Australia: Inside track: Work, Health and Safety – media releases, articles, papers, reports, in practice and in courts, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 4 December 2018
Article by Charles Power, Benjamin Marshall, Stephen Trew, Michael Selinger and Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, November 2018

In the media

Company pays for poor fall protection that cost a life
A recent court decision to issue a hefty fine to a housing construction company after one of its contractors fell and died at a worksite is another stark reminder safety must not be compromised. After pleading guilty to a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the company was fined $250,000 at a sentence hearing in the Cairns Magistrates Court on 15 November 2018 (21 November 2018). More...

Dreamworld inquest told parts of ride's infrastructure propped up with 'bits of timber'
A workplace health and safety inspector has identified a "litany of safety concerns" about the Thunder River Rapids ride that claimed four lives in the Dreamworld tragedy (19 November 2018). More...

Worker dies following power station incident
A man in his mid-50s has died in hospital following an incident at the Yallourn Power Station. The incident brings the number of workplace fatalities for the year to 22, which is the same as at this time last year (13 November 2018). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia fatality statistics
As at 15 November, there have been 109 Australian workers killed at work in 2018. This is three more than the latest update on October 4. 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.
The National Inquiry team will also be conducting public consultations in the following locations:

  • Melbourne – week commencing 26 November 2018
  • Brisbane and Townsville – week commencing 3 December 2018
  • Sydney and Albury-Wodonga – week commencing 11 February 2019.

Queensland

Audience members injured at stunt car event
In October 2018, members of the public sustained a range of injuries after a stunt car lost control and collided with a perimeter fence at a public event. A PCBU as an event organiser needs to anticipate all reasonably foreseeable risks that patrons are likely to be exposed to and provide reasonably practicable control measures in response (21 November 2018). More...

WorkCover Queensland Alert: Worker fatally crushed by grader
In October 2018, a worker was killed when the grader he was operating moved while he was outside the cab. There have been many instances of mobile plant operators and other people nearby being killed or seriously injured after being hit, pinned or crushed by mobile plant. In ideal circumstances, all vehicles should be turned off and the hand brake applied before the operator leaves the cab (20 November 2018). More...

Victoria

New electronic PIN available
WorkSafe Victoria has now released a new electronic Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) form which has been amended to incorporate the recent changes to s.64 of the OHS Act - service of PINs or inspector's notice. HSRs no longer require the consent of a person if they choose to send a provisional improvement notice by electronic communication. The form went live on November 16 on the WorkSafe website. More...

Work Safe Victoria: Employee fatally injured while reinstating 6600V circuit breaker
An alert about the hazards associated with exposure to high voltage (HV) arc flash and arc blasts (22 November 2018). More...

Work Safe Victoria: Locking mechanisms on two-post vehicle hoists
An alert about ensuring that locking mechanisms on two-post vehicle hoist support arms are properly engaged to prevent vehicles slipping off the hoist (21 November 2018). More...

Latest Safety Soapbox- 16 November 2018
WorkSafe Victoria is focusing on the prevention of falls and scaffolding safety. Read a list of reported incidents from the 26 October - 8 November 2018. More...

Cases

Auimatagi v Australian Building and Construction Commissioner [2018] FCAFC 191
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Fair Work – Work Health and Safety – whether John Holland Pty Limited had a workplace right – whether John Holland Pty Limited exercised a workplace right – whether the appellants engaged in adverse action within the meaning of section 342 and item 7(a) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether the appellants engaged in adverse action within the meaning of section 342 and item 7(c) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether the appellants contravened section 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – the reverse onus provided for in section 361 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether the first appellant engaged in action in contravention of section 343 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – coercion – whether conduct was unlawful, illegitimate or unconscionable – penalties manifestly excessive – appeal allowed.

Victoria Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings

  • Fox Hay Timber and Hardware Pty Ltd
    Melbourne Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 23 (1) Outcome 14 Nov 2018
  • Mouhamed Ayach
    Heidelberg Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 40(4) Outcome 14 Nov 2018
  • Kamata Homes Pty Ltd
    Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 26 Outcome 14 Nov 2018
  • Le Maistre Builders Pty Ltd
    Geelong Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 3 x 21(1), 1 x 21(1) & 21(2)(e) and 1 x 21(1) Outcome 13 Nov 2018
  • Ezyrol Trading Pty Ltd
    Colac Magistrates' Court Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Section 21(1) & (2)(a)Outcome 12 Nov 2018

Legislation

Queensland

Mines Legislation (Resources Safety) Amendment Act 2018 (Qld)
The Act will deliver initiatives to ensure additional safety and health measures are in place to protect Queensland's miners and includes minor amendments to support the government's response to the Monash University review of the respiratory component of the coal mine workers' health scheme. Commencement: Sections 17 and 47, to the extent it inserts new sections 308 and 309, commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Bills

Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018
Introduced by: Hon S Miles MP on 13/11/2018 Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 13/11/2018
As part of the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, the Public Health Act 2005 will be amended to create a Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register to record cases of coal workers' pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other lung conditions caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust.

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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