Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 16 March 2015

Last Updated: 28 April 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

More Than Seven Young Workers Injured Every Day
According to the latest statistics from WorkSafe, more than seven young workers aged between 15 and 24 are seriously injured every day in Victoria. Half of these injuries take place in the construction, retail and manufacturing sectors (13 March 2015). More...

Statement from the Minister for Health
There have been a number of stories in recent days concerning workplace bullying, harassment and complaints handling mechanisms in various Victorian public hospitals. These stories have raised concerns that there may be possible system-wide issues relating to staff being able to make complaints about other staff, particularly those in more senior roles (12 March 2015). More...

Worker killed in accident at Blackwater coal mine in Queensland
A worker has been killed in a vehicle accident at the Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) coal mine in Blackwater, central Queensland. It is the fourth mining-related death in the region since May last year (12 March 2015). More...

No cancer link at fire station, report finds
An independent review of the conditions at a fire station in Perth's south and a spate of cancer cases among firefighters finds "no identifiable link" between the two (11 March 2015). More...

Engineering professor loses harassment, sex discrimination case against Monash University
A professor has lost a sexual harassment and sex discrimination case against Monash University, with a Federal Court judge calling some of her allegations "fanciful". Dr Qizhi Chen, made 53 claims of sex discrimination and sexual harassment against the university and some of its senior academics (10 March 2015). More...

Accreditation scheme now under full NHVR control
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has assumed total control of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and has started reforming aspects of its operation. The changes centre on the auditing provisions of the NHVAS standards and business rules, will enable more effective oversight of safety requirements by standardising the way audits are conducted and strengthening the quality of audits (10 March 2015). More...

NHVR hopeful of securing work diary exemption in Victoria
Discussions between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and VicRoads on exempting some primary production workers from filling out a work diary are ongoing, as the NHVR tries to ease the department's concerns about the safety of the measure. The exemption, supported by all states, means those carrying out primary production journeys within 160km of their base do not need to maintain a work diary (11 March 2015). More...

Musculoskeletal injury prevention and suitable duties are crucial for ageing workforce
WorkCover Queensland's data shows that around 63 per cent of claims from Queensland health and community care workers aged between 50 and 59 years are due to musculoskeletal injuries and diseases (09 March 2015). More...

Company facing new charges after recent fine over Bunbury workplace death
A Bunbury electrical company recently fined over the death of a worker appears in court over seven new charges. Energy regulator EnergySafety alleges JCW Electrical knowingly employed an electrical fitter to do the work of an electrician, two separate vocations that each required specific training and were not interchangeable (09 March 2015). More...

Vic WorkSafe chiefs sacked over contamination scandal
Victorian WorkSafe CEO Denise Cosgrove and Chairman David Krasnostein have been dismissed by Premier Daniel Andrews over toxic contamination of mains water at the Fiskville Country Fire Authority training centre (09 March 2015). More...

Senior female surgeon urges trainees to stay silent on sex abuse in hospitals
A senior surgeon has been criticised for her "appalling" suggestion that surgical trainees should stay silent if they're sexually assaulted by a colleague because coming forward could ruin their careers (07 March 2015). More...

ATA gives thumbs up for safety and productivity spending
The next round of heavy vehicle infrastructure spending is crucial to safety and efficiency, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has emphasised, including the and building new or upgraded heavy vehicle rest areas across the country (05 March 2015). More...

Compulsory black boxes in trucks 'a no brainer'
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says the Australian Government's target of a 30 per cent reduction in road deaths is not strong enough. The RACS says the National Road Safety Strategy 2011- 2020 recommendations include making black box technology a mandatory inclusion for all cars and heavy vehicles on Australian roads (05 March 2015). More...

Industry welcomes back NSW heavy vehicle licence to repair
Formal licences for heavy vehicle repairs have been reinstated in NSW, fair trading minister Matthew Mason-Cox has advised. The announcement is effectively a reversal of a side-effect of changes in the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act, which came into effect on December 1 last year (04 March 2015). More...

