Health & Safety Assurance Workshop

On 2 May 2017, I am running a HSE assurance workshop in conjunction with Roy Fitzgerald from Meta-Dymensions.

The program will teach participants the key legal principles for demonstrating effective HSE assurance and how to develop a methodology for demonstrating and evidencing that HSE hazards and risks are being managed as low as reasonably practicable.

As part of the workshop, participants need to bring information about a HSE hazard in their workplace and during the workshop will apply the assurance methodology to:

·    Build an assurance process for that hazard; and

·    Create a framework to demonstrate and evidence whether (or the extent to which) the hazard is managed as low as reasonably practicable.

Participants will be required to bring information about the hazard and how it is controlled, including policies, procedures, standards and so on. Ideally photographs, diagrams and maps if applicable.

The hazard that participants review should not be too complex.  It is more important that participants work through a hazard to ensure they understand and can apply the methodology.  Once they have the understanding, they will be able to apply it to more complex hazards.

Spaces in the workshop are limited, and we do not anticipate more than 20 participants for this program.  However, to participate, you must send at least two or three participants so they can discuss and work together on reviewing the hazard and developing the assurance processes.  You can only send a maximum of three participants.

You can find more information about the workshop, including venues and prices HERE, but please give contact me a call if you have any questions would like to discuss the workshop.


Risky Conversations, The Law, Social Psychology and Risk

New book by Dr Rob Long, Greg Smith and Craig Ashhurst

It is with pleasure I can announce the publication of my new book, Risky Conversations, The Law, Social Psychology and Risk which has been produced in conjunction with Dr Robert Long and Craig Ashurst.

The book is also the 5th in Dr Long’s series on the Social Psychology of Risk.

Risky Conversations

The book is the result of three days of conversations between myself, Dr Long and Craig in February 2016 when we gathered together with Rick Long of InVision Pictures and recorded conversations on twenty three topics in risk and safety. The recorded conversations were transcribed by Max and Sylvia Geyer and then we wrote commentary into the margins of the book (see an example below).

The book is 160 pages and included in the $49.95 price is access to all the videos. In addition a talking book of all the conversations can be purchased for $10.

The book can be purchased here:

A sample of the Introduction and Chapter 1 can be downloaded here: Risky Conversations Chapter 1

You can see a sample of one of the videos here:

Perth Book Launch: A full launch will be held in Perth on 11 August where all three authors will be present in conjunction with a training day on the Social Psychology of Risk. Details to be announced soon in conjunction with a training day in the Social Psychology of Risk in Perth (to be held in conjunction with IFAP).

Melbourne Book Launch: Kevin Jones (safetyatworkblog) will be launching the book in Melbourne on 27 July (lunch time on day two of the SEEK program). Places for the launch are strictly limited to 30 and can be secured by email Download the SEEK flyer here: All people participating in the SEEK program receive a complimentary copy of the new book.

Changes to Western Australia’s Dangerous Goods regieme

From 5 February significant changes to Western Australia’s Dangerous Goods regulation came into effect.

One interesting and important change is that most duty holders will be able to conduct a compliance check against the applicable Codes of Practice instead of conducting a separate risk assessment for storing and handling dangerous goods.

For example, a new provision in relation to Dangerous Goods Sites states:

in making a risk assessment of the dangerous goods stored or handled at a site the operator of the site may make a judgment in relation to the assessment of the risk posed by a hazard and the risk control measures for the hazard by reference to compliance with a code of practice approved under section 20 of the Act [my emphasis added]

Information about the changes can be found here and details about the changes are set out in the Western Australian Government Gazette here.

There are more than 50 amendments that will need to be considered by organisations whose business involves the use and management of dangerous goods.


Dangerous Goods amendments in Western Australia

Amendments to the Western Australian Dangerous Goods Safety (Road and Rail Transport of Non-explosives) Regulations 2007 will take effect from 1 January 2016.

The amendments clarify the duties of parties in the transport chain, such as consignors, loaders and prime contractors and rail operators. For example, a new regulation 114(5) provides:

(5) A prime contractor or rail operator must not transport a load of dangerous goods (other than a placard load) in or on a cargo transport unit if —  

(a) the load is placarded; and  

(b) the person knows, or ought reasonably to know, that the placarding is false or misleading in a material particular.  

Penalty for this subregulation: a fine of $10 000. 

You can access a copy of the amending legislation HERE.

The amending regulations also refer specifically to the  Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, and include the following definition:

ADG Code means the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (also called the Australian Dangerous Goods Code) published by the National Transport Commission, Edition 7.4 (ISBN 978-1-921604-69-0), as in effect on 1 January 2016, including (for the avoidance of doubt) its appendices;

Importantly,  a new ADG Code was published on 18 December 2015.

You can access the ADG Code and further information about it HERE.

New guidance material for lifting and related operations


Effective from 7 December 2015, Safe Work Australia has published 10 guides and information sheets on managing the risks associated with inspecting, maintaining and operating cranes, and plant that can be used as a crane and quick hitches for earthmoving machinery. This move is part of an agreement by SWA members in 2014 to replace the draft model WHS Code of Practice for cranes with guidance material.

You can access the SWA “cranes guidance material” page HERE.

This approach does create some interesting jurisdictional issues. For example, New South Wales which operates under the WHS legislation has an approved code of practice for managing the risks of falls at a workplace – which means it has a specific legislative standing, different from guidance material. This code of practice includes a section on “work boxes“, but it has different information from the material set out in the SWA guide on “crane lifted work boxes“.

