Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 20 January 2015

Last Updated: 23 January 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Safety concerns on Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill mine in Western Australia
Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill mine in Western Australia has been told to urgently improve its safety standards after several serious incidents involving cranes and elevated working platforms (15 January 2015). More...

Farmers urged to rethink safety after quad bikes cause 15 deaths and countless injuries in 2014
Farmers are being urged to rethink the way they travel around the farm, after 15 people died last year as a result of quad bike related incidents. The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety says almost all of the 15 quad bike deaths occurred on farms, in addition to an almost unquantifiable number of injuries (15 January 2015). More...

Long work hours linked to alcohol abuse
Doctors are increasingly focusing on that older population after years of placing a higher priority on experimenting adolescents and young alcoholics. Evidence is emerging that high-pressure jobs push millions of people toward binge drinking, and deaths from alcohol abuse escalate as people get older (14 January 2015). More...

CFMEU ACT state secretary facing court
A senior CFMEU official is facing court after he reportedly refused to obey safety rules during a site visit. FWBC is also alleging the official, Dean Hall – who is the Australian Capital Territory CFMEU State Secretary – disrupted a concrete pour and threatened to stop another one (12 January 2015). More...

NSW to appoint more Mr Fluffy asbestos inspectors after spike in testing requests
Checks for Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos insulation in New South Wales houses will be increased after a surge in requests. Registrations for asbestos checks rose by 50 per cent over the past month to more than 2,600 after a new website and hotline opened. (12 January 2015). More... More...

Sydney fresh-produce markets mandates safety on forklift trucks following fatal accidents
Two fatal accidents at the Sydney Markets have resulted in mandatory seatbelts and rollover protection for all forklifts. The accidents, in 2012 and 2013, prompted the largest fresh-food market in the southern hemisphere to review their safety standards (08 January 2015). More...

Workplaces urged to make safety a priority in 2015
A total of 23 people died in Victorian workplaces last year, according to provisional figures released today by the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) (07 January 2015). More...

Tough smoking laws make New Year time to butt out
Queenslanders who smoke on, or within five metres of health facilities and school grounds will face on-the-spot fines of at least $227 from 1 January, 2015, under changes to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 (28 December 2014). More...

Transpacific Industries fined following chemical incident
Comcare welcomes the Federal Court in Adelaide's decision to fine Transpacific Industries following an incident involving an employee being exposed to hazardous chemicals (23 December 2014). More...

Companies fined $450,000 after dogman dies in rig collapse
Two companies were fined a total of $450,000 in the County Court last week over the death of a worker who fell 40 metres when a piling rig collapsed on a Melbourne construction site in 2011 (21 December 2014). More...

NSW: Firm fined $160,000 after fatality
A NSW District Court this week fined Robertsons Painting and Decorating Pty Ltd $160,000 for two OHS breaches after an employee died at work on January 24, 2011. The man was on an elevated work platform (EWP) with a second worker when it fell. The second man was not injured but "could well have been injured or killed", presiding judge Michael Finnane said. More...

Safe Work Australia releases Australia-wide fatalities 2014
As of December 16, 175 fatalities had been notified to Safe Work Australia. The fatalities: 44 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 43 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 28 in Construction; 15 in Mining; 12 in Manufacturing; 10 in Arts & recreation services; six in Accommodation & food services: five in Wholesale Trade; three each in Electricity, Gas & Water Services and in Administrative & support services. More...

FWC: Anti-bullying jurisdiction
None of the 189 anti-bullying applications made to the Fair Work Commission in the September quarter resulted in a "stop bullying" order. Approximately a quarter of applications (49) were withdrawn early in the case management process and a further 16 per cent (31 applications) were withdrawn further in the process, prior to formal proceedings. More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

SafeWork Australia: Construction Information Sheets
The following Information Sheets provide guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) on managing risks at construction workplaces.

Construction work – Work of a minor nature – provides general guidance on what might be considered 'work of a minor nature' and is therefore not covered by Chapter 6 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations when testing, maintaining or repairing a building or structure.

