Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 1 April 2015

Last Updated: 11 April 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Fiskville Shut Forever
The Government has permanently closed the CFA training facility at Fiskville. The CFA board unanimously recommended the closure of the site following the results of around 550 tests at the site showed that while the drinking water and showers were clear of contamination, high levels of the toxic chemical PFOS were found around the fire training area (26 March 2015). More...

McDonald's workers told to treat burns with condiments; survey shows (25/03/2015)
McDonald's workers who have suffered severe burns in their workplace filed 28 health and safety complaints against the company in 19 cities over the past two weeks, a labor group announced on Monday. (24 March 2015). More...

WorkSafe to investigate Chevron safety claims after Cyclone Olwyn
WA's industrial safety watchdog will investigate the cyclone safety procedures of US gas giant Chevron after concerns were raised about its Pilbara operations during Tropical Cyclone Olwyn (18 March 2015). More...

Investigation into a fatal collision at Ravensworth open cut mine
The NSW Mine Safety Investigation Unit concluded in its report that the incident highlighted the importance of having an effective risk management program in relation to the interaction of light and heavy vehicles at open cut mines. More... More...

Linc Energy alleged to have exposed workers to dangerous gases at experimental plant
Mining company Linc Energy is alleged to have exposed workers to dangerous gases at an experimental plant in Queensland. A medical expert commissioned by the department found that "the symptoms presented are consistent with exposure to the known chemical constituents of syngas" (16 March 2015). More...

Asbestos victim wins right to claim compo
A former Gove alumina refinery worker has successfully claimed $425,000 in compensation for malignant mesothelioma, which developed as a result of asbestos exposure during the 1970s (16 March 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Victoria: Asbestoswise Newsletter
Asbestos diseases support group, Asbestoswise, has released its March 2015 newsletter. The newsletter has items on recent changes within the organisation, the annual commemoration service, an update on changes to Victoria's Wrongs Act, and more news. More...

NSW: Loose-fill asbestos weekly update
As of 19 March, 2015, 2,246 premises in the 26 council areas had registered for the free sampling service; and at that date 1,323 properties had been tested with 1,319 samples determined to not contain asbestos. Four samples for properties in Berrigan Shire, Yass Valley, Queanbeyan City and Greater Hume local government areas have returned positive results. More...

In practice and courts

2015 quad bike fatalities as at 18 March 2015
There were 4 fatalities recorded, 2 recreational and 2 work related. More...

FWBC Industry Update 18 March 2015
Seven CFMEU officials facing Australia-wide construction site bans and "Recidivist" CFMEU guilty of contempt - Federal Court fines CFMEU $125,000 (18 March 2015). More... More... More...

NSW Government responses due
Review of the exercise of the functions of the WorkCover Authority, response due Tuesday, 17 March 2015. More...

NSW Safety Alert: In-service failure of safety critical steering component
Both front steering hubs on an underground personnel transport vehicle failed in quick succession on 9 November 2014, with the vehicle coming to rest and narrowly missing contact with the roadway wall (18 March 2015). More...

WorkSafe Victoria:
Safety Alert - Battery powered circular saws. This Alert highlights hazards associated with the use of battery powered circular saws (battery saws). More...

VIC: Worksafe Safety Soapbox – 18 March 2015
The list of Reported Incidents from 26 February to 11 March is attached to the newsletter. There were a total of 70 incidents notified to WorkSafe, including the tragic death of the young worker in the trench collapse incident. There were 27 'near misses' – many of them potentially extremely serious. More...

Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
As of March 20, the deaths of 37 Australian workers had been notified to Safe Work by the jurisdictions – this is ten more workers killed in the ten days since March 10. More...

kNOw Cancer Risks at Work Forum – 18 May, 2015 The national forum will be highlighting prevention and elimination of occupational cancer risks in Australia, and is open to occupational health and safety professionals, industry representatives and unions, researchers, public health professionals and anyone with an interest in occupational cancers. More...


