Australia: Work Health and Safety - What's News - 9 November 2015

Last Updated: 15 November 2015
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

Police buying video cameras for occupational safety amid ownership concern
The Police Ombudsman Annual Report noted there were "occupational health and safety benefits" for officers using the cameras but there were issues surrounding ownership of the vision because the cameras were not officially issued (07 November 2015). More...

'Ignorance is not a defence' – how HR can minimise personal liability risks
In June, a case before the federal court presented a timely warning to HR professionals: you can be held personally liable, and have penalties imposed upon you, under the Fair Work Act (FWA) (02 November 2015). More...

Grains handler prosecuted after worker lost arm told to donate $50K to Warracknabeal hospital
The Horsham County Court has ordered a Warracknabeal grains handler, in western Victoria, to contribute $50,000 to a local hospital, after an employee was maimed at work (30 October 2015). More...

Western Sydney engineering firm fined after half-a-tonne of steel falls on worker
A St Marys engineering company has been fined $150,000 after a boilermaker lost part of his foot when a steel beam weighing more than half a tonne fell on him (30 October 2015). More...

Report into Cessnock mine deaths scathing of safety plan
A report into the deaths of two miners in the Hunter Valley last year is scathing of the coal company's safety management plan (30 October 2015). More...

Australian workplace fatalities continue to decline
Minister for Employment, released the Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2014 report on 29 October , showing the number of Australians killed at work continues to steadily decline. The Safe Work Australia report shows that 188 workers died from workplace injuries in 2014, the lowest number of fatalities in the 12 years of the series (29 October 2015). More... More...

The 38-hour week a rarity among full-time workers, new data shows
Officially, Australians in full-time jobs put in 38 hours per week. But the first detailed survey shows that most full-time workers surveyed put in more. The industries where workers are most likely to put in more than 50 hours per week are mining (34 per cent), agriculture (34 per cent) and construction (25 per cent) (28 October 2015). More...

New laws target illegal gun trade
Tougher penalties will apply to illegal firearm offences following the Martin Place Siege, under proposed laws introduced to NSW Parliament today to combat the illegal gun trade. The Bill will be supported by the creation of an Illegal Firearms Investigation and Reward Scheme (27 October 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safework Australia: Cost of work-related injury and disease report 2012-13
Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths impose both direct costs and indirect costs on employers, workers and the community. The report estimates that the total economic cost for the 2012–13 financial year was $61.8 billion, representing 4.1 per cent of GDP for the same period (29 October 2015). More...

In practice and courts

NOPSEMA Safety alert: fire broke out in the battery room on a production facility
A safety alert has been issued by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) following an incident where a fire broke out in the battery room on a production facility. For more information on this safety alert (November 2015). More...

Directions issued regarding the draft RSRO on minimum payments for contractor drivers
The Full Bench of the Tribunal has issued Directions regarding further submissions on the draft Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (draft Payments RSRO). Submissions close 13 November 2015.

ATSB: Sharing your transport safety concerns, confidentially
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) confidential reporting scheme, REPCON, allows people with safety concerns about the rail, aviation or marine industries to disclose them to the ATSB (29 October 2015). More...


Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2015] FCA 1173
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Intent to coerce person to engage in industrial activity – Non-compliance with request by industrial association – Request for employment of union delegate on construction site – Threat to organise action and later organising of action – Whether course of conduct – Seriousness of contraventions – Relevance of previous contraventions – Normalisation of contraventions – Whether remorse and contrition shown – Totality principle – Appropriate penalties – Whether individual should be required to pay penalty personally without reimbursement. Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth); Fair Work Act 2009 ss 9, 347, 348, 363, 484. Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth), r 16.07(3); Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) s 87. More...

DPP v Downer EDI Pty Ltd & Anor [2015] VSCA 287
CRIMINAL LAW – Case stated – Occupational health and safety – Defendants conducting works on road –Duty under Road Safety Act 1996 (RSA) to ensure works conducted safely – Duty owed to road users and road workers – Worker killed – Whether RSA duty displaces defendants' duties to employees and others under Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 ('OHSA') – Defendants performing functions under Road Management Act 2004 ('RMA') – RMA required compliance with RSA duty – Whether RMA inconsistent with OHSA – No inconsistency – OHSA charges valid – RMA ss 3, 4, 5, 20, 24-28, 33-34, 39, 47-48, 103 and Schedule 7 – RSA ss 99A, 99B – OHSA ss 21, 23, 152 – Transport Integration Act 2010 ss 6, 8-3. STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Implied repeal – Occupational health and safety – Road management – Road authority – Defendants conducting works on road – Second defendant performing road management functions under Road Management Act 2004 (RMA) – Whether RMA dealt exhaustively with road management functions – Whether intended to exclude other legislation applicable to road management functions – Whether necessary implication – Presumption against implied repeal – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 not excluded. STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Legislative history – Extrinsic materials – Law reform recommendations – Highway authorities – Liability – Breach of statutory duty – Financial constraints – Statutory scheme to limit liability – Policy defence – Policy or policy decision 'taken to satisfy the statutory duty' – Whether applicable to criminal proceedings – Defence to civil proceedings only – Road Management Act 2004 ss 39, 103. More...

Worksafe Victoria decisions

Becon Constructions (Australia) Pty Ltd 092 361 165 27/10/2015
Elevated work platform; Licensing Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1) ; Magistrates' Court. The Accused failed to ensure that only operators with a current high risk work licence to operate boom-type EWPs (boom length greater than 11 metres) were provided with access to the EWPs under its management and control. More...



Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Pre-application Assistance Fee) Instrument 2015
04/11/2015 - This instrument revokes the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations (Pre-application Assistance Fee) Instrument 2014 and sets out the criteria for working out which unit-based fee applies in a particular case. It also provides examples of the application of the criteria in particular cases. More...

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Standard 1.4.2 — Maximum Residue Limits Amendment Instrument No. APVMA 9, 2015
03/11/2015 - 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. 10)
03/11/2015 - 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...


No. 125: Road Safety Road Rules Amendment Rules 2015
Date of Making: 27/10/2015 Commencement: 27/10/2015. Not yet in operation: N/A Sunset Date: 27/10/2. More...

New South Wales

Bills introduced Government – 30 October 2015

Security Industry Amendment (Regulation of Training Organisations) Bill 2015.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 30 October 2015

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

Occupational Licensing National Law Repeal Bill 2015.

State Insurance and Care Governance Amendment (Investment Management) Bill 2015.

Terrorism (Police Powers) Amendment Bill 2015.

Bills assented to

Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum) Legislation Amendment (Harmonisation) Act 2015 No 43 — Assented to 02 November 2015. More...


Bills Updated

Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced by: Hon C Pitt MP on 7/05/2015 PASSED with amendment on 14/10/2015. Assent Date: 22/10/2015 Act No: Act No. 16 of 2015 Commences: see Act for details.

Transport Operations (Marine Safety-Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Application) Bill 2015
Introduced by: Hon M Bailey MP on 27/10/2015 Referred to Committee on 27/10/2015.

Transport Operations (Marine Safety) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced by: Hon M Bailey MP on 27/10/2015 Referred to Committee on 27/10/2015.

Subordinate legislation as made – 06 November 2015

No 152 Food Production (Safety) Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2015
Food Production (Safety) Act 2000.

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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