Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 29 September 2015

In the media

Inquiries into migrant worker rights show same old problems – but we already have solutions
A Senate inquiry into exploitation and underpayment of foreign workers at 7-Eleven stores began in Melbourne today. The inquiry is likely to raise questions about the health and safety impacts of workplace practices that target vulnerable workers for profit (24 September 2015).  More...

Western Sydney engineering company fined over worker's death
A western Sydney engineering and manufacturing company has been fined $225,000 following an incident in 2012 where a worker died when a crane fell on top of him. SafeWork NSW charged Baker & Provan Pty Ltd under s19 (1)/32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (23 September 2015).  More...

Fatalities, profits slash BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie's pay by 43%
A major factor in the 43 per cent pay cut BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie copped in 2015 was the company's record on worker fatalities, which cost him 20 per cent of his short-term bonus. In all Mackenzie's short-term incentive bonus payment totalled $US2.312 million in 2015, down from $US3.136 million last year (23 September 2015).  More...

Sex, lies and frequent coarse language: public servants behaving badly
Federal public servants have been demoted and fined in cases among those featured in the annual Australian Public Service shame files published by its workplace appeals authority the Merit Protection Commissioner (23 September 2015).  More...

Paper manufacturer receives $400,000 fine over forklift driver death
One of Australia's largest packaging and resource recovery companies, Visy Paper Pty Ltd has been fined more than $400,000 following the death of a worker in 2012. Executive Director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said despite being aware of the risks, Visy failed to ensure the safety of workers in the yard (21 September 2015).  More...

Calls for improved security at regional Victorian courts from police after increase in ice-related attacks
The Victorian Government has ordered a safety audit of all magistrates courts in Victoria.  Police in Victoria are calling for improved security screening and armed guards to patrol courtrooms in regional Victoria, as they struggle with an increased threat of violence from ice-affected offenders ( 15 September 2015).  More...

Trade union royal commission called for extortion charge against CFMEU state secretary Michael Ravbar
The royal commission into trade unions pushed Queensland authorities to bring criminal charges against union boss Michael Ravbar nine months ago but they are yet to act (24 September 2015).  More...

Chaff cutting company fined $75,000 over accident that took teen's legs
The employer of a teenage worker who lost both legs in a workplace accident has been fined $75,000 for safety breaches. Mark Geoffrey Donaldson, trading as Cressy Chaff Cutters, had previously pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court in Launceston to failing to comply with health and safety duties, category two (22 September 2015).  More...

Strengthening court security in NSW
Security at key courthouses across NSW will be further strengthened with the appointment of 40 new Sheriff's Officers as part of the NSW Government's counter-terrorism response,  during a period when the National Terrorism Public Alert is at high (21 September 2015).   More...  More...

Government Building Code now requires drug and alcohol testing policies on construction sites
The Australian Government has today introduced amendments to the Building Code to ensure higher standards of workplace safety for construction sites.   Fair Work Building and Construction will be responsible for auditing contractors (18 September 2015).   More...

Blog: Media correction – supplement product Spark is not ASADA approved
ASADA's position regarding supplements has been consistent for a number of years and is included on their website and in education program with athletes. The fact is that athletes who take supplements are at risk of committing an anti-doping rule violation (18 September 2015).  More...

Weekend building inspectors considered after Forrest stop work notice
The ACT's safe work watchdog will consider calling for building inspectors to be available on weekends to stop builders avoiding development rules. Mr McCabe said there was a 24-hour Work Safe hotline which enabled a Work Safe inspector to be called, and their powers would usually be enough to stop work until at least the next business day (12 September 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Public safety mobile broadband: draft report
Productivity Commission: 23 September 2015
This draft report looks at the best way to deliver a Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) capability for emergency services that is reliable, interoperable and works across Australia More...

Address to Safety Institute of Australia National Safety Convention
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Thursday, 17 September 2015
Address Safety in the building industry: a regulator's perspective, by Nigel Hadgkiss More...

