SafetyNet 296, October
We're back after a week's break during which time Renata attended an ILO symposium on union impact on occupational safety and health in the Asia-Pacific region. We hope this edition of SafetyNet provides our subscribers with lots of relevant and interesting news.
Have you joined our small but growing number of discerning followers on Twitter? Please do so now: @OHSreps
Our HSR's term of office ends in a month or so, and a couple of members from our DWG are organising the election for a new rep. How long should they give DWG members to nominate for the position? Are there any rules?
No, there are no set rules on how the DWG must run an election – the only thing is that the members of the DWG agree with how the election is to be run, and that all members have the opportunity to both nominate and vote. I would suggest giving everyone at least a week to nominate if they are interested. Remember too, that if the number of candidates for election equals the number of vacancies, then there is no need to conduct an election, and each candidate is to be taken to have been elected as an HSR.
Please send any OHS related queries in to 'Ask Renata' - your query will be responded to as quickly as we can. Due to Renata's commitments in the coming week, there will be a few days' delay, however.
NSW: TWU calls on NSW government to clean up industry
Transport Workers' Union of NSW secretary Wayne Forno has called on the state government to clean up the tip truck industry, after a serial illegal asbestos dumper was fined $225,000 fine on September 23rd. He had twelve previous convictions and $200,000 dollars in existing fines for the same offences. Mr Forno said the Baird Government had allowed rogue elements of the tip truck sector to thumb their noses at regulations on illegal dumping, overloading trucks and properly maintaining their vehicles, despite being involved in every major building site in the State.
a joke. This operator already has a $300 a month payment plan extending to 2072
on his existing $200,000 in fines," said Mr Forno. "These cowboy operators are
ignoring the laws they don't like because they know the worst they'll get under
the current system is another slap on the wrist. It's become big business and
there are too many shonks in the industry willing to undercut those who obey
Read more: TWU Media release
Prosecutions of Olivetti Execs
Italy's public prosecutor has confirmed that criminal charges are being brought for the asbestos-related deaths of 20 former Olivetti employees against five former company executives who are alleged to have failed in their duty to protect the Italian workforce from the asbestos hazard. The deaths from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma occurred between 2008 and 2014 and relate to people who worked for the company in the 1970s and 1990s.
Read more: Chiusa l'inchiesta sull'amianto all'Olivetti, tra gli indagati De Benedetti e Passera [The asbestos investigation at Olivetti ends, among the suspects De Benedetti and Passera]. Source: IBAS News
Last chance - Asbestos
Council of Victoria/GARDS members fundraising
Jenna and Anthony Gray will be running the half marathon run in the Medibank Marathon this weekend in memory of their father who died of mesothelioma – money raised will go to the La Trobe Valley organisation, Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS. Donations are gratefully accepted via the donate button on the home page - with a receipt generated immediately. You can also donate by sending a cheque, payable to ACV/GARDS Inc (please include name and address for receipt) to: ACV/GARDS; Jenna & Anthony Marathon Run; PO Box 111, MOE, VIC 3825
ASEA Conference: November 16
– 18, 2014
Reminder of ASEA's 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management: "Working towards an asbestos free Australia" (Crown Casino November 16-18). SafetyNet will be there – so come along and chat to Renata – and hear Laurie Kazan-Allen, from the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.
Read more: ASEA Conference including program information, and registration details.
Asbestos Awareness Week
This is an early reminder that Asbestos Awareness Week is coming up – the last week in November. There will be a number of events on including:
- An AEU is hosting an Asbestos awareness forum on November 25th (4.30 pm to 6.00pm) at the AEU in Abbotsford. The focus will be "Asbestos Free Schools – What will it take?" In the lead up to the state election the AEU is working to gain a commitment from all parties to embark on a prioritised eradication of asbestos in all government schools.
- The Asbestoswise annual commemoration service will be held on Wednesday November 26 at St Paul's Cathedral at 11am, followed by the CFMEU barbeque on the banks of the Yarra.
