Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 1 October 2014

Last Updated: 8 October 2014
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Confusion over tyre pressure requirements contributed to mine death
A coroner has recommended the mining industry adopt wireless tyre pressure sensing equipment after the death of a miner in 2010. A coronial inquest in Queensland heard MacDonald died due to a "zipper failure" which caused a tyre to explode (25 September 2014). More...

Confusion reigns over bullying v performance management
Since the Fair Work Commission began hearing matters related to bullying in January, a steady stream of bullying complaints have been made.One important trend emerging from the matters that make it to a hearing is the apparent uncertainty about what constitutes bullying in performance reviews and performance management (24 September 2014). More...

JBWere exec claims $4.5m for sex harassment
Former executive director Toni Thornton has claimed nearly $4.5 million in the Federal Court, saying she was given higher targets and lower bonuses than her colleagues, and was performance managed out of the investment bank (24 September 2014). More...

WorkCover Queensland: 2013-2014 annual report released
With Australia's lowest average premium rate of $1.20 for 2014–2015, 96% of injured workers returning to work within 12 months and successful resolution of disputes customers are benefiting from our transformation into Australia's best performing workers' compensation insurer (24 September 2014). More...

Serious injuries on ACT construction sites continue to rise
Serious injuries on ACT construction sites have risen for the second year in a row on a per capita basis, two years after a major report into site safety called for a reduction of 35 per cent. When the Getting Home Safely report into workplace safety was originally released in 2012, there were 24.5 serious incidents per 1000 residents (23 September 2014). More...

Construction industry must stop thinking of safety as a cost: ACT Work Safety Commissioner
A downturn in the ACT's construction industry could be contributing to the territory's high rate of serious injuries on work sites, the Work Safety Commissioner says (23 September 2014). More...

Draytons fined over deadly 2008 winery blast
A Hunter Valley winery has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars over a deadly blast six years ago. The explosion at the Draytons Family Winery in January 2008 killed high profile vigneron Trevor Drayton and welder Eddie Orgo (23 September 2014). More...

New laws to ease tensions regarding opal prospecting at Lightning Ridge
Both miner and landholder representatives have welcomed new laws governing the opal prospecting industry as positive step forward. There have been long running disputes between farmers and miners at Lightning Ridge, which prompted the state government's Wilcox review (22 September 2014). More...

Principal told to resign over students' exposure to asbestos
The former principal of a Thornbury primary school, has "formally relinquished" his position at the school following a departmental investigation into the exposure of children to asbestos. Mr Sexton was stood down from Wales Street Primary in February after two prep classes were potentially exposed to asbestos particles in dust in the carpet (22 September 2014). More...

Mesothelioma risk continues for over 40 years
WA researchers have determined the risk of developing mesothelioma continues to increase even 40 years after a person's first exposure to asbestos. The researchers found the rate and risk of pleural mesothelioma increased until 45 years and the rate of peritoneal mesothelioma over 10-50 years continued to increase (22 September 2014). More...

WorkCover takes court action to stop play at a Melbourne park after man is injured in social cricket
The Victorian WorkCover Authority has launched legal action against Melbourne City Council for allowing an Australia Day cricket match on the Southbank reserve. A successful case could lead to other councils banning sport or restricting access to some parks to avoid costly litigation (22 September 2014). More...

VWA: Strong commitment to safety delivers impressive result
Victoria's regulator attributed the positive 2013/14 financial results to "a strong commitment to improving workplace safety from employers and workers across the state. The number of injury claims per million hours worked fell to 7.37 in 2013/14, an improvement of 5 per cent on the previous year (19 September 2014). More...

Research project helps improve dive safety in Tasmanian aquaculture
A long-term study of dive safety in Tasmania's aquaculture industry has produced the first set of tables for so-called yo-yo diving, which have caught the eye of the Australian and US navies (17 September 2014). More...

Fatty FIFO foods a concern to workers' health
Smorgasbords of roast dinners, comforting casseroles, pastas and delectable desserts in mining camp mess halls are proving a real-life health crisis for WA fly-in, fly-out workers, new research shows (17 September 2014). More...

