SafetyNet 290, August 21 2014
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the Dark Spot: new research on workers' comp
In the last edition of SafetyNet we alerted readers that a qualitative research project commissioned by the Creative Ministries Network, was to be launched in Melbourne's outer suburbs on Monday. The report, "Filling the Dark Spot: fifteen injured workers shine a light on the workers compensation system to improve it for others" is interesting and thought provoking. One of the researchers, Sarah Pollock, who spoke at the launch, opened by saying that people with compensable injuries often have poorer outcomes than those with similar, but non-compensable injuries. So what is it about the compensation system which leads to this? She and the other researchers, John Bottomley and Ann Taket, were able to identify four themes across the stories of the fifteen workers:
- a strong sense of injustice and unfairness;
- a lack of control and agency;
- loss of trust; and
- loss of identity.
The experiences of these workers were overwhelmingly negative – of the fifteen, nine are unable to work at present, and only one has returned to her original position. What stuck this writer, though, was how much worse would their stories have been if they had not had the support of their unions in fighting was is fundamentally an adversarial system.
Creative Ministries Network plans to make the report available online, but in the meantime, hard copies are available by contacting Antony McMullin via email: email@example.com Read Kevin Jones' article: "Put the human being first" SafetyAtWorkBlog
I don't think my workplace's DWGs are suitable. My DWG covers two very distinct areas with two very different types of work. On doing some investigation, I reckon there was no discussion or negotiation when the DWGs were established. What can we do?
The DWGs may have been set up – with or without consultation – as far back as 1985(!!) and may not be at all suitable now. The DWGs at a workplace must be by agreement. The OHS Act allows for either the employer or the employees to negotiate a variation of the agreement at any time [Section 44(3)] – and so what I recommend is putting it in writing that you wish to negotiate such a variation, and include your proposal for the new set up. Consult with your current HSR and fellow workers so that you all agree.
Please send any OHS related queries in to 'Ask Renata' - your query will be responded to as quickly as we can, within a couple of days at the latest.
CFMEU new anti-ABCC
As part of its Stand Up. Speak Out. Come Home safety campaign, the national CFMEU (construction, forestry, mining and energy) union has released a video on what happened under the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) – a 19 year old apprentice who witnessed a serious incident on a construction site was then interrogated for hours by the ABCC.
the launch of the campaign, CFMEU's National Secretary Michael O'Connor said,
"A worker is seriously injured or dies every six minutes in construction,
forestry and mining – a rate 50 per cent higher than all other industries
combined. But despite this, governments around the country are winding back
workplace health and safety protections." The union is particularly concerned
at moves already introduced in Queensland to restrict the union right of entry
to investigate safety complaints. O'Connor said the federal government was
seeking to introduce similar restrictions nationwide. He said these "partisan
and costly attacks on unions are attacks on people's right to be safe at work,
and to come home to what matters most." ACTU president Ged Kearney said, "The
evidence is clear that trade unions save lives. There are fewer accidents and
better health and safety records in unionised workplaces around the world."
CFMEU ABCC Interrogation video and the union's Stand Up. Speak Out. Come Home campaign
Bullying - Update
At a recent seminar organised by the College of Law, Sydney, Joe Catanzariti, vice-president of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) told the audience that the avalanche of claims predicted by some commentators when anti-bullying provisions were added to the Fair Work Act 2009 on 1 January 2014 has not materialised. In in the first six months of operation, a total of 348 applications were lodged: almost half (46%) of these were resolved, 39 per cent were withdrawn and 14 per cent were dismissed. The majority of claims alleged bullying by either co-workers or managers/supervisors. A number of significant issues had arisen:
- Although the provisions began on 1 January 2014, bullying occurring before then could be counted if it can be linked to other conduct that has occurred since 1 January.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate a risk of future bullying conduct. Many claims had been rejected because the worker had either resigned or been dismissed, which meant there was no threat of future bullying. However, it may be possible for the worker to pursue another type of claim (eg unfair dismissal, adverse action or discrimination) depending on the circumstances, but not bullying.
- The scope of what is "reasonable management action" often arose. If the action is reasonable (eg a routine performance appraisal procedure or an attempt to enforce compliance with a workplace policy), the conduct does not amount to bullying.
- It was strong FWC policy that the parties to a bullying claim appear in person, not replaced by their lawyers, because this facilitates identification and resolution of the issues.
