Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 6 July 2016

Last Updated: 10 July 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media – National

New electrical safety commissioner appointed
Greg Skyring has been appointed Queensland commissioner for electrical safety for the next three years (01 July 2016).  More...

New focus on road safety around construction works
WorkSafe Victoria and VicRoads have begun working on a strategy to improve safety for workers and the public when construction work, pedestrians and road traffic interact (30 June 2016).  More...

Welding peak body calls for fabricated steel compliance laws
Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) CEO Geoff Crittenden has warned of the potential public safety risks if compliance legislation for fabricated steel is not enforced (30 June 2016).  More...

ALC sees overreach in speed limiter enforcement proposals
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has raised enforcement concerns to the National Transport Commission (NTC) in its submission on the Enforcement Approaches for Speeding Heavy Vehicles Discussion Paper (30 June 2016).  More...

Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual coverage expands Friday
The roll out of the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual across Victoria and Queensland will improve vehicle standards compliance and help reduce vehicle downtime, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says. The manual, which is effective from July 1, has already been in force in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania (29 June 2016).  More...

Victorian farmer dies in quad bike accident at Pomborneit
The tragedy comes amid calls from doctors and work safety advocates for the vehicles to be made safer for adults and for children to be banned from riding them. WorkSafe Victoria recently tightened rules around quad bikes, requiring businesses to install roll-over protection devices if they are used on a work site. The new regulation is expected to come into effect within 18 months (27 June 2016).  More...

Car auctioneer fined after forklift operator killed
A Sydney car auctioneer has been fined more than $250,000 after a forklift operator was killed while unloading a truck at Milperra in 2013. SafeWork NSW charged Pickles Auctions with a breach of sections 32/19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) for failing to ensure the health and safety of workers (23 June 2016).  More...

High OHS fine passes Parliament
Victoria now has the highest maximum work health and safety fine in the country, with a Bill amending the State's OHS and workers' comp laws passing the Lower House .The Victorian Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 increases the maximum penalty for a body corporate that recklessly endangers a person at a workplace (a breach of s32 of the OHS Act) from 9000 penalty units (currently $1,365,030) to 20,000 units ($3,033,400) (23 June 2016)   More...

Tour company guilty over fall death
An Alice Springs-based tour company has pleaded guilty to failing to comply with its health and safety duty to British backpacker Zoe Woolmer (23 June 2016).  More...

Warnings over defective NSW mine self-rescue units
A safety alert has been issued for self-rescue devices that are used by thousands of miners across New South Wales (23 June 2016).  More...

VIC: Discussion Paper on Compliance and Enforcement released 
The independent panel appointed by Minister Robin Scott MP, Minister for Finance to review OHS compliance and enforcement in Victoria, this week released a discussion paper for public comment. The discussion paper is available from the review website. The closing date for submissions is 1 August 2016.

Builder convicted after fall leaves subcontractor with broken spine
An Ocean Grove builder was today convicted and fined $25,000 over an incident in which a plasterer suffered severe l injuries after falling more than two metres from a work platform.  Vand Builders Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates Court to one count of breaching the OHS Act 2004 for failing to ensure that persons other than its employees were not placed at risk (22 June 2016).  More....

New State Government campaign to tackle quad bike safety
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has launched a new public safety campaign in a bid to cut the number of quad bike deaths and injuries in Queensland (20 June 2016).  More...

Feature: Commonwealth government breaching duties under WHS law
In a media release the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said that they have ongoing concerns that the Commonwealth government continues to ignore its obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act).   More (ALA News)...   More (ALA Article).... 

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics 
There has not been an update on the SWA fatality statistics page since June 22, at which time there had 76 deaths notified. To check for updates, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities.
The latest monthly fatality report remains that for January 2016 during which there were 15 work-related notifiable fatalities.  More...

Selective duty of care being applied by the Australian Government
Kevin Jones; safetyatworkblog 29 June 2016
Accountability, death, due diligence, Duty of Care, ethics, government, human rights, justice, law, occupational, OHS, politics, safety, Shorten, transparency, Turnbull, violence, workplace, WorkSafe.
The OHS profession has been almost silent on the consequences of the inaction by Comcare and the alleged breaches of workplace safety law. OHS laws have always been broadly applied.  More...

Workcover Queensland
June 2016 edition I of eSAFE Newsletter

WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox - June 23 2016
The editorial in the latest edition of WorkSafe's Safety Soapbox, posted on June 23, focusses on WorkSafe's upcoming Prevention of Falls Focus Campaign commencing 1 July 2016.  There were 62 Reported Incidents (attached to Safety Soapbox) in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries from June 2 –June 23 Safety Soapbox.

Report of the special inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona fire
Euan Ferguson, Government of Western Australia, Waroona Fire Special Inquiry: 23 June 2016
Final report of the Waroona Bushfire Special Inquiry.  More...

