Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 10 December 2014

Last Updated: 15 December 2014
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

ATSB welcomes findings from Canadian investigation review
The ATSB has welcomed the findings of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB's) independent review into the ATSB's investigation methodologies and processes (02 December 2014). More...

New report shows NTC reforms being implemented across Australia
The NTC recently completed its latest Reform Implementation Monitoring Report which noted that all seven of the national reform packages agreed between 1 July 2013 and 1 July 2014 have been fully or partly implemented (03 December 2014). More...

Mine workers suffer long-term damage from exposure to excessive vibrations
Whole body vibration is one of the hazards of working with big machines which can lead to serious health problems, such as spine damage and, for women, problems with reproductive health. Mining companies are aware of the issue and advise workers to take breaks on machines (04 December 2014). More...

Attitudes towards risk taking and rule breaking in Australian workplaces report now available
The Perceptions of Work Health and Safety Survey aimed to provide a baseline measure of work health and safety attitudes, beliefs and actions shortly after the model Work Health and Safety laws were introduced in 2012. The survey targeted four types of respondents: employers, sole traders, health and safety representatives and workers (03 December 2014). More...

One-stop shop for safety and workers' compensation
A new combined safety and workers' compensation website is providing Queensland employers and workers with a single spot to access injury prevention and workers' compensation information and services (02 December 2014). More...

Repeal of ineffectual heavy vehicle devices
The Australian Government has removed more regulatory red tape for heavy vehicle operators registered under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme, requiring B-double trucks to be fitted with additional spray suppression devices around their wheel arches as unnecessary and failing to align with laws applying to state registered vehicles (02 December 2014). More...

NTC: Chain of responsibility review to find new ways to improve safety on our roads
The NTC today released a discussion paper as part of its review of the chain of responsibility (CoR) duties in the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The discussion paper outlines a number of issues including whether it allows for an integrated and proactive approach to road safety, concerns about the clarity of the law (28 November 2014). More...

Fortescue Metals Group admits drug use by workers an issue for mining company
Fortescue Metals Group has revealed it is addressing drug problems among its workforce in Western Australia's Pilbara. Fortescue executive Richard Kinnane told business leaders in Port Hedland soaring drug use in the community appeared to have penetrated its workforce (27 November 2014). More...

Public service performance management is not bullying, says FWC
The Fair Work Commission has refused to grant a "stop the bullying order" to a senior Australian Bureau of Statistics public servant who alleged his boss was using the bureau's performance management system to bully and force him out of his job (25 November 2014). More...

Electrical Trades Union calls for investigation after alleged safety breach at Sydney convention centre construction site
A potentially fatal electrical safety breach during the construction of the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour has led to more than 40 electricians refusing to carry out non-emergency banned in enclosed and outdoor smoke-free places under the Health Legislation Amendment Act (23 November 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Reform Implementation Monitoring Report 2014
Author: National Transport Commission (NTC)
This noted that all seven of the national reform packages agreed between 1 July 2013 and 1 July 2014 have been fully or partly implemented The report focuses on the following seven reform areas and highlights where further attention is needed to ensure Australians get the full benefits of national reform (03 December 2014). More...

Report on abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy
Author: Defence Abuse Response Taskforce
This review assessed accounts of abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy, and recommends a Royal Commission (26 November 2014). More...

Government response: Aviation Safety Review
The Australian Government response to the 37 recommendations and related issues raised in the Aviation Safety Regulation Review Report (03 December 2014). More...

Attitudes towards risk taking and rule breaking in Australian workplaces report
Safe Work Australia (2 December 2014). More...

Safe Work Australia's Annual Report 2013-14 now available
Safe Work Australia tabled its fifth annual report in both Houses of the Australian Parliament on Tuesday, 2 December 2014. More...

Government's response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review Report
The Report has identified areas where our present arrangements, structures and relationships can be improved to ensure Australia remains a leading aviation State.The Australian Government has agreed to 32 of the Report's 37 recommendations and has agreed to undertake a more detailed examination of a further four (December 2014). More...

In practice and courts

Global: Union campaign wins cargo safety code
Sustained campaigning by the global transport union federation ITF has helped secure an international code of practice on safety in the packing of cargo containers. ITF's road, rail, dockers' and seafarers' sections all participated in the campaign, which has now seen the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) governing body endorse a code of practice on the safe packing of cargo transport units (November 2014). More... More...

NTC: Chain of responsibility review
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper as part of its review of the chain of responsibility (CoR) duties in the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The discussion paper outlines a number of issues with the current CoR regime, which stakeholders have identified through previous consultations. More...

VWA Safety Soapbox 26 November 2014
In this edition Steve Darnley discusses the dangers of snakes on construction sites – particularly in hot weather. The newsletter also has news on safety recalls, various activities, prosecutions in other jurisdictions, and its regular 'Absolute Shocker', which this week is on nail guns. More...

