Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 14 October 2014

In the media

Worker fatalities
As at 10 October 2014, 135 Australian workers have been killed while at work, according to SafeWork Australia latest statistics. More...

Sixteenth Comparative Performance Monitoring Report released
Safe Work Australia released the 16th edition of the Comparative Performance Monitoring report. This report provides trend analysis on the work health and safety and workers' compensation schemes operating in Australia and New Zealand in 2012-13 (08 October 2014). More...

School principals under greater pressure than ever
The Australian Education Union has released the State of our Schools Survey today, showing that Victorian public school principals are dealing with peak levels of stress and workload (09 October 2014). More...

Workers concerned about venomous snakes at the Nyngan Solar Plant development
Workers building a solar plant in western New South Wales have raised safety concerns including venomous snakes on their work site. The $400 million Nyngan Solar Plant was being developed by AGL with government funding (09 October 2014). More...

Cootes fined $50,000 over serious truck defects after fatal crash probe
A trucking company involved in a fiery crash that killed two people in Sydney last year has been fined $50,000 for serious defects in its Victorian petrol tanker fleet. The Victorian investigation into the fleet found 67 serious defects (08 October 2014). More...

CFMEU Organiser failed to disclose criminal past
FWBC has lodged an application before the Fair Work Commission seeking the revocation of a CFMEU organiser's right of entry permit on the grounds that he failed to disclose his criminal history at the time his permit was issued (08 October 2014). More...

WorkCover and Motor Traders Association agree on safety
Safety is at the forefront of a partnership agreement signed today between Workcover NSW and the Motor Traders' Association (MTA) of NSW. The renewal of the partnership agreement builds on the excellent working relationship WorkCover and the Motor Traders' Association NSW have enjoyed since 2008 (08 October 2014). More...

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Review
The Queensland Government has commissioned an independent review of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services' (QFES) and Public Safety Business Agency's (PSBA) handling of sexual harassment and workplace bullying (03 October 2014). More...

Ausdrill sued for damages over worker death
Mining contractor Ausdrill is facing legal action over the death of an employee in Ghana in 2011. Ampomah did have a licence and identification documents at the time of the test, however these were discovered to be forgeries during an investigation by Ghana police (03 October 2014). More...

Australian mine deaths preventable if warnings heeded, WorkSafe seminar hears
Deaths at three Tasmanian mines could have been predicted and prevented had safety warnings been heeded, a mining safety seminar has heard. Professor Michael Quinlan, who analysed deaths in mines around the world, including five from rock falls in Tasmanian mines at Beaconsfield, Renison and Cornwall, has addressed a WorkSafe seminar in Launceston (02 October 2014). More...

Poor supervision led to electrocution of Tadgh Moynihan, coroner finds
The electrocution of a tradesman was the result of poor supervision, minimal training and the man's decision to undertake work he knew little about, a coroner has found. A subsequent WorkCover investigation failed to pursue the evidence properly because the investigator had already formed the view that the man had "recklessly caused his own death" (02 October 2014). More...

ACCI: A time to reflect on the benefits of improved WHS
In 2013 the Safe Work Australia statistics revealed that in the last 10 years the number of work related deaths have fallen by 40% to 191. Although this is the lowest number of fatalities recorded in a decade, even one death is still way too many. We need to continue to raise awareness and improve WHS in the workplace by working together (01 October 2014). More...

Queensland cane harvest electrical accidents hit seven year high as fatigue and low skilled workforce blamed
The number of electrical accidents involving cane harvesters in parts of Queensland has reached a seven year high. After a steady overall decline since 2006, the 30 incidents recorded across the North, Far North, Mackay and Wide Bay in 2013 represent a second successive annual increase and a doubling of the 15 recorded in 2011 (01 October 2014). More...

Female firefighters sexually harassed in colleagues' Facebook poll
Queensland Fire Service firemen are under investigation over a Facebook "straw poll" rating which female colleagues would be best in bed. The Courier-Mail understands at least three male officers could face the sack or disciplinary action over the scandal at a southeast Queensland fire station (29 September 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building
World Green Building Council (WGBC)
The report underscores the role of green building in reducing absenteeism, a significant drain on business productivity. The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) identifies the aggregate cost to Australian businesses of ill health and absenteeism as $7 billion per year. More...

Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
As of October 10, 132 fatalities had been reported to Safe Work Australia. The fatalities: 36 in Transport, postal and warehousing; 31 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; 19 in Construction; 14 in Mining; 10 in Manufacturing; five each in Arts & recreation services and in Accommodation & food services; four in Wholesale Trade; three in Electricity, Gas & Water Services; two in Health care/social assistance. More...

Comparative Performance Monitoring Report, 16th edition Safe Work Australia
The rate of return to work following an injury increased two percentage points from last year with 77 per cent of injured workers successfully returning to work within eight to 10 months of sustaining their injury in 2012-13. The transport and storage, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries have substantially higher fatality and injury rates than the national average. Australian workers' compensation schemes paid out more than $7.9 billion (08 October 2014). More...

In practice and courts

FSC: Hand Safety Case Study Released
The OFSC has released a new case study on detailing a number of initiatives accredited companies have undertaken to help combat hand injuries. The case study highlights the work done by Lipman Pty Ltd, Cooper & Oxley Builders, Sitzler Pty Ltd, and Sarah Constructions Pty Ltd in raising awareness, educating and protecting their workers from hand injuries (09 October 2014). More...

VWA: Safety Soapbox October 2014
There were 42 incidents notified to the VWA since the last edition, for the period September 11 - 24, including lacerations, electric shocks, fractures and near misses. Read more, including link to the list of reported incidents. More...

