INTRODUCTION With so much change in environmental and work health and safety regulation, itâ€™s easy to drown in a sea of paper when doing your due diligence.
Our new quarterly newsletter, CU Up to Date, sorts through the last three months and gives you the most important trends and developments nationally â€” and explains how they will affect your business, now and in the future.
From officersâ€™ duties to hazard reduction, industrial relations to regulator news, weâ€™ll keep you Up to Date. And with our sights on the horizon, weâ€™ll help you see the challenges ahead.
Highlights in this issue include:
â–º A landmark decision of the Fair Work Commission has ruled that company directors are "workers" for the purposes of workplace bullying laws.
â–º The Queensland Government has introduced labour hire licensing laws, which will impact businesses in and out of Queensland.
â–º Also in Queensland, the Government has introduced laws to establish a building products chain of responsibility to ensure products used in Queensland are safe and fit for purpose. This will affect companies in Queensland and who supply to and from Queensland. It is also likely to set a precedent for other states.
â–º The NSW Government is proposing to change the regulatory regime around ancillary mining activities and enforceable undertakings to ensure better environmental outcomes for mines.
â–º Queensland Parliament has introduced new legislation to ensure regional communities located nearby to large resource projects will benefit from their operation by prohibiting a 100% FIFO workforce.
â–º The Federal Government has introduced a new industrial chemicals bill to amend the current process for assessing and approving industrial chemicals.
If you want to know more about how these and other developments will affect you, please donâ€™t hesitate to contact us.
OFFICERSâ€™ DUTIES AND LIABILITIES BOARDROOM BEHAVIOUR COULD BE BULLYING In the landmark decision of Trevor Yawirki Adamson, the Fair Work Commission has ruled that for the purposes of workplace bullying laws under the Fair Work Act 2009, company directors satisfy the definition of "worker" and can apply for orders to stop bullying against themselves from anywhere in the organisation, including from board members.
As the Fair Work Act definition of "worker" for the purposes of workplace bullying is broad (it is based on the definition in Work Health and Safety Act 2011), the Commission was able to conclude that activities undertaken by directors in performing their duties are "work" and place them within the definition, whether they are employees or not.
In this case, the director was held to be a worker and could therefore bring a workplace bullying complaint against either an employee of the company or a fellow director. Ultimately the claim of workplace bullying was dismissed as the applicant was not re-elected to the Board during the course of the case, and orders are only available to prevent future risk of bullying.
What it means for you
The potential for exposure to a workplace bullying application poses a significant risk to good corporate governance.
Under the Fair Work Act, a worker is bullied at work if an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. This an objective test. In dealing with these applications the FWC can make any order it considers necessary to stop the bullying behaviour. This could include:
â–º Limiting interactions between the bully and the applicant;
â–º Directing how work is to be performed; and
â–º Dictating the hours or location of work or the people involved.
Any of these orders would pose substantial challenges to running board meetings. Companies and boards can reduce their exposure to these types of applications by implementing codes of conduct, training, and workplace policies that deal with bullying and the effect and operation of workplace laws. You could also consider tailoring these policies specifically to board members and the conduct of board meetings.
Learn more here.
Trevor Yawirki Adamson  FWC 1976
NOT MY JOB! THE IMPORTANCE OF IDENTIFING WHO CAUSED THE BREACH OF A NSW EPA LICENCE A recent NSW Land and Environment Court decision provides a reminder of how broad an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) licence holder's responsibility for ensuring compliance with that licence is.
Steggles operates a food processing facility and was prosecuted for a contravention of a licence condition that required all plant and equipment to be maintained in proper and efficient condition. Section 64 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act relevantly states that if any condition of a licence is contravened by any person, each holder of the licence is guilty of an offence (subject to a very limited statutory defence).
