This article examines all the must-know workplace safety, workers' compensation and COVID-19 developments from July, August and September 2020, with highlights including a new WHS Code for the pandemic, the Dreamworld judgment, a record double-fatality fine and gross negligence cases.
A study of frontline COVID-19 workers has found psychological training and guidance can turn distressing experiences into positive personal growth, reducing the adverse effects of traumatic work events.
A contract worker who sustained spinal injuries, which led to his death, in a fall from a scissor lift, should have been more closely supervised, given his and his colleague's limited experience at the incident site and their "insufficiently defined" work method, an investigation has found.
A WHS regulator has identified the absence of adequate controls for preventing three-metre-plus falls as a major area of non-compliance in the high-risk construction sector. It has also, coincidentally, accepted a PCBU's bid to enter an enforceable undertaking after a worker fell four metres.
Work issues can increase the risk of pregnant workers going on to experience postpartum depression, and employers are being urged to train up "family-supportive supervisors" to support work-life balance and returning to work after maternity leave.
The Federal Government has been accused of "inaction" affecting work safety standards, with Safe Work Australia's latest statistics report showing the national work-related fatality toll increased for the first time in more than a decade.
In a timely study for Australian workplaces, with summer approaching, US researchers have found providing electrolyte beverages to those working in hot and humid conditions can prevent muscle damage and associated complications.
Comcare has reported receiving a string of injury claims associated with the rapid transition to home-based work for COVID-19, while a wellness service has warned that many workplace leaders are at risk of burnout, including from home-work arrangements and other pandemic stressors.