Companies and officers accused of WHS breaches could bear the onus of proving they took all reasonably practicable steps to prevent an incident occurring, while the offence of industrial manslaughter will be added to the national model WHS Act, with Labor taking power in the Federal election on the weekend.
A company and one of its directors have been fined, and handed a hefty decontamination bill, for embarking on a clean-up exercise that could have exposed hundreds of people to asbestos fibres. Meanwhile, a regulator has issued a warning to PCBUs following a "horror month" of nail gun incidents.
In a case sending an important reminder to duty holders on the ongoing presence of asbestos-containing materials in many workplaces, two companies have been fined after engineering workers were potentially exposed to asbestos fibres. Meanwhile, an employer has been charged with failing to provide a safe system for unloading imported stones slabs, after a worker was killed.
Employers are not required by workplace health and safety laws to "hold the hand" of experienced workers, but must take steps to ensure they have the skills to spot risks and select safe work methods, a court has found in upholding a worker's damages claim.