Australia: Work health & safety news – 30 August 2017

Last Updated: 3 September 2017
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, August 2018

In the media

Palaszczuk Government leads the way with new building product safety laws
Queensland now has the most comprehensive building product safety laws in the country after the Palaszczuk Government passed new chain of responsibility laws for dangerous building products (24 August 2017). More...

'Industrial manslaughter' to be made offence in wake of Dreamworld accident
An independent review recommends sweeping changes to public safety laws in Queensland, including that industrial manslaughter become a criminal offence after four people were killed on a Dreamworld water ride (23 August 2017). More...

NSW Inspectors target structural collapse after spate of incidents
WorkSafe inspectors will hone in on the risks of structural collapse during construction work as part of their latest safety blitz following a spate of incidents in recent months. As part of the state-wide campaign, inspectors will focus on buildings and associated structures under construction including walls and frames (21 August 2017). More...

Mid-North Coast business fined over worker's death
A mid-North Coast meat processing business has been fined $375,000 over the death of a worker at its Frederickton plant in 2015. Macleay River Protein Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with its duty under section 19(1) of the Act and was fined $375,000 in the District Court (17 August 2017). More...

PBS scheme discussion paper welcomed
The NHVR has welcomed the release of the PBS assessment discussion paper by the National Transport Commission (NTC). NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS Scheme paper highlighted the enormous safety and productivity benefits of PBS vehicles (15 August 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 74 – 9
Work disability prevention: should we focus on high body weights or heavy physical workload?

Influence of obesity and physical workload on disability benefits among construction workers followed up for 37 years
Mortality and cancer incidence among male volunteer Australian firefighters

Deborah C Glass, Anthony Del Monaco, Sabine Pircher, Stephen Vander Hoorn, Malcolm R Sim
Female white-collar workers remain at higher risk of breast cancer after adjustments for individual risk factors related to reproduction and lifestyle

Dose-time-response association between occupational asbestos exposure and pleural mesothelioma

On the Road, NHVR newsletter
On the Road, Issue 16, 15 August 2017 - On the Road provides important information on the heavy vehicle industry, including the latest NHVR news and events, relevant law and policy changes, and resources to help industry members comply with the HVNL.

In practice and courts

New Standards

AS/NZS 3112:2017
Approval and test specification - Plugs and socket-outlets - Standards Australia.

ARPANSA: Current Consultations
IAEA NST055 - Handbook on the Design of Physical Protection Systems for Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities
Starts 21 August 2017 Ends 04 December 2017.
IAEA DS487 - Design of Fuel Handling and Storage Systems for Nuclear Power Plants
Starts 11 August 2017 Ends 17 November 2017.


SafeWork NSW: Dangers from masonry walls on construction or demolition sites
Safety Alert: 7/08/2017
Inadequately secured masonry brick or block walls expose workers and members of the public to a risk of death or serious injury. More...

Work Health and Safety Legislation
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW) is being repealed on 1 September and replaced by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, which comes into effect on the same day. More...

Take care of young workers
Not only does research indicate that 15 to 25 year olds have a 75 per cent greater chance of being injured at work, but in NSW alone, 15 workers in this age group are injured every day. Partner them with a more experienced co-worker to act as a 'work buddy' and provide support and advice. Finally, get them to check out how simple safety can be (17 August 2017).


WorkCover Queensland: Have your say on new standard for installing battery energy storage systems
Standards Australia have released a new draft standard for installation of battery energy systems (BESS), DR AS/NZS 5139:2017 Electrical installations—Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment. This standard outlines the hazards that are associated with BESS and specifies installation methods that eliminate or minimize these hazards. Download a copy. More...

DNRM Petroleum and gas safety alert 76: Emergency evacuation preparedness
Subject Gases; Governance or compliance; Organisational deficiencies - This Safety Alert was issued following observations made by the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate during field inspections of operating plant in remote locations and whether they are prepared for potential emergency scenarios in which a worker would (18 August 2017). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Electrical Licensing Committee disciplinary outcomes
On 1 August 2017, the Electrical Licensing Committee held disciplinary hearings against three licence holders outlined here. The Electrical Licensing Committee's actions are in addition to fines and notices already issued by electrical safety inspectors. The Committee meets again on 5 September 2017 (24 August 2017). More...

