Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 27 October 2015

Last Updated: 31 October 2015
Article by Charles Power and Stephen Trew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

Poor guarding on gizzard machine costs processor $60,000
Inadequate guarding that led to a worker severely injuring her arm has cost a major chicken processor dearly. Turi Foods Pty Ltd, which trades as La Ionica Poultry, was convicted and fined $60,000 in Heidelberg Magistrates' last week and ordered to pay $3895 in costs (22 October 2015).  More...

SunRice faces court over worker death at mill near Echuca in northern Victoria
WorkSafe Victoria has launched court action against SunRice over the death of a worker at a mill near Echuca in northern Victoria. The company, trading under the name SunRice, is charged with failing to provide a safe working environment, as well as failing to provide or maintain a safe plant without health risks (21 October 2015).  More...

Pearling company Paspaley admits workplace safety breach
One of Australia's leading pearl companies has been fined $60,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace, following an investigation prompted by the death of a young diver (20 October 2015).  More...

Infinity cable recall: Homeowners risk lives by refusing inspections of dangerous electrical cables
Some homeowners are prioritising money and clean records over their lives by refusing inspections of their homes for recalled Infinity cables that may soon cause fires and electrocutions (19 October 2015).  More...

ACT firefighters to participate in post-traumatic stress disorder study
A study into the mental wellbeing of Canberra's firefighters will look at how to reduce the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The three-year study conducted by the University of Melbourne will investigate how shift work and regular exposure to trauma increases stress in those fighting fires in the ACT (20 October 2015).  More...

Illegal dumping increasing in NSW
Unions NSW is calling for a construction industry-funded scheme to remove asbestos from buildings across the state in order to prevent further disease and illegal dumping of the deadly material (19 October 2015).  More...

Labour Hire Inquiry Discussion Paper Released
Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins has today welcomed the release of a discussion paper on the labour hire industry and the rate of insecure work in Victoria calling for submissions related to the terms of reference from interested parties (16 October 2015).  More...

ACCC puts electricians and builders on notice that they must replace unsafe Infinity cables
Tests have shown that the cable may become prematurely brittle from 2016 onwards, which could cause fires or electric shock if the cables are then disturbed. Electricians and builders have an obligation to inform the home owners and businesses where they worked that their electrical installations are unsafe and non-compliant (19 October 2015).  More...

Lloyd's report details emerging liability risk
Chris Mackinnon, Lloyd's general representative in Australia, told Insurance Business that the report is of particular interest to Australian businesses as the country was one of the worst affected by asbestos claims and new cases of asbestos-related illness are continuing to rise (19 October 2015).  More...

Australian public servant receives compensation for stroke suffered in hotel room shower
A federal public servant has won compensation after having a stroke in the shower, after a tribunal decided he 'was engaged in actual work'. The AAT  set aside a previous Comcare decision which had found Stephen Garrett's stroke had not happened out of or in the course of his employment (19 October 2015).  More...

The Sydney suburbs serving as a dumping ground for asbestos waste
Sydney's fringes are serving as a dumping ground for asbestos waste as unscrupulous builders and renovators seek to avoid costly and labour-intensive legal disposal. Asbestos makes up only eight per cent of illegally dumped waste across NSW, according to the EPA, but it was the most difficult to clean up due to the high cost and health and safety implications (18 October 2015).   More...

Inexperienced workers and cost pressures factors in mine death increase, safety inspector says
An influx of inexperienced mine workers is partly to blame for increased workplace fatalities in the West Australian resources industry, according to a State Government mine safety inspector (14 October 2015).  More...

NRL sanctions Sandor Earl
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) today welcomed the decision of the National Rugby League (NRL) to impose a four-year sporting ban on player, Sandor Earl for the use, possession, trafficking and attempted trafficking of multiple prohibited substances (14 October 2015).  More...

Sexual harassment entrenched in academia, says physicist
Sexual harassment in academia is so entrenched that on multiple occasions Melbourne University physicist Katie Mack has warned students to avoid known perpetrators before they attended conferences, applied for graduate positions or visited departments (13 October 2015).  More...

Federal public servants warned of acoustic shock while using phones
Federal public servants working on telephones are being told by their union they are at risk of serious injury and to be careful of permanent hearing loss (13 October 2015).  More...

