Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 11 November 2014

Last Updated: 21 November 2014
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Resources company Alcoa fined over workplace death at Wagerup refinery
Resources company Alcoa has been fined $68,000 for breaching safety laws over the death of a 50-year-old worker at its Wagerup alumina refinery, south of Perth. The Deputy Chief Magistrate said the prosecution against Alcoa was "about site safety and the measures taken by Alcoa, and did not directly deal with the death of Mr Fry" (07 November 2014). More...

Legal action against company whose road worker was rundown by ute
WorkSafe Tasmania is prosecuting the company which employed a Launceston road worker who was struck and killed by a ute. The category-two offence is the second most serious workplace safety charge and carries a fine of up to $300,000 (06 November 2014). More...

Bulga Underground found guilty in 2010 workplace accident
Bulga Underground Operations has been convicted of a workplace health and safety breach which resulted in the serious injury of a worker at the Beltana mine in 2010. The court ruled that safety measures put in place did not eliminate the risks associated with the task performed by McNab (06 November 2014). More...

Independent Investigation into Loose-Fill Asbestos
The Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW, and is providing free ceiling insulation testing to identify the full extent of affected homes across the State (04 November 2014). More...

NSW government must wake up to asbestos
CEO of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Peter Tighe said the NSW Health Department had played down the risks associated with loose-filled asbestos, which can cause cancer and mesothelioma when airborne. The results of both a WorkCover investigation and a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into how widespread loose-fill asbestos is in the state are due for release (04 October 2014). More...

ACT Government bans builders from removing asbestos
The ACT Government has moved to close a loophole that has allowed builders to remove up to 10-square-metres of bonded asbestos from homes, a rule the Government says has been widely misunderstood and abused. From January 1, any asbestos removal, including bonded asbestos sheeting, must be done by licensed asbestos removalists, under the control of Worksafe (04 November 2014). More...

Shift worked link to brain power, memory decline
People who work shifts for 10 years or more may suffer loss of memory and brain power, according to a study that also warns of safety concerns in high-risk jobs. The effects on brain function can be reversed, the team wrote in the Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal, but this may take at least five years (04 November 2014). More...

Coal carrying 'Murder Ship' under scrutiny
A coal carrier already under investigation by Australian authorities for the deaths of two filipino workers has attracted fresh scrutiny related to its seaworthiness in Australian waters (04 November 2014). More...

Transport safety regulator hit hard by cuts
The transport safety regulator will be forced to undertake fewer investigations and will have less time for industry engagement in the foreseeable future after it cut 12 per cent of its staff earlier this year due to pressure on its forward budgets (03 November 2014). More...

Football leading cause of hospitalised sports injury
A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that injuries sustained while playing football make up the largest proportion of sports-related injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia. A large number of hospitalisations were also associated with motor sports and water sports. Together with football, these three sports accounted for almost half (47%) of all sports injury hospitalisation (04 November 2014). More...

Contract signed for long-term health study
Monash University has been appointed to lead a long-term health study into the potential health impacts of exposure to emissions from the Hazelwood open cut coal mine fire. They will investigate the long term impact of exposure to emissions on the development of heart and lung conditions, cancers and mental health outcomes (04 November 2014). More... More...

Second explosives truck accident in two months
Another truck carrying explosive materials has been involved in an accident on Central Queensland roads last week. A section of the Carnarvon Highway was closed to clean up spilled ammonium nitrate, the result of a truck rollover, the second ammonium nitrate carrying truck to crash in two months (03 November 2014). More...

Australia's transport safe, but can be improved: ATSB report
Australia's transport industries are some of the safest in the world but more can be done to improve safety, according to the ATSB's annual report. Approved for tabling by the Deputy Prime Minister, the annual report highlights the ATSB's top transport safety concerns across the aviation, maritime and rail industries (03 November 2014). More... More...