Mr Fluffy former tenants and owners to have access to information and homes to be tagged
The ACT Government will now allow former tenants and owners to access to details about Mr Fluffy homes on the basis of a statutory declaration as proof of having lived there. The acceptable proofs also include a rates notice, an electricity, gas or water bill, a rental statement, or permission from the home owner. People then complete an online form and lodge it in person or by email with the Environment and Planning Directorate.
The government has not released the list of 1000-plus Canberra homes that contained the dangerous loose-fill asbestos insulation, despite freedom of information requests, because the release would breach the privacy of home owners – who are worried about their homes being targeted, about their privacy, and their house values. If a decision is made to demolish the houses, the list may be released as reasons for withholding it will no longer be relevant.
ACT's Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will also be announcing that Canberra's Mr Fluffy homes will be required by law to have high visibility tags in their meter boxes to protect the health and safety of tradespeople who may come into contact with loose amosite asbestos still present in homes. These will be rolled out before the review of the Asbestos Response Taskforce is completed. The taskforce is anticipated to recommend all Fluffy homes are ultimately demolished.
NSW government has also now begun the search for Mr Fluffy homes, after announcing
that residents in 14 local government areas could request a free test to check
whether their roof spaces contained the insulation.
Read more: Former tenants and owners given access to Mr Fluffy details including link to form to fill in. Mr Fluffy homes to be tagged to protect tradies Canberra Times; ABC Online
Asbestos: how much do
you know about it?
We talk about asbestos and we are surrounded by it.. but how much do we actually know? Take this online quiz developed by Canada's Work Safe BC (British Columbia): The Hidden Killer Even though it's based on BC's law – it's very similar to ours. The page also has resources such as information on where asbestos is found and a video. Want to know about Asbestos laws in Victoria and more – go to the Asbestos section on the site.
Transpacific national fleet recalled
after triple fatality
Last week it was BP recalling its tankers following a triple fatality – this week it's Transpacific which has taken its fleet off the road, leading to disruptions in rubbish collections around Australia. The Queensland-based company is conducting a safety audit of its 2,800 trucks after a fatal accident in Adelaide on Monday. A Transpacific truck smashed into three stationary cars at a busy intersection, killing a man and a woman, as well as critically injuring two others, including the truck driver. Police are investigating whether brake failure or speed played a part in the incident and the company has said it is cooperating in any way that it can. It also said the driver had undergone thorough safety training.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the grounding highlighted its long-held concerns about the safety of drivers in the industry. According to Ray Wyatt, TWU national president, the truck involved in the Adelaide crash was 30 years old and the driver, aged in his 20s, had only been on the job a week. "If there is anything wrong with the company and its maintenance programs then the full force of the law should be thrown at the company," he said. "This is an appalling situation that we need to wait until there's blood on the road, before a company would think that it needed to do this and that is really concerning." Mr Wyatt said the accident had come as companies in the waste management industry were pressured to reduce costs. STOP PRESS: TWU Media Release
The most recent reports in the media reveal that the truck had been out of control just before it ploughed into the cars. It has also emerged that Transpacific Industries is being prosecuted in the Federal Court after a fatal collision involving a garbage collection truck in Perth three years ago. Court documents allege Transpacific Industries breached federal work health and safety laws by failing to identify faulty brakes on one of its trucks. It collided head-on with a car on February 28, 2011, killing the car's driver. Comcare initiated civil proceedings in December against Transpacific Industries, alleging faulty brakes on the truck caused the collision and resulted in an unsafe workplace for its employee and the public.
events have resulted in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) issuing its
first its first safety and compliance alert to industry following early
observations of investigators on the BP fuel tanker crash. NHVR Chief Executive, Sal Petroccitto, said "Our
advice to operators who are working with dog trailers, pig trailers and road
train dollies is that they should read this safety advice closely and should
consider actions they can take to assure the integrity of their trailer or
dolly coupling systems, with a particular focus on the tow eye fitment. Our
safety and compliance alert outlines the facts so far and identifies issues for
operators to consider should they undertake inspections."
Read more: Rubbish collections stop after Transpacific's national truck fleet grounded ABC News online; Truck involved in fatal crash on South Eastern Freeway 'showed loss of control' Adelaide Now; and NHVR Media Release and Alert [pdf]
faces $2m in fines
Cootes, the trucking company involved in a fatal accident in Sydney last year, faces more than $2 million in fines after a safety audit. The company has been under scrutiny since one of its tankers crashed and exploded in Sydney's northern beaches in October 2013, killing two people and injuring five others. In addition, the crash at Mona Vale leaked thousands of litres of fuel into waterways and bushland, necessitating a massive clean-up operation. The safety audit with resulted led to a number of the company's trucks taken off the road for repairs in New South Wales and Victoria.
