Australia: Work Health & Safety - What's News - 7 December 2016

Last Updated: 13 December 2016
Article by Charles Power, Stephen Trew and Michael Selinger

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Chain of Responsibility amendments pass
Better safety outcomes and a stronger Chain of Responsibility (CoR) are the result of the Queensland Parliament yesterday passing amendments to the National Heavy Vehicle Law. An implementation period has been proposed that will see these reforms come into effect in mid-2018 (02 December 2016). More...

Lendlease covering up incidents on Barangaroo worksite: former safety manager
A former senior employee of construction giant Lendlease says the company routinely covers up safety issues on Sydney's Barangaroo building site, and does not report serious incidents to authorities (02 December 2016). More...

New Commonwealth procurement rules from next year
The Government has been forced to concede its position on the rules in order to get its Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) bill through the Senate. Under the new rules Government officials would also need to consider whether bidders are ethical employers, and are in compliance with occupational health and safety and environmental standards (01 December 2016). More...

Firefighters' union praises Victorian Government's response to Fiskville Inquiry
Last week the Victorian Government released its response to the Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville. The document outlines the actions that are being taken in response to the Fiskville report. (Final Report) More... More...

National explosives regulation in place by 2017
Safe Work Australia said that it welcomes the decision by Work Health and Safety ministers to progress reforms outlined in the Explosives Regulation in Australia: Decision Regulation Impact Statement. This work is the result of a decision by the Council of Australian Governments to progress national consistency in explosives regulation (29 November 2016). More...

Safe Work reports make work safer
Safe Work Australia has published two new research reports on workplace bullying and mental health. According to the Director of Research and Evaluation at Safe Work Australia, the findings of the reports will be important in the development of national policies for promoting improved psychological health at work (29 November 2016). More...

McArthur River Mine workers break silence with allegations of serious injuries from toxic smoke
Former fly-in-fly-out workers claim they have serious injuries after breathing in toxic smoke from burning rock on one of the world's biggest zinc and lead mines, and that owner Glencore has not offered compensation or assistance. Glencore has responded by saying the mine complies with the NT Workers' Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (29 November 2016). More...

Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds
The Senate inquiry's report into the planned closure of coal-fired power stations will no doubt shed light on the compelling health reasons to close them. The three main pollutants from coal-fired power stations are sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and invisible particulate matter (known as PM10 or PM2.5) (28 November 2016). More...

Dreamworld safety audit: Inspectors issue improvement notices after fatal accident
Seven improvement notices have been issued to Dreamworld by Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) officers in the wake of a deadly ride malfunction last month, as a minister reveals she expects the Gold Coast theme park to reopen by Christmas (25 November 2016). More...

Fiskville parliamentary inquiry: Victims could get compensation
A parliamentary inquiry found the CFA covered up concerns about the health of people working and living at Fiskville. The inquiry recommended a redress scheme with a low threshold for evidence, because a lot of supporting documentation of people's time at Fiskville is unlikely to still exist (24 November 2016). More...

Fine imposed over Central Queensland mine death
The operator of a Central Queensland coal mine was fined $137,500 in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court in relation to the 2014 death of a mine worker. In October 2016 the mine operator pleaded guilty to a charge relating to its failure to ensure procedures were developed and implemented to ensure that the job cards given to workers were updated (24 November 2016). More...

Dreamworld safety audits complete
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors have completed their safety audits of every amusement ride at Dreamworld (25 November 2016). More...

Black lung inquiry: Miner says Vale unsure what to do with him after diagnosis
A mining industry veteran has told a Queensland inquiry investigating the re-emergence of the potentially deadly black lung disease that the fear of not being able to breathe, and of losing his job, causes him great stress (23 November 2016). More...

Safety blitz targets demolition sites
WorkSafe inspectors have begun a month-long blitz targeting dangerous and sub-standard demolition work. Inspectors expect to visit more than 800 demolition and construction sites across the state to ensure work is carried out as safely as possible (23 November 2016). More...

Funding scheme to tackle NSW workplace, road injury
The NSW Government has set up a $100 million foundation to fund programs aimed at preventing injury and improving the wellbeing of people hurt at work or on the road (icare) (21 November 2016). More...

CFMEU talk with Qld govt on new work laws
The Queensland government is consulting with the CFMEU about reframing industrial work laws to include the offence of gross negligence causing death (18 November 2016). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

New research reports released on workplace mental health in Australia
Safe Work Australia has published two new research reports that present the latest findings on the prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment; and the impact of management commitment to psychological health and safety and poor mental health in the workplace on organisational productivity (23 November 2016). More...
See Bullying and Harassment in Australian Workplaces: Results from the Australian Workplace Barometer 2014/15
Psychosocial Safety Climate and Better Productivity in Australian Workplaces: Costs, Productivity, Presenteeism, Absenteeism

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at November 22, there had been 157 fatalities reported to Safe Work Australia - this is nine more notifications since the last update on November 8 - nine more families who have lost a loved one. Four of these deaths were in the Transport, postal and warehouse sector, two fatalities in the agriculture and in the construction sectors. The numbers and industries may vary as Safe Work receives more detailed information (to check for updates, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page).

NHVR Safety update
Industry update 32 - 25 November 2016 - New draft units of competency for fatigue management accreditation, NTC review - HVNL investigative and enforcement powers, NTC review - Increasing allowed volume where mass is not the constraint, NHVR Technical Working Group, Christmas and New Year business hours.

In practice and courts

Safe Work Australia: Model Code of Practice: Managing risks in stevedoring now available
Safe Work Australia has published the model Code of Practice: Managing risks in stevedoring. The model Code provides practical guidance to assist stevedoring duty holders in achieving the standards of health and safety required under the model Work Health and Safety laws (02 December 2016).

