Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 30 March 2016

Last Updated: 1 April 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Paul Venus

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

'Endemic bullying': Health system failed doctors and nurses, says Auditor-General's report
The health sector has failed to protect staff from widespread bullying, harassment and discrimination while a lack of leadership has allowed a culture of abuse to fester, a scathing audit has found (23 March 2016).   More...

Scathing review of Victorian health highlights systemic failures
Systemic failures pose an unacceptably high risk to the safety of public hospital patients, Victoria's auditor-general finds (23 March 2016).   More...

'Big as Fiskville', says Australian Workers' Union
Thousands of public servants could have been exposed to toxic chemicals at work, in a case that has drawn comparisons with the CFA Fiskville scandal, with the AWU calling on the Victorian Government for a "full and fearless investigation" of the chemicals used by workers across state departments and local government (22 March 2016).   More...

Former elite umpire calls for specially designed helmets
Lightweight helmets should be developed for cricket umpires to protect them from straight drives and powerfully hit pull shots, a former top level official says (20 March 2016).   More...

Humidity should be benchmark for tradies to down tools: expert
Humidity and not temperature should be the key factor in developing a 'down tools' policy for tradespeople in Queensland, according to a leading heat stress doctor (20 March 2016).   More...

If you use office group chat, don't do this - there are legal risks
We, the modern, group-chatting professional class, saw our personal nightmares play out in a courtroom this week (18 March 2016).   More... 

SafeWork targeting nursery industry safety
SafeWork NSW has released a plan to improve safety and injury management in the NSW nursery industry (17 March 2016).   More... 

Published – articles, papers, reports

No time to sit: Keeping active at work is best for your health
Safe Work Australia's literature review on sedentary work shows that negative health effects from prolonged sitting are due to insufficient movement and muscle activity, low energy expenditure and a lack of changes in posture (18 March 2016).   More...

See Sedentary Work: Evidence on an Emergent Work Health and Safety Issue

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Soapbox 17 March 2016
In this edition's editorial, discusses the need to have a formwork structural inspection signed off before allowing workers to access the formwork deck. There were 88 incidents reported to WorkSafe from 26 February to 10 March 2016. These included one fatality, 38 lacerations, 19 near misses, 10 "unknowns", seven electric shocks, six fractures, three dislocations, two punctures and one each of bruising, amputation and burns. and few potentially serious near misses. See the issue here Safety Soapbox 17 March 2016

In practice and courts

QLD DERM No 51: Approved transport authority holders of low risk loads of explosives
Explosives storage or transport, Explosives-  Explosives information bulletin - 4 March 2016.   More...

RSRT Payments Calculator available online
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has published an online payments calculator to assist parties to determine the correct minimum payments under the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (2016 RSRO). The 2016 RSRO takes effect from 4 April 2016.   More...

ATSB alert: Fire on board livestock carrier Ocean Driver
The ATSB investigation identified that the ship's crew did not complete a muster and accurate head count when responding to the fire. While cigarette smoking was not identified as a contributing factor, it was found that the smoking policy and associated risk controls on board were not effectively managed (11 March 2016).   More...

NSW Parliament: Inquiries receiving submissions

Formwork Code of Practice 2016 commences 31 March 2016
The Formwork Code of Practice 2016 was approved by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and commences on 31 March 2016. A comparison table outlines the updates made to the Formwork Code of Practice 2016 which are mostly minor and technical in nature and reflect current best practice.  More...


Govier v Unitingcare Community [2016] QDC 056
EMPLOYMENT LAW – injury to employee – psychiatric injury – employee violently assaulted – employee sustained physical and psychiatric injuries from the assault – employer's investigation of employee's conduct in connection with the assault – where two letters from employer to employee in connection with the investigation aggravated the psychiatric injury – whether duty of care in respect of the content and timing of the letters.  More...

Sunil Dissanayake and State Transit Authority of New South Wales [2016] NSWIRComm 1010
Termination of employment – summary dismissal – alleged harsh, unjust and unreasonable termination – reinstatement sought – failure to perform a specific work instruction to tension wheel nuts – breach of maintenance and safety procedures – previous final warning for safety breach – purpose of warnings considered – applicant alleged he was not advised of revised maintenance procedures – clear and unambiguous instructions set out in relevant vehicle service work order – consideration whether dismissal harsh, unreasonable or unjust – applicant afforded procedural fairness – applicant's alleged conduct serious breach of vehicle maintenance and safety procedures – summary dismissal not a disproportionate response by State Transit – dismissal not unreasonable or unjust – consideration whether dismissal harsh – loss of accrued benefits due to summary dismissal and applicant's age and difficulty in obtaining alternative employment considered – dismissal harsh – reinstatement impractical – compensation ordered.   More...

Anglo Coal (Capcoal Management) Pty Ltd v Reynoldson [2016] QSC 052
INDUSTRIAL LAW – INDUSTRIAL REGULATION OF PARTICULAR INDUSTRIES – COAL INDUSTRY – OTHER MATTERS – where the applicant operates a mine and sought to reduce the number of rest breaks for its workers – where the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 2001 (Qld) and the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2001 (Qld) regulate how a mine operator is able to amend its safety and health management system which includes its fatigue and worker fitness provisions – where the mine operator, through its site senior executive, is obliged to prepare draft fitness provisions and consult with a cross-section of coal mine workers – where the site senior executive is obliged to obtain further information and advice and consult again with the cross-section if agreement cannot be reached – whether the mine operator is only obliged to complete the legislative drafting and consultative process once

Worksafe Victoria decisions

BPL Melbourne Pty Ltd 115 955 541 15/03/2016
Burns; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to provide a safe working environment Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a) ; County Court   More...



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Public Health Amendment (Blood Lead Notification Level) Order (No 2) 2016 (2016-132) — published LW 18 March 2016
Workers Compensation (Weekly Payments Indexation) Amendment Order 2016 (2016-143) — published LW 18 March 2016
Workers Compensation Amendment (Latest Index Number) Regulation 2016 (2016-134) — published LW 18 March 2016

Victoria - Statutory Rules made

No. 12: Road Safety (General) Amendment Regulations 2016
Date of Making: 15/03/2016 Commencement:18/03/2016: reg. 3
Not yet in operation:  Regs 1-12: on 18/03/2016: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 15/03/2026

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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