For example, the SWA guide states that work boxes should:

  • have sides not less than 1 metre high;
  • have fall-arrest anchorage points;
  • be correctly tagged;
  • have lifting slings supplied to be attached to the lifting points by hammerlocks or moused shackles;
  • have a safety factor for each suspension sling of at least eight for chains and 10 for wire rope; and
  • where provided, a door is to be inward opening only and self-closing with a latch to prevent unintentional opening.

However, none of these points are mentioned in the approved code of practice.

A common failing of safety management systems is the level of internal inconsistency that develops as layers of safety management processor built up over time. It seems that the regulator is not immune from this problem.


Call for contributors: Management experiences of safety failure

Hello everyone.

First, apologies for a long absence from the “blogosphere“. Business and life have been particularly hectic, but I hope to get back to something vaguely representing a “sane” routine.

I am planning to post four more videos to round out my video series on contractor safety management, and then will start a new series looking at cases dealing with the somewhat vexed issue of “Reasonably Practicable“, so please keep an eye out for that.

However, this post is a call for people to contribute to a new project/book looking at the experiences of managers following a catastrophic workplace event – most typically a fatality or multiple fatality event.

If you want to understand more about the rationale behind this project, please read the rest of the blog, but in short, I want to collect and share the experiences of managers when they get that dreaded call that someone has died at work. What did it mean for you personally? What was your experience?

I would like to explore the whole range of impacts; emotional, financial, the impact on your career, lour experience of the legal process and anything else that people are willing to share.

There are any number of excellent, tragic but excellent, stories from wives, husbands, parents, workmates, friends and others who tell of the devastation caused by workplace fatalities. But there is another story – the story of the managers who have to respond to the devistation. They are often the ones blamed by the families and  accused by the media. At the same time they have to deal with the regulators, lawyers and the glacial journey through the bureaucracy of health and safety enforcement and the legal process.

This is not to suggest that the impact on “mangers” is greater or lesser than the impact on others caught in the tragedy of workplace death, but it is real.

As importantly, understanding the impact of workplace tragedies on managers may drive us to question what we do to manage health and safety risks; a small change that could make an immeasurable difference.

If you have a story to tell that might help others avoid the experience that you have had to endure  and would be willing to share it, please let me know ( I am happy to to tell your story in a way that will protect you anonymity, but the lessons of your journey will be invaluable.

New requirements for Road Transport safety

On 17 December 2013 the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal handed down its first Order, which will have health and safety implications for businesses involved in, or engage truck drivers.

Orders of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal have the same practical effect as legislation, and there is the potential for substantial penalties if the requirements are not complied with.

In broad terms, the Order applies to Road Transport Drivers, and imposes requirements on employers, “hirers” and “participants in the supply chain“. If you employ truck drivers, or engage/contract them to deliver things to your business or move your product, then you should consider the application of the Order.

An important health and safety requirement is the need to develop a “safe driving plan” in relation to “long distance” operations (basically where the distance travelled exceeds 500 kilometres).  The plans also require that a “participant in the supply chain” witness the commencement and conclusion time of each pick up by signing the safe driving plan. Relevantly, a “participant” is:

a consignor or consignee, intermediary or operator of premises for loading and unloading.

The Order also specifies training requirements as well as the requirements for documented drug and alcohol policies covering road transport drivers. These requirements apply to both employers and hirers.

The orders take effect from 1 May 2014.

You can access a PDF version of the Order here. You can also review a copy of the Order in Lawstream:

Username: Remuneration

Password: password

(Username and password are case sensitive)

For more information about using Lawstream to track and manage your legal and other compliance obligations just email me,

Changes to Western Australia’s Dangerous Goods regulation

From 1 January 2014 a number of changes to how “dangerous goods” are regulated in Western Australia take effect, including repealing the Dangerous Good Safety (Goods in Ports) Regulations 2007 .

You can review the changes in our legal compliance database by accessing the link below:

Username:  DGtest

Password: password

(Username and password are both case-sensitive)

This is a read only access, and will only be available for 2 weeks.

You can review the amendments in the update tabs when you navigate to the individual sections of the legislation. For example, if you go to regulation 239 of the Dangerous Goods Safety (Road and Rail Transport of Non-Explosives) Regulations 2007 and click on the update tab, you will see a redlined explanation of the amendment. Unless otherwise noted, information under the legislation tab is current legislation.

Also note, that new parts of the legislation (to take effect from 1 January) are set out in the “tree view” on the right hand side of the page. Relevant parts are followed by the notation “(this section takes effect from 1 January 2013)”.

If you have any problems reviewing the information or would like an online demonstration of the database, contact me by email at

Please Note: Lawstream subscribers receive an email alert advising them of all changes to legislation they are subscribed to, as well as advice about whether the amendments are substantive or administrative.

Contractor safety management series Part 3: Nicholson v Pymble No 1

Nicholson v Pymble No 1 (Inspector Nicholson v Pymble No 1 Pty Ltd & Molinara (no 2) [2010] NSWIRComm 151) is not strictly speaking a contractor safety management case. However, it does involve a contracting relationship, but more importantly, it builds on the issues of “control” that we looked at in the last presentations.

Pymble had engaged a contractor to carry out construction work at the premises, and there were a number of allegations that the construction site was unsafe. Mr Molinara was a director of Pymble and lived in South Australia.

Pymble and Molinara were effectively charged on the basis that they were both (relevantly) “persons” with control of a premises being used by people as a place of work, and they failed to ensure that the premises were safe and without risk to health.

The case turned on whether Pymble and/or Molinara had relevant control.

You can see a short video presentation about the case here.