Safety Standards

AS/NZS 4602.1:2011/Amdt 1:2016
High visibility safety garments - Garments for high risk applications. Standards Australia.

AS ISO/IEC 80079.20.2:2016
Explosive atmospheres - Material characteristics - Combustible dusts test methods. Standards Australia.

NTC New rail safety workers standard released
The National Transport Commission (NTC) today released the revised National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers, which will come into effect on 1 February 2017 (25 November 2016). More...

Senate Inquiry Update
Non-conforming building products
Status: Accepting Submissions; Date Referred: 11 October 2016; Submissions Closed: 01 December 2016; Reporting Date: 25 May 2017.

NHVR: Daily safety check list launched for operators
A simple safety initiative launched by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will help truck drivers – and other motorists (25 November 2016). More...

NTC input on potential reforms to investigative and enforcement powers
Interested parties have been invited to make submissions on ways to improve Australia's Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws. More information including a copy of the discussion paper is available here. Submissions can be made until 9 December 2016 via the NTC's website. (NHVR) More...

ARPANSA Consultations
Invitation to Comment: Radioactive Waste Storage & Disposal Facilities
Closing date for comments - 9 December 2016.

IAEA Draft for Member State Comment
IAEA draft for review: DS493 - Format and Content of the Package Design Safety Report (PDSR) for the Transport of Radioactive Material. Closing date for comments – 11 March 2017. More...

Senate Inquiry Update
Non-conforming building products
Status: Accepting Submissions; Date Referred: 11 October 2016; Submissions Closed: 01 December 2016; Reporting Date: 25 May 2017.

NSW Safework: Have your say on work health and safety
A new discussion paper, released today, examines how the national model work health and safety laws that commenced on 1 January 2012. The discussion paper is available from our Work health and safety legislation web page and the haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au site. Responses can be lodged online or by mail and submissions close 20 December. More...

Free SafeWork roofing seminars following spate of local incidents
SafeWork NSW will hold two free safety seminars next week for local tradies after several local workers were seriously injured (28 November 2016). More...

eSAFE Construction - November 2016
Residential construction safety – Back to basics; Why should your workplace be mentally healthy?; Improving site safety through building information modelling; Manual task injury prevention not a priority for principal contractors (28 November 2016). More...

DNRM safety alert No 70: Importance of gas detection equipment maintenance and calibration
Gases, Petroleum and gas safety alert – 23 November 2016.

DNRM safety bulletin No 158: Fixed plant and mobile equipment fires on surface coal mines
Coal mines; Metalliferous mines; Quarry operations – Mines safety bulletin, 21 November 2016.

WorkCover Queensland: Virtual Seminar Series - new website
Safe Work Australia again this year will host a series of free online seminars throughout October, November and December 2016. Visit Safe Work Australia's new website. More...

esafe Electrical: Renewable energy standards update
Installers and suppliers of renewable energy systems, including solar PV systems, should note that the renewable energy standards have been updated. AS/NZS 4777.1:2016 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters – Part 1: Installation requirements now incorporates advances in technology and equipment available. It should still be read in conjunction with the AS/NZS 3000 wiring rules and also AS/NZS 5033 if the energy source includes a photovoltaic (PV) array (24 November 2016). More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox 25 November 2016
In the editorial, WorkSafe's Construction Strategy and Prevention Manager Barry Dunn writes about the findings of the regulator's July focus campaign on falls prevention. Falls remain a leading cause of death and serious injury in construction. There were 65 Reported Incidents in the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries. Access the November 25 Safety Soapbox edition online, including the link to the list of reported incidents in other states.

Cases

House v Anglo Coal (Callide Management) Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] QDC 303
Employer/employee – labourer hirer/hiree – liability – whether vicarious liability – common law and statutory bases – whether contributory negligence.

Healy v Logan City Council [2016] QCA 314
INTERPRETATION – GENERAL RULES OF CONSTRUCTION OF INSTRUMENTS – GENERAL MATTERS – where the applicant applies for leave to appeal against an order made by a judge of the District Court pursuant to s.287 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) ('the Act') that the respondent comply with its obligations under s.279(1) of that Act by providing the applicant with certain information but otherwise dismissing the applicant's application – where the applicant contends that the duty to cooperate expressed in the introductory words of s.279(1) of the Act extends to information which is not comprehended within s.279(1)(b) – where the applicant further submits that the phrase 'in particular by' means 'especially' – where the applicant submits that the narrow construction preferred by the primary judge did not give effect to the applicable objects of the Act – where the respondent submits that the primary judge's interpretation of s.279 is correct – whether the primary judge's construction of s.279 is correct.

Legislation - Commonwealth

Bills

Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013
Finally passed both Houses 30/11/16 Assent 01/12/16 Act no: 87 Year: 2016.
Introduced with the Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013, the bill: re-establishes the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABC Commissioner) and the Australian Building and Construction Commission; enables the minister to issue a Building Code; provides for the appointment and functions of the Federal Safety Commissioner; prohibits certain unlawful industrial action; prohibits coercion, discrimination and unenforceable agreements; provides the ABC Commissioner with powers to obtain information; provides for orders for contraventions of civil remedy provisions and other enforcement powers; and makes miscellaneous amendments in relation to self-incrimination, protection of liability against officials, admissible records and documents, protection and disclosure of information, powers of the Commissioner in certain proceedings, and jurisdiction of courts.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code — Schedule 20 – Maximum residue limits Variation Instrument No. APVMA 11, 2016
28/11/2016 - This instrument amends the s.82(2) of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991; s.44(1) of the Legislation Act 2003 to set new and varied maximum residue limits and make changes to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances.

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2016 (No. 16)
28/11/2016 - 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.

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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