Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 18 January 2016

In the media

Australian Workplaces Ban Smartphones and Boost Productivity
Australians have become so addicted to their smartphones that businesses are being forced to implement phone bans during work hours to improve safety and boost productivity (15 January 2016).  More...

Coal miner's lung disease update
Another case of coal miner's pneumoconiosis has been confirmed.  A routine pre-employment medical assessment revealed abnormalities which, following further scans and tests, have been confirmed as coal worker's pneumoconiosis by a Brisbane-based respiratory physician (14 January 2016).  More...

Disability group fined for discrimination
An organisation that provides services to people with disabilities has been ordered to pay $13,000 in compensation to a former Victorian employee for discriminating against her disability (14 January 2016).  More...

More annual leave being taken amid focus on health and well-being
Australian workers took the most annual leave in seven years in 2015, although they tended to spend it on shorter breaks spread throughout the year rather than a single long holiday (13 January 2016).  More...

Cyber bullies hounding public servants
Cyber bullies are stalking government workplaces across Australia, exploiting a "cyber underground" where they can harass or intimidate their colleagues with impunity, according to new academic research by the Queensland University of Technology QUT (12 January 2016).  More...  More...

NHVR extends work diary exemptions to March
Truck drivers in NSW have been given more time to adopt new work diary rules. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says the policy that exempts drivers with basic fatigue management (BFM) or advanced fatigue management (AFM) accreditation from filling out a diary if working within 100km of their base will now expire on March 6 (12 January 2016).  More...

Fatigue expert calls for 10 hour daily limit for drivers
Professor Ann Williamson has called for a radical overhaul of current fatigue management laws, including scrapping the basic fatigue management (BFM) module that allows drivers to work 14-hour days (11 January 2016).   More...

Emergency call handler loses push for compo
A Sunshine Coast communications officer who handled 000 calls for Queensland Ambulance Service has lost her bid for compensation after claiming she was bullied in the workplace (07 January 2016).  More...

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption – Final report released
The final report of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has found there is a 'widespread' and 'deep-seated' culture of lawlessness among many union officials (30 December 2015).  More...

Nationally consistent inspection improving safety
Heavy vehicle operators now have a comprehensive guide to heavy vehicle safety with the launch of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's (NHVR) revised National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (18 December 2015).  More...  More...

Female construction worker subjected to assaults, bullying and rape threats, awarded $1.3 million
A female road construction worker subjected to assaults, sexual harassment, bullying and rape threats at a Melbourne workplace has won a $1.3 million payout (17 December 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Discriminant validity and gender differences in DSM-5 posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms
Author: Carragher N; Sunderland M; Batterham PJ; Calear AL; Elhai JD; Chapman C; Mills K.  More...

In practice and courts

SafeWork Australia: Proposed amendments to work health and safety requirements for inorganic lead
Safe Work Australia is seeking comments on the best way to reduce the potential for adverse health outcomes caused by exposure to lead in the workplace. The closing date is 26 February 2016.  More...

SafeWork Australia August 2015 Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report now available
There were 14 work-related notifiable fatalities during August 2015 — 10 male workers, 1 female worker, 2 male bystanders and 1 female bystander. Of these fatalities, 4 workers died as a result of an incident on a public road (23 December 2015).   More...

FSC Online Update: Incident Reports and Contract Declarations can be submitted online from 1 February 2016
From 1 February accredited companies will be able to submit incident reports and contract declarations through FSC Online.

Recalls

Honda Australia Motorcycle and Power Equipment Pty Ltd — Honda VT750C5th January 2016.

Cases

Baiada Poultry v VWA[2015] VSCA 344
APPEAL – Judicial Review – Appellant owned chicken processing factory where employee of cleaning contractor died – Appellant charged with offence under Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 – Charge alleged failure to ensure chicken processing line not operating and failure to ensure there was an adequate system to prevent contact with machine when being cleaned – Question of validity of charge – Magistrate found charge invalid – On review, trial judge held charge valid – Fundamental requirement that charge specify act or omission which constitutes contravention – Use of a standard described as 'adequate' – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) ss 20 and 26 – Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) ss 6 and 8 and Schedule 1.   More...

Worksafe Victoria decisions

Diversion 4 of 2015-16 22/12/2015
Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Guarding; Failure to provide a safe working environment Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e) ; Magistrates' Court.  More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Standard 1.4.2 — Maximum Residue Limits Amendment Instrument No. APVMA 1, 2016
12/01/2016 - 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 2016 (No. 1)
11/01/2016 - 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 February 2016
11/01/2016 - This standard substitutes the Poisons Standard October 2015 and consists of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 10 (SUSMP) as set out in schedule 1 of this Standard.  More...

Fair Work Amendment Commencement Proclamation 2015
15/12/2015 - This Proclamation provides for the commencement of Part 10 of Schedule 1 of the Fair Work Amendment Act 2015, which fixes 1 January 2016 as the day on which Part 10 of Schedule 1 to that Act commences.  More...

Australian Federal Police Amendment (Workplace Drug Testing and Other Measures) Regulation 2015 SLI 2015 No. 249
14/12/2015 - This regulation aligns the Australian Federal Police's drug and alcohol testing framework with contemporary sample collection and testing procedures.  More...

Victoria

Statutory Rules

No. 155: Liquor Control Reform (Prohibited Supply) Regulations 2015
Commencement: 19/12/2015: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-8: on 19/12/2015: reg. 3.  Sunset Date: 5/12/2025.

No 156: Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road or Rail) Further Amendment  Regulations 2015
Commencement: 01/01/2016: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-18: on 01/01/2016: reg. 3.  Sunset Date: 15/12/2025.

No. 158: Marine Safety Amendment (Expiry Date) Interim Regulations 2015
Commencement: Regs 1-4, 6 on 18/12/2015: reg. 3(1)  Reg. 5 on 17/12/2016: reg. 3(2).  Not yet in operation:  N/A Sunset Date: 18/12/2016: reg. 6.

No. 159: Road Safety (Drivers) and (Vehicles) Amendment (Miscellaneous Fees) Regulations 2015
Commencement: 01/02/2016: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-17: on 01/02/2016: reg. 3.  Sunset Date: 15/12/2025.  More...

Queensland

Subordinate Legislation as made
No 186:  Proclamation commencing remaining provisions - 18/12/2015 - Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Act 2015.

No 188: Heavy Vehicle National Amendment Regulation18/12/2015 - Heavy Vehicle National Law as applied by the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (Queensland) and by the law of States and Territories.

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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