Three employers including a repeat offender have been charged with safety breaches, after the deaths of a confined space worker and a backpacker. The latest development in the backpacker's case coincides with two Federal Court rulings on the employment status of workers at the site where she was killed.
In convicting an individual for WHS breaches, a judge has reminded duty holders of an often-overlooked strategy for eliminating or minimising the risks associated with a task: not performing the task at all until all safety issues or breaches have been resolved.
Employers have been warned there are no excuses for allowing workers to risk their safety by clearing machinery that is not switched off, after a company was convicted over a young worker's injuries. Meanwhile, the employer of a worker killed by a runaway vehicle could be fined up to $9 million, after being charged with WHS offences.
A workplace "exclusion zone" was established in a way that "invited" rather than deterred access to the area, and contributed to a work experience student's life-changing injuries, a court has found in convicting and fining a PCBU.
Two workers who bullied new employees made it "very difficult" for them to gain experience and posed a risk to their safety and welfare, but their employer should not have sought to force the bullies to resign by ignoring their text messages, a commission has found.
WHS offences with long jail terms have a direct impact on decision makers and force them to turn their minds to the best available protections for workers, a union secretary says. But an industry representative has claimed that "penalties don't save lives".
A regulator has warned workplace leaders that they have a duty to "live and breathe" their anti-bullying policies, after securing its second reckless conduct conviction involving a life-threatening attack on an apprentice.