ACT firefighters warned of cancer-causing chemical in uniforms
ACT firefighters have been advised to take precautions handling their uniforms after they were found to contain formaldehyde, a chemical linked to lymphatic cancer and brain tumours. A warning was issued to all members of the ACT Emergency Service Agency and the commissioner after a CSIRO study found "unexpected levels" of the chemical in protective clothing (05 March 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

WorkCover Queensland update
The WorkCover Queensland Quarterly update provides an overview of the latest workers' compensation news and information. More...

SafeWork New Report on the Manufacturing Industry
Safe Work Australia has released a new report. The report found that the most common self-reported exposures in the manufacturing industry were exposure to airborne hazards, noise and vibration. Most workers with exposure to noise were provided with some type of control (unfortunately this was most commonly hearing protection devices). More... More...

In practice and courts

Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
As of March 10, the deaths of 27 Australian workers had been notified to Safe Work by the jurisdictions. The fatalities so far this year have been in the following industries: five each in Agriculture, forestry and fishing; and in Transport, postal and warehousing; four each in Mining and in Construction; three each in Electricity, gas, water & waste services and in 'other services'; two in Manufacturing; and one in Arts & Recreation services. The latest monthly report remains that for November 2014 – this report can be downloaded from the Safe Work Australia Monthly Fatalities. More... More....

Tasmania: Heavy vehicle national fatigue laws from 30 March 2015
From the end of this month (30 March), fatigue provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law will commence in Tasmania. The NHVR is working with the Department of State Growth to prepare Tasmanian operators and drivers for key changes, including introduction of the National Driver's Work Diary, record keeping requirements and changes to work and rest hours. More...

FWBC: Union officials must obey safety rules
In recent weeks FWBC has launched four court cases against union officials for allegedly disobeying safety laws on building and construction sites. Under Right of Entry laws, Right of Entry permit holders must obey site safety laws while visiting a site (March 2015). More...

ACT Regulation - Magistrates Court (Work Health and Safety Infringement Notices) Amendment
The Magistrates Court (Work Health and Safety Infringement Notices) Amendment Regulation (2015) (No 1) 2015 No. 7 (ACT). The objective of the amending Regulation is to amend Part 1.2 (Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011) of Schedule 1 (Work health and safety legislation infringement notice offences and penalties) to the principal Regulation to insert additional offences for which infringement notices can be issued. More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Three Safety Alerts and Guidance Note
Preventing roof collapses in housing provides information on managing the risks associated with structurally inadequate temporary roof supports in housing construction. Supervision at aquatic venues. This Alert highlights the importance of having systems of work in place to provide appropriate supervision of young patrons (children) at aquatic venues. Tampering with stair void protection - following recent serious injuries to workers when the stair void protection they were standing on collapsed, this Alert highlights the danger of tampering with stair void protection systems and provides guidance on managing the risks. Updated Guidance Note: Elevating work platforms and the placement of gas cylinders for cutting or welding.

Office of Federal Safety Commissioner: New case study on musculoskeletal safety
In the latest OFSC case study we look at a number of initiatives implemented by accredited companies aimed at reducing the number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries suffered by their workers (04 March 2015 ). More...

NSW: Government releases new Guide
As part of its response to the loose-fill asbestos problem, the NSW Government has released a new guide: Living in a Home with Loose-Fill Asbestos. The information provides clear guidance for residents including tenants living in homes that have been identified as containing loose-fill asbestos insulation (March 2015). More...

VIC: WorkSafe Safety Soapbox – 05 March 2015
The list of Reported Incidents from 12 February to 25 February is attached to the newsletter. There were a total of 68 incidents notified to WorkSafe; among these was the death of a worker who fell off a roof, and several other potentially tragic falls from heights of over 2 metres (05 March 2015). 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...

New Safety Draft Standards

DR 14921
Amendment 2 to AS/NZS 4417.2:2012 - Regulatory compliance mark for electrical and electronic equipment. More...

DR AS/NZS ISO 16900.11:2015
Respiratory protective devices - Methods of test and test equipment - Determination of field of vision. More...

