Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 19 August 2014

In the media

NSW Government launches investigation into loose-fill asbestos
An independent investigation to help determine the number of premises in NSW that may contain loose -filled asbestos ceiling insulation material. WorkCover NSW will contract an independent specialist to work with the NSW Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) to help establish the scope of properties impacted (15 August 2014). More...

Safe Work Australia releases latest Australia-wide fatalities statistics
The Safe Work webpage on reported workplace fatalities has been updated: as at 12 August, 110 fatalities had been reported – that is in less than one month 13 more Australian were killed at work. More...

Mining contractor pleads guilty over death of electrician at Fortescue Metals Christmas Creek mine
Mining contractor Crushing Services International (CSI) has pleaded guilty over the death of an electrician at Fortescue Metal's Christmas Creek mine in WA's Pilbara. FMG also appointed external consultants to review safety with a focus on contractors (12 August 2014). More...

Strong action on reckless alcohol promotions puts venues on notice
The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) recently targeted 66 alcohol promotions and has put venues on notice that inappropriate promotions will not be tolerated. Under NSW liquor laws, licensees and their staff must not only demonstrate responsible practices regarding the sale, supply and service of alcohol but also its promotion (11 August 2014). More...

Worker buried alive in quarry wall collapse
The company's manager director last week pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to serious workplace safety breaches. Charges included failing to take all reasonable steps to prevent access to the area, and failing to have suitable systems in place to identify and understand geotechnical dangers (11 August 2014). More...

New research violence in Mental Health - research project reveals shocking results
New, ground-breaking research produced by the Health and Community Services Union in conjunction with the University of Melbourne's Centre for Psychiatric Nursing has produced a damning picture of an unsafe, high-risk environment in Victoria's mental health services (08 August 2014). More...

Victoria: Court finds lung cancer due to work, not smoking
This case is not an prosecution under the OHS Act, but a win for a worker seeking workers' compensation. A welder has succeeded in gaining compensation for lung cancer, after the Victorian County Court found his work - not his 20-year smoking history - caused the disease. Anh Tran v Victorian Workcover Authority [2014] VCC 1210 (4 August 2014).

SA: Painting company fined $80,000
Industrial painting company Tru-Coat Pty Ltd has been fined $80,000 (plus legal fees). The court found Tru-Coat failed to implement safe work practices (having at least two people undertake the task: one to operate the crane and the other to be lookout and guide). The magistrate reduced the fine from $120,000 due to Tru-Coat's early guilty plea and prompt response. Perry v Tru-Coat Pty Ltd [2014],SAIRC 2 (28/07/2014).

BP recalls Victorian fleet after triple fatality
Following a triple fatality after one of its tankers lost its trailer, BP announced it had recalled its entire Victorian truck fleet. Two major defect notices and five minor ones had been issued to the company (08 August 2014). More...

Tanker Crash Deaths: Legal Action Begins
The Transport Workers' Union (TWU) announced the day after the crash that it would launch legal action against 'rogue operators' in the oil, fuel and gas transport sector in the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) (08 August 2014). More...

Damaged rescue chopper sparks safety review
Queensland's emergency services air wing says it has reminded crews of safety procedures after one its helicopters was damaged during a rescue operation near Townsville earlier this year (08 August 2014). More...

CFMEU to face court over coercion claims
FWBC has launched legal proceedings against the CFMEU and current and former CFMEU officials over claims they intended to coerce a small building company to sign an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU (07 August 2014). More...

Union Workers face fines over Queensland Rally
Building workers have been threatened with $10,000 fines for rallying in Brisbane in support of union boss Michael Ravbar ahead of his appearance at a royal commission. Mr Ravbar told the construction workers that the royal commission was a witch hunt against the union movement, and he plans to go to the court and provide a balanced view of what the trade union movement is all about (06 August 2014). More...