- GARDS will also be holding a number of events in the LaTrobe Valley.
More information to
follow in upcoming editions of SafetyNet
Want to know about Asbestos laws and more – go to the Asbestos section on the site.
Another win for firefighters
Unlike the Victorian Government, the Western Australian Government has agreed to expand its presumptive cancer compensation laws to cover all firefighters. Presumptive laws for active Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) firefighters took effect in the state late last year. Under the legislation, those who contract any of 12 types of cancer – including primary site brain cancer and leukaemia – are automatically entitled to workers' compensation. On Saturday, State Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis announced that cabinet had agreed to extend the laws to cover former DFES firefighters, current and former volunteer firefighters, and firefighters employed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
"In the past, firefighters who developed cancer were required to provide proof of the link between firefighting and cancer in order to submit a workers' compensation claim," Francis said. "Because toxins and chemicals encountered at a fire incident are rarely recorded, proving that link was difficult."
report high levels of stress
The Australian Education Union has today released the State of our Schools Survey, which demonstrates that Victorian public school principals are dealing with peak levels of stress and workload. Eight in ten principals ranked workload as a main concern, as well as concern with teacher workloads and stress levels. School maintenance, class sizes and a lack of qualified teachers were listed among other major problems they face. More than half complained of stress, and a lack of consultation by the Department.
Meredith Peace, AEU Victorian branch president, said that this is symptomatic of a lack of funding and support to public schools under the current government. "We are seeing principals having to do much more with less, and our research now shows that we have principals working an average of 59 hours a week, with no work life balance," she said. "The Government's autonomy agenda is leading greater levels of responsibility for principals at a time where resources and support are being cut. Recent calls for increased autonomy at schools should be matched with increased support from the Department and schools simply do not have that."
Ms Peace says the survey makes it clear that we
need more funding and greater of support for our school leaders now. The AEU is
calling on all political parties to make commitments to support our public
schools and Victorian children.
Read more: AEU Media Release School principals under greater pressure than ever The Herald Sun Victorian principals report record working hours and stress
Indonesia: more fatalities at Rio Tinto's Freeport mine
The disgraceful string of deaths continues at Rio Tinto's Freeport mine in West Papua – the biggest gold and copper mine in the world. Several workers were shot dead after a strike in 2011, and 28 workers were killed in a tunnel collapse in 2013. On 27 September 2014 another four workers were killed and four injured in an incident involving a truck. On 1 October IndustriALL affiliate Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU) representing the majority of the workers at the Grasberg mine went on strike. They blocked the road to the mine, demanding punishment of the director of mining, provision of guarantees of no more fatal accidents and for the company to pay financial support to the families of the deceased and injured. Following the strike the management entered into negotiations and agreed to workers' demands, after which the strike was called off. However, the company's long-term neglect of health and safety unfortunately shows it is willing to sacrifice workers' lives for profit.
Read more: IndustriALL Media release
Swaziland: Dangerous solvent sickens textile workers
Workers are being made seriously ill by a toxic chemical introduced at a Swazi textile factory, their union has warned. Dozens of workers required hospitalisation last month after the plant began using the dangerous solvent butyl acetate to remove stains from clothes. The workers, who went to the hospital at their own expense, reported chest pains, severe headaches, vomiting and bleeding, and some collapsed. Yet despite the severity of the symptoms and the number of workers affected, their union says management denied workers sick leave and ordered them back to work before a thorough health investigation was completed. Butyl acetate is a flammable liquid that targets the central nervous system, and can cause headaches, breathing problems, skin and eye irritation and unconsciousness. Union shop stewards report that the dangerous working conditions have not been addressed and workers continue to become sick, with some vomiting blood. The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) warns the Taiwan-owned Tex-Ray plant has played down the severity and extent of the illnesses and has under-reported cases. In June, the United States suspended trade benefits to Swaziland, citing the country's serious worker and human rights violations.
