Australia: Work Health & Safety News – 6 December 2017

Last Updated: 12 December 2017
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, August 2018

In the media

Moama manufacturer fined after worker suffers spinal injuries
Brown was fined $60,000 in the Sydney District Court on 24 November after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of workers, and $1,500 for failing to notify SafeWork NSW of the incident, as required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (30 November 2017). More...

Heavy vehicle supply chain targets new laws
The NHVR and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have both praised the commitment shown by several leading Australian distribution and retail companies to improving heavy vehicle safety ahead of new Chain of Responsibility laws coming into effect in mid-2018 (29 November 2017). More...

Dural building company prosecuted after worker suffers brain injury in fall
A Dural building company has been fined $60,000 for failing to ensure the safety of a worker who was seriously injured during a fall (28 November 2017). More...

Gayle's Law passes SA Parliament to offer better protection to remote nurses
A law named for murdered nurse Gayle Woodford passes the South Australian Parliament, meaning health workers will no longer be permitted to work alone in remote areas (28 November 2017). More...

Notice to improve safety at Melbourne Market upheld
An attempt by the Melbourne Market Authority (MMA) to overturn a WorkSafe improvement notice in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has been unsuccessful. The inspector issued the MMA with an improvement notice requiring it to separate pedestrian traffic on the walkway from powered mobile machinery operating on Buyers Walk (27 November 2017). More...

Government launches safety blitz to drive down construction deaths
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean today launched a year-long blitz to crack down on dodgy construction businesses which put their workers at risk. Mr Kean said the number of falls from heights reported to SafeWork NSW had more than tripled in the last five years – with the majority happening on construction sites (22 November 2017). More...

10-year work safety plan safe and sound
Safe Work Australia has released a mid-term review of its 10-year workplace safety strategy reporting that progress towards the strategy's three main targets was on track. The review found the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 was broad and flexible enough to meet the needs of stakeholders across various industries and that there had been sufficient progress towards all three strategy targets (21 November 2017). See the report here. More...

High Court denies WorkSafe special leave to appeal
Today the High Court of Australia denied WorkSafe special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in the matter of the Victorian WorkCover Authority v. Australian Building and Construction Commissioner and Anor (M89/2017). This means the High Court upheld the Full Federal Court's decision that when a health and safety representative (HSR) who seeks occupational health and safety assistance from a person who is also a union official, that union official is required to hold a federal entry permit (17 November 2017). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

SafeWork Australia Fatality statistics
As at 24 November, 153 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2017. The numbers and industries vary as Safe Work receives more detailed information (to check for updates and full figures for 2017, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage).

NHVR on the Road, On the Road, Issue 23, 20 November 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. More...

In practice and courts

Queensland

WorkCover Queensland: Dangerous electrical shocks serve as a warning
Following two recent events where electrical shocks were ignored leading to serious incidents, the Electrical Safety Office is issuing a warning to everyone and outlines procedures to ensure your property is safe. Click here for further electrical safety information (27 November 2017). More...

Cases

Fair Work Ombudsman v Maritime Union of Australia [2017] FCA 1363
INDUSTRIAL LAW – whether employee organisation organised and was involved in unlawful industrial action in contravention of s 417 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) – whether cessation of work by employees based on a reasonable concern about an imminent risk to health or safety within the meaning of s 19(2)(c) of the Act – whether the applicant's pleaded case should be interpreted as it having to prove that "each and every" employee in an identified group engaged in employee action – no reasonable or evidentiary basis to apply such an interpretation – overwhelming evidence that employee organisation involved in and organised unlawful industrial action – applicant's case proved – respondent found to have contravened s 417 of the Act – respondent liable to imposition of pecuniary penalty.
EVIDENCE – objections to admissibility of evidence of representations made by people not called to give evidence – evidence admitted – ruling that evidence relevant for a non-hearsay purpose – consideration of standard of proof in civil proceedings.

SafeWork NSW v CTN Construction Pty Limited [2017] NSWDC 340
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury. SENTENCE – objective seriousness – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – plea of guilty – general deterrence – specific deterrence – appropriate penalty. SENTENCING PRINCIPLES – totality – remorse – contrition – appropriate penalty. COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – fall from height – need for supervision by head contractor of subcontractors and trades to ensure safety.

Chen v Premier Motors Service Pty Ltd t/as Premier Illawarra [2017] NSWCATAD 342
HUMAN RIGHTS – discrimination – grounds –racial discrimination – where applicant complained of race discrimination in the provision of bus services – where it was alleged that buses did not stop directly in front of applicant at bus stops – where it was alleged that bus drivers prevented applicant from photographing their driver authority cards – where it was alleged that bus company did not treat applicant's complaints seriously – whether bus company has refused to provide services or provided services on certain terms – whether conduct constitutes race discrimination.

SafeWork NSW v Auschem (NSW) Pty Limited [2017] NSWDC 338
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – objective seriousness – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – plea of guilty – general deterrence – specific deterrence – appropriate penalty SENTENCING PRINCIPLES – totality – remorse – contrition – appropriate penalty COSTS – prosecution costs OTHER – explosion and fire – decanting thinners – electrostatic ignition.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – notice to produce – objection to production of documents on ground that documents privileged – whether documents prepared for the dominant purpose of lawyer providing legal advice to client.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

ALYFAB Pty Ltd 124 909 673 01/12/2017
Burns; Explosion; Exposure to chemicals; Failure to provide a safe workplace. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 26(1); Sunshine Magistrates' Court.

Australian Blending Company Pty. Ltd. 074 485 591 27/11/2017
Crush injuries; Failure to provide information, instruction, training or supervision; Failure to provide a safe working environment; Plant. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a)&(e); Ringwood Magistrates' Court.

Legislation

NSW

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament
Building Products (Safety) Bill 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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