FWBC to support industry to achieve compliance with new drug & alcohol testing policy
On Friday 16 October 2015, the new fitness for work amendments to the Building Code 2013 commence for all building contractors covered by the Building Code (13 October 2015).  More...

Working holiday ends in tragedy
A Victorian dairy company has been fined $40,000 following the death of farm worker on a working holiday from the UK. Although the cause of the fatal incident wasn't alleged to be faulty brakes and the failure to wear a helmet, such failings were in breach of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (13 October 2015).  More...

New NZ safety laws almost a reality
Significant changes to New Zealand's safety laws will take effect in April next year, following the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill through the New Zealand Parliament. The laws are based on the Model Work Health and Safety laws in Australia and will be called the Health and Safety at Work Act (13 October 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

SafeWork Australia
Quad bike fatalities 2015 quad bike fatalities as at 16 October 2015.  More...

SafeWork Australia: Guidance for managing risks of exposure to diesel exhaust in the workplace
Safe Work Australia released guidance material today to help workplaces manage the risks of exposure to diesel exhaust. Approximately 1.2 million Australian workers were exposed to diesel exhaust in the workplace in 2011 (22 October 2015).  More...   More...

VIC: Safety Soapbox
In the October 15 edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox, Ashley Bracken from WorkSafe's Construction Program reminds readers about ensuring site structures can resist high winds, following the number of wind incidents reported in this edition's list of reported incidents. There were 55 Reported Incidents in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries from 24 September - 7 October 2015. More...

In practice and courts

FWBC: fitness for work amendments to the Building Code 2013 commences 16 October
Initially, FWBC will focus on assisting industry through education, providing information and helping contractors to understand the implications of the policy. FWBC will not commence the third stage until after 1 February 2016. This will give contractors adequate time to put in place Code compliant arrangements.  More...

Draft ISO 45001 international occupational health and safety systems management standard
The global safety standard is ready for public consultation, October 2015. Developed by ISO's technical committee, including representatives from ISO and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the final version of ISO 45001 is due to be published in October 2016.   More...  More...

NSW WorkCover: Working with electrical conduits
This safety alert reminds workers of the dangers involved in cutting conduits that contain or are located near electrical circuits (22 October 2015).  More...

NSW WorkCover: Working with drilling rigs
This safety alert highlights the hazards associated with drilling rigs and the action required to manage these hazards (22 October 2015).  More...

NSW WorkCover: Forklift safety warning
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello today issued a strong warning about working safely around forklifts (22 October 2015).  More...

Change in Pool Safety Rules
Queensland's pool safety laws have been progressively introduced since 2009 and apply to all new and existing pools. As from 1 December 2015, there will only be one pool safety standard for all regulated pools.  More...

QLD: Explosives information bulletin No 51: Approved transport authority holders of low risk loads of explosives
Covers Explosives storage or transport (13 October 2015).  More...

QLD: Mines safety alert No: 318 Mobile mixing unit explosives truck rollover
Covers Explosives storage or transport; Transporting materials; Vehicle collision or failure (12 October 2015).  More...

WorkCover Queensland
Get serious about a healthy workplace (16 October 2015).   More...

Safety Standards

AS 5400:2015
Standards Australia
Tow trucks - Tilt, slide and underlift vehicles.  More...

AS 4428.16:2015
Standards Australia
Fire detection and alarm systems - Emergency warning control and indicating equipment.  More...

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...


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.


Kirby v JKC Australia LNG Pty Ltd (No 2) [2015] FCA 1113
INDUSTRIAL LAW – right of entry permits under Pt 7 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (NT) – interlocutory application for injunction restraining workplace from refusing entry to permit holders – whether "relevant worker" must be present at the time entry is sought – whether entry can be refused by reason of an assertion of rectification of suspected contravention.  Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ss 505, 512; Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (NT) ss 8, 116, 117, 118,134.  More...

Barnes and Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2015] AATA 797
The Tribunal decides that; although the period for which the class 2 medical certificate was in force expired on 11 August 2015, the application for review is not, on the evidence available at this stage of the proceeding.  AVIATION – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - JURISDICTION – refusal to extend period for which medical certificate in force – whether refusal to extend a variation of an authorisation – jurisdiction.  PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – STAY OF OPERATION OF DECISION – limits of power to order stay – do not extend to powers given to Tribunal after reviewing merits of decision on substantive application, Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998More...