DR AS/NZS ISO 16900.2:2015
Respiratory protective devices - Methods of test and test equipment - Determination of breathing resistance. More...


Inspector McCarthy (nee Shaw) v Siva & Jeya Pty Ltd [2015] NSWDC 15
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY – accident in restaurant – burns injuries to waitress – waitress re-filling burner pot for bain-marie with methylated spirits - resultant explosion and fire – whether part of waitress' duties to handle bain-marie or burner pot – whether burner pots with methylated spirits constituted safe plant and equipment – whether the use of methylated spirits in burner pots constituted safe system of work – whether alternatives such as gel fuel in a can ought to have been used – gel fuel in a can used immediately following the incident – whether information and instruction provided to waitress – whether risk assessment undertaken. More...

Inspector McCarthy (nee Shaw) v Siva Kumaran Mathiaparanam [2015] NSWDC 16
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY - accident in restaurant – burns injuries to waitress – same facts as in Inspector McCarthy (nee Shaw) v Siva & Jeya Pty Ltd – defendant director of company – whether under s 26 – whether defendant as director taken to have contravened s 8. More...

Inspector Nash v Bulga Underground Operations Pty Ltd (re Newstead) [2015] NSWDC 6
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY – coal mine workplace accident – longwall mining - worker struck by falling slab of coal when changing picks on maingate cutter drum then within the longwall – foreseeability of slab of coal falling and worker or part of worker's body being exposed to falling slab – whether worker deliberately and consciously placed himself under unsupported roof knowing he should not do so – whether alternatively he was present under unsupported roof and his presence was aberrant behaviour that could not be predicted by the defendant – location of worker at the time the slab fell – high degree of risk of slab of coal falling - inspection of work site by mine deputy before work undertaken, but findings not communicated – whether any of the following were undertaken or ought to have been undertaken: secondary roof support; picks changed at maingate end; developing a TARP; inspection of roof strata support by a competent person; conducting a risk assessment; compliance with safe work practices and with strata failure management plan; ensuring employees conducted a pre-task risk assessment; ensuring the worker was provided with adequate information and training in and providing copies of safe work procedures to the worker; instructing worker not to access work area until secondary support was installed; provision of supervision – whether alternate steps would have eliminated or merely lessened the risk of injury – whether s 8 required proof that alternative step would have eliminated the risk of injury. More...

Zealley v Liquorland (Aust) Pty Ltd & Anor [2015] VSC 62
NEGLIGENCE – Workplace injury – unloading from rear of a truck operated by third party – whether employer breached its duty of care – whether third party breached its duty of care – apportionment between defendants – contribution from another tortfeasor - whether employer's conduct after the injury was negligent and caused further damage – Wrongs Act 1985 (Vic), Part IV. More...



Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Amendment Bill 2015
03/03/2015 - to amend the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Act 1989, under The Limits of Liability in the Protocol of 1996. More...

Imported Food Warning Labels Bill 2015
02/03/2015 - This Bill aims to ensure that the food industry and consumers are aware of the risks associated with the importation and consumption of produce and food products that have not been grown or processed under Australia's stringent health and hygiene standards. More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (New South Wales) Regulation 2015 (2015-110) — published LW 5 March 2015.

Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Amendment (National Residential Medication Chart and Influenza Vaccination) Regulation 2015 (2015-138) — published LW 5 March 2015.


Wrongs Amendment (Asbestos Related Claims) Bill 2014
Legislative Council 26/2/2015 Read a third time, passed all stages and awaiting assent.

Wrongs Amendment (Asbestos Related Cases) Act 2015
Assent: 10/3/2015; Commencement: 11/3/2015 (Whole). This Act amends Part VBA of the Wrongs Act 1958 in relation to claims for the recovery of damages for non economic loss in respect of asbestos-related conditions.

Statutory Rules

No. 14: Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Sodium Oxybate) Regulations 2015
Date of Making: 10/03/2015 Commencement: 10/03/2015; Not yet in operation: N/A Sunset Date: 10/03/2025.

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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