SafetyAtWorkBlog has dipped into the occupational health and safety (OHS) and political issues around the death of Jorge Castillo-Riffo in Adelaide in 2014. On October 4 2018, the CFMEU issued a media release outlining the recommendations it made to the Coronial inquest into Castillo-Riffo’s death. They deserve serious consideration:
- Mandatory coronial inquests should be held into all deaths at work, with a mandatory requirement for the reporting of any action taken, or proposed to be taken, in consequence of any findings and recommendations made;
- Families should receive funding to be represented;
- An independent safety commissioner should be established in SA whose duty it is to review, comment and provide recommendations concerning the safety record of companies who tender for government construction contracts work over $5 million;
South Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator, SafeWorkSA, is being investigated by that State’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC). SafeWorkSA has been subjected to several inquiries over recent years but the current ICAC one is perhaps the most significant, and one that is generating a lot of local discussion, and that should be watched by all OHS professionals, Regulators around Australia.
It is important to note the specifics of the Inquiry or “Evaluation”.
With little surprise, at the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Conference in Victoria on 26 May 2018, Premier Daniel Andrews has included the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a formal part of the campaign for re-election in November 2018.
According to his media release, if re-elected,
“.., employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and face up to 20 years in jail.
A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians are safe in our workplaces, with the offence to also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent member of the public..”
There are a lot of steps between an incident and Industrial Manslaughter charges.
Victoria is the latest Australian State to introduce laws into Parliament that establish a licencing scheme for labour hire operators. The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was read into Parliament on 14 December 2017 (Hansard, pages 55-61)
The Bill is compatible with the laws passed recently in Queensland and South Australia which apply a universal licencing scheme rather than a sectoral one as preferred by some organisations. This should make the scheme easier to administer as it removes demarcation disputes and, as pointed out by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, removes loopholes of opportunity for avoiding obligations – a critical consideration in a sector that has shown such disregard for legal obligations. Continue reading “Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire”
Innovation in occupational health and safety (OHS) is often encouraged by government but government processes and policy can also discourage and limit this. An obvious example is where government insists on compliance with OHS laws in its tendering criteria but acknowledges that the tender safety criteria remains outdated and, privately, that OHS compliance is not enough to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
An important OHS document in the Victorian bureaucracy and construction sector is a