In practice and courts

SWA electronic safety kit 2015
In readiness for October's National Safe Work Month, SWA has developed an electronic information kit to help employers raise work health and safety awareness within their organisations. The kit includes a number of safety posters, fact sheets and key safety statistics that can be printed and used in the workplace.

Safework Australia: National Safe Work Month electronic information kit now available
The National Safe Work Month electronic information kit, designed to assist organisations raise awareness of work health and safety, is now available to download from the National Safe Work Month web page (17 September 2015).  More...

OHS to be part of Labour Hire and Insecure Work Inquiry
Professor Anthony Forsyth will chair the Government's Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work in Victoria.  The Terms of Reference for the inquiry, h will investigate the practices of rogue labour hire companies, insecure work, sham contracting and the abuse of visas to avoid workplace laws and undermine minimum employment standards. The inquiry will release a background paper and call for submissions related to the terms of reference from interested parties. It is due to report to the Minister by 31 July 2016.

New warning on deadly work stress
A Harvard Business School and Stanford University study has concluded that job insecurity, long working hours and other common workplace stressors can all damage a person's health, raise the odds of them having an illness and even lead to an early death. See Workplace stressors and health outcomes: Health policy for the workplace Behavioural Science and Policy, volume 1, number 1, September 2015.

Comcare Safety alert: Falling objects - 22 September 2015
This alert  is to highlight the importance of managing the risk to health and safety of falling objects (22 September 2015).

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Soapbox
As well as news from around the country, the newsletter also links to two new WSV Safety Alerts.  There were 59 Reported Incidents (attached to Safety Soapbox) in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries from 27 August - 9 September 2015, and include: 21 near misses, nine fractures, eight lacerations, four electric shocks and two burns (17 September 2015).  More...

Victoria: Court of Appeal upholds fine
In rejecting a company's appeal against a $375,000 OHS fine, the Victorian Court of Appeal slammed Dotmar Epp Pty Ltd for its "cavalier disregard" for workers' safety and its "disdainful" response to a WorkSafe improvement notice. It found the fine was appropriate because the company was "acutely aware" of the need for guarding on a lathe, but ignored it.  More...

Workcover Victoria:  Temporary site structures
This Alert warns of the danger to workers and the public from poorly designed, constructed or maintained temporary structures on construction sites (15 September 2015).  More...

Metcash journey part three—working together to overcome challenges
Metcash is under no illusion that transitioning its safety culture will be easy and its supervisors and managers will confront challenges along the way (17 September 2015).  More...

Safety Standards

AS/NZS IEC 60601.1:2015
Medical electrical equipment - General requirements for basic safety and essential performance.  Standards Australia.  More...

AS 4024.1603-2006 (R2014)/Amdt 1-2015
Safety of machinery - Design of controls, interlocks and guards - Prevention of unexpected start-up.  Standards Australia.  More...

Consultations

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 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.

Cases

Eliezer v University of Sydney [2015] FCA 1045
HUMAN RIGHTS – where interlocutory application seeks summary dismissal of application alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination in the course of employment, education and the provision of services – where no complaint made to, or terminated by, the Australian Human Rights Commission as against the second to fifth respondents – whether statutory preconditions for Court to entertain claim for damages for unlawful discrimination contrary to ss 14, 21 and 22 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) satisfied – whether amendments to include additional causes of action can "cure" lack of jurisdiction – where second to fifth respondents should not be required to await the possibility that applicant may plead presently unidentified causes of action – where proceedings as against second to fifth respondents dismissed.  More...

The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Ltd v Balzola [2015] NSWCA 285
DEFAMATION – primary judge granted leave for the plaintiff to amend statement of claim to plead back contextual imputations and subsequently defendants contextual imputations struck out - application for leave to appeal from interlocutory decision - whether application gives rise to an issue of principle or injustice if refused – application for leave to appeal refused.  More...

