Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 10 October 2017

Last Updated: 16 October 2017
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, August 2018

In the media

Safe work statistics in safe hands
Safe Work Australia has published a summary of statistics relating to the nation's work-related injury, disease and fatalities. The Agency's online report Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia 2017 shows the rate of worker fatalities across Australia has fallen by 49 per cent since its peak in 2007 (03 September 2017). More...

Dreamworld: Queensland Government considering legal action after Thunder Rapids deaths
The Queensland Government is considering legal action against Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld following last year's fatal ride malfunction, which led to the deaths of four people. Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said a Workplace Health and Safety report into the tragedy had finished, but would not be publicly released (01 October 2017). More...

New fines to protect NSW workers from falls
SafeWork NSW will soon have the power to issue penalty notices of up to $3,600 to NSW workplaces if they fail to protect employees against falls from heights. Under amendments to the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation being gazetted today, SafeWork NSW inspectors will be able to issue penalty notices of $3,600 to corporations and $720 to individuals for breaches relating to falls from heights (29 September 2017). More...

Workplace mental health in the spotlight
Millions of workers will be the focus of New South Wales' first ever summit aimed at developing a statewide strategy to improve mental health in the workplace. The Summit is part of SafeWork NSW's Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022, a six-year plan that aims to reduce serious work-related injuries and illnesses, including mental illnesses, by 30 per cent (29 September 2017). More...

'Contrite' former building watchdog boss Nigel Hadgkiss ordered to pay $8,500 penalty
Former building industry watchdog Nigel Hadgkiss has been ordered to pay $8,500 for breaching the Fair Work Act. Justice Collier said Mr Hadgkiss' conduct exhibited "a degree of carelessness and, indeed, somewhat arrogant ignorance in respect of the truth of information concerning the right of entry of industry participants" (29 September 2017). More...

Queensland backs flammable cladding ban
The Queensland Government says it will push for a national ban on aluminium composite panels with a flammable polyethylene core when it hosts the Building Ministers' Forum in Brisbane next month. The Senate inquiry into non-compliant building products proposed a "total ban" on the material in its interim report, but insurers and experts criticised this as treating the symptoms and not the underlying problem (25 September 2017). More...

QLD Industrial Manslaughter legislation poorly conceived and unnecessary

Acting Ai Group Queensland Head, Mark Goodsell, appeared before a Queensland Parliamentary Committee today to oppose many provisions of the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (25 September 2017). More...

Farmer dies in quad bike rollover
A man in his late 60s has died after a quad bike he was operating overturned on a mixed farm at Hesket, near Romsey, about 80km north of Melbourne. WorkSafe Director of Operations and Emergency Management, Phil Grimson, said agriculture was a high-risk industry, so it was vital that farmers paid attention to safety. Presently, agriculture is accounting for more than 50 per cent of 2017 workplace fatalities (25 September 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

NHVR: On the Road, Issue 19, 25 September 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

Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner: FSC Online exclusive reporting submissions
As of 1 October 2017, the OFSC will only be accept WHS reports completed through FSC Online. The OFSC will no longer accept emailed, faxed or posted WHS Scheme reports. This is timed with the Scheme Project Reports that are due by 15 October. Companies that are not currently registered for FSC Online can do so by clicking on the FSC Online banner on A detailed User Guide is available should users wish to familiarise themselves with the online reporting requirements outside of the system (04 October 2017).

October is Safe Work Month
Safe Work Australia was established in 2008 to develop national policy and guidance for WHS and workers' compensation. Since then, they have been running national campaigns to raise awareness about WHS in the Australian working community. Safe Work Australia will launch Safe Work Month for the month of October. This year's theme is "Sharing safety knowledge and experience benefits everyone".

NHVR: New vehicle modification standards come into effect Sept 1
Version 3 of the new Vehicle Standards Bulletin 6: National Code of Practice for Heavy Vehicle Modifications (VSB6) will become the new national standard for the most common modifications made to heavy vehicles, effective on 1 September 2017. From 1 October, all modifications certified by an AVE must be done in accordance with VSB6 Version 3. More... More...


NSW Government: SA17 - 10 September 2017
Response times of gas detectors - This safety alert provides information on a serious incident and safety advice for the NSW mining industry. More...

Consultation @ Work Conference
25/10/2017 - If you are a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), HSR training provider, an employer or a worker, you are invited to attend our free Consultation @ Work Conference. This is the first time SafeWork NSW has held this conference. More...

SafeWork NSW reminds Broken Hill community about Farm Safety event
With less than two weeks until SafeWork NSW's free community farm safety event at Broken Hill, SafeWork NSW is urging the local farming community to come along. Training courses will be held in the Broken Hill area on 26, 27 and 28 September. More...


WorkCover Queensland: Worker struck in head by portable hydraulic jack
In September 2017, a worker sustained serious head injuries while operating a portable hydraulically powered jack. This alert is a reminder that the incorrect use or operation of hydraulic equipment under pressure can be extremely dangerous. Preventing a similar incident is outlined here (28 September 2017). More... More...


WorkSafe Victoria: Safety Soapbox 22 September 2017
Access the latest edition of Safety Soapbox here 22 September 2017. Read the list of reported incidents from 1 September to 14 September 2017. Since the last edition of Safety Soapbox, there have been 71 incidents, serious enough to be reported to WorkSafe, from the construction, utility, quarrying and mining industries. More...


Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate [2017] FCA 1166
INDUSTRIAL LAW – proceedings brought against regulator – admitted contravention of s 503(1) Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – appropriate form of declaration to reflect agreed facts – relevant considerations in determining penalty – principles of deterrence – utility in pecuniary penalty – importance of general deterrence – payment of penalty to applicant - Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2016 (Cth) Sch 1 Pt 1.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Upton (The Gorgon Project Case) [2017] FCA 847
INDUSTRIAL LAW – alleged contraventions of ss 346(a), 348 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether first respondent took "adverse action" against non-union employees – whether first respondent threatened non-union employees with intent to coerce non-union employees to engage in industrial activity – whether first respondent acted in "improper manner" – whether second respondent liable for conduct of first respondent under s 793 – accessorial liability under s 550 – combined operation of s 793 and s 550(1).

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Paper Australia Pty Ltd 061 583 533 27/09/2017
Failure to conduct a risk/hazard assessment; Failure to conduct a risk/hazard identification; Falls/work at height offences; Failure to provide a safe working environment; Failure to provide a safe workplace. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(c) ; Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court.



No. 48: WorkSafe Legislation Amendment Act 2017 Assent: 26/09/2017 SG (No. 324) 26/9/2017 pp 1, 2 Commencement: S. 27 on 01/07/2014: s. 2(2) Pts 1-3 (ss 1-8), ss 9, 20, 23, 24, 26, 28-40, Pt 6 (s. 41) on 27/09/2017: s. 2(1) Not yet in operation: Ss 10-19, 21, 22, 25.


Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Work Health and Safety Amendment (Penalty Notices) Regulation 2017
(2017-554) — published LW 29 September 2017.



Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced by: Hon G Grace MP on 22/08/2017 Stage reached: Report from Committee on 5/10/2017.

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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