Australia: Work Health & Safety - Whats News? - 12 April 2017

In the media

Injuries at work still a concern
More than two-thirds of workplace deaths in Victoria last year happened in regional areas, prompting a reminder from the state's work safety watchdog to take care on the job (09 April 2017). More...

New campaign urges Queenslanders to install safety switches on every circuit
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace today launched a safety campaign to better protect Queenslanders against electrical shock in their homes (05 April 2017). More...

Firefighters denied protective equipment for fear it would be contaminated
The United Firefighters Union accuses Airservices Australia of denying personal protective equipment to staff in Darwin and Townsville for fear it would be contaminated by PFAS chemicals (05 April 2017). More...

Review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy
Safe Work Australia has commenced the mid-term review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022, due to be completed by the end of 2017. The outcomes of the review will be published in late 2017 (05 April 2017). More... More...

WorkCover Queensland to protect 'mud army' volunteers
All volunteers registered with the Queensland Government will be covered by WorkCover if they're injured while assisting clean-up efforts following Cyclone Debbie (05 April 2017). More...

Expert panel to put work health and safety laws under the spotlight
The Palaszczuk Government's best practice audit of work health and safety laws, procedures and policing is underway following the appointment of Tim Lyons as the independent reviewer, with the findings to be delivered mid-year (05 April 2017). More...

Quarter of a million dollar fine for work experience injury
A Coffs Harbour manufacturing business has been fined $250,000 after a 17 year old work experience student was injured in August 2014. Thermal Electric Elements Pty Ltd, located at Toormina near Coffs Harbour, received the fine following an incident in which a work experience student had the tips of two fingers crushed and amputated when his hand got caught in a brake press machine (04 April 2017). More...

Without guards boxers 'more protective of their head'
At this week's boxing championships in Adelaide, elite men will compete without headgear after an exemption was granted under state law, while the sport's world governing body awaits more evidence about the prevalence of concussion (04 April 2017). More...

SafeWork NSW launches 2017 Mentor Program
SafeWork NSW has launched its 2017 Mentor Program, with 80 NSW businesses committing to improving safety in their workplaces. The Mentor Program is free and involves an experienced business pairing with a small business to find new ways to improve work health and safety, workers compensation and injury management (03 April 2017). More...

Watson spotlights safety and driver training concern
ATA's submission calls for greater thought on 'key issues'. Improving the consistency and quality of training and assessment of truck drivers must receive greater policy consideration, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair says (27 March 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

NHVR publications
27 March 2017: On the Road, Issue 6, 27 March 2017 - NHVR newsletter.

ARPANZA: EMR Literature Survey
31 March 2017 update: A study investigates workplace exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields and motor neuron disease. More...

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 30 March, 45 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 and full figures for 2016, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities page).

In practice and courts

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.

DNRM Mines safety alert 338 - Electrical protection batteries discharging
Protection circuitry failed to isolate a fault on a high voltage dragline cable as its battery supply had discharged and this was not alerted (04 April 2017). More...

DNRM Petroleum and gas safety alert 72 - Uncontrolled release of well bore fluids from pressurised shallow aquifers formation during coal seam gas drilling operations
Information outlining safety incident involving mud separation and drilling (31 March 2017). More...

Cases

Uber BV & Anor v Howarth [2017] NSWSC 54
TORT – tort of intimidation – application for injunction in Equity's auxiliary jurisdiction and under Supreme Court Act 1970, s 66 – plaintiffs facilitate drivers to provide transport services to members of the public – defendant performs citizen's arrests upon, and engages in threatening behaviour against the plaintiff's employees and persons using the plaintiff's technology to provide transport services - plaintiff seeks to restrain the defendant from intimidation, arresting, threatening or harassing the defendant's employees or drivers who have entered contracts with the plaintiff to use the plaintiff's technology platform to provide transportation services to third parties – whether plaintiff committed the tort of intimidation – whether existing interlocutory injunction should be made permanent.

Bosevski v Avopiling Pty Ltd; The Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer v Avopiling Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 1893
NEGLIGENCE – failure to keep proper lookout – failure to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injury – erection of pile driver – tensile failure of auxiliary cable under 28 tonnes of load – failure to react to perceived tension – significant injuries – pile driving company liable in negligence – employer not liable – no contributory negligence – principles for the assessment of damage and calculations determined.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Welsh's Pty Ltd 083 153 048
03/04/2017 Falls/work at height offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 23(1); 21(1); Warrnambool Magistrates' Court.

Brendan Foster Roofing and Plumbing Pty Ltd 607 478 768
03/04/2017 Falls/work at height offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004; Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 21(1); Warrnambool Magistrates' Court.

Geotech Group Services Pty Ltd 159 005 491
03/04/2017 Failure to provide a safe system of work; Falls/work at height offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

R.S. Connell & Sons Pty Ltd 006 504 785
31/03/2017 Failure to provide a safe system of work; Falls/work at height offences; Guarding Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 23(1); Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

MIG Australia Pty Ltd 138 693 624
31/03/2017 Guarding Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Moorabbin Magistrates' Court.

Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 005 108 752
30/03/2017 Falls/work at height offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Geelong Magistrates' Court.

PJ Cook Investments Pty Ltd 082 312 927
29/03/2017 Failure to notify VWA of a notifiable incident; Failure to preserve incident site Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 38(1); 39(1); Geelong Magistrates' Court.

All Saints Estate Pty Ltd 083 133 135
28/03/2017 Failure to provide a safe system of work; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Falls/work at height offences Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 21(1)&(2)(e); Wodonga Magistrates' Court.

Legislation – Commonwealth

Seacare Authority Code of Practice Approval 2017 28/03/2017 - This instrument provides guidance on ways to meet occupational health and safety standards and manage commonly understood hazards and control measures for managing health and safety risks at work on vessels.

Legislation – New South Wales

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Order regarding volunteers taking part in emergency operations (2017-139) — published LW 6 April 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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Authors
Michael Selinger
Justine Ansell (formerly with Holding Redlich)
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