WA tops country as 'third wave' deadly asbestos victims diagnosed
West Australians are being diagnosed with mesothelioma at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country, with two out of every three victims likely to have contracted the deadly disease at work. Twenty per cent of those diagnosed were younger than 65 and included home renovators, victims after miners and manufacturers, and tradesmen (17 September 2014). More...

Safety expert to develop autonomous worldwide mining safety standards
A global safety expert is in Perth to assess mining expertise in autonomous technology in order to develop a set of safety standards worldwide. International Organisation for Standards (ISO) is now working to develop standards for the manufacture and operation of autonomous mining technology (17 September 2014). More...

New National Transport Commission member appointed
?Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today announced the appointment of Mr Neil Scales OBE as a member of the National Transport Commission. 'Mr Scales' appointment to the National Transport Commission is until the end of December 2016 (16 September 2014). More...

A rethink needed on Hazelwood mine fire
The Victorian Government needs to rethink its rejection of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry's recommendation that air quality monitoring data be used to inform rapid decision making on public health issues (15 September 2014). More...

Diesel emissions on underground WA mine sites above WHO standards
A study by the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has found that that 28 of 29 mines tested had peak "diesel particulate'' levels over the recommended safe limit set by the World Health Organisation. Diesel particulate is produced by the exhaust from underground mine machinery and vehicles (13 September 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Victorian WorkCover Authority: Report 2013-14
The number of Victorian workers injured at work has fallen to a new record low, with the number of injury claims per million hours worked falling to 7.37 in 2013/14. Released on 19 September 2014, the report can be downloaded from the Parliament of Victoria website. More...

WorkCover Queensland: 2013-2014 annual report
With Australia's lowest average premium rate of $1.20 for 2014–2015, 96% of injured workers returning to work within 12 months and successful resolution of disputes. Released on 24 September 2014. More...

Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report
Safe Work Australia: 15 September 2014 monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions.

The Scheme Snapshot Issue 4: Perceptions and personal characteristics -How they impact recovery
Comcare: September 2014. The Scheme Snapshot examines the attitudes, perceptions and experiences of people within the Comcare scheme who had an active workers' compensation claim between 2011-12 and 2013-14. More...

In practice and courts

Quad bike fatalities
As of 22 September 2014, eleven people have been killed this year in quad bike related incidents. Six of these deaths were the result of a roll over. More...

Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
The Safe Work webpage on reported workplace fatalities has not been updated since 16 September at which time 129 fatalities had been reported. More...
The June monthly fatality report is also the latest which has been released, as reported in the last edition of SafetyNet. More...

SRCC grants self-insurance licences to Medibank companies
On 12 September 2014, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) granted self-insurance licences to Medibank Private Limited and Medibank Health Solutions Pty Ltd (22 September 2014). More...

NIOSH: updated dangerous drugs listing 2014
This new listing to accompany its guide to the hazards posed to healthcare workers by the medicines they administer. is a supplement to its 2004 guide 'Preventing occupational exposures to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in health care settings'. Hazardous drugs include those used for cancer chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, some bioengineered drugs, and other miscellaneous drugs NIOSH news alert , 2004 guide and updated drug list, NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2014. More...

NTC's discussion paper: Access to PBS mass limits for truck and trailer combinations
The discussion paper examines if prescriptive designs for six and seven-axle truck and trailer combinations can deliver greater efficiencies, by allowing vehicles that are not currently PBS-certified under the HVNL. More... More...

Communique - Safe Work Australia Members' Meeting
Safe Work Australia Members met in Sydney. Key outcomes of the meeting are outlined here (18 September 2014). More...

NSW WorkCover: Towing trailers: using plant not designed to tow - Safety alert
This alert focuses on trailers but similar risks and control measures may apply to other wheeled vehicles. However, this alert does not cover the safety issues involved when loading and unloading trailers with forklifts (19 September 2014). More...

QLD: Finalists for the 2014 Queensland Safe Work Awards
Winners will be announced during Safe Work Month at a ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday 23 October, 2014 (24 September 2014). More... More...

