Australia: Inside track: Work, Health and Safety - in the media, articles, papers, report, in practice, in court, cases and legislation.

Last Updated: 21 November 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, December 2018

In the media

The Government is worried you're not getting enough sleep
A parliamentary inquiry into whether Australians are getting enough sleep, and the economic and social costs for the nation, has been initiated by the Federal Government. Mr Zimmerman said the inquiry would look at those occupations deemed most vulnerable (09 November 2018). More...

Tower crane load dropped after hoist rope failure
In October 2018, a hoist rope on a tower crane at a construction site broke while lowering a load which then fell to the ground. Although no-one was injured, this was a dangerous incident that could have had very serious consequences. Investigations are continuing (08 November 2018). More...

Eight CFMMEU officials allegedly breach right of entry laws at Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
The ABCC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMMEU and eight of its officials after they allegedly entered the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Project unlawfully. Work stopped due to safety concerns occasioned by the unauthorised and uninducted entry by union officials around live construction areas (07 November 2018). More...

Recruitment specialist fined over showground death
A $90,000 fine has been laid against a regional employment services provider after the death of a worker at the Toowoomba showground in 2016. The organisation was fined for offences under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 for a breach of duty owed to workers (05 November 2018). More...

1 in 3 workers bullied by boss, says report
Around one-third of employees feel they have been bullied by their boss, according to new research. The Employsure 'State of Work' research conducted by Roy Morgan also found that one-quarter of workers have cried because of their boss. Research findings reveal bully bosses are widespread in Australian workplaces (02 November 2018). More...

New laws protect Queensland's mine workers
Parliament has backed maximum penalties close to $4 million for mining companies that fail to keep their workers safe. Under changes to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 the state's mines inspectors will now have more powers to take direct action on health and safety issues (31 October 2018). More...

Queensland aims to improve safety in the workplace
Queensland's Work Health and Safety Board has developed a five-year plan to make the state safer. The Board, made up of representatives from employer associations, trade unions and academia, developed a five-year plan in response to the recommendations of the Best Practice Review into Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (29 October 2018). More...

Review weighs ban on liability cover
A Safe Work Australia independent review will likely include recommendations on insurance covering workplace health and safety (WHS) breaches, with a Senate committee report this month fuelling debate on whether it should be banned (29 October 2018). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia Fatality statistics
As at 1 November, there have been 106 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. This is three more than the latest update on 4 October. The numbers and industries may vary from one report to the next, as Safe Work receives more detailed information. More...

In practice and courts

National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces
The focus of the national inquiry is on the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, the drivers of this harassment and measures to address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. To assist interested parties to develop submissions to the inquiry, the Australian Human Rights Commission has also prepared a Conversation toolkit. Submissions close on 31 January 2019

New Standards
AS 5144.2:2018
Industrial trucks - Safety requirements and verification - Self-propelled variable-reach trucks (ISO 3691-2:2016, MOD) Standards Australia.
AS IEC 61511.1:2018
Functional safety - Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector - Framework, definitions, system, hardware and application programming requirements Standards Australia.

New South Wales

New District Court Practice Note Crim 16 – Work Health and Safety Prosecutions
The District Court has published new Criminal Practice Note 16 regarding Work Health and Safety prosecutions. The Practice Note took effect Monday 5 November. More...


WorkCover Queensland: Safety alert issued for engineered stone benchtop workers (updated)
A state-wide compliance campaign is now underway and by the end of the year all engineered stone benchtop fabrication workshops in Queensland will have been audited. A comprehensive guide for industry and workers, and the safety alert can be found here (31 October 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland: eSAFE
eSAFE - October 2018 released on 31 October 2018

QBCC: Mandatory reporting of safety incidents
The QBCC has contacted more than 73,000 licensees to remind them of their safety reporting obligations, which have been in place since November 2017. The QBCC has made it easier to report notifiable incidents through its online 'Notifiable Incident Safety Matter Form'. Further details about the QBCC's reporting requirements are available here, and also on the Master Builders Queensland and the Housing Industry Association websites (31 October 2018).


Latest Safety Soapbox- 02 November 2018
In this issue Kate Maheras Acting Manager for WorkSafe's Construction Program writes about the need for people in the construction industry to be extra vigilant in the lead up to the most dangerous time of the year. The edition has a number of other items, both from Victoria and interstate, of interest to those in the construction sector. More...

Work Safe Victoria: Instability of building maintenance units
Building maintenance units can be affected by high winds and become unstable, putting workers and the public at risk (02 November 2018). More...


Muscat v Magistrates' Court of Victoria [2018] VSC 650
APPEAL – Appeal from Magistrates' Court under s 272, Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) against order of Magistrate dismissing charge under Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) – Whether dismissal of charge a 'final order' that may be appealed under s 272, Criminal Procedure Act 2009 – Appeal competent – Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 272.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY – Whether Magistrate misconstrued s 23(1), Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 – Meaning of 'persons other than employees of the employer' in s 23(1) – Whether s 23(1) applies to employees of independent contractors engaged by an employer – Independent contractors and their employees are 'persons other than employees' for the purposes of s 23(1) – Whether appropriateness of charge preferred by informant an irrelevant consideration – Appeal allowed – Remitted for review by same Magistrate – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) ss 21, 23.

Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings

  • CMC Roof Plumbing Pty Ltd
    Ringwood Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 38(1) & 38(3)
    Outcome 08 Nov 2018
  • Summit Manufacturing Pty Ltd
    Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1) & (2)(a)
    Outcome 08 Nov 2018
  • Wardia Hutchings
    Melbourne Magistrates' Court Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road or Rail) Regulations 2008
    Section 88(1) & 37(1) Outcome 01 Nov 2018
  • Gregory Hutchings
    Melbourne Magistrates' Court Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road or Rail) Regulations 2008
    Section 88(1) & 37(1) Outcome 01 Nov 2018
  • Eureka! MFG Pty Ltd
    Sunshine Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1) & 21(2)(a)
    Outcome 26 Oct 2018
  • Jonathon Flanns Frawley
    Sunshine Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 153(2) Outcome 17 Oct 2018



Legislation (Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Instruments) Sunset-altering
29/10/2018 - This declaration aligns the sunsetting dates of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulations 2003 and the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Regulations 1995 to 1 April 2024.


Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Bill 2018
Introduced by: Hon A Lynham MP on 20/03/2018 Stage reached: Passed on 31/10/2018
The Bill proposes to address the 15 matters identified for improvement in the resources safety and health regulatory framework to increase worker safety and health. The explanatory notes advise the Bill's purpose is to provide for greater transparency and accountability; improvements to safety and health management systems; and stronger enforcement and compliance powers by implementing amendments to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999.

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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