WorkCover Queensland: The Wiring Rules transition arrangements
Standards Australia AS/NZS3000 (the Wiring Rules) is being updated and is expected to be published later this year. Transitioning from one edition of the Wiring Rules to the next can impact on the compliance requirements for an electrical installation. The enforcement date for the new edition of the Wiring Rules will be six months after the publication date of the standard. For example if the new standard is published in December 2017 the enforcement date will be July 2018 (15 August 2017). More...


WorkSafe Victoria: Inspectors target structural collapse after spate of incidents
WorkSafe inspectors will hone in on the risks of structural collapse during construction work as part of their latest safety blitz following a spate of incidents in recent months (21 August 2017). More...

WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox
The Safety Soapbox issue was released on 18 August 2017. Latest edition of Safety Soapbox
Steve Darnley from WorkSafe's Construction Program reminds industry of the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) during construction work. The list of reported incidents for the period from 21 July to 15 August 2017 includes 36 incidents reported to WorkSafe. There were numbers of potentially fatal falls, electric shocks and serious 'near misses'. More...

Fine increased on appeal
A Victorian earthmoving company has been convicted, and the original magistrate's fine more than quadrupled by a County Court Judge, in a strong message for other businesses that risk the safety of employees. More...


Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union v Australian Western Railroad Pty Ltd [2017] FCCA 1954
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Alleged adverse action – whether alleged refusal to provide or continue to provide training to employee because of exercise of alleged workplace rights – unpaid parental leave – personal or carers leave – health and safety at work – whether discrimination by reason of family or carer's responsibilities.
EVIDENCE – Whether evidence tendered to prove facts in previous representations.
Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth); Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), ss.59, 77, 78; Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Pt 2-2, ss.12, 14, 70, 96, 97, 340, 341, 342, 351, 360, 361, 570; Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA), ss.19, 20.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings
L. Arthur Pty Ltd 004 264 7 15/08/2017

Failure to provide a safe workplace. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Werribee Magistrates' Court.
Christopher John Peat 09/08/2017
False information. Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 585(1); Echuca Magistrates'.




Safe Work Australia Amendment (Role and Functions) Act 2017
Originating Bill: Safe Work Australia Amendment (Role and Functions) Bill 2017
Registered 18 August 2017; Date of Assent 16 August 2017.

Safe Work Australia Amendment (Role and Functions) Bill 2017
Assent Act no: 86 2017, 16 August 2017
Amends the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 to: implement recommendations of the Review of Safe Work Australia's Role and Functions by clarifying Safe Work Australia's role and the relationships between its role and function, and updating and consolidating its functions; replace certain outdated terms; and clarify that work health and safety (WHS) ministers will continue to approve the model WHS legislative framework and other key documents.


Bills Updated

Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products - Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced by: Hon M de Brenni MP on 25/05/2017 Stage reached: Passed with amendment on 24/08/2017.

New Bills

Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced by: Hon G Grace MP on 22/08/2017 Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 22/08/2017.
The Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill seeks to implement the 58 recommendations in the Best Practice Review. The Bill amends the Work Health and Safety Act, the Electrical Safety Act and the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act. Most of the recommendations relate to operational improvements for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland or the WHS Board.

Subordinate legislation as made
No 150 Explosives Regulation 2017 - Explosives Act 1999 – 18 August 2017 - The objectives of the regulation, as referred to in its explanatory notes are to: keep Queensland's explosives legislation current with contemporary safety and security standards, and ensure Queensland's explosives legislation meets community and industry expectations - Licences, handling and transportation of explosives.
No 162 Petroleum and Gas (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 - Petroleum Act 1923; Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 – 25 August 2017.
No 163 Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation 2017 - Petroleum Act 1923; Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 – 25 August 2017.
No 165 Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 - Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 – 25 August 2017.
No 166 Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation 2017 - Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 – 25 August 2017.
No 171 Transport Operations (Marine Safety—Queensland Regulated Ships Miscellaneous Equipment) Standard 2017 - Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 – 25 August 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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