The company was originally charged with more
than 300 offences – 255 of which are going ahead - including
operating unsafe vehicles, fuel leaks and interstate registration matters. Possible fines could total more than
Cootes faces more than $2m in fines for safety breaches, court hears ABC Online
confirmed as cancer risk
Last week we added a new hazard information page on formaldehyde. News from Risks this week is that industry claims that the chemical does not cause cancer have been dismissed by US government experts. A National Academies of Science (NAS) assessment of the cancer risks from formaldehyde has confirmed it poses a threat to humans for three types of cancer: nasopharyngeal cancer; sinonasal cancer; and myeloid leukaemia. According to Jennifer Sass of the US Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC), the finding will be a blow to the industry lobby as the NAS review "was politically motivated, the result of a campaign by the chemical industry and its allies in Congress to protect formaldehyde and styrene, another common chemical linked to cancer." According to Sass, when subject to close scrutiny the chemical industry's case "added up to little more than a baseless defence of their toxic products. The chemical industry needs to start producing safer products, and stop attacking independent science and defending cancer-causing chemicals." In 2009, formaldehyde's top Group 1 human cancer risk rating from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was broadened to include leukaemia in the list of cancers with an established link to the chemical.
Read more: National Academies of Science news release and report summary on formaldehyde. OHS Reps information on Formaldehyde Source: Risks 667
Fly in Fly Out (FIFO) suicides
As reported in the previous two edition of SafetyNet, there has been growing pressure for something to be done about the numbers of Western Australian FIFO workers taking their own lives. This week, the ABC's 7.30 covered the issue. In the report, Dr Jennifer Bowers, from the Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, says, "It's not just all of the factors around their work and their lifestyle and their family pressures and their relationship pressures. It's about the harsh conditions. It's about the environment in which they're working. There are so many stressors."
Dr Bowers, who is leading research into the prevalence of mental health issues within a FIFO community, adds "It comes out that the stressors that they face are in terms of the pressures at work, the performance, sorts of pressures that are placed on them by management and the contracts that they have to adhere to. It's also to do with their relationships with their work mates onsite and those sorts of things. It's equally to do with the well-known issues around the length of their swing and the length of their rosters. So they're all well-known factors but what's not well known is how significant it is."
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
(AMWU), the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) and the
Electrical Trades Union (ETU) issued a joint statement last week, saying the
deaths are a "crisis", and supporting an inquiry.
Watch the report, or read the transcript: Nine FIFO suicides in 12 months leads to call for investigation
Cambodia: Garment workers dying on the job
Over just one week in July over 200 workers were admitted to the Prek Anhchanh Health Centre clinic on the outskirts of Phnom Penh after passing out at work in garment factories. Sokny Say from IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) said: "2014 is remarkable because while we have had many cases of mass faintings in the past, this is the first year that people have died. We must not become immune to the fact that so many garment workers are collapsing in the factories. It can be a precursor to death."
Two workers employed at factories located outside Phnom Penh died at the end of July.
Read more: Cambodian garment workers toiling to the death IndustriALL
USA – 'Monumental'
ruling on diesel fumes and lung cancer
A decision to award compensation to the widow of a bus maintenance worker who died of diesel exhaust-related lung cancer has been hailed as a 'monumental' breakthrough by his union. Anthony Nigro, a member of Transport Workers' Union (TWU) Local 100 in New York, USA, died a few months after retiring in 2012. His oncologist told his widow he believed diesel exhaust exposure in his 28 years working for the New York City Transit Authority was the cause of his cancer. The lawyer who filed a workers' compensation claim on behalf of the family, said this is "the first case where a Workers' Compensation Board, or any other court, has recognised the cause and effect of diesel to occupational disease."
The company contested the claim, noting the
victim's history of smoking. But an expert providing testimony for the family
said his job provided "ample exposure… to diesel exhaust emission." The expert
witness said that while smoking was also "a likely contributor" to the lung
cancer, the diesel emissions were "more likely than not a significant
contributing factor in causing or aggravating" Mr Nigro's illness and death. In
a judgment that is not being contested by the firm, the Judge ruled in favour
of the family and awarded them a weekly benefit of $773, $100,000 in backdated
benefits and $6,000 in funeral expenses. Dr Frank Goldsmith, director of
occupational health for the TWU local, said: "This case is really a monumental
decision. It's reminiscent of where we were with asbestos in the 1970s." He
added: "We need to find out more about diesel and cancer trends among transit
workers. We need to know how many of our members have been stricken by lung
cancer, and target which job titles those cancers came from." In June 2012, an
expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
reclassified diesel fume as a top rated 'Group 1' carcinogen.
