Australia: Work Health and Safety News - 20 March 2018

Last Updated: 24 March 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

Regulator releases policy on heavy vehicle records
Australia has moved a step closer towards adopting electronic diaries for truck drivers to more easily log work and rest times, but an expert says they won't help improve road safety (16 March 2018). More...

Campaign to prevent quad bike rollover deaths enters new terrain
From this month, when WorkSafe inspectors conduct an inspection in workplaces which use quad bikes, if a risk of roll over is identified, and an employer has not taken reasonably practicable measures to control the risk, an improvement notice may be issued (16 March 2018). More...

Powerline incidents prompt call for care
Employers and contractors who operate heavy vehicles and machinery are being urged to always check for powerlines following a spate of serious incidents (14 March 2018). More...

Worker killed in skylight fall
In February 2018, a worker was killed after falling five metres onto a concrete floor. This incident highlights the risk of working on or near fragile roof surfaces. Since 2012 there have been 33 prosecutions involving falls (13 March 2018). More...

Western Sydney company fined after man crushed in workplace incident
A Yennora company and its director have been fined $87,500 after a worker was crushed by quartz slabs. In sentencing Khouri and Modern Touch, Judge Andrew Scotting said Modern Touch and Khouri failed to consider the risk of a crush injury, despite it being foreseeable (13 March 2018). More...

RMS sees hefty COR fine on Metropolitan Demolitions
Inaccurate record keeping has led to a successful Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) prosecution of construction services firm Metropolitan Demolitions, it has emerged. The Sydney construction services company and a director were fined $1.5 million and ordered to pay $50,000 in costs in the Local Court after pleading guilty, according to RMS (13 March 2018). More...

Combustible cladding banned in Victoria
The Victorian Government has banned the use of the "most dangerous" types of combustible cladding on all multi-storey buildings, under a guideline gazetted yesterday - this will take effect from 22 March 2018. The rules are clear: if builders use these dangerous flammable products, they'll face disciplinary action from the Victorian Building Authority. Similar laws were recently introduced in NSW and Queensland (10 March 2018). More...

Workers injured by glass sheets
In February 2018, three workers received severe lacerations when one of several large glass sheets in a racking system fell to the ground and shattered. There have been 157 accepted workers' compensation claims for injuries received as a result of falling glass (07 March 2018). More...

Airtasker: Unions raise safety concerns over 'gig economy' cowboys
Unions NSW and some tradespeople are calling on the Federal Government to set up an independent regulator to oversee the emerging gig economy, amid concerns workers' safety is at risk (09 March 2018). More...

New CoR laws to boost heavy vehicle safety
New Chain of Responsibility laws for Australia's heavy vehicle industry are coming in mid-2018. The NHVR's Chain of Responsibility Manager (09 March 2018). More...

Girraween builder fined $135,000 after injury at Doonside building site
Universal Property Group Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of workers at the Doonside site after a young man fell through a void that was not properly covered, and lacked any signage to warn staff of the potential danger (07 March 2018). More...

Bakery admits fault after worker loses top of finger in crumpet machine
The worker lost about a centimetre from the top of his middle finger after he was ordered by a supervisor to clear a build-up of crumpets by hand from a conveyor belt (06 March 2018). More...

Charges laid over swim school injury
The Department of Education and Training and a private swim centre operator have each been charged by WorkSafe following an incident involving a Ballarat student in 2016 (05 March 2018). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 16 March, there have been 22 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. More...

NHVR: On the Road, Issue 29, 12 March 2018
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

Industrial Chemicals reforms: update on implementation
To assist regulated entities to adequately prepare for compliance with the new Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS), the Australian Government has decided to defer commencement of the scheme until 1 July 2019. Deferral of implementation will also allow more time to consult on the details of the new scheme, to be set out in rules to be made by the Minister (delegated legislation). The rules were published on 9 March 2018 on the NICNAS website (14 March 2018). More...

SafeWork Australia Model WHS laws: consultation
Public consultation to explore how the model WHS laws are working in practice is now open. Marie Boland is leading the review and would like to hear: what is working and why; will it continue to work in the future; what doesn't work and why, and what we could do to make it work. Written submissions are due by 13 April 2018. More...

New Safety Standards

AS/NZS 1337.1:2010/Amdt 2:2018
Personal eye protection - Eye and face protectors for occupational applications - Standards Australia.

Queensland

WorkCover Queensland: Regulation of the labour hire industry in Queensland
Queensland will establish a mandatory labour hire licensing scheme from 16 April 2018 to protect labour hire workers and safeguard labour hire providers that are ethical and responsible. Find out more, read the frequently asked questions, or register for updates on the development of the scheme and subordinate legislation. More...

Victoria

Safety Soapbox – 09 March 2018
WorkSafe's Senior Construction Advisor, writes about the most common cause of injuries to construction workers and some of the simple measures that can be used to reduce the risk of injury. Access the 9 March edition of Safety Soapbox here - the list of reported incidents can be downloaded from the page.

WorkSafe Victoria: Five new compliance codes now available
Five new compliance codes – Hazardous manual handling, Facilities in construction, Confined spaces, Plant and Noise – that align to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 are now available (15 March 2018). More...

Cases

Swanson v Monash Health [2018] FCCA 538
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Applicant's exercise of workplace right to take paid personal leave under s.97 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) – allegations that Respondent contravened s.340(1)(a)(ii) of the Act by threatening to and ultimately summarily terminating Applicant's employment by reason of, or for a reason including, the exercise by the Applicant of a workplace right – directions issued by Respondent for Applicant to attend an independent medical assessment whilst on paid personal leave – whether the exercise of a workplace right under s.97 of the Act includes a right not to work, including a right to refuse directions made by an employer to attend an independent medical assessment – whether directions made by Respondent were lawful – whether directions made by Respondent were reasonable – held that the exercise of a workplace right under s.97 of the Act does not include a right not to work, including to refuse directions made by an employer – held that directions issued by Respondent were lawful and reasonable – held that Respondent did not take adverse action for the reason, or for a reason or reasons including, that the Applicant exercised a workplace right – application dismissed. Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth); Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), ss.61(1), 97, 107, 340, 342, 351(1), 352, 360, 361, pts.2-2, 3-1; Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Ambulance Victoria 503 733 277 08/03/2018
Dangerous goods; Failure to provide a safe system of work; Fatality. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); 23(1); Warrnambool Magistrates Court.

Ramabo Pty Ltd 081 921 931 06/03/2018
Guarding. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Werribee Magistrates' Court.

JBS Australia Pty Ltd 011 062 338 06/03/2018
Crush injuries; Failure to provide and maintain plant; Failure to make arrangements for ensuring safety and absence of risk in connection with use of plant or substance; Plant. Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 21(1)&(2)(a); Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Legislation

New South Wales

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 16 March 2018

Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2018

The objects of this Bill are: (a) to provide that certain members of the NSW Police Force who are involved in responding to active armed offender incidents do not commit offences under Division 5 of Part 2 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) for failures to comply with health and safety duties in connection with responding to such incidents.

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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