Workplace induction for construction workplaces – provides general guidance on what should be included in workplace specific induction training and task specific training for construction work.

Safe work method statement for high risk construction work – provides general guidance on the function, content and application of safe work method statements (SWMS) that are required for high risk construction work (18 December 2014). More...

In practice and courts

Construction Site Safety Guides 2014/15 Released
Latest edition of the QLD and NSW Construction Site Safety Guide – distributed free of charge - is a great go-to for keeping your construction site free from harm (28 December 2014). More...

Tougher home building laws start today
From today, builders and traders face up to 12 months in prison if they are repeat offenders of unlicensed contracting work or don't have the required insurance (15 January 2015). More...

Important improvements to the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme
The Australian Government announced improvements to modernise and streamline the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) and the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme (Scheme). These improvements follow a major review undertaken by the Department of Employment earlier in 2014. The improvements commenced 1 January 2015.

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. The NTC invites submissions on the discussion paper until 30 January 2015.

VWA Safety Alert: Silo collapse
This Alert highlights the potential danger of silos collapsing during transfer of grain and/or fertiliser products into or from silo storage (December 2014). More...

Victoria Prosecutions

Colonial Leisure Group Pty Ltd
132 266 061 18/12/2014 Crush injuries; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004; Magistrates' Court

Vibro-Pile (Aust.) Pty Ltd
006 103 135 18/12/2014 Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Fatality Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e) ; County Court Vibropile were convicted and fined $100,000 as an aggregate sentence.

Frankipile Australia Pty Ltd
000 842 240 18/12/2014 Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Fatality; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(e) ; County Court Frankipile were convicted and fined $350,000 as an aggregate sentence.

Martin De Tours Fretal Lay
17/12/2014 Burns; Dangerous goods; Exposure to chemicals; Inexperienced employee. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(b); Magistrates' Court On 17 December 2014, Martin Lay was fined $15,000.00

Visual Exposure Pty Ltd
158 183 076 17/12/2014 - Electric shock; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Magistrates' Court. The company was fined $50,000 without conviction, and ordered to pay $3097 costs. More...

Workcover Queensland: More common law webinars scheduled for early 2015
Given the high interest shown by customers in our October webinar on common law exposure risks attached to lifting and transfer injuries, a new webinar series will be run in 2015 from January to April. More...

Queensland Mines Safety Bulletin 14: Highwall failure; version 2
Recommendations: Each mine should review its Safety and Health Management System and each mine should ensure that the documented management structure reflects persons or groups who provide a service at the site such as assisting in the management of Principal Hazards such as Ground control (07 January 2015). More...

Queensland Mines Safety Bulletin 144: Uncontrolled movement on mine roads involving skidding and sliding
The Mines Inspectorate has released a number of safety alerts and bulletins over the last five years on the risks of uncontrolled movements on open-cut coal mine roads (17 December 2014). More...

Code for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (2014)
ARPANSA has published a Code for the Transport of Radioactive Materials (2014) (RPS C-2). This edition replaces the 2008 edition of the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (12 December 2014). More...

Weekly Update - Independent Investigation into Loose-Fill Asbestos
A licensed asbestos assessor can advise on whether living spaces are well sealed and asbestos hazards are appropriately controlled. As of 1 January, 2659 premises in the 26 council areas have registered for the free sampling service. More... More... More...

Cash in Transit Industry Inquiry interim report for comment
This outlines issues raised by written and verbal submissions and party proposed Road Safety Remuneration Orders (RSROs), including safe remuneration systems, training and qualifications, vehicle standards and personal protective equipment. Submissions on the interim report are due by 30 January 2015. More...


Yamaha Motor Australia—NXC125 Motorcycles 14th January 2015.

Woolworths Limited—Dive Sticks 8th January 2015.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd—Mercedes-Benz with OM651 Diesel Engines 8th January 2015.

Laminex Group Pty Ltd—Trade Essentials Craftwood Fireguard" (referred to as Fireguard) 7th January 2015.

