Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 1 March 2016

Last Updated: 11 March 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

EPA and Police join forces to target trucks carrying dangerous goods
A joint operation between the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the NSW Police has found a number of truck drivers transporting dangerous goods unsafely (26 February 2016).  More...

Major building firm in court for allegedly discriminating against subcontractor
A tiling company who had a legal enterprise agreement (EBA) registered with the Fair Work Commission was refused a contract with a Queensland construction company because the agreement was not endorsed by the CFMEU, according to a claim lodged in the Federal Circuit Court (25 February 2016).   More...

More men being injured and killed falling off ladders, study finds
The numbers of serious ladder injuries have continued to rise in the years since the research by the Alfred Hospital was completed, with total admissions for ladder falls nearly doubling from 100 in the year to June 2007 to 190 in the year to June 2014. Although most have been men over 55 who fell doing odd jobs at home, this has also affected 'tradies' and other workers (22 February 2016).  More...

South Australia: Greens politician introduces industrial manslaughter bill
Greens MLC Tammy Franks has introduced a bill into that state's parliament which seeks to introduce reforms to improve workplace safety through corporate criminal responsibility. Employers causing the death of a worker because of negligence and indifference would be fined up to $1 million or jailed for a maximum of 20 years (February 2016).  More...

Two men plead guilty to work safety failure which resulted in worker death
Two men pleaded guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court to charges arising from the death of a young worker at a quarry in Queensland's Central Highlands in 2012.   Stuart Mitchell Weiland and James Andrew Kinross, and their company Global Crushers and Spares, were charged with failing to "discharge a workplace health and safety obligation" (23 February 2016).  More...

Public servants told to keep calm and call the cops
Public servants should seek police protection when confronted by the extreme behaviour becoming more commonplace from members of the public, the federal workplace authority has advised (24 February 2016).  More...

Bus driver assault could become an aggravated offence in South Australia
Anyone found guilty of assaulting a bus driver in South Australia could face much tougher penalties under new laws being considered by the State Government (24 February 2016).  More...

Unpacking the risks of shipping containers
Safe Work Australia has developed a series of information sheets that provide guidance on managing the health and safety risks when unpacking shipping containers, including exposure to hazardous chemicals like fumigants and solvents (22 February 2016).  More...

If your workers aren't safe, then neither are you
WorkSafe Victoria has launched a powerful new public awareness campaign showing the impact that a serious injury can have on a workplace (22 February 2016).  More...

Safety review into scissor lifts 'a no brainer' after second fatal accident at Royal Adelaide Hospital
The partner of a man who died after a scissor lift accident at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site in 2014 has called for a safety review of the devices after a second man died at the site on Saturday (21 February 2016).   More...

CFMEU allegedly blockades sites, abuses workers after EBA dispute
Thirteen NSW CFMEU officials, including National Secretary Michael O'Conner and State Secretary Brian Parker, are alleged to have run an orchestrated campaign of unlawful blockades and work disruptions targeting a Sydney concrete pumping firm (21 February 2016).   More...

Heavy truck fatal crash numbers find a lower base
Heavy truck-related fatalities and fatal crashes have settled into a 'new normal' as the decade has passed, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figures show (19 February 2016).   More...

NHVR continues to reduce red tape
The NHVR today issued a vehicle standards exemption notice that removes the requirement for in-service semitrailers to have their rear bumper bars painted white. This is a simple exemption that will provide savings for transport businesses and operators, as well as ensuring that operators do not receive defect notices for an issue where there is no safety risk.  For new trailers, the changes will come into effect once the Vehicles Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 – General Safety Requirements) 2005 – Amendment 6 isregistered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (19 February 2016).  More...

Making Quarries Safer For Victorian Workers
The Andrews Labor Government has launched new safety guidelines to better protect workers at Victorian quarries. The 'Working Safely with Geotechnical Risk in Quarries' guide contains practical safety advice for workers and contractors at quarry sites (18 February 2016).  More...

Paul Smith drowning inquest: Employees of Sita facility cleared drains to avoid EPA scrutiny
An inquest into the drowning death of an employee who was sucked into a pipe at a Sydney waste facility has heard staff regularly cleared drains to prevent breaches of environmental rules (16 February 2016).  More...

Renewed call for office workers to embrace stand up desks
A national health group has called on Canberra office workers to make use of stand up desks and to be more active in the workplace (16 February 2016).   More...

Report into the Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) tabled in Queensland Parliament
The Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services Bill Byrne has tabled in parliament a report into an independent review of the Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) (17 February 2016).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

New Work Safety publications released for unpacking shipping containers

Safe Work Australia: Managing risks when unpacking shipping containersinformation sheets.

SafeWork NSW: Video alert on unpacking shipping containers.

WorkSafe Victoria: Unpacking shipping containers guidance note.

In practice and courts

NTC Australia: Preparing for more automated road and rail vehicles consultation
Governments and industry need to work together to make sure Australians get the best laws for these new vehicles. Submissions to the issues paper are due by 8 March 2016.  More...

