Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 13 October 2015

Last Updated: 21 October 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Queensland FIFO Review released
The Queensland Government has released a review of fly-in fly out mines in the state, which has presented eight recommendations to the mining industry from the panel, including workforce, procurement and accommodation plans (06 October 2015).  More...

Demolition company fined $120,000 after worker's skull pierced by steel bar
A Sydney demolition company has been fined $120,000 over an incident in 2013 where a worker's skull was pierced by steel bar that flew into the cabin of the excavator he was operating (07 October 2015).   More...

Building products with asbestos found in NSW
Members of the WestConnex Action Group are concerned about the environmental hazards being created by the failure of WestConnex employees to comply with asbestos regulations. Previously they reported multiple breaches of the asbestos regulations to state and local authorities which are jointly responsible for the site (02 October 2015).  More...

Brisbane Uber attacks: taxi company cites industry anger in condemning alleged assaults on drivers
Yellow Cabs Queensland has condemned an alleged assault on two Uber drivers in Brisbane, but says there is anger in the taxi industry toward the ride sharing service (04 October 2015).  More...

Uber litigation may alter the meaning of work
The myriad legal cases against Uber will ultimately drive changes to employment laws in Australia, lawyers say. The $US40 billion ($57 billion) San Francisco-based company is facing legal action in the United States, Britain and Australia and a backlash by the taxi industry, which contends Uber drivers should be subjected to the same fees and regulations (04 October 2015).  More...

University of Canberra staff member claimed compensation after restructure
A compensation case has made public some of the impacts of outsourcing and restructuring at the University of Canberra with the changes leading to one claim for compensation (02 October 2015).  More...

Investing in positive mental health management pays dividends
Untreated mental health conditions are costing Australian employers over $10 billion annually through absenteeism, reduced productivity and workers' compensation claims, according to 2014 PwC research (01 October 2015).  More...

Systemic 'bullying' at Broken Hill Hospital, nurses claim
Former and current healthcare workers have levelled serious allegations of bullying and harassment against members of management at a NSW hospital (01 October 2015).  More...

Risk to workers, neighbours from botched Mr Fluffy demolition 'infinitesimally small'
The risk to workers and neighbours following the botched demolition of a Mr Fluffy asbestos contaminated home last month is "infinitesimally small", the ACT's Work Safety Commissioner says (30 September 2015).   More...

FWBC to monitor compliance with new drug and alcohol testing policy
Changes have been made to the Building Code 2013 (Building Code) which make drug and alcohol testing mandatory on Federal Government funded projects. FWBC will be responsible for monitoring compliance with these changes, which come into effect on 16 October, 2015 (29 September 2015).   More...

Public service managers are struggling to manage as APS goes through 'really big shift' 
Managers in the Australian public service are not coping with the demands placed on them by reform of the Commonwealth bureaucracy, according to a leading private sector HR expert (29 September 2015).  More...

Welder's claim he was 'fine' to work after 20 beers fails pub test
A welder's claim that he was 'OK' to drive a forklift after consuming 20 cans of full-strength beer over 12 hours the previous day would fail the "front bar'' test, the Fair Work Commission has found (29 September 2015).  More...

WorkSafe inspector exposed to asbestos after botched demolition of Mr Fluffy home 
The demolition of a Mr Fluffy house last month reportedly created large plumes of asbestos-contaminated dust, exposing a WorkSafe inspector to the deadly fibres (28 September 2015).  More...

Quad bike death investigation leads to $40,000 fine
A dairy company which allowed its employees to drive quad bikes with defective brakes and without wearing helmets was fined $40,000 in the Colac Magistrates' Court. Foscor Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching the 2004 OHS Act over its failure to provide and maintain plant and a system of work for its employees (28 September 2015).  More...

Workplace exposure to metalworking fluid may cause irreversible lung disease
Occupational exposure to fluid commonly used in metal machining operations may be related to a rare, irreversible lung disease, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) International Congress today (28 September, 2015).  More...

NT: WorkSafe moves to remove HSR and union rights
Despite 'little or no evidence' that these rights are being abused, the Northern Territory is moving to amend its Work Health Safety to limit union right-of-entry and HSR powers, and is seeking public comment on the amendments until 26 October 2015.   More...

