Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 12 October 2016

Last Updated: 24 October 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, August 2018

In the media

Safety alert issued after grain fire and dust explosion in silo
A safety alert has been issued after a farmer fell eight metres from a ladder and suffered serious injuries while trying to extinguish a barley grain fire in a large grain silo. According to the safety alert, more grain dust may have been raised into the air after the farmer squirted water into the silo. More...

National Safe Work Month launched
The CEO of Safe Work Australia, Michelle Baxter, has launched 2016 National Safe Work Month in a video message that appeals to workers to save lives by having a conversation, sharing stories and raising awareness about work health and safety. More...

Eagle Farm construction deaths: Investigations continue into how concrete panel crushed two men
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers will return to Brisbane's Eagle Farm racecourse today to continue investigations into the deaths of two workers crushed by a concrete panel (07 October 2016). More...

Stairwell void fall ends in $80,000 fine and conviction
A construction company was found guilty by a County Court jury of an incident in which a carpenter survived a fall of almost three metres down an unguarded stairwell void at a construction site in Doncaster in 2011 (06 October 2016). More...

Contractor fined for worker's fatal crush incident
Rod Mitchell's Transport and Exploration Services (RMTES) has been fined $110,000 for the death of a worker at the Woodie Woodie mine last year (05 October 2016). More...

Even court orders to 'stop bullying' don't always help
While bullying has been a topic of considerable debate over the past decade, in school yards and workplaces, its prevalence among federal government employees was drawn into the spotlight recently (03 October 2016). More...

Queensland launches bus driver safety review
The Queensland Government is conducting a review into bus driver safety throughout the state following the number of assaults faced by drivers (30 September 2016). More (Safe to Work website)... More (ABC News)...

Queensland vet found guilty of breaching workplace laws while treating Hendra
A Queensland vet is sentenced to a 12 month court order after finding her guilty of breaching workplace laws while treating a horse with Hendra virus (30 September 2016). More...

First fatality-free year in Queensland's mining history
The Queensland mining industry has recorded its first ever fatality-free year in 2015–16. Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health, Kate du Preez said while this achievement is something to be celebrated, it has been tarnished by the sudden reappearance of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (CWP) and a number of serious accidents and high potential incidents (HPI's). More...

Job losses in steel industry linked to rise in domestic violence
Job losses have been linked to a rise in domestic violence rates in a new analysis of the impact of a major downturn in the steel industry. The Illawarra Legal Centre has identified a 16 per cent increase in calls from victims of family and domestic violence during the last major downturn at Bluescope Steel when 1500 jobs were lost (29 September 2016). More...

Snapchat could be bullying headache for managers The booming use of messaging app Snapchat could cause major headaches for employers as workplace bullies take advantage of its self-destruct selling point. Snapchat allows its millions of users to send messages, particularly photos or videos, to others but then automatically destroys the messages after they have been viewed (29 September 2016). More...

Gold Coast skipper convicted of maritime offences
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has successfully prosecuted the operator and master of a Gold Coast charter boat for maritime offences under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (28 September 2016). More...

Almost a fifth of midwives 'suffering PTSD', study finds
A study of 707 midwives concludes midwives carry a high psychological burden and PTSD should be acknowledged as an occupational stress (28 September 2016). More...

Government won't act on UN ruling defence base firefighting chemical is toxic
The Australian Department of Health is not changing its health advice on a defence base contaminant, despite a United Nations (UN) toxins committee ruling the chemical is linked to serious disease (28 September 2016). More...

Australian fire safety standards for transport operators revised
Changes have been made to fire safety standards for mobile transport owners and operators under the revised Australian Standard AS 5062-2016 Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment (27 September 2016). More...

Trucking boss Peter Colbert 'showed no remorse' over driver's death caused by faulty brakes
A former trucking company boss found guilty of manslaughter over the death of one of his drivers due to faulty brakes has not shown genuine remorse for his actions, an Adelaide court has heard (27 September 2016). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Mines inspectorate annual performance report for 2015-16
Queensland Independent Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health; Monash University; released 30 September 2016
The Mines Inspectorate has identified a number of hazards and common contributing factors or root causes. In 2015-16 there was a heightened focus by the Mines Inspectorate on dust management, in particular in underground coal mines.

In practice and courts

Safework Australia: New website for the Virtual Seminar Series
Our Virtual Seminar Series has a new website where you can see the broadcast schedule and watch our latest seminars. Browse the range of playlists on many different topics relating to safe workplaces, or search by industry or topic (07 October 2016).

ARPANZA: Draft Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations - Second Round Public Consultation
The draft Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations (the Planned Exposure Code) has been released for a second period of public consultation. Submissions close 10 October 2016 (16 September 2016). More...

Have your say on the NSW self-insurance licensing framework
The discussion paper, which includes standard licensing conditions and insurer top tier requirements, as well as the PwC report, is available on the WorkCover website with submissions accepted until 11 November 2016.

Queensland WorkCover: Always test and inspect electrical work to ensure it is safe to energise
You must always test and inspect electrical work to ensure the installation is safe to energise. This includes any alterations, repairs or additions made to existing electrical installations (07 October 2016). More...

New Safety Standards

AS/NZS 60079.29.3:2016
Explosive atmospheres - Gas detectors - Guidance on functional safety of fixed gas detection systems.