Read more: AFL-CIO Solidarity Center report. AFL-CIO Now blog. Source: Risks 674
Indonesia: Female Workers and Sexual Violence
Indonesia is a developing country with a population of 241 million. There are approximately 118 million workers in Indonesia: 62% male and 38% female. Approximately 60% are "informal workers" and 40% formal workers. Most women work in the informal sector, because it doesn't need high education. However, female workers are systematically placed in sectors which have low salaries – both in the formal and informal sectors, and are very vulnerable.
KBN Cakung for example, the biggest garment textile industry zone in Jakarta, in North Jakarta, which produces export garments for Europe and USA (GAP, ZARA, H&M, ADIDAS, KOHLS, ESPRIT, etc). More than 90% workers are female and they experience violation of their rights such as low wages under the minimum wage, wage suspension legalized by the government, sexual violence, maternity leave, miscarriage leave, social security, unpaid overtime, etc. The violations against female workers rights occur daily with no response from the government.
Radio Marsinah, a station run by a small female garment workers union, has
done many things such as advocacy and providing shelter for victims. They are
now looking to make a film as an effective way to address the issue of female
workers in Indonesia:
"Female Workers Break Open the Sexual
Violence Cases". In it they want to address the issue of sexual violence. Check out the trailer: Break Open
They are asking for donations towards the making of the film – if you would like to donate, please do so by bank transfer to:
BCA KCP Kramat Jaya 4141796814
Name: Dian Septi Trisnanti and Kurniati
Swift Code CENAIDJA
refractory ceramic fibres and asbestos: Risk of mesothelioma
This study investigated the hypothesis that there is an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma due to exposure to both asbestos and refractory ceramic fibres (RCF) compared to asbestos exposure alone. The researchers selected males from a French case-control study conducted in 1987-1993 and from the French National Mesothelioma Surveillance Program in 1998-2006. Two population controls were frequency matched to each case by year of birth. Complete job histories were collected and occupational asbestos and RCF exposures were assessed using job exposure matrices. The dose-response relationships for asbestos exposure were estimated from an unconditional logistic regression model in subjects exposed to asbestos only (group 1) and subjects exposed to both asbestos and RCF (group 2). A total of 988 cases and 1125 controls ever-exposed to asbestos were included.
A dose-response relationship was observed in both groups but
it was stronger (higher) in group 2 – that is, the group with exposure to both.
The researchers concluded that their results suggest that the pleural
carcinogenic effect of occupational asbestos exposure may be modified by
additional exposure to RCF.
Read more: Lacourt A, et al Co-exposure to refractory ceramic fibres and asbestos and risk of pleural mesothelioma. [abstract] Eur Respir J. 2014 Sep;44(3):725-33. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00079814. Epub 2014 Jul 17.
Silica and heart
Crystalline silica is known to cause silicosis, lung cancer and other respiratory conditions. The association between crystalline silica exposure and risk of heart disease mortality is less clear and was investigated by researchers from China and the US, who investigated a cohort of 42,572 Chinese workers who were potentially exposed to crystalline silica and followed from 1960 to 2003. Cumulative silica exposure was estimated by linking a job-exposure matrix to each person's work history. Low-level silica exposure was defined as never having held a job with an exposure higher than 0.1 mg/m.
The researchers identified 2846 deaths from heart disease during an average of 35 years follow-up, and observed positive exposure-response trends for cumulative silica exposure associated with mortality from total heart disease. These positive trends remained among workers with both high- and low-level silica exposure. There was also a positive trend for ischemic heart disease among workers with low-level exposure.