Workplace Health & Safety Qld: Heavy vehicles and trailers hitting or crushing workers
To highlight the risks associated with workers being crushed or hit by heavy vehicles or trailers (16 September 2014). More...

RSRT: Submissions sought on the third annual work program
The President of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has issued a Statement inviting written submissions from interested persons on the matters the Tribunal should identify for inquiry in its third annual work program. Written submissions must be made to the Tribunal by 20 October 2014. More...

Safe Work Australia Virtual Seminar Series, October 2014
The Australian Strategy Virtual Seminar Series (VSS) is a free online event run throughout. More....

Reminder: ASEA Conference: November 16 – 18, 2014
Anyone who is interested in what's happening with asbestos in Australia should try to attend ASEA's 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management: "Working towards an asbestos free Australia" (Crown Casino November 16-18). More...

Public consultation: draft Guidelines for the regulatory management of registered health practitioners and students infected with blood-borne viruses
The 14 National Boards in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme public consultation draft guidelines on the regulatory management of registered health practitioners and students infected with blood-borne viruses, closes on 26 September 2014. More... More...


Essendon Football Club v Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority [2014] FCA 1019
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – general principles – principle of legality – identification of statutory purpose – approach when statute based upon international conventions and agreements – modern approach to statutory interpretation – express statutory powers and incidental powers. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – whether power used for improper purpose – test to apply when multiple purposes. JUDICIAL REVIEW – nature of judicial review – whether relief is discretionary – delay – acquiescence – utility – inevitable outcome – impropriety of applicant – public policy. PRIVILEGE – nature of privilege against self-incrimination – contractual abrogation or curtailment –statutory abrogation or curtailment – need to invoke privilege against self-incrimination – limitations on extent of protection given by privilege against self-incrimination. Applications dismissed. More...

Eagle v Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2014] FCA 1016
NEGLIGENCE – proceedings against Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) – whether an applicant for certification is owed a duty of care by CASA – whether statutory or common law duty to provide certification includes a duty to act without unreasonable delay – whether the common law duty of care as pleaded is inconsistent with CASA's powers and functions. PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for dismissal of proceedings under s 31A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) – alternatively for the statement of claim to be struck out – whether reasonable cause of action disclosed. More...

Drew v Mackay Sugar Ltd [2014] QDC 216
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – POSTPONEMENT OF THE BAR – EXTENSION OF PERIOD – CAUSE OF ACTION IN RESPECT OF PERSONAL INJURIES – KNOWLEDGE OF MATERIAL FACTS – MATERIAL FACTS OF DECISIVE CHARACTER – where plaintiff commenced action against defendant claiming damages for personal injuries resulting from a workplace incident in 1994 – where the incident allegedly occurred about 20 years before the claim was filed - where extension of time under s 31 of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) necessary to maintain action – where the issue on the application was whether the defendant was substantially prejudiced so as to prevent a fair trial.LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – POSTPONEMENT OF THE BAR – EXTENSION OF PERIOD – CAUSE OF ACTION IN RESPECT OF PERSONAL INJURIES – PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH DISCRETION EXERCISED – SUBSTANTIAL PREJUDICE - whether defendant had shown substantial prejudice – whether plaintiff able to show that a the defendant could have a fair trial.- where the defendant had no contemporaneous documents or records – where there were no eye witnesses to the incident – where plaintiff fell and landed on buttocks and right wrist - where no incident report was made and plaintiff made no application for compensation – where plaintiffs right wrist did not become symptomatic until 2011 – where other employees in the vicinity of where incident was alleged to have occurred had no recollection of any incident – where no records or anecdotal evidence of system of work – where defendant still occupied work premises and the material location had not changed – whether plaintiff had discharged onus – whether fair trial possible - whether discretion should be exercised to extend limitation period. More...

