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SafeWork NSW warns industry following concerning trend

The Queensland Government has appointed three additional mine inspectors and another chief inspector as the resources industry responds to recent mine-related tragedies.

SafeWork NSW has warned businesses they will face fines and potential prosecution is they fail to report incidents.

The warning comes after the regulator issued 140 compliance notices and more than $55,000 fines for breaches this year.

If there is a serious injury or illness, a death or a dangerous incident, there is a legal obligation to report it to SafeWork immediately as an urgent investigation may be needed.

SafeWork has already issued 37 more improvement notices for non-notification than in 2022, and 52 more than 2021.

The person conducting a business or undertaking must also take care not to disturb the incident scene until a SafeWork inspector arrives at the site, or until direction is given by an inspector. Non-disturbance of the scene does not prevent any action to provide assistance to an injured person or make the site safe.

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Incidents can be notified 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 13 10 50. Penalties of up to $50,000 for a body corporate and $10,000 for an individual apply for not notifying incidents.

Any worker who feels their workplace is unsafe can also anonymously report their concerns, including photographs, directly to SafeWork NSW via the “Speak Up Save Lives” app.

Head of SafeWork NSW Trent Curtin said the obligations on people conducting a business or undertaking are clear.

“If there is a serious injury or illness, a death or a dangerous incident you must report it to SafeWork NSW immediately,” he said.

“For SafeWork inspectors tasked to assess or investigate an incident where the scene has been disturbed due to a lack of notification represents an unjust treatment of the injured party and an unacceptable breach of legislation.

“If you have seen an incident or unsafe work and if you are worried about raising it at work, SafeWork’s Speak Up Save Lives app lets you report an unsafe work situation, while giving you the choice to remain anonymous.”

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