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...

New NHVAS Compliance Bulletin
A new compliance bulletin released helps industry understand and comply with the NHVAS requirements of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.  The bulletin summarises requirements relating to what document need to be carried, intercept books and displaying NHVAS stickers (February 2016).

Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia has developed a series of information sheets which provide practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with unpacking shipping containers, including exposure to hazardous chemicals, for example fumigants and solvents (19 February 2016).

Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemical Exposure when Unpacking Shipping Containers Information Sheet.

Managing Risks of Methyl Bromide Exposure when Unpacking Shipping Containers Information Sheet.

Managing Risks when Unpacking Shipping Containers Information Sheet.

CASA: new Medical Records System (MRS)
From 21 March 2016, all aviation medicals will need to be completed online by pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs).  More...

WorkCover Queensland: Safety alert - Counterweights on mobile plant
The purpose of this safety alert is to: inform workers about the hazard of falling counterweights when fitting or removing them on mobile plant, and provide guidance on design, fitting, work system and training issues to reduce the risk of anyone being injured or killed by falling counterweights on mobile plant during their fitting or removal. Date issued: 24 February 2016.  More...

Petroleum and gas safety instruction Series: Non-compliant or dangerous use of butane gas cookers
Subjects: Equipment failure or modifications; Explosions; Gas leaks; Gases; Hazardous materials or substances Petroleum and gas (25 February 2016).  More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Fact Sheet on glyphosate (main ingredient in Roundup)
Councils are continuing to use pesticides containing glyphosate. WorkSafe Victoria published a fact sheet which provides advice to employers regarding use of such pesticides. WorkSafe believes it is appropriate to remind employers of their occupational health and safety duties relating to the use of this chemical (18 February 2016).   More...

WorkSafe Victoria: information on the Compliance and Enforcement Review
The Minister for Finance Robin Scott announced the commencement of a review into WorkSafe's compliance and enforcement policies and activities.  The Review's Terms of Reference have now been made public on the WorkSafe Victoria website. This is a temporary measure as the Review will have its own website (February 2016).  More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Glyphosphate herbicides - Information about (WSV1700/01/02.16)
This fact sheet provides information for employers about occupational health and safety duties relating to herbicides such as glyphosate, and how to minimise risks to employees and others when using this chemical (18 February 2016).  More...

VIC WorkSafe:Safety Soapbox 18 February 2016
Lists the latest Reported Incidents.  More...


Charles v Northern New South Wales Local Health District [2016] NSWIRComm 1004
UNFAIR DISMISSAL – casual employee – whistleblower – bullying and harassment – workers compensation claim – separation from casual pool – administrative process – no dismissal – application dismissed.  More...

Till v Workplace Health and Safety Queensland-Office of Industrial Relations Queensland Treasury Department & Anor [2015] QCAT 496
GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – application to review decision of Workplace Health and Safety not to investigate – whether reviewable decision – whether application should be dismissed for lack of substance.  More...

Worksafe Victoria decisions

Orbit Cleaning Services Australia Pty Ltd 144 792 889 22/02/2016
Crush injuries; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Guarding Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1) ;  Magistrates' Court.  More...



Work Health and Safety Amendment Regulation 2016 (No. 1)
This regulation extends until 31 December 2016 the transitional period for reach stacker licences (26 February 2016).  More...

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Schedule 20 — Maximum residue limits Variation Instrument No. APVMA 1, 2016
This instrument amends the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Schedule 20 – Maximum residue limits to include or change maximum residue limits pertaining to agricultural and veterinary chemical products (24 February 2016).  More...

Royal Commissions Amendment Regulation 2016 (No. 1)
This regulation amends the Royal Commissions Regulations 2001 to provide for the custody and use of the records of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (Tabled Senate 22 February 2016).  More...

Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 - General Safety Requirements) 2005 Amendment 5
This instrument amends the Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 - General Safety Requirements) 2005 to permit the use of Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 505 – Vehicle Stability as an alternative standard for motor tricycle (LE vehicle category) stability, as well as include an alternative test method for demonstrating stability (19 February 2016).   More...

Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 - General Safety Requirements) 2005 Amendment 6
This instrument amends the Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 42/04 - General Safety Requirements) 2005 by removing the requirement to paint the rear bumpers of semi-trailers white (19 February 2016).  More...


Acts Assented to

No. 2: Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment Act 2016
Assent: 16/02/2016 SG (No. 14) 16/2/2016 p. 1 Commencement:  NYP Not yet in operation:  Ss 1-19.

Statutory Rules made

No. 1: Wrongs (Part VBA Claims) Amendment Regulations 2016
Date of Making: 16/02/2016 Commencement: 16/02/2016 Not yet in operation:  N/A.  Sunset Date:  16/02/2026 Authorising Act/s.


Subordinate legislation as made

No 5 Queensland Building and Construction Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2016 – amends the Building Act 1975; Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004; Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; Professional Engineers Act 2002; Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991; State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 – Tabled 16 February 2016.

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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