New South Wales Compensation Updates
New South Wales Workers Compensation Update – The State Government introduced new penalty notice offences for WHS breaches relating to the risk of falls, fall-related emergency procedures and authorisation of work. The move was prompted by a statutory review of the WHS Act, Regulation and Codes of Practice, which identified high height-related recidivism rates in the construction industry, and made 11 recommendations.
The Government made the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 to replace the sunsetting 2011 Regulation on 1 September. It also amended heavy vehicle regulations on fatigue, vehicle standards and penalties, and made the Pesticides Regulation 2017, which included a new nationally harmonised licence category.
The Government promised to introduce “strong” legislation prohibiting the sale and use of unsafe building products and making all parties in the supply chain responsible for breaches. Meanwhile, a new “maintenance of competency” scheme for miners performing safety-critical statutory functions commenced.
The State Opposition introduced a Bill to fully restore workers’ comp journey claims and remove five-year payment caps, with more than 4000 injured workers due to be “kicked out” of the scheme. Meanwhile, the national Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency claimed that asbestos-exposure incidents at the Sydney Opera House showed Australia needed to shift its focus from managing to removing asbestos from the built environment.
A parliamentary inquiry into the Dust Diseases Scheme called for the urgent formation of a taskforce to tackle the re-emergence of silicosis, after hearing that dust suppression was “non-existent or inadequate” in the manufactured stone industry. A BMJ report on the issue found that artificial stone had a very high silica content and dust masks provided little protection to workers.
An inquiry made 47 recommendations for improving the health and safety of emergency services workers, but rejected calls to extend mandatory minimum penalties for assaults on workers, while the State Government called for the introduction of a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes.
A PCBU was fined $375,000 after a forklift with a faulty handbrake rolled and fatally crushed a worker between a bin and a wall. Another employer was fined $120,000 after an unlicensed apprentice was injured carrying out high-risk rigging work, and a third employer was fined after a worker fell three metres while performing a task that was previously outsourced to an expert.
An employer entered a record-high $1.5 million WHS enforceable undertaking after a worker was injured on a mechanical guillotine, while another employer spent more than $1.3 million on safety rectifications and entered a $455,000 undertaking in response to a construction fire that shut down a Sydney precinct.
An employer entered a $452,000 WHS undertaking, in lieu of prosecution, after a delivery driver was struck by a forklift at its premises, while another company entered a $300,000 undertaking after a worker was struck by a reversing forklift.
A webinar delivered under the terms of a WHS undertaking warned employers to determine their risk profile when developing drug and alcohol policies, or risk hindering policy roll-out. Meanwhile, a targeted assessment program found that mining companies were breaching their own fatigue management plans by allowing supervisors to work excessive hours.
A worker was awarded compensation after his supervisor held a pellet gun to his chest and repeatedly bullied him for being “too old”, while the WCC rejected an employer’s claim that gossip about a worker accused of theft formed part of the disciplinary process against him, disentitling him to compensation for a mental injury.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident and need expert workers compensation advice, talk to Steve Walker from Walker Law Group. Steve is an Accredited Personal Injury Law Specialist and an expert in the field of workplace injuries and Workers Compensation Law in New South Wales.
Steve Walker is on the list of approved WIRO Lawyers in NSW call Steve today on 1300 363 013.