FIFO workers leaving depression untreated for fear of drug tests: union
Mine workers suffering from depression are leaving their condition untreated out of fear of losing their jobs, according to one of Australia's biggest construction unions (03 November 2014). More...

Workcover targeting Sydney construction sites
As the Sydney commercial construction industry enters one of its busiest periods in the lead up to Christmas, WorkCover NSW is today launching a safety program targeting construction sites across the city, aiming to prevent another major incident like the fire at Barangaroo earlier this year (31 October 2014). More...

Queensland's one-stop shop for safety and workers' compensation
A new streamlined safety and workers' compensation website now provides Queensland employers and workers with direct access to safety and workers' compensation information and services. The new website combines the websites of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, WorkCover Queensland, the Electrical Safety Office and Q-COMP (31 October 2014). More...

Clare Country Club fined $12K after chef burnt
The Clare Country Club has been fined $12,000 in the Industrial Court for an incident in 2012 where a chef was burnt. The court ruled the business was aware of the dangers, as management had been told to replace the burners due to safety concerns (30 October 2014). More...

WorkCover releases early findings into Bar Beach bowlo beer keg explosion
WorkCover has issued early findings in its investigation of a incident at a Newcastle bowling club, in which a man lost his arm when a beer keg exploded. WorkCover's director of operations Tony Williams said technical experts have examined the keg and found no manufacturers fault that could have caused its failure (29 October 2014). More...

Rural Doctors Association backs crackdown on people who assault health workers
The Rural Doctors Association says health workers in remote areas will welcome tougher penalties for people who assault nurses, doctors and paramedics. The Queensland Government is doubling the maximum sentence to 14 years for people who assault health workers (29 October 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Australian sports injury hospitalisations 2011-12
AIHW: Kreisfeld R, Harrison JE, & Pointer S: 04 November 2014
During 2011-12, over 36,000 people aged 15 and over were hospitalised as the result of an injury sustained while playing sport. This represented 8% of all injury hospitalisations during that year. Around two thirds of those admitted to hospital were aged under 35 and over three quarters were men. More...

Blueprint for a healthy environment and a productive economy
Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists: 6 November 2014 This blueprint describes the magnitude of the environmental challenges we face, establishes the case that it is possible to grow the economy and protect the environment and people. More...

Regulation by stealth: Codes of practice under harmonised Work Health and Safety legislation
Neil Gunningham and Darren Sinclair
Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol 27 No 2, October 2014 p163.

In practice and courts

Current top transport safety priorities across aviation, maritime and rail (SafetyWatch):

Flying with reduced visual cues
Marine work practices
Safe work on rail
Data input areas for aviation
Safety around non-controlled aerodromes
General aviation pilot risks
Maritime pilotage
Under reporting of occurrences
Handling approach to land
(November 2014). More...

QLD: safety and workers' compensation website
The website was designed using focus groups comprising employers, workers and safety professionals from all industries. The result is a user-orientated site that gives direct access to all the information you need without having to supply the same information to multiple government bodies. A combined online incident notification and claim form further reduces red tape for Queensland business (31 October 2014).

VWA:Safety Soapbox (October 29)
The edition features Online Notification of Asbestos Removal and national recall for LED Light Fitting and accidents around the country Safety Soapbox 29 October 2014.

VWA Asbestos removal
An updated version of the online asbestos notification system will be launched on 5 November 2014. More...

AS/NZS 5033:2014
Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays. 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...


Re: Applications by Simon Blackwood pursuant to s 138 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to revoke WHS entry permits [2014] QIRC 173
INDUSTRIAL LAW - REVOCATION OF WHS ENTRY PERMITS - Whether revocation proceedings before the Commission should proceed by hearing or "on the papers" - Natural Justice Hearing Rule. More...