Grills v Leighton Contractors Pty Limited [2015] NSWCA 72
TORTS – negligence – workplace injury – police highway patrol – motorcade – urgent duty – single motorcycle accident – where boom gate lowered in error TORTS – negligence – proceedings brought against operator of motorway – proceedings brought against State as employer TORTS – negligence – whether motorway operator owed appellant duty of care in situation in which motorway was closed to civilian traffic and operator was acting under police directions – scope of operator's duty to police officer on urgent duties – breach of duty TORTS – negligence – employer's duty of care – breach of duty – where employer did not have control over technical aspects of motorway – where employer provided insufficient instructions to motorway operator TORTS – negligence – apportionment between multiple tortfeasors – correct test TORTS – negligence – contributory negligence – standard to be applied – Civil Liability Act 2002, ss 5B, 5C, 5R COSTS – where appellant substantially not successful – where cross-appellants not successful – exercise of discretion where order that costs follow the event would have similar effect to no order as to costs. More...

Palmer & Ors v State of Queensland [2015] QDC 063
EMPLOYMENT LAW – injury to employee – psychiatric injury – employee subject to complaint – investigation of complaint in conjunction with a large number of related complaints – whether duty of care in respect of psychiatric injury. EMPLOYMENT LAW – injury to employee – psychiatric injury – comments by superior – whether such injury a reasonably foreseeable consequence. EMPLOYMENT LAW – injury to employee – psychiatric injury – whether breach of duty – damages assessed. More...

Metcalfe v Clayton Church Homes Incorporated [2015] FCA 219
INDUSTRIAL LAW – exercise of workplace rights –– claim for workers compensation and claim to return to work in previous role at previous workplace – complaint to regulatory authority about safety of workplace. INDUSTRIAL LAW – adverse action – whether criticism about completion of applicant's timesheets constituted adverse action – whether deducting amounts by which applicant allegedly overpaid from applicant's wages constituted adverse action. Held: Application dismissed. More...

Wormleaton v Thomas & Coffey Limited (No 4) [2015] NSWSC 260
TORTS – negligence – liability for severe crush injury at work – duty of care owed by an employer to its employee – whether breach of duty of care was within the scope of the employer/employee relationship TORTS – negligence – liability of entrepreneur – liability of head contractor – injury in area of sub-contractors shared responsibility – obligation to implement safe system of work – casual negligence of employees of major sub-contractor DAMAGES – torts – negligence – workers compensation – impact of substantial diminution of earning capacity in determining past and future economic loss DAMAGES – torts – negligence – workers compensation – application of compensatory principle in circumstances where different types of prosthetics available Judgment in favour of the plaintiff against the first defendant in the sum of $2,286,832.00; Judgment in favour of the plaintiff against the second defendant in the sum of $2,286,832.00; Satisfaction of one of the judgments in orders (1) and (2) discharges the other pro tanto. More...



Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill 2015
A Bill for an Act to amend the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, and makes other changes to the Act which will improve the efficiency, cost effectiveness and viability of the Comcare scheme, and align parts of the scheme with State schemes (Registered 26 Mar 2015 - Introduced HR - 25 March 2015). More...

Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (Prescribed Ship or Unit — Intra-State Trade) Declaration 2015
This instrument declares that a ship or vessel which is only engaged in intra-state trade is not a prescribed ship or a prescribed unit for the purposes of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (Registered 25 March 2015). More...


Acts Assented to

No. 3: Back to Work Act 2015
Assent: 25/03/2015 SG (No. 59) 25/3/2015 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-58 on 01/07/2015: s. 2 Not yet in operation: Ss 1-58: on 01/07/2015: s. 2.

No. 5: Interpretation of Legislation Amendment Act 2015
Assent: 25/03/2015 SG (No. 59) 25/3/2015 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-11 on 01/07/2015: s. 2. Not yet in operation: Ss 1-11: on 01/07/2015: s. 2. More...

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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