Dziurbas v Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd (Human Rights) [2015] VCAT 1432
Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) sections 18, 20, 23 and 125 – whether employer directly discriminated against employee on the basis of his disability when employee not allowed to return to work and when his employment was terminated – whether employer failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate employee's disability – whether employee was incapable of performing the genuine and reasonable requirements of the employment, even if reasonable adjustments were made – claims for economic loss – assessment of claim for non-economic loss.  More...

Rail Corporation of New South Wales v Elleray (No 2) [2015] NSWIC 12
COSTS – costs for the whole of the proceedings – applicant wholly successful – no reason to displace usual rules – court's discretion in exercising power to award costs – principles to be applied – no circumstances to warrant a departure from the ordinary rule that costs follow the event – respondent shall pay the applicant's costs.   More...

Victoria OHS Enforcements

G & S Fortunato Pty Ltd 102 562 685 15/09/2015
Failure to provide a safe system of work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 23(1); Magistrates' Court.  More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Fees Determination 2015
This determination sets out the fees that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) charges for its services, the way in which the fees are worked out and how they are to be paid (23 September 2015).  More...

Building Code (Fitness for Work/Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace) Amendment Instrument 2015
This instrument amends the Building Code 2013 to require a building contractor or building industry participant's work health safety and rehabilitation (WHS&R) management system, and in some cases the WHS&R management plan, to show the way in which drug and alcohol issues in the workplace will be managed to ensure that no person performing building work on site does so under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (18 September 2015).  More...

CASA 139/15 - Authorisation and permission — helicopter winching operations (CHC Helicopters)
This instrument enables the conduct of helicopter winching operations conducted by Lloyd Helicopters Pty Ltd, trading as CHC Helicopters (Australia). The winching operations are necessary in the event of maintenance being required for an unserviceable helicopter parked on an offshore helideck and there is insufficient space for a second helicopter to land. The instrument allows maintenance personnel and equipment to be winched by helicopter on or off an offshore platform or vessel (16 September 2015).  More...

Bills

Food Standards Australia New Zealand Amendment (Forum on Food Regulation and Other Measures) Bill 2015
A Bill for an Act to amend the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, and for related purposes - Registered 17 September 2015;  Introduced HR 17 September 2015.  More...

Acts

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Amendment Act No 125 of 2015
An Act to amend the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998, and for related purposes.  Registered 15 September 2015 Date of Assent 10 September 2015.  More...

Victoria

Bills Introduced and Second Read in the first House, 18 September 2015

Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill.

Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (No Jab, No Play) Bill.

Wrongs Amendment Bill.

Statutory Rules made

No. 103: Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015
Date of Making: 10/09/2015 Commencement: 23/11/2015: rule 1.03(1).  Not yet in operation:  Rules 1.01-84.13: on 23/11/2015, rule 1.03(1).  Sunset Date:  10/09/2025.

Acts assented to

No. 45: Heavy Vehicles Legislation Amendment Act 2015
Assent: 22/09/2015 SG (No. 276) 22/9/2015 p. 1 Commencement: Ss 1-8 on: s. 2.  Not yet in operation: N/A.  More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Liquor Amendment (Special Events Extended Trading) Regulation 2015 (2015-556) — published LW 18 September 2015.

Dams Safety Amendment (Prescribed Dams) Proclamation 2015 (2015-568) — published LW 25 September 2015.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament

Dams Safety Bill 2015

Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Bill 2015

Bills assented to

Biosecurity Act 2015 No 24 — Assented to 22 September 2015.  More...

Queensland

Bills Updated in the last week

Liquor and Fair Trading Legislation (Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced on 6/05/2015 Report from Committee on 14/09/2015.

Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced on 19/05/2015 PASSED on 16/09/2015.

Counter-Terrorism and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced on 16/09/2015 Referred to Committee on 16/09/2015.

Mental Health Bill 2015
Introduced on 17/09/2015 Referred to Committee on 17/09/2015.

Acts as passed

No 12:  Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Act 2015 - 25 September 2015.

Current reprints

Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2001 - 11 September 2015.

Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 - 11 September 2015.

Public Health Regulation 2005 - 1 September 2015.

State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014 - 11 September 2015.

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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Authors
Michael Selinger
 
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