Robinson v BP Griffin Builders Pty Ltd [2014] QDC 213
PRACTICE - STATEMENT OF CLAIM - STRIKING OUT - where the plaintiff sought to add a claim for suffering rheumatoid arthritis to the plaintiff's action against the defendant - where the plaintiff did not amend his action to include rheumatoid arthritis - where his Honour Judge Andrews SC ordered the plaintiff to file and serve on the defendant an affidavit as to the plaintiff's legal capacity - where the plaintiff failed to comply with the order of his Honour Judge Andrews SC - where the defendant applied to the Court to have the trial dates vacated - where the defendant also applied to strike out the plaintiff's claim and statement of claim - whether the plaintiff's claim should be struck out. More...

State of Queensland v Munro [2014] QCA 231
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – INTERFERENCE WITH JUDGE'S FINDINGS OF FACT – FUNCTIONS OF APPELLATE COURT – FINDINGS ON ISSUE OF NEGLIGENCE – GENERALLY – where the respondent claimed damages for negligence and/or breach of statutory duty – where the primary judge gave judgment for the respondent plaintiff against the applicant defendant in proceedings in the District Court – where the applicant applied for leave to appeal under s 118(3) of the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld) – where the respondent, then a 50 year old registered nurse, was on the third day of an aggressive behaviour management course – where, when attempting a manoeuvre under instruction, the respondent fell and injured her left hand – where the primary judge found that risk could have been minimised by teaching the different parts of the manoeuvre separately before combining them – where the applicant submits that the techniques were split up and taught in different parts separately before they were combined – whether the primary judge erred in finding that the applicant failed to separately train the respondent to perform the parts of the manoeuvre before combining them – whether the primary judge erred in finding that the applicant breached its duty of care to the respondent by failing to provide proper training and instruction. APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – POWERS OF COURT – COSTS – where the primary judge ordered that the applicant pay the respondent's costs of the action on the Magistrate's Court scale – where the applicant applies for leave to appeal against the costs order – where leave to appeal is refused in the substantive application – whether, given the operation of s 118B of the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld), the Court has power to grant leave to appeal in the costs application. More...

Stirfry Pty Ltd v Lorkin [2014] ACTSC 213
The conviction appeal is dismissed. APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – Interference with Judge's Findings of Fact – appellant company prosecuted for food hygiene offences – offences committed in restaurant – certificate of registration of food business operated in restaurant listed director of appellant company and part of appellant company's name – whether appellant company was proper defendant – obligations imposed on "proprietor" of food business – "proprietor" defined by reference to activities in relation to food business – certificate of registration required to show name of proprietor of food business – whether name on certificate of registration determined identify of proprietor – whether reports of restaurant inspections naming other family members as proprietor raised a reasonable doubt about identify of proprietor – Magistrate's finding that appellant was proprietor was correct – conviction appeal dismissed. More...



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Amendment Regulation (2014-651) — published LW 26 September 2014.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament
Mutual Recognition (Automatic Licensed Occupations Recognition) Bill 2014.

Road Transport Amendment (Alcohol and Drug Testing) Bill 2014.

Bills assented to
Road Transport Amendment (Alcohol and Drug Testing) Act 2014 No 49 — Assented to 25 September 2014.

Mutual Recognition (Automatic Licensed Occupations Recognition) Act 2014 No 51 — Assented to 25 September 2014.



No 215 Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014 - 26 September 2014 - Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012.

No 216 Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Amendment Regulation - 26 September 2014 - Heavy Vehicle National Law as applied by the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (Qld) and by the law of States and Territories.

No 221 Food Production (Safety) Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014 - 26 September 2014.

Food Production (Safety) Act 2000.


Statutory Rules

No. 131: Road Safety (Vehicles) Amendment (Emergency Management Commissioner) Regulations 2014
Date of Making: 16/09/2014 Commencement: 16/09/2014 Not yet in operation: N/A
Sunset Date: 16/09/2024.

No. 132: Road Safety Road Rules Amendment (Emergency Management Commissioner) Rules 2014
Date of Making: 16/09/2014 Commencement: 16/09/2014 Not yet in operation: N/A
Sunset Date: 16/09/2024.

No 136: Seafood Safety Regulations 2014
Date of Making: 23/09/2014 .

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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