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

Last Updated: 8 September 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Paul Hardman

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

ALC Compliance Summit: New research shows safety leadership crucial
Initial findings presented at the Australian Logistics Council's Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit by University of NSW senior research fellow point to active and responsive management, risk assessments, enforcement of rules and driver involvement as likely to be central to success in building a company safety culture (27 August 2015).  More...

Education trumps punitive WHS approach
Some WHS regulators are increasingly taken an educative approach to workplace safety without compromising their legal obligations under WHS laws. WorkCover NSW, which is soon to be overhauled with SafeWork NSW being the safety arm, has prided itself on changing tactics from being prosecutorial to prevention focused in an effort to boost workplace safety (27 August 2015).  More...

Don't let chemicals ruin your spring
Personal protection when handling chemicals is a high priority for Victorian grain and sheep producer Duncan Giles, who knows first-hand the dangers of hazardous exposure. He now uses protective gloves, a heavy dairy farming apron to protect against splashing and a cartridge respirator in the tractor cab when handling chemical products (26 August 2015).  More...

Service station operator fined, convicted over LPG fire
A Sydney service station operator has been fined $85,000 and convicted for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers and putting other persons at risk after a dangerous gas fire broke out at the service station (26 August 2015).  More...

Company fined after worker nearly killed at Canberra Hospital work site
A Canberra worker was clinically dead before he could be revived by medical staff after he received an electric shock at the Canberra Hospital redevelopment. Industrial Magistrate Lorraine Walker fined Canberra project management firm, Iqon, $15,000 for failing to comply with a safety duty, saying the sentence would acknowledge the harm done to the victim act as general deterrence to other companies (24 August 2015).  More...

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal issues draft RSRO on minimum payments for contractor drivers
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (the Tribunal) has issued a draft road safety remuneration order (RSRO) on minimum payments for contractor drivers. The clauses in the draft Payments RSRO impose requirements on employers or hirers of road transport drivers and participants in the supply chain (26 August 2015).  More...

NTC seeks more information to bolster fatigue data
The National Transport Commission (NTC) is looking to develop its knowledge of fatigue issues in the Australian heavy vehicle industry, and is calling for public submissions on ways to collect new data (24 August 2015).  More...

Road safety action plan to save lives on Queensland roads
Minister for Road Safety Mark Bailey today released the Palaszczuk Government's new Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, a road map to improve safety, reduce injury and curb the state's road toll (24 August 2015).   More...

AFP woman staffer wins compensation after being sexually harassed and bullied by colleagues
An unsworn Australian Federal Police employee has won a compensation battle after being intimidated, bullied and sexually harassed by colleagues while working in Canberra. AATA deputy president Gary Humphries found Comcare was liable to pay the woman compensation for an adjustment disorder (21 August 2015).  More...

Industrial psychologist says mining managers need to 'dramatically re-think' approach to safety
Mining companies pride themselves on the absence of accidents as an indicator of their commitment to safety, but one expert says that mindset is fuelling safety failures (21 August 2015).  More...

Defence fined $220,000 for training death of commando and wounding of comrade
The Defence Department has been fined $220,000 for Lance Corporal Edwards' death and the wounding of a second soldier in 2009. The Federal Court found Defence had breached the health and safety laws by not providing correct supervision, and failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to provide and maintain a working environment for employees that was safe and without risk to their health (20 August 2015).  More...

Former worker awarded $170,000 compo in disability discrimination case
The court ruled Corrective Services failed to make "reasonable adjustments" to Caryn Huntley's work duties after she was diagnosed with Chrohn's Disease, which is considered to be a disability under Australian law (20 August 2015).  More...

Action to make the workplace safer for female fire fighters
The Palaszczuk Government has today accepted all 30 recommendations of an independent review into allegations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying in the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) (20 August 2015).  More...

Crawfords opens its doors to union safety inspectors
Crawfords Freightlines has conducted an on-site inspection of its Sandgate head office with representatives from the Transport Workers Union (TWU). The walk-through comes after the TWU this week called for a WorkCover NSW investigation at the workplace (20 August 2015).  More...

Canberra construction company fined $1.1 million over death of truck driver
A Canberra construction company has been fined $1.1 million over the death of a truck driver in 2012 under new national work safety laws (19 August 2015).  More...

Truck company boss faces permanent driving ban over manslaughter of Robert Brimson
An Adelaide trucking company boss faces a potentially permanent driving ban after being convicted for manslaughter over the death of one of his drivers (19 August 2015).  More...

Time to ensure privacy and safe access
Women's Health Victoria (WHV) supports amending the Health and Wellbeing Act to ensure that staff and patients can safely access reproductive health services. Medical privacy and the right to safely access health services is taken for granted by most Victorians (19 August 2015).  More...

