Australia: Work Health and Safety News - 4 April 2018

Last Updated: 11 April 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media

A new Senate inquiry into industrial deaths
Another Australian Government inquiry into workplace health and safety (WHS) was announced on 26 March 2018. According to the Senate Hansard, the Senate's Education and Employment References Committee will report on a range of occupational health and safety (OHS) matters by the end of September 2018.

New: The prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia
Status: Accepting Submissions; Date Referred: 26 March 2018; Submissions Close: 06 June 2018; Reporting Date: 20 September 2018.

Stevedoring safety standards set for Queensland wharfies
From Easter Saturday onwards, wharfies in Queensland will be protected by national stevedoring safety guidelines. The Managing risks in stevedoring code of practice is approved national guidance under harmonised work health and safety laws (29 March 2018). More...

Mechanic to win payout after accident
A landscaping and building company will have to pay damages to their former mechanic after he was injured in 2007 by the 200kg bash plate he was removing from the underside of a Volvo Loader. The decision shows that vehicle owners will have a duty of care to an independent contractor when they are aware of a defect that has not been rectified (29 March 2018). More...

Man dies in farm truck rollover near Warragul
A worker in his early 30s has died after the fertiliser spreader truck he was driving rolled on a steep hill north-east of Warragul yesterday afternoon. The fatality brings the number of confirmed workplace deaths this year to eight, one less than at this time last year. Four of the fatalities to occur this year have been on farms (29 March 2018). More...

Bankstown builder fined $405,000 over apprentice fatality
A Bankstown building contractor has been fined $405,000 after a 19-year-old apprentice tragically died after being injured at work, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said. Co-Wyn Building Contractors Pty Ltd recently pleaded guilty in the Sydney District Court to failing to protect the health and safety of its workers (27 March 2018). More...

$15,000 fine after bricklayer falls from scaffolding in Queensland
A scaffolder has been fined $15,000 after pleading guilty in the Richlands Magistrates Court to breaching work safety laws over an incident in which a bricklayer suffered serious injuries in a fall from height. The defendant, also ordered to pay court costs totalling $92.50 and with a conviction recorded, held duties under s28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, being a scaffolder (27 March 2018). More...

New landmark study to reduce track crashes launched
A landmark study which aims to reduce heavy vehicle crashes in Australia and improve truck driver well-being has been launched today. The new study, the Advanced Safe Truck Concept is an Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre Project, aims to reduce deaths from truck crashes by developing new technologies achieved through studying behaviour and understanding the impact of driver fatigue and distraction in particular (27 March 2018). More....

MBA: Business efficiency to improve after WHS law change
Several changes were made to the WHS Act last week, which will affect all employers in the way they conduct their business. The amendments will also help to improve compliance and enforcement measures for WHS Regulators, making workers and business owners healthier, safer, more productive, as well as safeguard public safety (26 March 2018). More...

Do you own or are licenced to operate a vehicle loading crane?
Commencing in August 2018, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) will conduct an enforcement campaign to ensure VLC owners and operators are complying with relevant work health and safety and road safety requirements (26 March 2018). More...

Company fined $380,000 after Mt Waverley pit collapse
A structural engineering firm which drew up the plans for excavation works at a Mt Waverley construction site has been convicted and fined $380,000 after the pit collapsed, leaving homes teetering on the edge of a 10 metre drop. Aldo DiTonto, the engineer and sole director of the firm, was also convicted and fined $100,000 (23 March 2018). More...

Company fined $42,000 for failing to guard machinery
A Hoppers Crossing cardboard carton manufacturer has been fined $42,000 for failing to properly guard four separate pieces of machinery. Ramabo Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Werribee Magistrates' Court to four charges of failing to maintain plant and equipment that was safe and without risks to health (23 March 2018). More...

Undertaking to deliver $250k of industry benefits following wall collapse in Queensland
A wide range of construction industry safety initiatives are being developed as part of an enforceable undertaking agreed to by RGD Constructions Pty Ltd. The undertaking came in the wake of a wall collapse which fortunately resulted in no injuries (27 March 2018). More... More...

One dead, one injured in trench collapse near Ballarat
A man in his 30s has died and a second worker in his 20s has been seriously injured after a trench collapsed at a subdivision site at Delacombe, near Ballarat, yesterday (22 March 2018). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 29 March, there have been 28 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. More...

NHVR: On the Road, Issue 28, 26 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

Release of draft Industrial Chemicals Rules and Categorisation Guidelines
An exposure draft of the rules and guidelines with explanatory notes are now available. Consultation is open until 4 May. More...

SWA 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...

AMSA: Crewing requirements for grandfathered passenger vessels
Exemption 28 has been extended from 1 January 2018 until 30 June 2018. Until 30 June 2018, the owners of grandfathered passenger vessels (Class 1) can choose whether to comply with the number of crew required in NSCV Part E (number of crew) or the grandfathered crewing requirements that applied to the vessel on 30 June 2013. More...


Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Dangerous Goods) Regulation 2008
Gazettal of Notification of Determination on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods under section 25 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Dangerous Goods) Regulation 2008. Pursuant to Section 25 of the Regulation the dangerous goods referred to in Schedule 1 must not be transported in the stated quantities at the stated times within the stated areas in Schedule 2, being the Commonwealth Games 2018 period.

Infographic highlights construction work safety concerns
There are an average 8,000 workplace injuries in the construction industry every year, affecting one in every 30 workers. One in every 75 suffers a serious injury and eight die each year as a result of workplace injury. More than $100 million is paid out annually for construction workers' compensation claims (27 March 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland: Worker impaled by starter bar at construction site
In February 2018, a worker was impaled by a starter bar after falling into a 1.8m deep excavation at a construction site. This incident highlights the falls risks associated with excavation and trench work. Control measures for workers on excavation or trench work are outlined here (21 March 2018). More...

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...


Safety Alert: Warning devices on powered mobile plant
Guidance for employers, self-employed persons and people who have management and control of a workplace (legal duty holders) about the unsafe work practice of deactivating warning devices on powered mobile plant (27 March 2018). More...

Victoria: Have you checked the new compliance codes?
If you haven't yet had a chance to check out the five new compliance codes (codes) released last week, take a look now. Of particular use for HSRs in most if not all workplaces, is the Hazardous manual handling Compliance Code. While the old 2000 Code of Practice could be used, it's great to have the new up-to-date one available. The other four new codes are: Facilities in construction; Confined spaces; Plant; Noise. These and the other Compliance Codes can also be downloaded on this page of the OHS Reps website.


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (The Cup of Tea Case) [2018] FCA 402
INDUSTRIAL LAW – allegations of contraventions of s500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether the respondents sought to exercise a right conferred by s 484 were exercising or seeking to exercise rights under Pt 3-4 of the Act – whether the entry on a site for a social purpose falls within s484 of the Act.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – allegation of contraventions of s348 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether respondent threatened to take action against a contractor – oral evidence from two witnesses of the same conversation – evidence from both witnesses exactly balanced – burden of proof is not discharged.

Safe Work NSW v Christopher Michael Butler; Safe Work NSW v Edgesafe Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 60
CRIMINAL LAW – work health and safety offence - plea of guilty – risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – fine – capacity to pay – circumstances – objective seriousness – specific deterrence – general deterrence – appropriate penalty SENTENCE PRINCIPLES – parity – totality – community values – remorse – contrition – prospects of rehabilitation.

Safe Work NSW v Co-Wynn Building Contractors Pty Ltd [2018] NSWDC 61
CRIMINAL LAW – work health and safety offence - plea of guilty – risk of death or serious injury SENTENCE – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – circumstances – objective seriousness – specific deterrence – general deterrence – appropriate penalty - fine SENTENCE PRINCIPLES – parity – totality – community values – remorse – contrition – prospects of rehabilitation – victim impact statement.

SafeWork NSW v Millart Enterprises and Notlad Enterprises [2018] NSWDC 52
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – duty of employers – risk of death or serious injury – death of a customer. SENTENCE – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – fine – capacity to pay – circumstances – objective seriousness – specific deterrence – general deterrence – appropriate penalty COSTS – prosecution costs.

Worksafe Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries & Enforceable Undertakings

Aldo DiTonto 23/03/2018
Directors - offences by; Failure of designers of buildings or structures; High risk construction work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 144; Melbourne County.

AM Design & Construction Pty. Ltd. 055 903 181 23/03/2018
Directors - offences by; Failure of designers of buildings or structures; High risk construction work Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 23(1); Melbourne County.



Statutory Rules made

No. 27: Rail Safety (Local Operations) (Drug and Alcohol Controls) Amendment Regulations 2018
Date of Making: 6/03/2018 Commencement: 06/03/2018 Not yet in operation: N/A Sunset Date: 06/03/2028.

New South Wales

Bills assented to

Work Health and Safety Amendment Act 2018 No 12 — Assented to 21 March 2018
For the full text of Bills, and details on the passage of Bills, see Bills.


Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill 2018
Introduced by Hon A Lynham MP 20/03/2018
This Bill strengthens and expands the range of compliance and enforcement options for serious safety and health breaches of the legislation by introducing the options of civil penalties or cancellation or suspension of a holder's statutory certificates of competency or other competencies. The Bill also increases maximum penalties for breaches of mining safety and health obligations, to keep more in step with maximum penalties under general workplace safety and health legislation.

Subordinate legislation as made – 31 March 2018

No 33: Work Health and Safety (Codes of Practice) (Stevedoring) Amendment Notice 2018 31/03/2018

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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