The study concluded that low-level crystalline silica
exposure was associated with increased mortality from heart disease, including
pulmonary heart disease and ischemic heart disease, whereas high-level exposure
mainly increased mortality from pulmonary heart disease. The researchers
suggested that current permissible exposure limits for crystalline silica in
many countries may be insufficient to protect people from deaths due to heart
Read more: Liu Y, et al, Long-term exposure to crystalline silica and risk of heart disease mortality. [abstract ] Epidemiology. 2014 Sep;25(5):689-96. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000143. Hazard information page on Silica [Internal link – under Chemicals]
Long hours at low pay linked to diabetes
Working long hours in 'low status' jobs can increase your risk for diabetes, a new study suggests. Researchers examined data from earlier studies involving more than 222,000 men and women in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia who were followed for an average of 7.6 years. The initial analysis revealed no difference in the risk of type 2 diabetes among people who worked more than 55 hours a week and those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week. However, further analyses showed that people who worked more than 55 hours a week at manual labour or other types of 'low socioeconomic status jobs' were 30 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week. This increased risk remained even after the researchers accounted for diabetes risk factors such as smoking, physical activity levels, age, sex and obesity, and after the researchers excluded shift work, which increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. Commenting on the findings, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, lead author Mika Kivimäki, a professor of epidemiology at University College London, said: "Although working long hours is unlikely to increase diabetes risk in everyone, health professionals should be aware that it is associated with a significantly increased risk in people doing low socioeconomic status jobs." A July 2014 study linked shiftwork to type 2 diabetes. This risk factor, which is excluded from the new analysis, could compound the risks in the sections of the low status job group associated with shiftwork.
Read More: Mika Kivimäki et al, Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222,120 individuals, [Full text ]
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 25 September 2014
(Source: Risks 674)
Pesticide use by farmers linked to high rates of
Recent US research has linked long-term use of pesticides to higher rates of depression and suicide amongst farmers. Evidence also suggests that pesticide poisoning – a heavy dose in a short amount of time – doubles the risk of depression.
"For years there was a high level of denial in the farming community that mental illness exists, period," said Lorann Stallones, an epidemiologist and psychology professor at Colorado State University. "But there's been a shift – partly because there's more people talking about being mentally incapacitated."
epidemiologist Freya Kamel and her colleagues reported that among 19,000
studied, those who used two classes of pesticides and seven individual
pesticides were more likely to have been diagnosed with depression. Those who
used organochlorine insecticides were up to 90 percent more likely to have been
diagnosed with depression than those who hadn't used them. For fumigants, the
increased risk was up to 80 percent. "Our study supports a positive association
between depression and occupational pesticide use among applicators… and
suggests several specific pesticides that deserve further investigation in
animal studies and other human populations," the authors wrote in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Read more: Pesticide use by farmers linked to high rates of depression, suicides Environmental Health News
opens registrations for this year's Health and Safety Week
HSRs and other OHS activists may be interested in the activities and events being offered by the VWA during Health and Safety Week. The VWA invites people to find an event and register.
This year's keynotes include the Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, Chairman of beyondblue speaking on mental well-being in the workplace; Bernard Salt, a leading commentator on cultural and demographic trends speaking on our ageing demographic; and Darren Flanagan, the explosives expert responsible for rescuing the two miners trapped at Beaconsfield mine.
The event begins at the
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday 20 October to Wednesday 22
October, then goes to Melbourne's west (Altona)
and ten regional Victorian locations including: Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong,
Horsham, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton, Warrnambool and Wodonga. The VWA
has also designated one day, Tuesday October 21, for elected Health and Safety
Representatives – on this day HSRs will be entitled to paid leave from work to
sessions. They warn however, 'there are conditions', and so have asked HSRs to
read the information for Health and Safety Representatives page carefully.
Read more Information for HSRs
The latest edition of VWA's Safety Soapbox was sent out last week (October 1). In this edition, the editorial remembers the 44th anniversary of the collapse of the West Gate Bridge on October 15. At 11.50am, two years into its construction, the 365ft (112m) 2000-tonne span between piers 10 and 11 of the West Gate Bridge collapsed164ft (50m) onto the muddy edge of the Yarra River below. Thirty-five construction workers were killed. There were those on their lunch break who perished inside workers huts beneath the structure, crushed by the falling span. Others were working on and inside the span when it fell.
also has news from around the country, its usual interesting 'Absolute Shocker'
and links to new guidance materials. There were 42 incidents notified to the
VWA since the last edition, for the period September 11 - 24, including lacerations,
electric shocks, fractures and near misses.