Read more: TWU Local 100 health and safety newsletter: Special diesel issue [pdf]. More information on Diesel Source: Risks 667
closed following blast
Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou have shut down more than 200 factories pending safety checks in the wake of the massive explosion at a car parts factory that killed at least 75 people on 2 August (SafetyNet 288). Local officials accused the factory management of a "very serious dereliction of duty," blaming excessive metal dust for the explosion. China's cabinet, the State Council, has now ordered a comprehensive safety check on factories processing aluminium, magnesium, coal, wood, paper, tobacco, cotton and plastic, as well as other potentially flammable or explosive materials, state media said. Chinese labour activists and academics have issued an open letter calling for workers to be given the right to supervise workplace safety, and the Hong Kong–based advocacy group SACOM has called on all companies linked the car parts supplier - including GM contractor CITIC Dicastal, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda - to provide for victims' compensation and healthcare, noting that their responsibility for safety issues had been "outsourced to developing countries." SACOM activist Pui Kwan Liang told US publication The Nation these firms have an obligation to "take concrete action to provide adequate resources to support their downstream suppliers," to maintain the best safety protections and standards.
Read more: China Labour Bulletin, SACOM Open letter The Nation How the Deaths of 75 Workers at a Chinese Factory Could Have Been 'Easily Prevented'
Source: Risks 667
In SafetyNet 288 we had an item on how workers in windowless offices have a poorer quality of life and more erratic sleep patterns than those with access to daylight. We can now provide a link to the abstract of the research paper. A subscription is required to access the full article.
Mohamed Boubekri, et al, Impact of Windows and Daylight Exposure on Overall Health and Sleep Quality of Office Workers: A Case-Control Pilot Study. [abstract], Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 6, June 2014.
The sitting versus standing debate
Not a research study as such, but an article in The Conversation by Bethany Howard and Neville Owen, both from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, where there has been a good deal of research into the effects of sedentary work. The article points to the mounting evidence which shows that spending too much sitting at work, during the commute and for leisure increases the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and early death. The article also states, however, that this isn't a new revelation. "Bernardino Ramazzini first described the ill effects of too much sitting at work in the 1700s and advised people to break up sitting and stimulate blood flow." Standing for long periods of time also has negative effects. So what should workers do? The authors' advice: "To obtain the health benefits of standing and reduce the potential adverse effects, the best option is to alternate between sitting and standing. Our message is to stand up, sit less and move more."
Health Check: Sitting versus Standing The Conversation. And on our site: Working standing up and Sedentary Work
OHS Regulator News
VWA: promoting Top
Tradie Cup and new Father's Day competition
The VWA has kept pushing its competition for the state's 'tradies' - a test of safety and footy knowledge, with prizes to be won. The regulator has not released any media releases nor regularly updated prosecution results – but we certainly know about the Top Tradie Cup! The competition which begins on August 25 and runs for two weeks until September 7. This week the regulator launched a new competition in time for Father's Day: Win a Dream Day with Dad.
Read more: Top Tradie Cup 2014 and Win a Dream Day with Dad
Victoria: Safety Soapbox
The latest edition of VWA's Safety Soapbox was sent out this week (August 20), with an editorial by VWA Construction Advisor, Andrew Taylor on the importance of installing and maintaining void protection systems. A common hazard which needs to be controlled on construction sites is falling through voids. The most common type of void on construction sites, is the stairwell void - prior to having the permanent stairs installed. Several reported incidents also involved workers falling in voids.
were 44 incidents notified to the VWA since the last edition for the period
July 31 – August 13, including 14 lacerations, five fractures, six electric
shocks, and 12 near misses. Several of
the near misses could have resulted in very serious injuries – for example in
one incident a parked mobile concrete pump rolled down the road and into a house;
or the discharge of 66,000 volts, while maintenance was being done in a
Read more, including link to the list of reported incidents: August 20 Safety Soapbox
Safe Work Australia
The Safe Work webpage on reported workplace fatalities has been updated: as at 15 August, 112 fatalities had been reported. The fatalities: 42 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 27 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 12 in Construction; 11 in Mining; five each in Manufacturing and in Accommodation & food services; three in Electricity, Gas & Water Services; and Arts & recreation services; and one each in Health care/social assistance; Retail; Wholesale Trade; and Government administration & defence. Read more: Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities
The most recent monthly fatalities report posted is still April 2014. The monthly reports can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
From the VWA a Safety Alert on Securing precast concrete panels This follows an incident where a fixed precast concrete panel collapsed onto a mobile crane after the panels' securing clips disengaged from the steel beam – when the beam flexed.