New Comparative Report into Road Safety
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has released a report comparing Australia's road toll performance to other OECD countries. At 5.72 deaths per 100,000, the report has found that Australia had the 16th lowest rate of road fatalities when compared to 33 other countries (07 August 2014). More...

NSW roads minister says he may have to look at "even harsher" measures to improve compliance
The NSW Government has threatened to bring in harsher penalties for those caught breaching travel restrictions on overheight trucks, to stop people putting other motorists at risk causing significant damage to our state's infrastructure. A year since NSW increased fines to more than $2,000 and six demerit points for breaches, 41 truck drivers have still been caught breaking the law (06 August 2014). More...

Magistrate highlights Lennons flaws that led to record fine
The magistrate who ruled on the nation's biggest fine for a trucking company so far highlights several speeding compliance management weaknesses in her judgement on 197 Lennons Transport speeding offences (05 August 2014). More...

Independent monitor's final report recognises 'significant progress' in fire reform
More than five years on, the independent Bushfire Royal Commission Implementation Monitor says Victoria is now much better prepared 'to deal with the threat of bushfire and other natural disasters than it was on Black Saturday' (05 August 2014). More...

Coalition to introduce smoke-free dining
Smoking will be banned in outdoor dining areas as part of the Victorian Coalition Government's reforms to protect people from second-hand smoke. The Government will also introduce amendments to the Tobacco Act to ban smoking around the entrances to childcare centres, schools, preschools, indoor play areas, public hospitals, registered community health centres and some government buildings (04 August 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities 2014
The fatalities: 41 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 27 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 12 in Construction; 11 in Mining; five each in Manufacturing and in Accommodation & food services; three in Electricity, Gas & Water Services; and Arts & recreation services; two and one each in Health care/social assistance; Retail; and Government administration & defence (12 August 2014). More...

National Return to Work Survey 2014 - Headline Measures Report
Safe Work Australia
The new survey replaces the Return to Work Monitor previously published by the Heads of Workers' Compensation Authorities. The New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation and all Australian jurisdictions except for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory took part in the survey (13 August 2014). More...

In practice and courts

Safe Work Australia: Quad Watch
As of 11 August 2014, eight people have been killed this year in quad bike related incidents. Four of these deaths were the result of a roll over. More...

OHS Reps information page: Formaldehyde (August 2014)
This week we've added a new hazard information page on Formaldehyde – a cancer causing chemical that is used in a range of industries, including healthcare, particleboard manufacture, embalming and in laboratories. It is also an irritant and is highly volatile. More...

Have your say: accreditation of swimming pool certifiers in NSW
The Building Professionals Board proposes to introduce a new category of accredited certifier - E1 Swimming Pool Certification - to certify that swimming pools and spa pools have a compliant child resistant barrier and warning notices (05 August 2014). More...

QLD: Mine Safety Alert 308 - Arc flash and blast when 1000V circuit breaker reset
Recommendations: Ensure enclosures are fit for purpose and an arc flash assessment is taken into account when determining that risks are at acceptable levels; Regular maintenance and inspection of substations and switchboards at the mine and monitor the safety of the electrical installation; Wear fit for purpose personal protective equipment during electrical switching activities (11 August 2014). More...

QLD: WorkCover: Worker assist smartphone app now available
Injured workers who have a workers' compensation claim can now stay connected with WorkCover Queensland while on-the-go and access a range of information relating to their claim using our new smartphone app, worker assist (5 August 2014). More...

Public Comment

Attorney-General's Department Consultation: toxic chemicals of security concern
Submissions in response to the Regulation Impact Statement are available at: The RIS is relevant to importers, distributors, transporters, universities, hospitals, local councils, farmers, pest controllers, hardware stores and any other business that manufactures, handles or uses any of the 84 toxic chemicals of security concern. Submissions close on27 August 2014.

