Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 7 June 2017

In the media

Full Court confirms: Union officials must have valid federal right of entry permit when entering under state or territory OHS laws
The Full Court of the Federal Court has today confirmed that union officials require a valid federal right of entry permit to enter a site under a State or Territory occupational health and safety law, including where a health and safety representative (HSR) invites the official on to site under an OHS law (02 June 2017). More...

Spate of injuries leads to tree work safety plea
SafeWork NSW has issued an urgent safety plea to the tree work industry after four workers were seriously injured in one month. Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, said that while there was a low number of incidents in the tree work industry compared to other industries, injuries were often serious and that's why SafeWork had commenced a project to improve safety (02 June 2017).  More...

Ride owner pleads guilty to work safety breaches after Royal Adelaide Show death
A show ride that flung a young girl to her death at the Royal Adelaide Show was not properly maintained and had injured children before, a Safework SA prosecutor told the Industrial Court (31 May 2017).  More...

Horse trainers speak out about alleged culture of bullying in the racing industry
A champion horse trainer who made headlines last year when she disappeared for three days has spoken out for the first time about an allegedly toxic culture of bullying and harassment in the racing industry (30 May 2017). More...

Building giant John Holland fined $280,000 over crane crash
Australian building giant John Holland has been hit with a $280,000 fine for major safety violations after a terrifying crash between a crane and an elevated work platform on a large roadway construction site (29 May 2017).   More... (Comcare) More...

ATA, ALC urge NHVR to develop industry 'master code'
Peak bodies (ATA, ALC) say an industry-wide code will promote higher standards of heavy vehicle safety. The 'master code' will help meet and manage the common risks faced by all heavy vehicle operators and create greater certainty for operators by reducing duplication and red tape for everyone with HVNL obligations (27 May 2017). More...

Navigational practices under the spotlight
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is calling on shipowners and operators to improve their safety management systems after port State control inspections conducted by AMSA between 1 January and 30 April 2017 identified 142 ships which had failed to follow safe navigation practices on voyages (26 May 2017). More...

Judge orders maximum penalty against former Queensland CFMEU boss
A court has imposed the maximum possible penalty on former Queensland CFMEU President David Hanna for breaching right of entry laws during a heated site visit in Brisbane. Mr Hanna has been ordered to pay the maximum penalty of $10,200 for his conduct on a construction site at Fortitude Valley on 10 February 2015 (26 May 2017). More...

Palaszczuk Government to introduce strong new laws to prevent worksite deaths
New laws will enable Queensland's building regulator to take action where there is a threat to the safety of workers on building sites (25 May 2017). More...

Ministers approve up to $1.5 billion annual productivity boost to Australia's freight operators
Australian road transport operators will be able to transport more goods using fewer vehicles thanks to new policies approved by ministers at last Friday's Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting that will allow trucks to carry larger but not heavier loads (25 May 2017). More...

Placarding requirements for hazardous chemicals in bulk containers
When hazardous chemicals require a bulk storage placard they do not need a label. Dr Paul Taylor, Director of Chemicals at Safe Work Australia, said that this will reduce costs to businesses because warning information does not need to be duplicated for chemicals stored in bulk (23 May 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 22 May, 63 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

Reminder: Public Comment on Compliance Codes closes June 9
With the Minister's approval, eight draft Compliance Codes have now been issued for public comment. The links to these proposed codes are on this page. Summaries of proposed changes to the codes can be found here. Public comment, which closes on June 9, can be submitted online or by using a submission form.

NHVR: Chain of Responsibility information sessions, from May 2017
The NHVR, in conjunction with a number of industry associations, is delivering information sessions across the country to discuss the changes to CoR and ensure you have the information you need to be prepared. For further details and to register for an information session, please use the table listed under the link here

Victorian OHS Legislation effective in June 2017
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations 2017) and the Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 (EPS Regulations 2017) take effect on 18 June 2017. These are available to download from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents page of the Victorian Legislation website.

Cases

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell [2017] FCAFC 89
INDUSTRIAL LAW – right of entry – entry by official of organisation to workplace after request to assist by health and safety representative under s 58(1)(f) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) – obligation on employer to allow assistant entry under s 70 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) – whether assistant exercised "State or Territory OHS right" within meaning of s 494 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Barker Anor [2017] FCCA 1143
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Application for imposition of pecuniary penalties – misrepresentation for requirement to pay outstanding union fees to CFMEU. Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), s.349(1)(a).

Southern Star Windows Pty Ltd 100 012 431 23/05/2017
Forklifts; Traffic management; Failure to provide a safe working environment. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1); Geelong Magistrates' Court.

Legislation

Commonwealth

Safe Work Australia Amendment (Role and Functions) Bill 2017
House of Representatives Second reading moved 31 May 2017 Introduced and read a first time 31 May 2017. The Bill implements the recommendations of the Review of Safe Work Australia's Role and Functions.

Queensland

Bills passed

Transport and Other Legislation (Personalised Transport Reform) Amendment Bill 2017
Stage reached: Passed with amendment on 24/05/2017.
Reforms the personalised transport industry, focusing on safety and licensing and introducing a new chain of responsibility for all industry participants. The reforms include requiring both booking entities and operators to manage driver fatigue, reflective signage on the front and back of ride-booking services, and making security cameras mandatory in vehicles that are not pre-booked or take cash or payment during a journey.

Bills Progress

Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products - Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced on 25/05/2017 Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 25/05/2017
The Bill will seek to amend the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 to enable QBCC to inspect sites, take samples for testing and direct rectifications. Provisions within the Bill will place additional duties on building supply chain participants and widen grounds for the QBCC to take disciplinary action against a licensee, including convictions relating to public health and safety and workplace safety. The Committee has called for submissions by 21 June 2017. The Government aims to have the legislation in effect by the end of the year.

Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017
Introduced on 25/05/2017 Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 25/05/2017
This will establish the mandatory labour-hire licensing scheme flagged by the State Government. The main purpose of the Bill is to protect labour-hire employees from exploitation by requiring labour-hire companies to obtain a licence and demonstrate strict compliance with WHS, workers' compensation and other employment laws.

Victoria

Statutory Rules commencement

No. 22: Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
Commencement: Regs 1-376(b), 377-Sch. 3 cl. 18, Sch. 3 cl. 20-Sch. 16 cl. 1.6(f), Sch. 16 cl. 1.7-Sch. 17 cl. 10(a), Schs 18, 19 on 18/06/2017: reg. 3(1) Reg. 376(c), Sch. 3 cl. 19, Sch. 16 cl. 1.6(g), Sch. 17 cl. 10(b) on 18/06/2018: reg. 3(2) Not yet in operation: Regs 1-376(b), 377-Sch. 3 cl. 18, Sch. 3 cl. 20-Sch. 16 cl. 1.6(f), Sch. 16 cl. 1.7-Sch. 17 cl. 10(a), Schs 18, 19: on 18/06/2017: reg. 3(1) Reg. 376(c), Sch. 3 cl. 19, Sch. 16 cl. 1.6(g), Sch. 17 cl. 10(b): on 18/06/2018: reg. 3(2) 3 Sunset Date: 26/04/2027.

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
 
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