From Canada: Observation-Based Posture Assessment: Review of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement - a document developed as a joint effort between NIOSH and the Canadian Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD). The document assists in the assessment of working posture for the prevention and control of occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It can be downloaded (as a pdf) from the CDC website.
The VWA has finally updated its prosecutions summaries (last updated at the end of June). The Prosecutions Summaries page has a 'new look'. The regulator has reported on nine prosecutions completed since June 30. However, none resulted in large fines (all less than $20,000), even when the worker injured sustained serious or life threatening injuries. It should be noted that the maximum penalty for an offence under Section 21 (1) is 9000 penalty units for a body corporate – this equates to a maximum penalty of over $1.3 million.
1 – June
30: Chemical Improvement Company Pty Ltd
In February 2013 a WorkSafe inspector observed multiple contraventions in relation to the use, storage and handling of dangerous goods at the Williamstown cleaning products manufacturer's site. The company pleaded guilty to 10 charges under s 45 of the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 and 1 charge under s 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, and was convicted and fined $11,000 (plus $3,097 costs). (Melbourne Magistrates' Court)
2 - July
2: Tambo Ash Pty Ltd
Tambo Ash, is a lighting business which stored goods in a storage facility located in Braeside. On 27 January 2013, an employee suffered a laceration to his head when dismantling a steel structure at the storage facility, when a steel beam fell and struck him on the head. The incident was not reported immediately to the VWA and the incident scene was not preserved. After pleading guilty (Sections 38(1) and 39) the company was fined $750 without conviction (plus costs of $2,703). (Moorabbin Magistrates' Court)
3 – July 16:
ACR Roofing Pty Ltd
The domestic and commercial roof restoration company pleaded guilty following an incident in March 2013 when one of its subcontractors fell through the skylight on a roof, landing on the concrete floor approximately 6 meters below. The company pleaded guilty to sections 21(1) & 2 (a) of the OHS Act 2004: failing to provide and maintain a system of work whereby skylights/translucent sheeting on the roof of a workplace were identified and securely covered or barricaded before roofing work commenced. It was convicted and fined $15,000 (plus costs of $4,084). (Frankston Magistrates' Court).
4 – July
22: SPC Ardmona
The company, which operates a large fruit and vegetable processing, packaging and distribution facility, pleaded guilty (under sections 21(1) and 21(2)(a) of the OHS Act) for failing to provide and maintain plant and a system of work. In April 2013 an employee was working on the snack pack line and in the course of removing some loose packs her left hand become caught between the chain and large idler sprocket. When she attempted to pull her left hand out with her right hand, her right hand became entangled as well. She sustained an amputated left arm above the elbow, fractured right hand and deep lacerations and bruises to her arms. The summary has no information on what the company was fined for this terrible incident – just that it was ordered to pay costs of $3800. Inquiries from our editor to the VWA have not yet been responded to. STOP PRESS: we have now found out that the company was placed on a 12-month adjourned undertaking, and was ordered to pay $45,000 (plus $3800 in costs) into a court fund. No conviction was recorded - despite the guilty plea.
5 – July
31: Bill Bourchier Pty Ltd
On 30 May 2013, an employee of Bill Bourchier Pty Ltd was injured when the ramp of a drop deck trailer came falling down and struck him on his leg causing a compound fracture injury. The company (which is a farm in the West Wimmera) pleaded guilty to four charges under the OHS Act (Sections 21(1)(a) 21(2) (a), 38(1), 38(3) and 39(1)) in that it failed to provide a working environment that was safe and without risks to health; failed to provide a safe system or work, failed to preserve incident site, and failed to notify VWA of a notifiable incident. The Court fined the company $5,000 without conviction (plus costs of $ $4,375). (Horsham Magistrates Court).