Reminder: International Asbestos Awareness and Management Conference
Venue: 13 - 15 November at Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) on Adelaide's North Terrace. Bookings are now open and programme details will be available soon. Presentations and highlights from the 2015 ASEA Conference are now available from the ASEA website.


SafeWork NSW v Rawson Homes Pty Ltd [2016] NSWDC 237
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of person conducting business or undertaking (PCBU) to employees of a contractor to the PCBU – whether the duty owed under s 19(1) or s 19(2) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – meaning of "other workers" in s 19(2).

ABD Group Pty Ltd 109 588 589 29/09/2016
Falls/work at height offences; Failure to provide a safe working environment Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1); Melbourne County Court.

Maroondah City Council 06/10/2016
Guarding; Traffic management; Unguarded plant; Failure to provide and maintain plant Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Ringwood Magistrates' Court.

Legislation - Commonwealth

Civil Aviation Order 48.1 Amendment Instrument 2016 (No. 3) 07/10/2016 - This instrument modifies the provisions under which Civil Aviation Order 48.1 Instrument 2013 takes effect, by extending the date by which operators must comply with the new Civil Aviation Order 48. The purpose of these extensions of time is to provide further time and opportunity for operators to prepare their organisations for transition to the requirements of CAO 48.1, and for CASA to prepare and make available additional resources, templates and other advisory materials for the transition. The extension will also enable CASA to facilitate the conduct of a comprehensive independent review of CAO 48.1, and provide sufficient time for operators to be alerted to any modifications to current requirements that might emerge from that review.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Schedule 20 — Maximum residue limits Variation Instrument No. APVMA 9, 2016 04/10/2016 - This instrument amends Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Schedule 20 - Maximum residue limits Variation Instrument No. APVMA 5, 2016 to set new and varied maximum residue limits and make changes to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances.

CASA EX146/16 - Exemption — Flight examiners if authorised by CASA 29/09/2016 - This instrument exempts flight examiners from the prohibition in paragraph 61.1295 (2) (b) of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR 1998) against a flight examiner conducting flight tests for an applicant for a commercial pilot licence if the examiner is also the person who issued the applicant with certification under regulation 61.235 of CASR 1998.

Heavy Vehicle National Law - HVNL Interim Guidelines for Industry Codes of Practice (July 2014) Amendment Notice 2016 (No.2) 29/09/2016 - The purpose of this Notice is: (1) to amend the HVNL Interim Guidelines for Industry Codes of Practice (July 2014) (the Interim Guidelines); and (2) to state the status of industry codes of practice currently registered under the Interim Guidelines.

Legislation -Victoria

No. 34: Witness Protection Amendment Act 2016
Commencement: Pts 1 (ss 1-3), 4 (s. 40) on 05/10/2016: SG (No. 289) 20/9/2016 p. 1 Not yet in operation: Ss 4-39, 41 Pts 1 (ss 1-3), 4 (s. 40) on 05/10/2016: SG (No. 289) 20/9/2016 p. 1.

No. 43: Emergency Management (Control of Response Activities and Other Matters) Act 2015
Commencement: Ss 1-5, 7-9, 12-14, 16-26(1), 28-34, 41 on 23/09/2015: SG (No. 276).
22/9/2015 p. 1: s. 2(1) Ss 6, 10, 11, 15 on 01/08/2016: SG (No. 233) 26/7/2016 p.1.
Ss 26(2), 27, Pt 3 Div. 4 (ss 35-40) on 19/09/2016: SG (No. 284) 13/9/2016 p.1.
Not yet in operation: Ss 26(2), 27, Pt 3 Div. 4 (ss 35-40): on 19/09/2016: SG (No. 284) 13/9/2016 p.1.

No 49: Livestock Disease Control Amendment Act 2016
Assent: 20/09/2016 SG (No. 288) 20/9/2016 p. 1 Commencement: NYP. Not yet in operation: Ss 1-13.
Access Victorian legislation online at

Legislation -New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Marine Safety Amendment Regulation 2016 (2016-613) — published LW 7 October 2016.

Proclamations commencing Acts
Marine Legislation Amendment Act 2016 No 28 (2016-609) — published LW 7 October 2016.
Marine Safety Act 1998 No 121 (2016-610) — published LW 7 October 2016.

Bills introduced Government – week ending 23 September 2016
Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016
The Bill will move all existing judicial function of the Industrial Relations Commission to the Supreme Court to allow existing Supreme Court judges to hear matters as required.

Legislation -Queensland

Subordinate legislation as made

No 174: Proclamation commencing certain provisions
Public Safety Business Agency and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016

No 176: Mining Safety and Health Legislation (Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis and Other Matters) Amendment Regulation 2016
Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999; Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999
The objectives of the Mining Safety and Health Legislation (Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis and Other Matters) Amendment Regulation 2016 are to:

  1. prescribe notifiable occupational diseases under Queensland's coal mining and mining and quarrying safety and health laws
  2. clarify coal mine worker health assessment requirements
  3. introduce voluntary respiratory and chest x -ray examinations for retiring coal mine workers
  4. strengthen respirable dust management requirements

No 181 Industrial Relations Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2016
Industrial Relations Act 1999 – 07/10/2016 - The objective of this regulation is to remove any ambiguity concerning the industrial relations status of the National Injury Insurance Agency, Queensland (NIIA-Qld) by declaring it as not a national system employer for the purposes of FW Act.

No 182 Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 2) 2016
Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966
Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988
– 07/10/2016 – outlines regulation for commercial operator's licences.

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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