Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 15 April 2014

Last Updated: 30 April 2014

In the media

Sydney tradespeople breeze through watchdog audit More than 98 percent of construction tradespeople working on new residential buildings and home renovation projects in Western Sydney have demonstrated proper and adequate compliance with their obligations, a recent NSW has found. Breaches which were detected related to inappropriate licencing (11 November 2014). More...

Working at heights deaths: Self-regulation failing to prevent fatal building falls, unions say
Unions are calling for tougher safety regulations and enforcement to stop workers falling to their deaths at worksites, saying more people will be killed unless self-regulation is scrapped (10 April 2014). More...

ACCC authorises an accreditation scheme for civil contractors for underground electrical works
Civil contractors that are not accredited can still perform works for the electricity distribution businesses in Victoria, as long as additional quality and safety checks are performed (09 April 2014). More... More...

Union labels inquiry a witch-hunt
A Royal Commission into trade union governance, slush funds and corruption is nothing more than a witch-hunt and taxpayers will be better served if more money went to enforcing existing laws, unions say (09 April 2014). More...

Sussan Corporation Australia ordered to pay Gabrielle Keegan $235,000 in damages after being bullied by supervisor
A national women's clothing retailer has been ordered to pay more than $235,000 in damages to an employee subjected to bullying after returning from maternity leave. The Cairns Supreme Court judge 's written decision slammed the Sussan Corporation, saying it failed to comply with its own bullying and harassment policy (08 April 2014). More...

Government must lead construction paradigm shift: Industry chief
State and federal governments within Australia should use their position as major clients to lead a fundamental overhaul of 'twentieth century' procurement models for major construction projects, a respected industry figure says (09 April 2014). More...

WorkCover and NSW Farmers partner for safety
WorkCover NSW will partner with NSW Farmers this week to help raise awareness of the importance of safety on farms in the region. WorkCover has identified the sheep and beef cattle farming industries as being among the state's highest risk industries (07 April 2014). More...

Comcare: ACT government gets $80m insurance bill
The ACT government has the fourth-highest insurance premium of 120 government organisations covered by Comcare. The territory has been billed $80 million for 2013-14 - a 14 per cent year-on-year increase mostly caused by $7.6 million added by Comcare as part of a new levy (07 April 2014). More...

Victorian WorkCover Authority stops press releases on prosecuted employers
The state government's key workplace authority has quietly stopped issuing press releases whenever companies are prosecuted for safety breaches, renewing claims of a political push to make the agency less hostile to employers (06 April 2014). More...

Construction site safety blitz progressing well
WorkCover NSW has conducted 118 audits and issued 32 notices to construction companies across the State as part of its six-week work health and safety blitz of commercial sites across Sydney and hot spots in regional NSW (04 April 2014). More...

Labor supports militant unions over safety and productivity
Queensland worksites are becoming the safest and most productive in Australia with legislation that toughens penalties for electrical safety breaches and prevents union bullying passed in Parliament. The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice said the work health and safety (WHS) reforms restored balance to the system (03 April 2014). More...

New law forces unions to give 24 hours' notice before visiting worksite
Union representatives will now have to give 24 hours' notice before entering a work site, if they suspect there is a workplace health and safety issue, under legislation passed by the government (03 April 2014). More...

Police called to UTS work site as Lend Lease claims union trespass
Police and the NSW work safety authority have been called to intervene in an escalating dispute between Lend Lease and the construction union on the eve of the Royal Commission into governance and corruption in trade unions (03 April 2014). More...

WorkCover overhaul a priority for new SA Parliament The South Australian Government says its flagged overhaul of WorkCover will be the first legislative priority when Parliament resumes next month. Attorney-General John Rau is drafting legislation he says it is vital to reduce WorkCover's unfunded liability by cutting injured workers from the scheme after two years (03 April 2014). More...

Asbestos overhaul to make worksites safer
The State-wide Strategic Plan for the Safe Management of Asbestos in Queensland to focus on effective cooperation with local councils, education and enforcement. Workplace incidents will be handled by the State Government and local councils will cover complaints about private residences (03 April 2014). More...

Police consider charging trucking bosses
South Australia Police are considering laying negligent manslaughter charges against the owners of a trucking company after one of its drivers was killed in a road crash (01 April 2014). More...

All Lend Lease sites subject to safety audit by CFMEU
The CFMEU announced it is conducting safety audits on all Lend Lease sites around Australia in the wake of the Barangaroo fire where inadequate evacuation plans meant workers were not accounted for, for 2.5 hours (01 April 2014). More...

