Ballarat (August 21), Shepparton (August 24), and Traralgon (August 26).
More details on the events and to register, go to the Small Business Events webpage
WorkSafe updates 'Injury Hotspot' tool
Reminder – in case you missed it: WorkSafe Victoria's Injury Hotspots tool has been updated – it provides an industry-wide snapshot of how people get injured at work, as well as solutions to prevent the injuries occurring. There are more than 40 industries and occupations. The new tool has a keyword search function to find the most relevant industry and each Hotspot has links to best-practice guide materials for that industry. PDF posters can be downloaded and printed, with an option to download a blank poster and create unique workplace body maps. The tool is now also accessible on smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers. From September 2015 printed posters may be ordered. Check out the Injury Hotspots tool here
Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
As at August 12, 97 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work – five more work-related deaths since the previous update. The fatalities have been in the following industries:
- 31 in the Transport, postal and warehouse sector;
- 24 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- 11 in Construction;
- eight in Mining;
- four in Manufacturing, and in Electricity, gas, water & waste services;
- three each in Arts & Recreation services; Administrative & support services; and in 'other services'
- two each in the Retail trade; and in Accommodation & food services
- one each in Education and Training; and Health care & social assistance
More information on which industries the fatalities occurred in is accessible on the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page.
The latest monthly fatality report remains for April – in which there were nine work-related deaths reported to state and territory OHS regulators. The report can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
From the UK's Health and Safety Executive: RR1060 – A critical review of evidence related to hand-arm vibration syndrome and the extent of exposure to vibration. This report describes a systematic literature review on the nature of the exposure-response relationship between hand-transmitted vibration and the elements of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), ie the vascular, neurosensory and musculoskeletal components.
1. Company pleads guilty to failing to maintain safe plant
Elonchrome Pty Ltd, an operator of heavy vehicles and equipment to transport quarry materials, was charged over an incident in which, during a delivery, the pivot on a dog trailer tipping bin failed, causing the bin to fall sideways, destroying the hydraulic ram and spilling the load. No-one was injured in the incident. A WorkSafe investigation found that the truck and dog trailer were in poor condition and would not have been roadworthy or safe at the time of the incident. The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 21(1) & (2)(a) of the OHS Act – that is, of failing to provide and maintain safe plant. The company was released on an adjourned undertaking with a condition that it donate $4,000 to Koroit CFA and pay the VWA's costs of just under $3,900.
2. Earthmoving company convicted after contractor pinned and injured by concrete 'wingwall'
R Collie Earthmoving Pty Ltd was prosecuted in the Shepparton Magistrates Court for an incident in which a contractor was pinned by a precast cement wall. The company was constructing a concrete cattle underpass at a farming property; and placed precast concrete 'wingwalls', each weighing approximately 2.3 tonnes at each end of the underpass. These had not been properly footed, secured or braced. The contractor was excavating a sump hole at the base of the southeast wingwall, when it fell onto him, and pinned him at the waist. He was later freed by a co-worker and two passers-by. He suffered serious leg, back and internal injuries, requiring surgery and ongoing rehabilitation. R Collie Earthmoving pleaded guilty to breaching section 26 of the OHS Act – that is, failing to ensure that a workplace under its management or control was safe and without risks to health. On 13 August 2015 the company was convicted and fined $37,000 with costs of $3,895.
Source: WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings webpage.
ACT: Construction company fined $1.1m for fatality
Canberra construction Kenoss Contractors has today been fined $1.1 million over the death of a truck driver in 2012 under the Work Health Safety Act.
The truck driver was electrocuted in June when his tip truck touched low-slung power lines on a Kenoss work site. The company was found guilty of safety breaches that led to the man's death, including having posted no signs warning of the power lines or attached flags to the lines themselves.
Industrial magistrate Lorraine Walker said the company, which was now in liquidation, had shown no remorse for the death. Ms Walker said Kenoss had a poor corporate culture, with the son of the general manager appointed safety officer despite not being qualified for the job. The court also heard of Kenoss' attempts to hinder the investigation of the death, including altering the driver's attendance record.
The case is one of the first under new national work safety laws and sets a precedent for jurisdictions around the country. The maximum penalty for a safety breach by a corporation is $1.5 million.
Source: ABC News online