In practice and courts

National Transport Commission discussion paper on fatigue
The NTC is looking to develop its knowledge of fatigue issues in the Australian heavy vehicle industry, and is calling for public submissions on ways to collect new data. The commission released a discussion paper on Friday, and is hoping to build a comprehensive framework for fatigue data. Submissions based on the discussion paper will be accepted up until October 16.

Draft RSRO on minimum payments for contractor drivers
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal today 26 August 2015, issued a draft road safety remuneration order and accompanying  Statement on minimum payments for contractor drivers. The issuing of the  draft Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (draft Payments RSRO) follows a period of extensive consultation with interested parties. Review the draft Payments RSRO submissions by 23 September 2015. Written comments in reply to those initial submissions will close 7 October 2015.

ARPANS Act Amendment Bill passes the Senate
On 18 August 2015 the Bill to amend the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) passed the Senate. The Bill passed the House of Representatives on 13 August 2015. The amendments to the Act will improve the operation of the legislation and update the regulatory scheme to better reflect international best practice (20 August 2015).  More...

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Consultation: Safe Food Australia review
Safe Food Australia is an explanatory guide to the food safety standards in Chapter 3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. This key document is used by food businesses to help them produce safe food. The period for comment closes on 18 September 2015.  More...

Safe Work Australia: Explosives Regulation in Australia: Discussion Paper and Consultation Regulation Impact Statement
Safe Work Australia is seeking comments about your or your organisation's experience of the regulation of explosives in Australia. Closing date: 10 September 2015.  More...

Workplace Relations Framework: Draft report consultation
Written submissions close on 18 September 2015.The draft report is a broad-ranging assessment of Australia's workplace relations (WR) framework, considering current laws, institutions and practices. It uses an economy wide approach, looking at possible reforms that, where merited, are likely to enhance the welfare of Australians as a whole.  More...

NSW: Loose-fill asbestos update
The latest update from the NSW Government on the Loose-Fill Asbestos Insulation project states that there have now been 58 homes identified as containing loose-fill asbestos through historical records. Fifteen other NSW properties have tested positive for loose-fill asbestos as part of the NSW Government's free ceiling insulation testing program.  More...

VIC: 'Injury Hotspot' tool
WorkSafe Victoria's Injury Hotspots tool has been updated.  More...

SWA: Virtual Seminars planned for Health and Safety Week
Safe Work Australia has announced that it will once again run its virtual seminar series throughout October, where they plan to showcase the latest thinking, innovation, research and development in work health and safety.  More...

ASEA: 2nd International Asbestos Conference 2015
The conference will this year be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane.  More...


Horner; Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and (Compensation) [2015] AATA 618
COMPENSATION - Military compensation - Determination of normal earnings - Meaning of reasonable expectation of promotion - Where promotion would almost certainly have occurred but for compensable injury - Provision intended to exclude from normal earnings any promotion that had not yet actually occurred - Decision under review set aside. Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, ss 141, 180, 186; Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, s 8.  More...

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Alpha Flight Services Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 118
CONSUMER LAW – product safety contraventions – pecuniary penalties – discretion of trial judge – alleged failure of trial judge to give adequate weight to relevant considerations – general deterrence – maximum penalties – course of conduct principle – character of the contraventions – whether penalties manifestly inadequate – appeal dismissed - The contraventions concerned the supply, offer for supply and possession or control between August and September 2013 of goods that were the subject of a permanent ban imposed by Consumer Protection Notice No 5 of 2012 issued under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 (Vic) s 8.  More...

Victoria OHS Enforcements:

Owners Corporation 1 Plan No. PS348186R  18/08/2015
Non complied notice -  Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 114(4) ;  Magistrates' Court issued with an improvement notice in relation to a common property over which it had management and control at the Frankston Business Centre complex,  fined $2,500, without conviction, and ordered to pay costs in the amount of $3,000.

R Collie Earthmoving Pty Ltd  095 663 317  13/08/2015
Crush injuries -  Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1) ;  Magistrates' Court. On 13 August 2015 the accused was convicted and fined $37,000 with costs of $3,895.

Elonchrome Pty Ltd  006 420 471  10/08/2015
Failure to provide and maintain plant, Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a) ;  Magistrates' Court.  More...




Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2015 (2015-497) — published LW 28 August 2015.

Workers Compensation Amendment (Weekly Payments) Regulation 2015 (2015-509) — published LW 28 August 2015.


Subordinate Legislation

No 92: Pastoral Workers' Accommodation Regulation 2015 - 21 August 2015 -  amends the Pastoral Workers' Accommodation Act 1980.


Acts assented to

No. 34: Road Safety Amendment (Private Car Parks) Act 2015
Assent: 25/08/2015 SG (No. 238) 25/8/2015 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-4 on 26/08/2015: s. 2.

Bills Introduced and Second Read in the first House – week ending 21 August 2015
Heavy Vehicles Legislation Amendment Bill Victorian Legislation is available online at now.  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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