Nash v Daracon Mining Pty Ltd [2015] NSWIC 14
The defendant is fined the sum of $80,000 with a moiety to the prosecutor.  OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY — prosecution under s 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 — plea of guilty – sentencing — fatal incident – several entities involved in operating a mine – defendant engaged in removal of reject material from mine site for disposal — reject material loaded into trucks by opening hydraulic gates to release it from base of storage Bin – loading cycle involved programmable electronic control program to facilitate correct positioning of truck when load released – worker killed when 10 tonnes of reject material was released onto cabin of truck — agreed statement of facts – proceedings delayed – coronial inquiry – doubt as to the authority of the prosecutor – victim impact statement received and acknowledged – relevant principles — objective features – objective seriousness of offence – defendant failed to protect contracted drivers against risk of being injured or killed by material falling onto them through the roof of the cabins of their trucks during a loading cycle — mitigating factors – safety system was in place – risk not known or actually foreseen by defendant - risk partially outside the control or influence of the defendant – defendant was informed system was 'failsafe' – inappropriate to undertake process of apportionment or assess culpability of other entities – subjective features – steps taken since the incident - assistance to family of deceased worker - counselling assistance to injured workers - expression of contrition and remorse - cooperation with investigation – discount for plea - first offence - good industrial character – impact of delay — penalty imposed — moiety.  More...

Bronzewing Ammunition Pty Ltd v SafeWork New South Wales [2015] NSWSC 1494
PROCEDURE – judgments – licences to import and manufacture explosives cancelled - stay pending appeal – where first appeal unsuccessful – similar arguments to be put on further appeal - whether arguable grounds of appeal – balance of convenience – effect of stay on business of appellant – safety of the public – length of existing stay – further stay granted.  More...

Worksafe Victoria decisions

Turi Foods Pty Ltd  057 142 971 14/10/2015
Guarding; Unguarded plant - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a);  Magistrates' Court.  Turi Foods Pty Ltd operates a chicken processing facility. There was a risk of serious injury to employees from the rotating parts in the exit chute of the giblet machine. The defendant pleaded guilty and was, with conviction, sentenced to pay a fine of $60,000 and to pay costs of $3,895 (Heidelberg Magistrates' Court sitting at Melbourne). The defendant had one previous conviction.

Dollar Sweets Company Pty Limited 006 044 159  12/10/2015
Guarding; Inexperienced employee; Unguarded plant; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to provide a safe working environment - Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a) ; Magistrates' Court.  There was a risk of serious injury to employees as the flange guard could be removed, fully exposing the piston which remained energised. The employee suffered amputation and de-gloving injuries to his fingers. The defendant pleaded guilty and was, without conviction, sentenced to pay a fine of $25,000 and to pay costs of $3,895.



Queensland Heavy Vehicle Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle (Zone 1) Dimension Exemption Amendment Notice 2015 (No. 1) — 19/10/2015.


Bills Introduced and Second Read in the first House – 23 October 2015

Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill.

Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill.

Transport Accident Amendment Bill.

Statutory Rules made

No. 120: Road Safety Road Rules Amendment (Lane Filtering) Rules 2015
Date of Making: 20/10/2015 Commencement: 02/11/2015: rule 3.  Not yet in operation: Rules 1-11: on 02/11/2015: rule 3 Sunset Date:  20/10/2025.

No. 121: Road Safety (General) Amendment (Lane Filtering) Regulations 2015
Date of Making: 20/10/2015 Commencement: 02/11/2015: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: 1-11: on 02/10/2015: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 20/10/2025.  More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Food Regulation 2015 (2015-622) — published LW 16 October 2015.

Bills introduced Government – 16 October

Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum) Legislation Amendment (Harmonisation) Bill 2015.

Bills introduced Government – 23 October

Courts and Other Justice Portfolio Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.

Home Building and Duties Amendment (Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Affected Premises) Bill 2015.

Occupational Licensing National Law Repeal Bill 2015.

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment (Exemptions Consolidation) Bill 2015.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 23 October

Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum) Legislation Amendment (Harmonisation) Bill 2015More...


Bills Updated

Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced on 7/05/2015 PASSED with amendment on 14/10/2015.

Jobs Queensland Bill 2015
Introduced on 16/09/2015 Report from Committee on 20/10/2015.

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