New Safety Standards

AS 4024.1-2014 Series: Safety of Machinery: Standards Australia
AS 4024.1-2014, Safety of machinery series contains 25 Parts that are European (EN) and Internationally-based (ISO) safety and design Standards with some modifications to meet Australia's tough safety practices and regulations. More...

AS 1735.14-1998 Rul 1:2014
Lifts, escalators and moving walks - Low rise platforms for passengers (Ruling to AS 1735.14-1998): Standards Australia.

AS ISO 2631.2:2014
Mechanical vibration and shock - Evaluation of human exposure to whole-body vibration - Vibration in buildings (1 Hz to 80 Hz): Standards Australia.

AS/NZS 3133:2013/Amdt 1:2014
Approval and test specification - Air-break switches: Standards Australia.

AS/NZS 4024.1100:2014
Safety of machinery - Application guide: Standards Australia.


Parker v Wish Designs Pty Ltd [2014] NSWCA 401
DAMAGES - measure of damages in actions for tort - appellant suffered injury during the course of his employment and incurred a loss in working capacity - whether the trial judge erred in fixing the appellant's damages for past economic loss by reference to the mathematical difference between his earnings before and after his injury - whether the trial judge had proper regard to the appellant's loss of economic capacity or made a finding to that effect - whether the approach of the trial judge was consistent with the manner in which the appellant's claim was advanced - whether the trial judge made the findings necessary to support the appellant's case on appeal. More...

Hunter Quarries Pty Ltd v State of New South Wales (Department of Trade & Investment) [2014] NSWSC 1580
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - declaratory relief - proper construction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) - order sought restraining inspectors appointed under the Mine Health and Safety Act 2004 (NSW) and/or Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 (NSW) from obtaining information by exercise of powers granted under s 171 of the Work Health and Safety Act - competing constructions of the Work Health and Safety Act - how s 155 and s 171 of the Work Health and Safety Act must be constructed - relevant rules of statutory construction - relief sought not granted - summons dismissed. More...

Hennessy v Patrick Stevedores Operations & Anor [2014] NSWSC 1716
TORTS - negligence - workplace injury - occupiers liability - where employee slipped and fell at worksite - whether occupier owed duty of care - whether employer owed duty of care. Assessed FBIS' share of responsibility at 40 per cent. Judgment for the plaintiff against the first defendant in the sum of $1,337,546. More...

Bell v State of Queensland & Anor (No 1) [2014] QCAT 297
Anti-Discrimination – sexual harassment – joint and several liability – assessment of compensation – causation - adjustment of compensation because loss and damage caused by factors other than contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). ACN 070 037 599 P/L & Anor v Larvik P/L & Anor [2008] QCA 416 Barney v State of Queensland & Anor [2012] QCAT 695 Essa v Laing Ltd [2004] IRLR 313 Gama v Qantas Airways (No.2) [2008] FCAFC 69 Haines v Bendall [1991] HCA 15 Hall v Sheiban (1989) 20 FCR 217 Henville v Walker (2001) 206 CLR 459 McCauley v Club Resort Holdings Pty Ltd (no.2) [2013] QCAT 243 Nunan v Aaction Traffic Services Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 565 O'Neill v Steiler [1994] QADT 2 State of Queensland & Anor v Barney [2013] QCATA 104 Travel Compensation Fund v Tambree [2005] HCA 69 Williams v Robinson & Anor (2000) EOC 93-112. More...

Re: Application by DP World Brisbane Pty Limited pursuant to s 138 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for a WHS entry permit held by Garry John Rogers to be revoked [2014] QIRC 186
INDUSTRIAL LAW - REVOCATION OF WHS ENTRY PERMITS - fundamental jurisdiction error - parties to the proceeding did not raise a significant jurisdictional point in hearing or in submissions - matter relisted at initiative of Commission - Commission heard matter unaware fundamental step in process prior to hearing had not been taken - subsequently steps taken by the Commission were ultra vires. More...



Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment Act No 121 of 2014
An Act to amend the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Act 2006, and for related purposes; Registered 01 December 2014; Date of Assent 26 November 2014. More...

Sex Discrimination Amendment (Boosting Superannuation for Women) Bill 2014
A Bill for an Act to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and for related purposes. Registered 01 Dec ember 2014; Introduced HR 01 December 2014. More...

Commonwealth Acts Assented to

Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Amendment Act (No. 118/2014)
Assent: 20/11/2014 Commencement: ALL: 20/11/2014 (s. 2).

New South Wales

Proclamations commencing Acts

Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 No 54 (2014-768) — published LW 3 December 2014.

Work Health and Safety (Mines) Amendment Act 2014 No 71 (2014-769) — published LW 3 December 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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