Read more, including link to the list of reported incidents: October 1 Safety Soapbox and our Features on the West Gate Bridge on this page
Safe Work Australia
As of October 1, 132 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work Australia. The fatalities: 36 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 31 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 19 in Construction; 14 in Mining; 10 in Manufacturing; five each in Arts & recreation services and in Accommodation & food services; four in Wholesale Trade; three in Electricity, Gas & Water Services; two in Health care/social assistance; and one each in Government administration & defence; Public administration and services, and 'other services'.
Read more: Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities
The June monthly fatality report remains the latest which has been released, as reported in the last edition of SafetyNet. Monthly reports can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities Reports page.
Comparative Performance Monitoring Report released
Today, Safe Work Australia released the 16th edition of the Comparative Performance Monitoring report.
This report provides trend analysis on the work health and safety and workers' compensation schemes operating in Australia and New Zealand in 2012-13.
Key findings from the report included:
- The rate of return to work following an injury increased two percentage points from last year with 77 per cent of injured workers successfully returning to work within eight to 10 months of sustaining their injury in 2012-13.
- The transport and storage, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries have substantially higher fatality and injury rates than the national average.
- Australian workers' compensation schemes paid out more than $7.9 billion with approx half (53 per cent) paid directly to injured workers in compensation for their injury or illness and 23 per cent spent on medical and other services.
- Body stressing continued to be the main cause of injury/disease, accounting for 41 per cent of claims.
- OHS authorities carried out approx 213,600 workplace interventions and issued 49,935 notices during 2012–13.
- Employers are now paying 1.53 per cent of payroll in workers' compensation premiums compared to 1.56 per cent in 2008–09.
- From WorkSafeBC (British Colombia, Canada): new, very short, video - Worksite Dangers for Traffic Control Persons For a traffic control person, vehicles on the road are not the only danger. This video highlights the hazards that exist on the worksite.
There were a number of prosecution and 'diversion orders' recorded on the VWA Prosecution result summaries. In the case of Diversion orders, the names of the companies are not published. One prosecution was as a result of a fatality.
Diversion 1 2014-15Unguarded plant:
The accused company was charged with one offence under section 21(1) & 21(2)(a) of the OHS Act, arising from an incident in which an employee suffered hand and arm injuries after accessing inadequately guarded plant. On 3 September 2014 the accused company was placed on a diversion program with conditions designed to improve occupational health and safety at the accused's workplace.
2 - George
Rydell Constructions Pty Ltd: failing to ensure safe workplace
The accused pleaded guilty to one charge under section 26(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (as a person with management or control of a workplace it failed to ensure that the workplace was safe and without risks to health). In March 2013 the accused was the principal contractor for a supermarket development at Alfredton. The structural design involved steel framing, precast concrete panel walls, footings and slab. Consulting engineers were engaged to design and document the structural and civil drawings for the development and other contractors were engaged to install the precast panels. When the panels were erected they were held upright with temporary bracing panel props. Riggers employed by a subcontractor commenced removal of a number of panel props, based on recommendations from the engineer. As the riggers worked in the South-east corner, one of the precast panels fell outwards as the brace was removed. This panel had not been secured with bolts and clips. There had been no final signoff from the engineer that it was safe to remove all the braces. No persons were injured in the incident. On 10 September 2014 the company was fined $40,000 without conviction, with costs of $8000 (Ballarat Magistrates Court).
3 - PMP
Print Pty Ltd – Worker injured by angle grinder
On 16 May 2013 a PMP Print employee was injured while using an angle grinder to cut a steel roller conveyor. The grinding wheel became jammed in the cutting space, broke and "kicked back", striking him in the jaw. The man was taken to hospital and received 45 stitches. PMP Print pleaded guilty to one charge under section 21(1) & (2)(a) and (2)(e) of the OHS Act for failing to provide and maintain a system of work that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health, and to provide its employees with such information, instruction and training as was necessary to enable them to perform their work in a way that was safe and without risks to health. On 9 September 2014 the company was convicted and fined $80,000 and ordered to pay $2,802 costs (Moorabbin Magistrates' Court).