Inspector Nash v Bulga Underground Operations Pty Ltd [2014] NSWDC 186
The defendant is convicted OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - coal mine workplace accident - worker crushed between the toe of an automatically advancing roof support and the sides of the continuous armoured face conveyer - high risk of being crushed by powered roof support as they automatically advance towards the coalface - slipping and falling in the walkway - being struck by fly rock when dislodged from the Shearer - whether preventative measures taken by the mine were sufficient - whether prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the preventative measures pleaded would have eliminated the risk - whether activating tilt switches in remote control units for Shearers necessary - previous incident known to the defendant - forseeable risk of injury; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 Work Health and Safety Act 2011. More...

Trolan v WD Gelle Insurance and Finance Brokers Pty Ltd [2014] NSWDC 185
Verdict and judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $733,723. TORTS - negligence - workplace injury damages claim - sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation of female employee causing psychological injury; DAMAGES - assessment of claimed heads of damage; Civil Liability Act 2002. More...

WorkCover v Allworth Constructions Pty Ltd [2014] NSWDC 184
The defendant is convicted and fined $72,375. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000; Mr Kenneth David Horsnell suffered serious injuries when he fell through a void in the first floor of a house construction site at Harrington Grove. More...

NSW Department of Trade and Investment (Inspector Nash) v Newcrest Mining Ltd [2013] NSWDC 332
I impose a fine of $112,500. I order a moiety of the fine to be paid to the prosecutor. In matter number 2012/53511 I find that the breaches of duty contained in the charge and admitted by the defendant are precisely the same as those breaches for which it has now been punished. The appropriate order is that I convict the defendant and I impose no further penalty. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000. More...

VCON Pty Ltd 054 559 429 29/10/2014
Failure to notify VWA of a notifiable incident; Failure to preserve incident site. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 38(1); 38(3); 39(1) ; Magistrates' Court. More...



Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act No 116 of 2014
An Act to amend the law relating to counter terrorism and other. Registered 06 November 2014 Date of Assent 03 November 2014. More...

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2014 (No. 10)
This instrument amends the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) 2012 to set new and varied MRLs and make other changes to the Tables with respect to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances. Registered 04 Nov 2014. More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Rural Fires Amendment (Penalty Notices and Other Matters) Regulation 2014 (2014-707) — published LW 7 November 2014.

Supreme Court (Corporations) Amendment (No 12) Rules 2014 (2014-708) — published LW 7 November 2014.

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (Amendment No 69) 2014 (2014-709) — published LW 7 November 2014.

Bills revised following amendment in Committee

Biosecurity Bill 2014.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament

Work Health and Safety (Mines) Amendment Bill 2014.

Bills assented to

Rural Fires Amendment Act 2014 No 66 — Assented to 28 October 2014. More...


Bills update

Major Events Bill 2014
Passed with amendment on 28/10/2014 Assent Date: 7/11/2014. Act No: 60 of 2014 Commences: see Act for details Act. The policy objective of the Bill is to provide a generic legislative framework that can be used for the conduct of major events across Queensland. This includes the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2015 Asian Cup, V8 Supercars motor racing events, and other major events Queensland may decide to host in the future. The Bill provides for: Crowd and safety powers – including control of entry into and prohibiting certain items from major event areas, and police and authorised person powers to control anti-social behaviour and ensure the safety of patrons


Subordinate legislation as made 07 November 2014

No 254 Proclamation commencing remaining provisions

Fixes 10 November 2014 for the commencement of the provisions of the Act that are not in force, under the Professional Engineers and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014.

No 255 Building and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014

Regulation commences on 10 November 2014, for establishment of the QBCC

No 258 Queensland Building and Construction Commission (Transfer) Regulation 2014

Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991, transfer of employees, liabilities and records to employing office, now QBCC.


Statutory Rules

Country Fire Authority Regulations 2014 (No. 165/2014)
Commencement: 01/11/2014: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-122: on 01/11/2014: reg. 3.

Accident Towing Services Amendment Regulations (No. 175/2014)
Operational: ALL: 21/10/2014.

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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