Truck company may face charges over Adelaide driver's death
Police are considering charging a northern Adelaide transport company with negligent manslaughter over the death of one of its drivers. Eleven of the company's trucks have been defected and its premises searched. Detective Acting Superintendent Greg Hutchins says police have declared the death a major crime (02 April 2014). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Communique - Safe Work Australia Members' Meeting No 19
Released on 3 April 2014, key outcomes of the meeting are outlined, including Model work health and safety (WHS) laws; Future directions of Safe Work Australia; Priority hazardous chemicals. More...

In practice and courts

Changes to Plant Item and Design Registration payments
From 1 April 2014, Comcare will only accept credit card as the method of payment for Plant Item Registration and Plant Design Registration fees (31 March 2014). More...

Comcare National Conference 2014
The 2014 Comcare National Conference returns to Melbourne from 9–11 September 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Visit the 2014 Comcare National Conference website to register your interest to attend or be involved as a sponsor/exhibitor. More information will be available soon with registrations opening in March 2014.

TGA: Medicines Safety Update, Volume 5, Number 2, April 2014
Includes profile on Methoxyflurane and occupational exposure. More...

New Standards
AS/NZS 2161.6:2014
Occupational protective gloves - Protective gloves for structural firefighting - Laboratory test methods and performance requirements.

AS/NZS 4871.1:2012/Amdt 1:2014
Electrical equipment for mines and quarries - General requirements.

NSW Fair Trading: Deck and balcony safety
Balconies, decks, balustrades and railings must be built to meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. The Building Code requires the structure and materials used to build a balcony or deck withstand the normal stresses that would be placed on it. More...

QLD: Statewide Strategic plan for the safe management of asbestos in Queensland 2014-2019
The aim of this plan is to provide a strategic and coordinated approach to the regulation and management of asbestos in Queensland to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres at workplaces, domestic premises and in the natural environment (03 April 2014). More...

NSW Reminder: Workcover Farmer Safety Rebate
The rebate is available until April 30, 2014. The $2,000 rebate is payable to businesses which spend money on initiatives to make working with tractors or livestock safer, or reduce employee exposure to sun and noise. More...


SAS Trustee Corporation v Woollard [2014] NSWCA 75
Order that the matter be remitted to the Industrial Court to be dealt with according to law. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - judicial review - jurisdictional error - court acting without power. APPEAL- Jurisdiction of Industrial Court to hear appeal - Superannuation Administration Act 1996 (NSW), s 67(5) STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - principles - purposive approach - use of regulations when interpreting primary act WORDS AND PHRASES - "injury" - "notified" - Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act 1906 (NSW), s 10B. More...

Keegan v Sussan Corporation (Aust.) Pty Ltd [2014] QSC 064
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – DUTY OF CARE – REASONABLE FORESEEABILITY OF DAMAGE – GENERALLY – where the plaintiff claims damages for personal injury and consequential loss arising as a result of the negligence, breach of contract or breach of statutory duty of the defendant, its servants or agents – where the plaintiff alleges she suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of bullying and harassment by her supervisor – whether the defendant took appropriate precautions to prevent such an injury from occurring – whether the risk of the plaintiff sustaining a recognisable psychiatric illness was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the defendant's breach of duty. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – DAMAGE – GENERAL – where the plaintiff has been unable to function in her role as mother, wife and employee as a result of the defendant's breach of duty – whether the plaintiff's award should be reduced because of her personality traits. More...

Verney v The Mac Services Group Pty Ltd [2014] QSC 057
Negligence – Master and Servant – Scope of Duty - Duty of Care – Safe System of work – Employer's duty to provide safe system - Failure to take reasonable care for employee's safety - Burden of Proof – Quantum - Assessment of Damages. More...

McDermott v Robinson Helicopter Company [2014] QSC 034
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – DANGEROUS AND INJURIOUS THINGS, ETC – BREACH OF DUTY OF CARE – where the plaintiff was seriously injured in a helicopter accident – where the first defendant was the manufacturer of the helicopter and the helicopter Maintenance Manual – where the plaintiff alleged that the accident and its consequences were caused by the first defendant's negligence in failing to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the Maintenance Manual provided an adequate inspection procedure to detect the cause of the accident – where the first defendant alleged that the Maintenance Manual provided for all appropriate and adequate inspection procedures – whether the Maintenance Manual was adequate to prevent the cause of the accident. TRADE AND COMMERCE – COMPETITION, FAIR TRADING AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION – CONSUMER PROTECTION – LIABILITY OF MANUFACTURER OR IMPORTERS FOR DEFECTIVE GOODS – where the plaintiff was seriously injured in a helicopter accident – where the first defendant was the manufacturer of the helicopter and the helicopter Maintenance Manual – where the plaintiff alleged that the instructions relating to inspections in the Maintenance Manual were inadequate – where the plaintiff alleged that those inadequacies rendered the Maintenance Manual and the helicopter defective – where the plaintiff alleged that those defects caused the plaintiff to suffer damage and loss – whether the helicopter and/or the Maintenance Manual had a "defect", for the purposes of s 75AD and s 75AE of the Trade Practices Act. More...