In practice and courts

New GHS E Learning available 
Comcare has published a new general workplace awareness E Learning session on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) (21 June 2016).  More... 

NTC Proposed options to improve heavy vehicle charges
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper outlining possible options to improve the current method of setting heavy vehicle charges. Submissions can be lodged before Wednesday, 27 July 2016.  More...

SafeWork NSW: Consultation period for horse industry code of practice extended Media Release 30/06/2016
The consultation period for the draft horse industry Code of Practice has been extended to until 28 August. The Code of Practice aims to reduce work-related injuries and fatalities involving horses (30 June 2016).  submissions can be lodged before Wednesday, 27 July 2016.

QLD: DNRM Alert No 328: Working under a stope bridge
Falling material or objects - Metalliferous mines - Mines safety alert 28 June 2016.  More...

WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alert: Refueling Portable Equipment
Alert on the risks of refueling portable equipment, such as petrol generators and demolition saws, and advice on controlling the risks (28 June 2016).  More...

VIC: HSR Submission Portal experiences of WorkSafe have been
The VTHC wants to hear from health and safety reps about their views on WorkSafe's Compliance and Enforcement activities.  Go to the HSR Submission Portal and tell us about your experiences. The closing date for submissions is 1 August 2016.   More...


Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Hail Creek Coal Pty Ltd (No. 2) [2016] FCA 727
INDUSTRIAL LAW – construction of enterprise agreement – whether respondent's employees covered by enterprise agreement entitled to unlimited sick leave – whether respondent contravened enterprise agreement by refusing to provide employees access to paid sick leave – whether respondent contravened s 50 Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – proper construction of sick leave clause when read in context and with business common sense – respondent contravened enterprise agreement.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – penalty – imposition of civil penalty – whether single course of conduct engaged in by respondent – single contravention pursuant to s 557(1) Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). 

Archer v Simon Transport Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 168
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – JURISDICTIONAL MATTERS – where the applicant laid a complaint under the Justices Act 1886 (Qld) that, contrary to s 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) ('WHS Act'), the respondent failed to comply with its duty under s 19(1) of the WHS Act and this failure exposed an individual to a risk of serious injury – where a District Court judge upheld the decision of the Industrial Magistrates Court striking out the complaint for want of jurisdiction on the basis that the complaint was insufficiently particularised – where the complaint set out the ways in which the employer failed to comply with its duty and measures which should have been taken to obviate the identified risks – whether leave to appeal should be granted – whether the complaint was adequate to invoke the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. 

Worksafe Victoria decisions

Metropolitan Express Transport Services Pty Ltd 007 380 127 23/06/2016
Failure to notify VWA of a notifiable incident; Failure to preserve incident site Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 38(1); 38(3); 39(1) ; Dandenong Magistrates' Court.

Vand Builders Pty Ltd 160 162 630 22/06/2016
Falls/work at height offences; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to provide a safe working environment Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 23(1) ; Geelong Magistrates' Court.

Australian Tartaric Products Pty Ltd 008 275 554 16/06/2016
Failure to provide a safe system of work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a) ; Mildura Magistrates'.

See cases here

Legislation – Commonwealth

Poisons Standard July 2016
24/06/2016 - This instrument substitutes the new Poisons Standard July 2016 for the previous Poisons Standard, the Poisons Standard June 2016, and consists of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No.13 (the SUSMP 13), as set out in Schedule 1 of this Standard. 

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2016 (No. 8)
23/06/2016 -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. 

Legislation – Victoria

Statutory Rules

No 77: Liquor Control Reform (Wholesale Liquor Supply Information) Amendment Regulations 2016
Date of Making: 28/06/2016 Commencement: 01/07/2016: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-5: on 01/07/2016: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 28/06/2026.

No 50: Road Safety (Drivers) and (Vehicles) Amendment (Fees) Regulations 2016
Commencement: 01/07/2016: reg. 3  Not yet in operation: Regs 1-8: on 01/07/2016: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 24/05/2026.

Access Victorian legislation here

Legislation – New South Wales

Electricity (Consumer Safety) Amendment (Meter Inspection Fee) Regulation 2016 (2016-400) — published LW 1 July 2016.

Work Health and Safety Amendment (Fees and Transitional Periods) Regulation 2016 (2016-418) — published LW 1 July 2016.

Workers Compensation (Weekly Payments Indexation) Amendment Order (No 2) 2016 (2016-421) — published LW 1 July 2016.

Radiation Control Amendment (Exemptions and Fees) Regulation 2016 (2016-342) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Rail Safety National Law National Regulations (Fees) Variation Regulations 2016 (2016-361) — published LW 24 June 2016.

Rail Safety National Law National Regulations Variation Regulations 2016 (2016-360) — published LW 24 June 2016 - Variation of regulation 57—Reporting of notifiable occurrences.

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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