Tooradin Excavations: fatality
The accused, Tooradin Excavations Pty Ltd formally known as TGS Sand & Soil Pty Ltd is a proprietary company that excavates sand for the concrete market. On 22 November 2010, a worker was excavating what was known as the 600 pit (or front pit) with a 'Doosan' excavator. Water seepage had been noted about four to five metres above the floor level on the eastern face of the quarry (where a landslide eventually occurred). At approximately 12:25 p.m., the worker was heard on the two way radio communication seeking assistance as the wall face had collapsed and covered the excavator he was operating. Other employees went to the aid of the man by manually digging near the cabin in an attempt to free him, which was ultimately unsuccessful – the worker died as a result of being trapped in the cabin. The accused company pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide systems of work contrary to section 21(1) and 21(1)(2)(a)of the OHS Act, and was convicted and fined $340,000 in the County Court.
5 - Australian
Sustainable Hardwoods Pty Ltd – worker suffers substantial injuries; company
required to be on 'good behaviour'!
Australian Sustainable Hardwoods accused operates a hardwood timber mill in Heyfield. On 18 March 2013, an employee suffered substantial de-gloving injuries after being hit by and then dragged under a forklift. The company pleaded guilty to one rolled up charge under sections 21(1) & (2)(a) and (e) of the OHS Act - Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Forklifts; Traffic management. On 15 September 2014, the company was placed on an adjourned undertaking without conviction until 12 February 2016, with conditions that it be of 'good behaviour' and make donations of $3,750 to CFA Heyfield and $3,750 to Heyfield Landcare. It was also ordered to pay VWA's costs of $5,972.80 (Sale Magistrates' Court).
6 - Ronisa
Giselle Nominees Pty Ltd – failure to notify VWA
Ronisa Giselle Nominees Pty Ltd trades as Dandenong Car Wreckers in Dandenong. On 16 April 2013 an employee suffered minor burns when a fuel tank from which he was extracting petrol, caught fire. The company failed to report the incident to the VWA as required. The company pleaded guilty to one charge under sections 21(1) and 21(2)(e) for failing to provide information, instruction, training or supervision and one charge under section 38(1) of the OHS Act. The company was without conviction fined $7,500 with costs in the sum of $4,009 (stay of 3 months). (Moorabbin Magistrates' Court)
On 18 December 2013 a VWA inspector observed five people working on a roof at a height of approximately six metres without adequate fall protection in place at a partially constructed petrol station in Moolap. The inspector determined they were employees of Unibond Plumbing Services Pty Ltd. On 22 September 2014 the company pleaded guilty to one rolled up charge against sections 21(1) & (2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. The charge related to working at heights of over two metres without adequate fall protection and failure to prepare a safe work method statement where high risk construction work was taking place. Unibond was fined $7,500 without conviction and ordered to pay VWA's costs of $2,309. (Geelong Magistrates' Court)
Retailer charged for inspector offences
Ivan Deak was charged with two offences under section 125(a) and one offence under section 119(3)(a) of the OHS Act 2004 related to his refusal to allow VWA inspectors to conduct a workplace inspection at his retail premises in Geelong West on 6 and 7 January 2014. After an ex parte hearing Deak was found guilty of all three charges and was fined an aggregate of $2,000 without conviction. (Geelong Magistrates' Court)
Dangerous Goods Act prosecution
Yahgold Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 in that it allowed explosives to be stored in circumstances where it did not hold a licence for the storage and where it failed to ensure the explosives were stored in a secure building or container separate from residential buildings. The company holds mining licences for two tenements on Crown land north of Bairnsdale. In April 2013, the burglary and theft of explosives from an accommodation hut was reported to Bairnsdale Police. The offence report stated the explosives stolen consisted of 140 sticks (cartridges) of Powergel, 3.5 rolls (H 1km) Detonating Cord, 1.25 rolls of Safety Fuse and 1 roll of Igniter Cord. The offence report stated that prior to the theft the explosives had been stored in an approved magazine which was broken into some time prior to 29 March 2013. Nothing appeared to be missing on that occasion however due to moisture ingress the explosives were placed in the lower level sleeping area of the locked accommodation hut. On 20 May 2013, Bairnsdale police were notified of the discovery of a large quantity of explosives, matching the description of those stolen, in a small shed at Tabbarabbera Road Bullumwaal. The location was secured by police and WorkSafe inspectors transported the explosives to a secure magazine. At the time of the theft, the quantity of explosives stored exceeded the minimum quantity for which a licence must be held, and the accommodation hut used by the accused for explosives storage was inappropriate. On 24 September 2014 the company was released without conviction on a 12 month undertaking to be of good behaviour, with a payment of $1,000 to the Court Fund and costs in the amount of $2,765. (Bairnsdale Magistrates Court).
