Work Health & Safety

 
We are a recommended Workplace Health & Safety Law Firm in Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession, 2023.

Our Work Health and Safety team is highly skilled in advising on and dealing with workplace health and safety (WHS) matters. We understand that safety-related matters almost always require immediate attention and can be fast-moving. We are adept at dealing with quick turnaround matters efficiently and effectively, using our experience and informed judgment to get straight to the heart of a matter.

Our team takes a multidisciplinary approach to WHS, enabling us to provide a one-stop service to clients. We work with businesses to identify front-end health and safety issues to minimise risks and develop policies and procedures and third party contractual obligations. We also advise company directors and officers on their obligations to minimise exposure to liability.

In the event of a safety incident occurring, we understand it is critical to provide timely and well-coordinated support. We are experienced at representing clients on the ground when dealing with safety regulators, including incident notification, investigations, document production and prosecutions.

Overview of our work

The WHS team undertakes all WHS work for all industries across Australia including:

  • Acting in relation to work health and safety accidents and subsequent prosecutions including in relation to fatal accidents.
  • Advising on mining, petroleum, rail, marine and heavy vehicle WHS duties.
  • Advising on work health and safety incident and regulatory matters and compliance obligations.
  • Advising on and developing safety management systems, procedures, policies, risk management processes and training programs.
  • Drafting work health and safety materials, including guides, plans and contractual provisions.
  • Advising on workplace exposure standards, health monitoring and compliance.
  • Undertaking safety audits, risk assessments and reviews.
  • Preparing and delivering in-person and streamed training and guidance presentations on WHS duties and requirements to businesses and officers.
  • Advising on the exercise of regulator powers under WHS laws including in relation to responding to notices to produce information and documents and attend compelled interviews.
  • Advising and preparing materials in relation to improvement and prohibition notices issued under WHS laws.
  • Advising on hazardous chemical requirements under WHS laws, including in relation to lead, silica and asbestos exposure and health monitoring obligations.

Experience

Investigations, inquiries, and prosecutions

  • Acting for a major titanium ore miner in relation to fatalities at an NSW mine site.
  • Acting for a global energy company in relation to investigation and WHS prosecution involving serious injury sustained at ship loading facility.
  • Acting and advising a small goods business in relation to defence of WHS prosecution involving gross negligence and recklessness charge.
  • Acting for an international agricultural business in relation to an incident involving serious leg injuries to an employee who was hospitalised as a result of the incident.
  • Advising a global geo-data specialist company in relation to investigation by WorkSafe WA into serious incident on offshore platform.
  • Acting for international resources companies in relation to offshore incident investigations and a Commission of Inquiry.

Training and presentations

  • Presenting to boards, executive management teams and workplace groups on WHS obligations and potential officer liability, including industrial manslaughter.
  • Delivering training to senior leadership personnel of resource companies on psychosocial risks and officer due diligence.

Duties and compliance

  • Advising a major titanium ore miner on compliance issues under WHS mining laws impacting its operations in Western Australia and New South Wales including in relation to psychosocial hazards and risks, incident notification, officer due diligence and mine operator duties.
  • Assisting an international industrial garnet supplier in relation to psychosocial hazards and risks including advising on risk management processes, incident notification requirements, assessment and implementation of control measures.
  • Advising mining operators on the introduction of WHS mining laws including mine safety management plan, statutory positions and incident reporting, and rail and port WHS regulation.
  • Advising and acting for an international energy company in relation to psychosocial risks and defence of WHS prosecution.
  • Advising on construction work and projects and duties on principal contractors and in relation to radiation exposure requirements under WHS laws.

Documentation, policies and procedures

  • Establishing safety governance procedures for a national retailer to assist them with their WHS obligations.
  • Drafting WHS contractual obligations for a large truck distributor to be included in service agreements to ensure their service providers comply with all applicable health and safety laws and ensuring health and safety risks are minimised.
  • Developing template WHS board reports and a WHS compliance framework for clients from a range of industries.
  • Preparing psychosocial risks policies, risk assessments and registers and procedures.

Audits, reviews and WHS systems                                 

  • Reviewing WHS risk management and contractor management policies for a large home building group.
  • Conducting WHS risk management analysis for a major hospital and health care precinct.
  • Designing a WHS system for an international recruitment firm to assist them meet their obligation to ensure contractors placed in health and safe work environments.

Key contacts

Aaron has extensive employment and industrial relations law experience working with clients across a range of industries.

Nicholas (Nick) is an experienced lawyer with specialist skills in workplace health and safety law.

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