Regional centres to host free Health and Safety Week seminars
Join experts devoted to improving health and safety in the workplace as they present a series of seminars across Victoria as part of VWA Health and Safety Week. The Victorian WorkCover Authority will host free seminars in Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton, Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool and Morwell from 23-31 October (08 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 October. 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...


Warren v Maclean-Lower Clarence Services Club Ltd [2014] NSWSC 1374 The defendants ordered to pay Mr Warren damages in the sum of $1,708,309. CIVIL LAW - damages - substantial damages to be made - defendants not in any financial position to pay any order - orders made Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW). More...

Moama Bowling Club Ltd v The Thomson Group Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 245
TORTS – Causation – Whether fire in appellant's premises proved to be caused by explosion of lamp in Philips A500 open faced quartz halogen floodlights supplied and installed by respondent – More than one possible cause of fire – Whether proved that one cause more likely than another. NEGLIGENCE – Professional negligence – Whether registered electrical contractor negligent in failing to be aware of risk of explosion posed by open faced quartz halogen floodlights and, therefore, in supplying and installing same in appellant's premises.
SALE OF GOODS – Statutorily implied warranties – Fitness for purpose – Whether Philips A 500 open faced quartz halogen floodlights fit for purpose for which respondent supplied them – Goods Act 1958 (Vic), s 19(a). More...

Lloyd Helicopters Pty Ltd v Civil Aviation Safety Authority (No 2) [2014] FCA 1070
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – practice and procedure – interlocutory application to strike out points of claim –discovery categories sought to be set aside – application dismissed. Civil Aviation Act 1988 (Cth) s 9A. More...

Tarif v Anglican Retirement Villages Diocese of Sydney [2014] NSWWCCPD 61
Psychological injury; challenge to factual findings; evaluation of conflicting evidence; application of the principles in Northern NSW Local Health Network v Heggie [2013] NSWCA 255; reasonable conduct with respect to discipline; s 11A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The Arbitrator's determination of 16 June 2014 is confirmed. More...

Hamcor Pty Ltd & Anor v State of Queensland & Ors [2014] QSC 224
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – DUTY OF CARE – IN GENERAL – – where the first defendant operates a fire brigade – where the brigade owed duties to the public at large – where the brigade may owe duties to other persons – whether a fire brigade owes a duty to take care in fighting a fire – whether the potential for conflicting duties affects the brigade's duty of care to the plaintiffs – whether a duty of care would be inconsistent with the brigade's statutory functions. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – WHERE ECONOMIC OR FINANCIAL LOSS – where the plaintiffs suffered economic loss as a result of contamination of land – whether the plaintiffs' claim is for pure economic loss. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – DUTY OF CARE – RELATIONSHIP OF PROXIMITY – where the first defendant operates a fire brigade – where the officers comprising the brigade had skill and knowledge above that possessed by normal members of the community – whether the brigade was in a position to control its response to the fire – whether the plaintiffs were vulnerable to or reliant on the acts and omissions of the brigade – whether the brigade owes a common law duty of care. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE – GENERALLY – where the plaintiffs failed to undertake preventative measures against a fire – whether the plaintiffs' failures contributed to the loss sustained. INSURANCE – INSURANCE AGENTS AND BROKERS – DUTY TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE INSURANCE COVER – whether broker acting pursuant to a contract owed a duty of care to third parties. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – ESSENTIALS OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE – DAMAGE – CAUSATION – GENERALLY – whether the plaintiffs would have acted in accordance with any advice brokers might hypothetically have given – whether insurance would have been available to plaintiffs. More...

Fofana v Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd [2014] QDC 224
TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – DUTY OF CARE – IMPLIED TERM OF CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT – relationship between employer and employee – where plaintiff worked at the defendant's chicken abattoir – where alleged work practices caused injury to plaintiff's lower back – whether defendant in breach of its common law and/or contractual duties to the plaintiff – where change in the processing system occurred during course of plaintiff's employment – weight to be given to expert evidence – relevance of expert evidence. TORTS – NEGLIGENCE – IMPLIED TERM OF CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT – QUANTUM – whether claims for general damages, past and future economic loss – paid assistance proved to appropriate standard – where evidence of economic loss imprecise – where evidence is such that resort to a global assessment of damages required. More...



Poisons Standard 2014
This standard substitutes the Poisons Standard 2013 and its amendments, and consists of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 5 (the SUSMP 5), as set out in Schedule 1 of this standard (10 October 2014) To be ceased 01 Apr 2025. More...

Work Health and Safety Exemptions (Diving by members of the Australian Defence Force) (July 2014) Amendment Notice
This instrument amends the Work Health and Safety Exemptions (Diving by members of the Australian Defence Force (July 2014) to include ADF SCUBA Air Supervisors (07 October 2014). More...



No 232: Transport Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014
Tow Truck Act 1973; Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 - Includes Amendment of Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010. Waiving payment of particular fee in special circumstances

Current reprints

Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 1 October 2014
Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation 29 September 2014
Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 29 September 2014
Heavy Vehicle National Law Regulation 2014 29 September 2014
Radiation Safety Regulation 2010 1 October 2014
Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 26 September 2014



No. 52: Sentencing Amendment (Baseline Sentences) Act 2014
Assent: 12/08/2014 SG (No. 267) 12/8/2014 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-19 on 02/11/2014: SG (No. 350) 7/10/2014 p. 1 Not yet in operation: Ss 1-19: on 02/11/2014: SG (No. 350) 7/10/2014 p. 1.

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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