Safety standards

DR AS/NZS 3122:2014
Approval and test specification - Socket-outlet adaptors
Standards Australia

DR AS 1418.20:2014
Cranes, hoists and winches - Part 20: Tow trucks Standards Australia


Sharp v Emicon Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 1072
TORTS - industrial accident - negligence - where carpenter injured in fall from defective scaffold - whether condition of scaffold causally related to fall - whether breach of duty by employer in failing to instruct plaintiff not to climb on scaffold or in failing to detect or warn of defect or associated danger - whether scaffolder in breach of duty by failing to erect or repair scaffold - whether defect caused by third party - whether plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence.

Amaca Pty Ltd v Tullipan [2014] NSWCA 269
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL - nature of appeal - appeal from decision in "point of law" - plaintiff suffered from terminal lung condition - plaintiff claimed damages against appellant on the basis that lung condition was asbestosis - appellant argued the lung condition was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis - trial judge held that the appellant's expert witnesses had conceded that the longevity of the disease established that it was probably asbestosis - whether there was an error in point of law in finding that the appellant's expert had made such a concession - whether any error by the trial judge amounted to an error in point of law - Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989 (NSW), s 32. DAMAGES - general damages - whether award of general damages disproportionate or excessive - principles on appeal of award of damages - no norm or standard should be derived from other decisions to determine whether award disproportionate - appeal limited to errors of law requires award to be so disproportionate it cannot be assumed the judge operated within the law. TORT - negligence - causation - plaintiff had been exposed to asbestos by appellant - plaintiff claimed inhalation of asbestos had caused asbestosis - asbestosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis share similar clinical symptoms - whether medical evidence established that the plaintiff was suffering from asbestosis. More...

Tawera v BDS Recruit Pty Ltd & Anor [2014] QDC 167
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – CAUSATION – whether breach of duty – whether injury caused by breach – whether plaintiff caused injury independently of breach. DAMAGES – quantum – ruptured Achilles tendon. More...

Walker v Symonds & Anor [2014] QCA 184
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – APPEAL COSTS FUND – POWER TO GRANT INDEMNITY CERTIFICATE – WHEN GRANTED – where the appellant was the plaintiff in a personal injuries action – where the appellant succeeded in its appeal – where a new trial was ordered because the trial judge did not give proper reasons for decision – whether the respondents should be granted an indemnity certificate pursuant to s 15(1) of the Appeal Costs Fund Act 1973 (Qld). More...

Haylett v Hail Creek Coal Pty Ltd [2014] QSC 176
EMPLOYMENT LAW – EFFECT OF INDUSTRIAL AWARDS, AGREEMENT, LEGISLATION ON EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT – where the applicant suffered a neck injury in his role as a bulldozer operator - where the applicant returned to work in a different role as a drill rig operator – where the applicant underwent a medical assessment under the coal mine workers' health scheme prescribed by the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2001 (Qld) – where the medical advisor determined the applicant was unfit to undertake his current role because of a foreseeable risk of future injury – whether the medical advisor erred by considering fitness for employment based on a future risk – whether the medical advisor was restricted to considering fitness for employment based on ability to undertake current role. More...



Work Health and Safety Exemption (Construction Induction Training Card - Workers) (August 2014)
This instrument exempts workers on overseas construction work within the responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from the requirement to keep a general construction induction training card available for inspection. This exemption applies to 'workers' who carry out construction work and in relation to whom DFAT has obligations under regulations 316 and 317 of the WHS Regulations. Registered 07 August 2014. More...


Bills revised following amendment in Committee
Mutual Recognition (Automatic Licensed Occupations Recognition) Bill 2014

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament
Road Transport Amendment (Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program) Bill 2014



Tobacco Amendment Bill 2014
Legislative Assembly 5/8/2014 Introduced and read a first time
This Bill is for an Act to amend the Tobacco Act 1987 to prohibit smoking in specified outdoor areas and in the vicinity of pedestrian access points to certain places, to increase the penalty for possessing certain tobacco products and to amend inspectors' powers and for other purposes. Introduced by Ms. Wooldridge (Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Community Services).

Victorian legislation can be viewed online at:

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Michael Selinger
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