Larner v George Weston Foods Ltd [2014] VSCA 62
NEGLIGENCE – Psychiatric injury suffered by employee – Whether employer breached duty of care – Whether warning signs to employer that employee was at risk of psychological collapse – Employer entitled to assume employee capable of performing contract in absence of warning signs – Operation of contract not qualified by hindsight – Koehler v Cerebos (Australia) Ltd (2005) 222 CLR 44 applied. CONTRACT – Contract of employment – Alleged breach of express and implied terms – Whether statements were promissory – Oscar Chess Ltd v Williams [1956] EWCA Civ 5; [1957] 1 WLR 370 and Upper Hunter County District Council v Australian Chilling and Freezing Co Ltd [1968] HCA 8; (1968) 118 CLR 429 referred to – Whether psychiatric injury and disorder flowed naturally from any breach or should have been within the contemplation of the employer – Remoteness – Hadley v Baxendale (1854) 9 Ex 341; 156 ER 145 and Baltic Shipping Company v Dillon [1993] HCA 4; (1993) 176 CLR 344 applied. More...

Grocon & Ors v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors (No 2) [2014] VSC 134
CONTEMPT OF COURT – Breaches of restraining orders – Parties – Contempt proceedings commenced by private companies – Attorney-General joined as co-plaintiff shortly after commencement – Late application by defendant for removal of Attorney-General – Whether Attorney-General a proper or necessary party – Discretionary factors – Application for removal refused – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 r 9.06(a). CONTEMPT OF COURT – Breaches of restraining orders - Blocking access to building sites – Hindering deliveries to building sites – Whether civil contempt or criminal contempt – Industrial context –Relevant sentencing principles – Objective seriousness – Proportionality – Consistency – Totality – General and specific deterrence – Whether convictions should be recorded – Quantum of fines – Orders as to costs. More...



Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 58/00 – Requirements for Omnibuses Designed for Hire and Reward) 2006 Amendment 2
This instrument amends Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 58/00 – Requirements for Omnibuses Designed for Hire and Reward) 2006 to allow United Nations Regulation 107 from the 02 to the 05 series of amendments as further alternative standard for small omnibuses. 'Small Omnibus' having an occupant capacity of up to 15 persons, including the driver, provided that the requirements of clauses 58.23 and 58.24 of this standard are met" Registered 09 April 2014. More...


Proclamations commencing Acts

Police Amendment (Police Promotions) Act 2014 No 4 (2014-158) — published LW 4 April 2014.

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Liquor Amendment (Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct) Regulation 2014 (2014-162) — published LW 4 April 2014.

Police Amendment (Police Promotions) Regulation 2014 (2014-163) — published LW 4 April 2014.

Surveillance Devices Regulation 2014 (2014-165) — published LW 4 April 2014.


Acts as passed

No 14: Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014
Stage reached: Passed with amendment on 3/04/2014
Assent Date: 9/04/2014 Act No: 14 of 2014 Commences: by Proclamation.

Subordinate legislation as made
No 39 Liquor Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014 – 11 April 2014
Liquor Act 1992 - Amendment of s 27A (Drinking water to be available) (1) Section 27A(2) and (3)—insert — The licensee must ensure clean and potable drinking water is available to each patron of the licensed premises.


Acts received assent on 08 April 2014

No 25: Justice Legislation Amendment (Discovery, Disclosure and Other Matters) Act 2014
No 26: Mental Health Act 2014
No 27: Transport (Safety Schemes Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2014

Acts received assent on 03 April 2014

No. 21: Gambling and Liquor Legislation Amendment (Reduction of Red Tape) Act 2014
Assent: 1/04/2014 SG (No. 104) 1/4/2014 p. 1 Commencement: Not yet in operation: N/A.

Statutory rules made 8 April 2014
No 13:Victims of Crime Assistance Amendment No. 1 Rules 2014.

Bills Introduced and Second Read in the first House 03 April 2014

Gambling and Liquor Legislation Amendment (Modernisation) Bill
Sentencing Amendment (Baseline Sentences) Bill

Victorian Legislation can be viewed at

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