Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 11 May 2015

Last Updated: 18 May 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Reduce the dangers posed by your tractor
WorkSafe Victoria has issued an urgent call for renewed vigilance by the farming community following the deaths of two men working with tractors on Sunday. The Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said tractors were an integral part of country life but they needed to be treated with care (05 May 2015). More...

Tractors claim two lives in tragic afternoon
WorkSafe Victoria is investigating the death of a self-employed diesel mechanic on his property in Edenhope and is also making inquiries into the death of a man on a hobby farm in Ventnor earlier on Sunday afternoon (04 May 2015). More...

WorkCover to visit Gladstone businesses
WorkCover Queensland is visiting Gladstone employers in the construction, manufacturing and technical service industries during May 2015 to help raise awareness about the importance of correctly covering workers for workplace injury (30 April 2015). More...

WorkCover responds to deadly safety risk
A spike in serious injuries and deaths in the NSW glass and glazing industry has prompted WorkCover NSW to react. Over a three year period, two workers died and 431 were injured, resulting in more than $7 million in workers compensation claims. The incidents were due, in part, to a lack of experience and businesses buying direct from unknown overseas manufacturers (29 April 2015). More...

$450,000 fine over front end loader tragedy
A Melbourne waste recycling company has been convicted and fined $450,000 over the death of an employee who was struck by the bucket of a 20-tonne front end loader. Resource Recovery Victoria pleaded guilty in the County Court of Victoria on 31 March to two offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (27 April 2015). More...

Concannon v Portland District Health [2015] FWC 513: Claim for Constructive Dismissal Dismissed
In the case of Concannon v Portland District Health [2015] FWC 513 (30 January 2015), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has dismissed a claim for constructive dismissal by a human resources manager who sent an abusive email threatening to unleash "10 kinds of hell" on his employer. More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Compendium of WHS and workers' compensation statistics 6th edition
The latest Compendium of WHS and workers' compensation statistics has been released with data to June 2014. The Compendium presents an overview of the Comcare scheme and includes statistical data on the scheme's WHS and workers' compensation performance. Performance information has been compiled from a variety of sources including workers' compensation claims, WHS incident notifications, survey data and financial reports (30 April 2015). More...

In practice and courts

Firefighting increases cancer mortality risks
Another study has strengthened the evidence that firefighting exposures increase the risk of death from cancer. The latest is a study carried out by the NIOSH, the US federal agency responsible for conducting research on work-related diseases. Of eight types of cancers examined, researchers found that lung cancer and leukemia mortality risks increased with firefighter exposures Occupational & Environmental Medicine. More...

WorkCover Queensland:Setting-up and dismantling of amusement rides
There is a hazard when working directly underneath ride components that are only suspended by hydraulics or air pressure (01 May 2015). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Re-design of rider restraint systems on amusement devices
There are identified risks with rider restraint systems on some amusement rides. This alert outlines information on engineering controls to assist in ensuring the safety of patrons (01 May 2015). More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Lift Work on Construction Projects - this handbook provides advice for employers, employees, health and safety representatives, and anyone who has a role in health and safety about controlling risks associated with the installation or refurbishment of lifts (lift work) on construction projects (April 2015). More...

VIC: WorkSafe Safety Soapbox
The bulletin includes Registration of No Go Zone spotters safety items from Victoria and other States; list of Reported Incidents from 26 March – 8 April. There were at total of 39 incidents reported in the two week period, including falls, electric shocks and near misses (29 April 2015). More...


Rawlings v Rawlings [2015] VSC 171
TORTS — Negligence — Duty of care — Workplace injury — Psychiatric injury — Foreseeability — Scope of employer's duty to prevent psychiatric injury — Plaintiff employed in parent's building business which failed — Whether plaintiff assigned employment tasks in breach of common law duties in respect of the winding up of the affairs of the business by his mother following his father's mental breakdown— Circumstances affecting relationship between employer and employee — Whether parent/child relationship relevant — Application of Koehler v Cerebos (Aust) Ltd — Whether psychiatric injury caused by employer directives in breach of a duty. TORTS — Negligence— Assessment of damages —Psychiatric injury —Application of Malec v Hutton to assessment of damages. More...

Comcare v John Holland Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 388
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Occupational Health and Safety – statement of agreed facts – agreement by respondent concerning contravention of legislation – failure of respondent to take reasonable steps to protect health and safety – injury of employee – agreed penalty and declarations as to contravention – penalty assessment ultimately for the Court – relevant principles to be applied – mitigating factors including contrition – not systemic failure of safety standards – comparable cases – imposition of pecuniary penalty – declarations of contravention – award of costs considered. 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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