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Issue No. 142 28 June 2002  

Safety First
This week's Safety Summit, called by the Carr Government, is a timely opportunity for the union movement to put occupational health and safety into a contemporary perspective.


Interview: Safe as Houses
Labor Council secretary John Robertson outlines the union movement's priorities in the lead-up to this week's Safety Summit.

Safety: Ten Steps to Safety
On the eve of the NSW Safety Summit, Workers Online went looking for the ten biggest workplace health issues and what needs to be done to address them.

History: Staying Alive
Neale Towart winds the clock back to discover that contemporary arguments that regulators should stay out of workplace safety and let the market do its business are nothing new.

Unions: Choose Life
While Commissioner Cole struggles with the concept of unions trying to improve workers� wages, out in the real world, bosses daily thumb their noses at safety authorities, as Jim Marr discovers.

International: Seoul Destroyers
The rise and rise of the Korean national football team in the World Cup competition was more than matched by the rise and rise of the number of imprisoned Korean trade unionists.

Corporate: Crash Landing
Did Ansett workers� productivity really crash Ansett? Jim McDonald weighs up the evidence.

Activists: The Refusenik
At 20, Rotem Mor has spent more time analysing how he will live his life than most people twice his age. A month in prison and another 18 serving in the Israeli army saw to that.

Review: Dumb Nation
Michael Moore's new book, 'Stupid White Men' exposes the rorts behind the Bush presidency with bitter humour, writes Mark Hebblewhite.

Poetry: Helping Out The Rich
From proposals to 'deregulate' (ie raise) university fees, to attempts to restrict workers' right to strike in the name of 'genuine' bargaining the Government's rhetoric about helping out the battlers is wearing just a bit thin.


 Redundancy Bonus for Members Only

 Tax Office Backs CFMEU Case

 Lib MP Named in Cole Commission

 Sentencing Guidelines for Safety Breaches

 Revealed: Costello�s Hit List

 Virtual Cold War Over

 Safety Lock-Out Enters Second Week

 Unions Seek Talks With New Airport Owners

 Journos Attacked by NRMA

 Strip Bosses Face Dressing Down

 Beattie Called Into Bargaining Impasse

 Nurses Deliver Largest Ever Petition

 US Braces for its Own Waterfront War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Back to the Future
McKenzie Wark argues that the future of the book relies on the future of a sphere of public debate.

Chain Reaction
The Big Australian discovers a uranium mine it never knew it had, a corporate fraud sparks a worldwide market plunge and the price of investing ethically.

The Locker Room
Three Colours Blue
After a World Cup that saw post-colonial cultural theorists chanting 'we beat the scum one-nil' on the Terraces of Inchon, it was the natural order of things that prevailed, writes Phil Doyle

Poll Positioning
Unions Tasmania secretary Lynne Fitzgerald gives an overview of the State Election called earlier this week.

Week in Review
The Weight of Office
Apart from the Teflon John, power walking at his own pace, would-be leaders everywhere turned in shockers as Jim Marr discovered.

 Link Wages to CEO Pay
 Voodoo Unionism
 Good News from the Pilbara
 Go Mark, Go
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Sentencing Guidelines for Safety Breaches

The Carr Government should develop sentencing guidelines for workplace safety prosecutions based on those in place for some crimes, the NSW Labor Council will tell this week's Safety Summit.

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson will also call on WorkCover inspectors to conduct random safety inspections of workplaces.

Robertson says while courts must be allowed to maintain their discretion to issue penalties, guidelines setting upper and lower limits could be imposed by the Parliament.

"While we have strong laws with tough penalties in place under health and safety law, there is a perception that court's are reluctant to hand out the maximum penalties," Robertson says.

"The tragic death of Dean McGoldrick was a case in point," Robertson says. "While the employer was found to be negligent, the court awarded a penalty of just $20,000 - where the maximum was half a million dollars."

And he says WorkCover needs to step up random inspections of workplaces through a dedicated team of officers.

"It's a bit like the philosophies that underlie random breath testing," he says. "It's to encourage people not to drink and drive, because you just don't know where the random breath testing will be."

The summit, called by NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca is also expected to debate the merits of industrial manslaughter legislation.

Several unions are planning to rally on the issue as employers, unions and policy makers meet for the three-day event.

Australian Workers More Likely To Be Injured

Meanwhile, a British safety expert says Australian workers are three times more likely to sustain a workplace injury than British counterparts.

UK health and safety authority Rory O'Neill told over one thousand health and safety representatives attending a Victorian Trades Hall Council conference last week that the reality of the modern workplace presents a myriad of new hazards.

O'Neill accused the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) of hypocrisy over their support for drug testing of workers and rejection of industrial manslaughter legislation.

"What are they scared of? We don't want to imprison all corporate managers, just those whose negligence kills workers," O'Neill says.

He says the Blair Government had finally used existing health and safety legislation in the UK to prosecute employers for manslaughter in industrial accidents. Prosecutions in the UK had recently led to the imprisonment of two employers on industrial manslaughter convictions.

O'Neill says a global body of evidence exists to confirm that unionised workplaces are the safest environments to work in.

Visit the new Victorian OHS Rep site -


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