Public servants' hall of shame: racism, bullying and swearing
Badly behaved public servants have been hauled over the coals in the latest report by the Merit Protection Commissioner (MPC). The 2014-2015 annual report, released last week by Commissioner Annwyn Godwin, found evidence of lying, swearing, bullying, aggression and poor performance in the Australian Public Service (APS), as well as some cases where employees were unfairly chastised (28 September 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia:  Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report  
There were 15 work-related notifiable fatalities during June 2015 — 12 male workers, 2 male bystanders and 1 female bystander. Of these fatalities, 3 workers died as a result of an incident on a public road and 1 worker died in an air crash (06 October 2015).  More...

In practice and courts

Asbestoswise Newsletter
Asbestos diseases support and advocacy group Asbestoswise has released its September newsletter.  The publication provides information on what the organisation is doing and has done over the past few months.  More...

New industry complaints commissioner
A new industry complaints commissioner has been appointed by CASA. Jonathan Hanton took up the position - which reports directly to CASA's Board (30 September 2015).  More...

Workplace vibration guidance material 2015
Safe Work Australia has developed a series of guidance material on: how to manage risks associated with vibrating plant in the workplace, and the measurement and assessment of workplace vibration exposures from vibrating plant. It also provides technical information on how exposures are to be measured and calculated. Released on 01 October 2015.  More...

VIC: Safety Soapbox
The editorial in the latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox, posted on October 1, is on the West Gate Bridge collapse. News from around the country, and links to a number of Victorian and other regulator Safety Alerts. Access the October 1 Safety Soapbox edition online, including link to the list of reported incidents.

Commonwealth Government Gazette – 01 October 2015 – Heavy Vehicle exemptions

QLD Class 3 Heavy Vehicle Maryborough Sugar Factory (Tableland Mill) Mass Exemption Notice 2015 (No. 1)

NSW Heavy Vehicle (Conditional Registration) Exemption Notice 2015 (No. 1)

NSW Class 1 Heavy Vehicle Grain Auger Combination Exemption Notice 2015 (No. 1)

NSW Class 1 Heavy Vehicle Combine Harvester Combination Exemption Notice 2015 (No. 1)

National Heavy Vehicle Standards (Flashing Warning Lights) Exemption Notice 2015 (No. 1)

ASEA: 2nd International Asbestos Conference 2015
The conference will this year be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane, 22-24 November 2015.  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

Alcan Gove Pty Ltd v Zabic [2015] HCA 33
Limitation of actions – When cause of action accrues – Negligence – Damage – Statute abolished cause of action unless accrued before 1 January 1987 – Whether compensable damage suffered upon changes to mesothelial cells following exposure to asbestos – Whether mesothelioma inevitable – Relevance of hindsight – Whether "trigger" for development of disease endogenous or exogenous. Torts – Negligence – Damage – Dust diseases – Mesothelioma – Whether changes to mesothelial cells compensable damage.  More...

Nolan v Sims Group Australia Holdings Limited; Nolan v Delta Pty Limited [2015] NSWSC 1424
CRIMINAL LAW – Offences – Breaches of load dimensional requirements by consignor and loader – Where combination loaded with scrap steel collided with an overhead beam in tunnel – Substantial damage occasioned to tunnel as a result - Necessity to close the tunnel to traffic following the incident - Consequent traffic congestion for a period – Where consignor had no direct control over or knowledge of the circumstances of the loading – Where loader's safety measures at the time of loading were essentially limited to carrying out a visual check of the load by reference to the upper lip of the trailer bin – Culpability of loader greater than that of consignor – Mitigating factors in each case including early plea of guilty, expressed remorse, agreement to pay substantial compensation and substantial steps taken directed towards ensuring that there would be no future offending - Fine imposed in each case.   More...