VWA Safety Soapbox 10 December 2014
In this edition National OHS case roundup. More...


Ekinci v Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2014] FCAFC 180
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – appeal from decision of Administrative Appeals Tribunal – Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) s 44 – suspension and cancellation of licences and certificates of approval – application and construction of Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (Cth) – whether appellant a fit and proper person to hold licences and certificates of approval – denial of procedural fairness. More...

McDermott & Ors v Robinson Helicopter Company Incorporated [2014] QCA 357
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – STANDARD OF CARE – GENERALLY – where the first appellant was seriously injured in a helicopter accident – where the respondent manufactured the helicopter – where the appellants alleged at trial that the wording of the helicopter's maintenance manual failed to specify and require an adequate inspection procedure such that the defect which lead to the accident would have been discovered in time and the accident would have been prevented – where the trial judge found that the manual adequately addressed the risks associated with the inspection procedure for the defect, and that the respondent had therefore not breached its duty of care – where the appellants argue on appeal that the trial judge made erroneous findings of fact, and inconsistent and contrary findings of fact, in relation to how the defect came about and if it was detected, and how and the extent to which the maintenance manual addressed the risk of that type of defect – whether the appeal should be allowed. TRADE AND COMMERCE – COMPETITION, FAIR TRADING AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION – CONSUMER PROTECTION – LIABILITY OF MANUFACTURERS OR IMPORTERS FOR DEFECTIVE GOODS – where the first appellant was seriously injured in a helicopter accident – where the respondent manufactured the helicopter – where the first appellant claimed compensation under ss 75AD of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) for his injuries suffered because of a defect in the helicopter and/or maintenance manual – where the second appellant claimed compensation under s 75AE of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) for losses she has suffered because of the first appellant's injuries – where the trial judge found that neither the helicopter nor the maintenance manual had a 'defect' within the meaning of s 75AC of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), and that therefore neither the first nor second appellant could claim compensation under ss 75AD or 75AE – where the appellants argue on appeal that the trial judge erred in fact in making those findings – whether the appeal should be allowed. More...

Johnson v Box Hill Institute of TAFE [2014] VSC 626
NEGLIGENCE — Workplace injury — Manual handling – Occupational Health and Safety (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999 (Vic) — Breach of common law and statutory duties — Contributory negligence —Psychiatric injury — Bullying and harassment — Alleged failure by employer to prevent bullying/harassment by supervisor during return to work — Scope of employer's duty to prevent psychiatric injury — Whether employer's response to risk of psychiatric injury adequate — Application of Koehler v Cerebos (Aust) Ltd Assessment of damages —Application of Malec v Hutton to assessment of damages — Interaction between physical and psychological injuries. More...


New South Wales

Proclamations commencing Acts
Road Transport Amendment (Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program) Act 2014 No 42 (2015-2) — published LW 2 January 2015.

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment (Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program) Regulation 2015 (2015-3) — published LW 2 January 2015.


Current Reprints

Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 12 December 2014
Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 19 December 2014
Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 5 December 2014
Transport Operations (Marine Safety-Examining and Training Program Approvals (Recreational Ships and Personal Watercraft)) Standard 2005 15 December 2014
Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 12 December 2014.

Subordinate legislation as made

No 332 Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Amendment Regulation (No. 3) 2014 – 19 December 2014 - Amends the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 – new 6AA Substances prescribed for Act, s 402; Replacement of s 54AA (Operator to ensure drilling rig workers meet competency requirements) effective 01 January 2015 and Amendment of sch 9 (Fees).

No.323 State Penalties Enforcement Amendment Regulation (No. 2) 2014 – 19 December 2014
The objectives of this regulation, as listed in its explanatory notes, are to amend Schedule 1 (Infringement notice offences and fines for nominated laws) of the State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014 (SPE Regulation) in order to: prescribe a number of new PIN offences under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998.


Please click here for the calendar of sitting dates for both Houses of Victorian Parliament in 2015.

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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