Australia: Work Health & Safety - Whats News - 1 February 2017

In the media

Government commits to 'never' re-establish RSRT
The federal government has promised to "never" re-establish the tribunal or a similar body that sets up mandatory pay rates that only apply to owner-drivers and small businesses. The government says that the Transport and Infrastructure Council and the NHVR are working to "develop smarter roadside compliance systems, more flexible codes of practice arrangements, and education materials to help the road transport industry better understand their safety obligations" (24 January 2017). More...

Is your workplace as safe as you think?
As employers, it's normal to assume your workplace is safe if you've ticked all the boxes and regularly perform checks. But a recent study by Safe Work Australia shows we might not be managing health and safety as well as we should (24 January 2017). More...

Bliss n Eso actor death a 'wake-up call' for film and TV industry safety, union says
Australia's film and television union says it will take a fresh look at safety for the entire industry after a man was shot dead during the filming of a music video for Australian hip hop group Bliss n Eso in Brisbane's CBD (24 January 2017). More...

Queensland bus drivers, union call for tougher penalties as attacks continue
Bus drivers want assaults on them to be treated as seriously as those on health and emergency workers, with the union representing them claiming dozens of attacks have already been recorded in the first few weeks of the year (22 January 2017). More...

CASA: First step in fatigue rules review
Work to set up an independent review of the new fatigue rules has begun. CASA has finalised the Terms of Reference for the review and issued a tender to engage the services of a suitably qualified independent specialist, or team of specialists, to undertake a review of the latest fatigue rules for air operators and pilots. Learn more about the independent review of the fatigue rules (20 January 2017). More...

$57,500 penalty for CFMEU's 'Armageddon' threat at Royal Adelaide Hospital
The Federal Court has handed down penalties totalling $57,500 to the CFMEU and two of its bosses who threatened "Armageddon" and national industrial action in a dispute at the Royal Adelaide Hospital site (20 January 2017). More...

Dowdell family disgusted by truckie Kenneth Pillar's 'attempts to avoid prosecution'
The family of a South Australian woman killed in a head-on collision feels disgusted and insulted by the truck driver convicted over the crash and "his attempts" to avoid prosecution, the District Court has heard (18 January 2017). More...

Motorists chase compensation for damage caused by Bruce Highway potholes
Motorists who had their cars damaged by a large pothole on the Bruce Highway near Mount Sheridan are seeking compensation from the contractor (18 January 2017). More...

Engineering business fined $225,000 over worker's death
A mechanical and engineering business has been fined $225,000 over the death of a worker at its Cobar workshop in 2014. SafeWork NSW charged PJL Pty Ltd with a breach of section 19(1)/32 of the Work Health and Safety Act (NSW) for failing to manage the risk of serious injury or death from the load frame moving or falling (18 January 2017). More...

Unions face Industrial Relations Commission after telling paramedics to shed heavy jacket in heatwave
The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) and the Health Services Union NSW (HSU) were in court this week by NSW Ambulance for advising paramedics not to wear long-sleeved over-shirts during the recent weeks of soaring temperatures across NSW (17 January 2017). More...

UNSW creates 'smart' fabric to aid safety, medical sectors
University of New South Wales (UNSW) biomedical engineers have developed a 'smart' fabric, similar to bone tissue, that is hoped to transform the safety, medical and transport and industries (17 January 2017). More...

Decision Regulation Impact Statement - Managing risks associated with lead in the workplace
Safe Work Australia has published a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS) on Managing risks associated with lead in the workplace: blood lead removal levels and workplace exposure standard (17 January 2017).

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 13 January, 7 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2017. 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).

In practice and courts

WorkCover Queensland: Learning the art of office ergonomics
Office ergonomics can help you be more comfortable at work, lower stress, and reduce injuries caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks (24 January 2017). More...

NHVR: Further extension to NSW brake testing transition period
The NHVR and Road and Maritime Services will further extend the current brake testing transition arrangements in NSW until June 2017. More...

Office of Federal Safety Commissioner: July to December 2015 Biannual Data Analysis Report
The report was released on 17 January 2017. More...

NTC: Edition 7.5 of the Australian Dangerous Goods
Visit the NTC website to view all of the changes outlined in Edition 7.5 of the Australian Dangerous Goods, before it takes effect on 1 March 2017.

NTC proposes hydrogen, electric vehicle identifiers
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has invited industry parties to share their thoughts on the latest proposed amendments to the light and heavy vehicle standards. Submissions on the amendments can be made until 3 February 2017.

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

NSW SafeWork: Chemical spills
Safety Alert 10/01/2017 - This safety alert highlights the severe skin burns that can be caused to workers from caustic chemicals used in restaurants and cafés. More...