6 – July
31: CPK Cabinets Pty Ltd
The company, trading as Cut Price Kitchens, operates a kitchen manufacture and installation business. On 4 July 2013 an employee suffered an injury to his left thumb when it became stuck in a drill bit. He was taken to hospital and was admitted overnight. The company failed to notify the VWA about the incident immediately after it occurred, did not provide written notification to the VWA within 48 hours of the incident occurring, and failed to preserve the site of the incident. The company pleaded guilty to breaching sections 38(1), 38(3) and 39(1) of the OHS Act. The company was placed on a 6 month adjourned undertaking without conviction, with a condition that it pay $1,000 to the Isabella and Marcus Paediatric Brain Stem Tumour Fund, and ordered to pay costs in the amount of $1,500 (Dandenong Magistrates' Court).
August 1: Demolition Depot Pty Ltd
The company, which is now in liquidation, demolished and cleared domestic houses and industrial sites. On 11 April 2013, an employee suffered crush injuries to his arm when cleaning an inadequately guarded conveyor; he was immediately taken to hospital and underwent multiple surgeries. The incident was not reported immediately to the VWA. The company pleaded guilty to two charges (Sections 21(1)&(2)(a) and 38(1)). It was convicted and fined $40,000 for the s21(2)(a) charge and $5,000 for the s38 charge, and ordered to pay costs of $3,810 (Moorabbin Magistrates' Court).
August 8: South Eastern Plumbing Services Pty Ltd
The accused pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working (sections 21(1) and 21(2)(a)) It is a small sized plumbing company offering services from drainage to gas fitting and roofing. In November 2012, the company contracted with an owner builder to undertake various plumbing works at a property under construction in Mordialloc.
In early April 2013, the company contracted with another company (the co-accused: DH Plumbing Pty Ltd) to supply additional labour at the workplace. DH Plumbing Pty Ltd contracted with a self-employed plumber to undertake roofing works at the construction site.
On 15 April 2013, the plumber attended the site where he was met by a director of the South Eastern Plumbing Services. Immediately after accessing the roof, the plumber fell through the void between the battens and trusses. The trusses were spaced at 900mm centres and the battens were spaced at 1200mm centres. As a result of the fall, the plumber sustained serious life threatening head injuries including a fractured skull and swelling of the brain. On 6 August 2014 the company was convicted and fined $10,000 with costs in the sum of $3,245 (Moorabbin Justice Centre).
August 14: Davcom Communications Pty Ltd
Davcom was charged with two charges under Section 9(2) of the OHS Act for failing to give such information as the Authority required and failing to produce documents in its custody or control. In mid October 2013 the Authority served Davcom with a written notice for information under s 9(1) of the Act. The notice was served for the purpose of investigating suspected contraventions by Davcom in relation to the storage and handling of asbestos between January and June 2013. The notice required the company to provide this information and documents on or before 30 October 2013. Davcom did not comply. On 14 August 2014, the charges were heard and determined in the absence of Davcom due to their failure to appear. The charged were proven by the Court and Davcom was convicted and fined $20,000 (plus costs of $5,505.00) in the Ballarat Magistrates Court.
bans use of two chemicals in assembly
Apple has announced it is banning the use of two potentially hazardous chemicals during the final assembly of iPhones and iPads as part of the company's latest commitment to protect the factory workers who build its products. This comes five months after the activist groups China Labor Watch and Green America launched a petition drive calling on Apple Inc. to abandon the use of benzene and n-hexane in the production of iPhones. The company insisted that a four month investigation at 22 factories found no evidence that workers were being harmed by the chemicals. Benzene is a carcinogen that can cause leukemia if not handled properly and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage. The substances are often found in solvents used to clean machinery and electronics.
However, Apple is still allowing use of the two chemicals during the
early production phases of its products: activities that primarily take place
at hundreds of other factories besides the ones responsible for the final
assembly of the devices. As an additional precaution, Apple is lowering the
maximum amount of benzene and n-hexane that can present in the materials used
during those earlier phases of production.
Read more: Apple bans use of 2 chemicals in iPhone assembly Mercury News
£240,000 fine after driver crushed to death
A Stonehaven (UK) animal feed company has been fined £240,000 (A$431,000) after a visiting truck driver was crushed to death when a two-tonnes, fully-loaded grain bin fell onto him from a forklift truck, in March 2013.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed East
Coast Viners Grain LLP did not have in place a safe system of work for the task
and operators were left to carry it out in any way they saw fit. The company
had assumed the forklift training they had received from an external provider
would cover safe working. In addition, despite several incidents of grain bins
slipping from the forks of the trucks, no mechanism or device to secure them
had been installed. There was also poor visibility in the loading area where
the forklifts were operating; failures in work systems and in training for
Read more: HSE Media Release