Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 22 July 2014

Last Updated: 31 July 2014
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger, Alistair Salmon and Paul Hardman

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Tradies Toolkit for Health and Safety
Tradies National Health Month this August will boost and transform the health and safety of Australian tradies. Safe Work Australia recently reported $8.7 billion in compensation costs for trips, slips and falls relating to 26,705 claims, and with research showing that 80 per cent of injured workers in Australia are tradesmen and labourers, this initiative is a must (17 July 2014). More...

TAFE fined $300,000 over horse-riding death at Dubbo campus
A Judge has convicted and fined TAFE NSW $300,000 over the death of a student in a horse-riding incident, but agreed with her family it remains ''terribly unfair'' the person ultimately culpable for the safety failings has yet to be named (16 July 2014). More...

Farm injuries at a new low, but safety remains a priority
Farm injury claims fell by more than 14 per cent in the past 12 months and are now at a 10-year. Farmers and their employees made 401 claims in 2013, a fall of more than 14 per cent on the 467 claims made in 2012. But farming remains one of the most high-risk industries in the state (16 July 2014). More...

Lowest number of work-related deaths in 11 years
Australian workplaces have recorded the lowest number of fatalities in 11 years according to data released by Safe Work Australia today in the report Work-related Traumatic Fatalities, Australia 2014. The annual report found that 191 workers died from injuries received at work in 2013, however, the fatality rate for self-employed workers was three times higher than the fatality rate for employees (15 July 2014). More...

The OHS implications of workplace injuries among plasterers
Workplace injury is an unfortunate aspect of the construction industry with this segment accounting for some of the highest rates of incidents. Within this segment, plasterers face the highest number of injuries among all tradespeople onsite, according to WorkSafe Victoria (15 July 2014). More...

WorkCover NSW told to hurry apology over internal bullying
Members of a parliamentary committee that found widespread evidence of a culture of bullying, denial and cover-up in WorkCover NSW have increased public pressure on the state's work, health and safety regulator to show that it is actually cleaning up its act (15 July 2014). More...

Damning report on Tasmanian mine safety finds inspectors over-stretched, poorly paid
There are critical gaps in Tasmania's mine safety regulations, an independent auditor has found. Professor Michael Quinlan's audit of the state's mine safety system found there were serious deficiencies and he has recommended an urgent review (15 July 2014). More...

WorkCover in push to restrict union officials' safety probes
WorkCover inspectors are being told to restrict union officials from investigating safety complaints amid claims of escalating political interference in the regulator (10 July 2014). More...

Dangerous goods licences due for five-year renewal
A warning has been sent out to shot firers and mining truck drivers that their dangerous goods security cards are about to expire. The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has said that there could be significant consequences for mining workers who miss the July 15 cut-off date for licence renewals (10 July 2014). More...

Companies charged over accident
Two companies have been charged for failing to ensure the safety of a worker who lost both his legs in a Pilbara worksite accident. The Department of Mines and Petroleum charged Inline Engineering Services and The Pilbara Infrastructure for failing to ensure the safety of Mr Coutts was not adversely affected by the work being undertaken (11 July 2014). More...

Fair Work rules dismissal of employee with known mental health issues unfair
In a case that highlights the importance of workplace policies to support employees' mental health, Fair Work found John Holland was aware the employee was suffering from serious mental health issues and should have taken more care when addressing his situation (10 July 2014). More...

Bureaucrats who hurt themselves on a coffee run no longer covered by Comcare
Public servants injured on coffee breaks away from the office will not be compensated under tough new changes to Comcare that are expected to increase costs for federal departments. The changes would take away the safety net for rule breakers by excluding bureaucrats hurt during ''serious and wilful misconduct'' or by ''voluntarily and unreasonably'' taking risks from receiving payouts (09 July 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Work Ability in Australia – Pilot Study
Author: SafeWork Australia: report by The University of Sydney
Presents the findings of a pilot study assessing work ability, or workers' capacity to meet the demands of their jobs. The report found this was an important component of sustained employability. If work is designed and managed to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks work ability will be improved. Improving work ability can extend working lives (09 July 2014). More..

Work-related Traumatic Fatalities, Australia 2013
Author: Safe Work Australia
?The report found the lowest work-related deaths in eleven years. The fatality rate for self-employed workers (4.39 deaths per 100,000 self-employed workers) was three times higher than the fatality rate for employees (1.31) (15 July 2014). More...