NSW SafeWork: Audiometric testing exemption
SafeWork NSW has issued a further one year exemption for the audiometric testing requirements of clause 58(2) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. The exemption is in force until 1 January 2018. More...

QLD: DNRM Safety Alert 335: Driver thrown from cab in articulated truck roll over
Industry: Metalliferous mines; Subject Transporting materials; Vehicle collision or failure (23 January 2017). More...

Dangerous Goods Operations conference 2017
The Marcus Evans Dangerous Goods Operations (DGO) conference will take place in Melbourne on 16 – 17 March 2017, exploring the best safety management and DGO practices across a range of industries. More...


Green v State of Queensland, Brooker and Keating [2017] QCAT 008
HUMAN RIGHTS – DISCRIMINATION – GROUNDS OF DISCRIMINATION - SEX DISCRIMINATION – SEXUAL HARASSMENT – where co-workers set up a sexually explicit prank – whether intention or effect was to humiliate the Applicant – whether events were within section 119 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) (sexual harassment).
HUMAN RIGHTS – DISCRIMINATION – GROUNDS OF DISCRIMINATION - SEX DISCRIMINATION – OTHER MATTERS – where there were alleged detrimental acts after the complaint – whether they were acts of victimisation.
DAMAGES – MEASURE AND REMOTENESS OF DAMAGES IN ACTIONS FOR TORT – REMOTENESS AND CAUSATION – NEW INTERVENING FORCE – whether Applicant feigned his reaction to the prank or grossly exaggerated the effect of the events upon him.
DAMAGES – MEASURE AND REMOTENESS OF DAMAGES IN ACTIONS FOR TORT – MEASURE OF DAMAGES – PERSONAL INJURIES – NON-PECUNIARY DAMAGE – whether the Tribunal should award compensation at a higher level because of Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82 – whether the Tribunal should be influenced by the award in that case – whether interest should be added to the award for non-financial loss.
PROCEDURE – PERSONAL INJURY OR FATAL ACCIDENTS PROCEEDINGS -STATEMENT OF LOSS AND DAMAGES – where the Tribunal ordered the Respondents to file a Counter Schedule of Loss - where a number of issues of dispute were raised for the first time in final submissions – whether they should have been identified in the Counter Schedule of Loss.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (The Abseal Case) [2017] FCA 11
INDUSTRIAL LAW – where subcontractor employees not inducted to undertake construction work – consideration of evidence explaining refusal for varying reasons including failure to pay union fees and lack of relevant enterprise agreement – allegations of adverse action and discrimination by union toward subcontractor and employees – whether subcontractor and employees engaged in industrial activity – whether subcontractor exercising workplace right – whether induction staff acting on behalf of union – application dismissed. Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ss 340, 341, 342, 346, 347, 354, 363, 793; Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (Cth) s 45.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (New South Wales Branch) v Acciona Infrastructure Australia Pty Ltd and Ferrovial Agroman (Australia) Pty Ltd t/as the Pacifico Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture [2017] NSWIRComm 1000
RIGHT OF ENTRY DISPUTE – major road construction project – CFMEU in competition with AWU for members and representative rights – bullying and harassment of workers by employee of Pacifico – negative impact on workers mental health – hassling workers about joining the CFMEU – bullying, threatening and standing over workers – making workers nervous and uncomfortable being at work – implications for workers if they joined the CFMEU – workers would lose their bonus – suspected contravention of the WHS Act – failure to ensure the mental health of workers – bullying and harassment policy – workers presented as being extremely stressed and anxious – right of entry under section 117 of WHS Act for the purpose of inquiring into a suspected contravention – right to inspect documents – requirement to give notice under section 120 – requirement to allow the person conducting the business or undertaking to conduct its own investigation first – application granted in part.

Legislation - Commonwealth


Transport Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2016
Bills Digest No. 53, 2016-17 18 January 2017 - strengthening airside security— The proposed amendments would authorise the making of regulations imposing screening and clearance requirements for persons, vehicles and goods while they are within secure airside areas.

Legislative Instruments

Poisons Standard February 2017
23/01/2017 - This standard substitutes the Poisons Standard November 2016 and consists of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 16 (the SUSMP 16).

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Licence Eligibility—Ron Finemore Transport Services Pty Ltd) Declaration 2017
19/01/2017 - This declaration provides that Ron Finemore Transport Services Pty Ltd is eligible to be granted a licence under Part VIII of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Legislation - Victoria

Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2016
The Victorian Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2016 was assented in December of 2016. The Act which will primarily commence in July 2017 and will improve the benefits payable under existing Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and WorkSafe Victoria schemes (18 January 2017).

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
Justine Ansell
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