Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 24 May 2016

Last Updated: 30 May 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media – National

Fortescue contractor sees fine over workshop death
A maintenance contractor has been fined $20,000 for the death of Allen Zuvela at Fortescue's Christmas Creek mine in 2013 (19 May 2016).  More...

FWBC now one-stop-shop for Building Code 2013: Industry watchdog to assess enterprise agreements for code compliance
From Wednesday 18 May 2016, any new enterprise agreements entered into by building contractors or building industry participants need to be compliant with the current Building Code 2013 in order for contractors to be eligible for work on future Commonwealth funded construction projects (18 May 2016).  More...

Potato farm fined over worker death
Oakville Produce's potato farm has received a $187,500 fine after a truck driver was killed by a forklift in December 2013. The company was charged with a breach of duty under the Work Health and Safety Act for failing to have a traffic management plan and equipping a forklift with inadequate visibility (18 May 2016).  More...

Work related deaths at lowest level in nearly 20 years
The latest workers compensation data from NSW's workers compensation authority has revealed a significant decrease in death and injury rates in the state's workplaces (17 May 2016).  More...

Principal contractor fined $50,000 after concrete pumping truck tips over
A construction company was last week convicted and fined $50,000 over an incident in which a concrete truck tipped over and seriously injured a worker after unknowingly setting up on top of a temporarily covered ventilation shaft. The company failed to ensure that the workplace was safe by not clearly identifying this to workers at the site (13 May 2016).  More...

Company fined $170,000 over Brisbane fatality
A fatal accident at Brisbane's Airport Link project has cost construction company John Holland a $170,000 fine for breaching Commonwealth work health and safety laws (11 May 2016). More... 

The CFMEU has hit out at the "obscene and tokenistic" fine handed to engineering contractor John Holland over the death of a worker at Brisbane's Airport Link project (16 May 2016).  More...

LGAQ and NHVR deal to improve road safety
Queensland's peak local government association and the NHVR have signed an agreement to improve the productivity and safety of the state's road freight industry (11 May 2016).  More...

Government launches farmer electrical safety campaign 
Victorian farmers are being urged not to attempt dangerous do-it-yourself electrical work as part of a new government electrical safety campaign. Energy Safe Victoria created the DIY=DIE campaign following the recent deaths of two Victorian farmers (11 May 2016).  More...

AHRC release report on Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians
‎The Australian Human Rights Commission has released Willing to Work, the final report on its national inquiry into employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with a disability.  The inquiry was commissioned last year by Attorney-General George Brandis, and involved 120 public consultations (09 May 2016).  More...

Department of Immigration and Border Protection public servants face random drug tests
More than 2,000 public servants at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have been randomly drug tested at work in a bid to crack down on lapsed standards, safety risks and potential corruption (09 May 2016).  More...

Hutchinson cleared of charges relating to pile driver's death at Hobart tip
Hutchinson Builders has been cleared of charges relating to the death of a pile driver at Hobart's McRobie Gully Tip. Hobart magistrate Chris Webster today dismissed the charges against the company because Mr Wicks owned the equipment that killed him (09 May 2016).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

OFSC: 2014 Biannual Data Analysis Reports
The 2014 OFSC Biannual Data Analysis Reports provide an overview and analysis of data collected from companies accredited under the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme, for the periods January to June 2014 and July to December 2014. Two fatalities on non-Scheme projects were reported in 2014 (released 10 May 2016).  More...

SafeWork Australia new releases 11 May 2016
The reports also outline existing materials that provide information about health effects, common exposure scenarios and options for preventing or minimising potential exposures to carcinogens.

In practice and courts

ACCC: Consultation on international standards associations to be named in regulations
The ACCC has released a consultation paper seeking stakeholder comments on a list of trusted standards associations to be included in a Regulation other than Standards Australia.  The Consultation closes on 7 June 2016.   More...  More...

QLD WorkCover: Is there a safe way to lift?
It is important for employers to protect their workers from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), also known as sprain and strain injuries, that result from lifting or other hazardous manual tasks. MSDs result in over half of Queensland's workers' compensation claims (19 May 2016).  More...

QLD WorkCover:  Wiring rules changes released for public comment
Standards Australia has released a proposed revision of the Australian and New Zealand Wiring Rules, AS/NZS 3000:2007 Electrical installations. You can comment on this draft at the Standards Australia's website until 20 June 2016 (18 May 2016).  More...

Victoria WorkSafe: Safety Soapbox 12 May 2016
The latest edition features Steve Darnley from the construction team "Why do I need to have power tools and portable electrical equipment inspected and tested when the site is protected by RCDs (Residual Current Devices also - sometimes called safety switches)?" The list of Reported Incidents in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries from 26 April – 5 May 2016 is attached to the bulletin. There were at total of 51 Reported Incidents.  More...

Cases – National

Comcare v John Holland Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 501
INDUSTRIAL LAW – consideration of the principles governing the determination of a civil pecuniary penalty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth) – consideration of the penalty to be imposed in respect of contraventions of that Act
Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth)
Occupational Health and Safety (Safety Standards) Regulations 1994 (Cth)
Work Health and Safety (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2001 (Cth)
Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth).  More...

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission v May [2016] HCA 19
Appeal allowed. Workers compensation – Where employee vaccinated in course of employment and later felt unwell, described as "vertigo" – Where evidence did not establish nature and incidents of any physiological or psychiatric change – Whether employee suffered "injury" within meaning of s 4(1) of Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth).
Words and phrases – "ailment", "disease", "disturbance of the normal physiological state", "injury", "injury (other than a disease)", "physiological change", "psychiatric change", "sudden or identifiable".  More...

Trevena v Thiess Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 468
INDUSTRIAL LAW – alleged contraventions of Part 3-1 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether employee had exercised a workplace right to make a complaint "in relation to...employment" – where complaint made by employee's brother – whether employer took "adverse action" by failing to offer employee previous casual position or allegedly promised role – where employee voluntarily relocated and only willing to return to previous position on fly-in fly-out basis or to new role alleged to have been offered prior to departure – whether adverse action because of the employee's exercise of a workplace right – whether action taken with "intent to coerce" – whether employer had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) – whether employer had falsely promised role.  More...



Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Licence Charges) Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2016
This regulation amends the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Licence Charges) Regulations 2000 to increase annual licence charges by 2.7 per cent and to make associated technical amendments. It also makes consequential amendments resulting from recent changes to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (10 May 2016).  More...


Statutory Rules

No 42: Subordinate Legislation (Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006) Extension Regulations 2016
Date of Making: 10/05/2016 Commencement: 10/05/2016 Not yet in operation: N/A Sunset Date: 05/05/2017: reg. 4.  More...

New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Heavy Vehicle (General) National Amendment Regulation (2016-261) — published LW 20 May 2016
Electricity (Consumer Safety) Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2016 (2016-233) — published LW 11 May 2016
Gas Supply (Consumer Safety) Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2016 (2016-234) — published LW 11 May 2016


Subordinate legislation as made

No 50: Heavy Vehicle (General) National Amendment Regulation
Heavy Vehicle National Law as applied by the law of States and Territories

Bills Updated in the last week

Public Health (Water Risk Management) Amendment Bill 2016
Introduced on 17/03/2016 Stage reached: Report from Committee on 12/05/2016

Hospital and Health Boards (Safe Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2015
Introduced on 1/12/2015 Stage reached: PASSED with amendment on 12/05/2016

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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