Hamcor Pty Ltd & Anor v State of Queensland [2015] QCA 183
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – NEW TRIAL – IN GENERAL AND PARTICULAR GROUNDS – PARTICULAR GROUNDS – INTERFERENCE WITH JUDGE'S FINDINGS OF FACT – OTHER MATTERS – where property was destroyed by fire – where the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service ("QFRS") had been called to the fire – where in the course of combating the fire, QFRS personnel applied massive quantities of water on and around the fire – where the water mixed with factory chemicals, producing a large volume of contaminated fluid known as "fire-water" – where much of the fire-water flowed onto adjacent bushland or into a local creek via stormwater drains – where however, some of the fire-water remained on the property where it soaked into soil and large concrete construction slabs, or ran into storage dams – where as a result, part of the property was classified as Contaminated Land pursuant to Chapter 7 Part 8 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) ("EP Act"). More...

Ruiz v Credit Corp Group Limited & Ors [2015] QCAT 342
Alleged discrimination on the basis of an impairment (major depression); Applicant unable to work full-time whilst subject to a relevant medical restriction. Applicant given a temporary part-time position to facilitate a graduated return to work program; Applicant's employment terminated whilst still the subject of medical restriction; Circumstances where First Respondent contends that the ability to work on a full-time basis was a "genuine occupational requirement" of the applicant's employment, pursuant to exemption in s.25 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991; Whether Applicant has been subject to either direct (s.10) or indirect (s.11) discrimination; whether claimed requirement of ability for full-time employment a genuine occupational requirement for purposes of s.25; Onus of proof as regards exemption.  More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Standard 1.4.2 — Maximum Residue Limits Amendment Instrument No. APVMA 8, 2015
02/10/2015 - This instrument amends the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.4.2 - Maximum Residue Limits (Australia Only) to include or change maximum residue limits pertaining to agricultural and veterinary chemical products.  More...

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2015 (No. 9)
30/09/2015 -This instrument amends the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) 2012 to set new and varied maximum residue limits and make other changes to the tables with respect to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances.   More...

Poisons Standard October 2015
30/09/2015 - This standard substitutes the Poisons Standard July 2015, and consists of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 9 (SUSMP) as set out in Schedule 1 of this standard.  More...

Defence (Prohibited Substances) Determination 2015
29/09/2015 - This determination repeals the Defence (Prohibited Substances) Determination 2012 and updates the types of substances for which members of the ADF may be tested and to incorporate the latest Prohibited List and Poisons Standard More...

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Amendment Act 2015 (Act 125/2015)
Assent 10/09/2015 Gazette - C2015G01475 as published on FRLI on 11 September 2015. Commencement 8/10/2015. The whole of this Act - The 28th day after this Act receives the Royal Assent: s 2 - The Act amends the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the ARPANS Act) that establishes a scheme for licensing Commonwealth entities using radiation.  More...

Victoria

Proclamations

No. 108: Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) (Fertilisers) Regulations 2015
Date of Making: 29/09/2015 Commencement: 01/10/2015: reg. 3 Not yet in operation:  N/A. Sunset Date:  29/09/2025

No. 112: Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Amendment No. 13) Rules 2015
Date of Making:  29/09/2015 Commencement: Rules 1-5 on 01/10/2015: rule 3(1). Not yet in operation: N/A Sunset Date:  29/09/2. More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Civil Liability (Non-economic Loss) Amendment Order 2015 (2015-589) — published LW 1 October 2015.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety Reports) Regulation 2015 (2015-583) — published LW 2 October 2015.

Motor Accidents (Determination of Non-Economic Loss) Amendment Order 2015 (2015-587) — published LW 30 September 2015.

Motor Accidents Compensation (Determination of Loss) Amendment Order 2015 (2015-586) — published LW 30 September 2015.

Bills assented to

Jobs for NSW Act 2015 No 25 — Assented to 28 September 2015.

Dams Safety Act 2015 No 26 — Assented to 28 September 2015.

Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2015 No 29 — Assented to 28 September 2015. More...

Queensland

Current reprints

Food Regulation 2006 1 October 2015.

Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 1 October 2015.

Pest Management Regulation 2003 1 October 2015.

Radiation Safety Regulation 2010 1 October 2015.

State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014 1 October 2015.  More...

Canberra

Building (Loose-fill Asbestos Eradication) Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
To facilitate the demolition and resale of "Mr Fluffy" properties, the Bill amends the Building Act 2004 to enable the ACT to issue a demolition order for an affected building without engaging a private certifier (which is basically a current requirement).  More...  More...

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