Australia work-related fatalities 2014
Author: Safe Work Australia
The fatalities: 37 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 24 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; eleven in Mining; eight in Construction; five in Accommodation & food services; three each in Manufacturing; Electricity, Gas & Water Services; and Arts & recreation services and one each in Health care/social assistance; Retail; and Rental, hiring & real estate services? (14 July 2014). More...

Occupational Disease Indicators 2014
Author: Safe Work Australia
The indicators in this report primarily rely on workers' compensation claims data from the NDS. These data are augmented, where possible, with data from other sources (08 July 2014). More...

First progress report: Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022
18 July 2014
This is the first annual progress report covering the period 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2013 providing a snapshot of the diverse activities undertaken by Safe Work Australia Members and the Agency to implement the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022. More...

Review of hazards and health effects of inorganic lead – implications for WHS regulatory policy report
The report concludes that if no action is taken, the BLRLs and WES for lead: are not consistent with recommendations of many committees of scientific and medical experts, do not reflect the current toxicological and epidemiological knowledge of the risks of lead, do not promote good practice in health and safety measures into the Australian workplace. More...
An information sheet related to the Review of hazards and health effects of inorganic lead – implications for WHS regulatory policy report was published on 17 July by Safe Work Australia. More...

In practice and courts

Improving the model work health and safety laws: COAG
Jurisdictions have been asked to investigate ways in which the model work health and safety (WHS) laws could be improved with a particular focus on reducing red tape. As part of this review, Safe Work Australia has released an Issues Paper and Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) to consult with the community on improving the model WHS laws. Submissions close on 28 July 2014. More...

National work health and safety guidance material released
Safe Work Australia has released nine packages of national guidance material to support the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and WHS Regulations. The national guidance material was agreed by majority by Safe Work Australia Members in June 2014 (09 July 2014). More...

SafeWork Australia: Workplace traffic management guidance material
This Guide is supported by specific traffic management guides for: shopping centres, construction workplaces , warehouses, and events. A Traffic Hazards Checklist and Traffic Control Measures Checklist are also provided to assist duty holders manage traffic risks (July 2014). More...

Comcare: Rehabilitation Management Systems audits FAQs
Do you want to know more about rehabilitation audits? How often should you conduct a rehabilitation audit? What is a certificate of compliance? Rehabilitation Management Systems audits FAQs (11 July 2014).

Comcare: Safety Essentials: Winter 2014
The quarterly e-newsletter – Safety Essentials – is designed to give you a snapshot of industry-related news, legislative changes, publication or project updates, and upcoming events (15 July 2014). More...

New safety standards
DR AS 4428.16:2014
Fire detection and alarm systems - Emergency warning control and indicating equipment

DR AS/NZS 4024.1100:2014
Safety of Machinery - Application Guide

Safety material released

VWA Safety Alert: Danger of freestanding masonry walls The Alert provides advice on control measures for incidents involving masonry walls collapsing on construction sites. Often these walls have lacked the lateral support provided by permanent wall returns or other sections of the final structure such as wall or floor frames, or roof structures; which had yet to be installed."

VWA Guidance and advice: on Managing lead-based paint removal outlining legal duties and implementing the hierarchy of control to minimise exposure of workers.

Work Safe Western Australia: an OSH checklist for the catering industry.

NSW: Is there a mentor in the house?
WorkCover NSW is inviting medium and large construction companies across the State to join its 2014 House Construction Industry Mentor Program. Mentees are also eligible to apply for a $500 rebate after making a safety improvement in their workplace (terms and conditions apply) (11 July 2014). More...

QLD WorkCover: It's time to renew your policy
Your accident insurance policy - which covers your business for the cost of any work related injuries - is renewed every year. To ensure you are covered for another year, you need to declare your wages information by 31 August so WorkCover can calculate your premium (08 July 2014). More...

QLD Workcover: Latest edition of WorkCover Update now available
WorkCover's update is now available, with articles on renewing your premium, making things easier for small businesses, and the allied health table of costs review. There are also links to webinar recordings on disclosure of pre-existing conditions and workplace bullying, as well as upcoming events and other helpful resources. More...


Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82
HUMAN RIGHTS – discrimination – causation – whether sufficient causal nexus between sexual harassment and the effects of workplace investigation – whether sufficient causal nexus between sexual harassment and alleged psychological injury suffered as a result of complaint to AHRC and subsequent litigation – whether "false denials" of sexual harasser provided causal link between unlawful conduct and harm suffered rebutting denials in various fora – causation not made out. HUMAN RIGHTS – discrimination – causation – whether appellant left employment 'voluntarily' – whether appellant demoted by employer - whether sufficient causal nexus between sexual harassment and decision by appellant to leave workplace – whether analysis of causation in Medlin v State Government Insurance Commission [1995] HCA 5; (1995) 182 CLR 1 applied to decision by appellant to leave employment – Medlin applied – causation made out. DAMAGES – assessment of general damages – whether trial judge assessed statutory damages under s 46PO(4)(d) of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) by applying tortious principles – whether damages pursuant to AHRC Act can be awarded to partially compensate for loss - proper approach to assessment of damages under s 46PO(4)(d) discussed. More...

McAllan v Classic Home Improvements (Australia) Pty Ltd [2014] NSWDC 94
Judgment for the plaintiff. TORT - 21-year-old apprentice suffers severe head injury in fall at work - assessment of past and future economic loss for a plaintiff at the threshold of his working career - defendant fails to serve vocational assessment report with pre-filing defence - consideration of s 318 Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW) - no evidence led as to whether vocational assessment evidence "not reasonably available" - defendant's vocational assessment report excluded. More...

Oliver v Pool Safety Council [2014] QCAT 276
Where disciplinary decision made against pool safety inspector – whether grounds for disciplinary action – where a pool safety inspector adopted an innovative solution – where internal corralling was approved – whether an incorrect interpretation of regulatory provisions is grounds for disciplinary action –whether pool safety inspector acted below a proper standard of conduct – where pool safety inspector was found to have acted with care and diligence. Skomba & Ors v Maroochy Shire Council [2005] QPEC 001. More...

Kemp Meats Pty Ltd v Tompkins [2014] QCA 162
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – APPEAL COSTS FUND – POWER TO GRANT INDEMNITY CERTIFICATE – WHEN REFUSED – where the appellant was the defendant in a personal injuries action – where the appellant failed in its appeal on liability but succeeded in respect of quantum – whether, given the mixed result, any order should be made in respect of the costs of the appeal –where the respondent applied for an indemnity certificate under s 15(1) of theAppeal Costs Fund Act 1973 on the basis that the trial judge made errors of law – where the respondent supported the trial judge's fundamental error in calculating damages – whether an indemnity certificate should be granted. More...

East v AWMA Pty Ltd & Anor (No 2) [2014] VCC 1082
Serious injury – plaintiff injured in specific incident – injury to lumbar spine – plaintiff involved in manual work prior to injury – pecuniary loss consequences – limited opportunities for retraining or alternative employment – leave sought in respect of pecuniary loss and pain and suffering – leave granted. Legislation Cited: Accident Compensation Act 1985. Judgment: Leave granted to the plaintiff to bring proceedings for loss of earning capacity and pain and suffering damages. More...

Dallarooma Pty Ltd t/as CDB Chauffeured Transport v Hyam [2014] ACTCA 22
NEGLIGENCE – whether appellant operator of transport vehicle business liable in negligence for respondent's personal injuries under Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 (ACT) – where respondent passenger's clothing caught on lever in passenger vehicle when alighting causing her to fall – whether appellant commercial transport business operator negligent in failing to create system of inspection for safety risks in its passenger vehicles – whether appellant had duty of care to ensure that its vehicles in such condition that passengers able to enter and alight with reasonable safety from risk of personal injury. More...

Lim v Toyota Motor Corporation Australia [2014] VCC 963
Serious injury – injury to dominant right shoulder in the course of employment over time – subsequent development of psychiatric condition – application in respect of paragraphs (a) and (c) of the serious injury definition – consequences flowing from each injury – disentanglement – leave granted in respect of both pecuniary loss and pain and suffering. Judgment: Leave granted to bring proceedings for pecuniary loss and pain and suffering damages. More...



Marine Order 35 (Additional safety measures for bulk carriers) 2014
AMSA MO 2014/13 - This order gives effect to Chapter XII of SOLAS, which provides structural, stability and other requirements for bulk carriers supplementing those mentioned in other chapters of SOLAS. Registered 18 July 2014. More...

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee report on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 [Provisions], tabled 8 July 2014 to the Senate. More...

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