10 - Diversion
2 of 2014-15
The accused was charged with one offence under section 25(1)(b) of the OHS Act. VWA Inspector observed a forklift moving about the yard of the workplace with a male person standing on the right hand side of the moving forklift. The accused was the driver of the forklift and held a high-risk licence to operate a forklift. On 2 October 2014 the accused was placed on a diversion program with a condition to undertake an occupational health and safety course approved by the Victorian WorkCover Authority that focuses on forklift safety and prevention of industrial accidents.
Source for the above prosecution summaries: VWA Prosecution result summaries
Victoria: Cootes to pay over $50k for unsafe
Trucking company Cootes Transport was this week fined more than $50,000 by a Victorian magistrate for operating unsafe vehicles following an investigation sparked by a fatal road crash in NSW. Cootes Transport grounded its Victorian fleet of petrol and LPG tankers due to concerns over the safety of the vehicles following the NSW crash in October last year in which two men aged in their 70s died and five others were injured.
The company on Wednesday pleaded guilty to 67 counts of operating unsafe vehicles, related to its Victorian fleet. Melbourne Magistrates Court heard the defects had the potential for crashes similar to the NSW tragedy given VicRoads inspectors had found key safety breaches, including problems with trucks' brakes and shock absorbers, oil leaks and worn tyres. Many of the defects had the potential to cause fire or leak oil or fuel onto the road. VicRoads prosecutor David Starvaggi said in one instance, inspectors found an aluminium block - used in repairs to support an axle - that was lodged between a wheel and disc brake and had reduced the truck's braking efficiency.
earlier reported that in NSW, Cootes has been ordered to pay $525,305 for
hundreds of road safety breaches
Read more: The Age Cootes Transport fined more than $50,000 for unsafe tankers following fatal crash .
NSW: Horrific death caused by
poor supervision and training
The NSW Coroner has found a worker's "horrific" death was caused by unqualified supervision, poorly explained rules and minimal training. Coroner Mary Jerram found it was possible the worker died after being directed to do something he "absolutely should not have", and questioned the efficacy of the one-day training course provided to him and his fellow workers.
On 16 September 2010, the Claddagh Civil employee was electrocuted and set on fire by a broken earth strap at a Sydney East Substation at Belrose. The inquest heard the substation was owned by TransGrid, which contracted routine maintenance to Project Electrical Services Pty Ltd (PES). PES then subcontracted some of that work to CLM Infrastructure Pty Ltd, which subcontracted Claddagh Civil to perform excavation and labouring work.
About a week before the worker's death, work was being conducted in a
bay at the substation when an earth strap from a sealed end cable to the earth
grid was partly severed. A temporary cable was connected in case there was a
complete break, prior to power being restored to the area. On 16 September a
PES supervisor decided to fix the partial break, and the worker offered to
help. The supervisor then directed the worker not to enter the site until he
returned from retrieving some tools, but when he got back five minutes later,
he saw the worker inside the bay in a trench and on fire. The man died at the scene.
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