The EPA's summons stated that "a person" failed to maintain a refrigeration system but the court found the EPA should at least specify that the contravention was "by a person unknown to the prosecutor." The EPA was ordered to provide more detail of who it believed caused the breach of a licence before the prosecution of the licence holder could proceed so that the accused could consider possible defences. However, once this issue was addressed, the licence holder could be prosecuted even though it may not have been directly responsible for the relevant breach of the licence condition.
What it means for you
This decision shows that a licence holder can be in breach of its EPA licence without even knowing it.
A licence holder will usually be responsible for the acts and omissions of their contractors, sub-contractors and others on their licensed premises.
This highlights the importance of a licence holder having a good understanding of its legal obligations and the scope of those obligations so that it can minimise the risk of any contravention.
Environment Protection Authority v Steggles Food Mt Kuring-Gai Pty Ltd  NSWLEC 33
SOLE DIRECTOR ORDERED TO PAY $470,000 IN NSW The NSW Land and Environment Court has ordered the director of Sydney Drum Machinery Pty Ltd to pay penalties of $151,000, EPA investigative costs of $120,795 and an estimated $200,000 for the EPA's legal costs.
The director was receiving drums onto the company's premises while its environmental licence was suspended. During this time, two fires occurred at the site and clean-up notices were issued to ensure the contaminated firewater was contained and safely removed. The company did not comply with the clean-up notices, resulting in the contamination spreading to a creek that runs through a nearby golf course.
Justice John Robson found that director had acted deliberately in breaching the licence and ignoring the notices. The risk of environmental harm was clearly foreseeable.
What it means for you
Environmental licence holders ought to review the currency of their licences and comply with any suspensions or relevant notices. All holders ought to be aware of the possibility of personal liability for any environmental harm caused.
EPA v Imad Osman-Kerim  NSWLEC 63
SAFETY PROCEDURES MUST BE CLEAR AND WELL COMMUNICATED When seeking to rely on a breach of safety procedures to terminate the employment of a staff member, companies must ensure that these procedures are clear and that staff have been adequately trained in implementing those procedures.
The Fair Work Commission recently held that an employee's dismissal on safety grounds was unfair and ordered reinstatement with payment for lost wages.
The employee, who was driving a forklift at the time, was involved in a safety incident in which a truck driver's hand sustained lacerations and a dislocated finger while spotting for the employee who was loading the truck.
An investigation into the incident and the employee was dismissed on the grounds that he failed to comply with procedures and safety policies and that he did not accept accountability for his actions.
The Commission, which found against the company, relied on its failure to adequately train the employee on recently amended processes and also on the fact that these processes were ambiguous. This was particularly relevant as the processes changed what was regular practice when it came to loading trucks at the warehouse where the employee worked.
Further, the Commission found the investigation that the company conducted into the incident was inadequate, and that the company had not provided the employee with an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him before he was dismissed, the available material was given more weight than was correct and that the employee previous record was not properly considered.
What it means for you
It is important to ensure that when procedures in respect of safety change your employees are adequately trained, and the changes are clear and well communicated to them. This will help to reduce the risk of injury, and employers to comply with their obligations under work health and safety laws.
You should also make sure that you keep comprehensive records of employees' attendance at this training and deal with any concerns employees have in respect to the new procedures.
Finally, if employees breach safety policies or act in an unsafe manner, it is important for employers not only to manage that conduct but to do so in a way that is defensible. This includes conducting a proper investigation of the incident, providing the employee with procedural fairness during the process, such as presenting them with all allegations and be given an opportunity to respond, and giving appropriate weight to all information available before taking disciplinary measures.
This will reduce your risk of the employee bringing a successful claim of unfair dismissal or other actions against you.
Tomlinson v BHP Coal Pty Ltd T/A BHP Billiton  FWC 2627
INDUSTRIAL ISSUES PROJECT MANAGER BREACHES RIGHT OF ENTRY BY BLOCKING CFMEU A project manager has been fined $1,000 by the Federal Circuit Court by refusing the CFMEU entry to a worksite to inspect suspected contravention of the Work Health Safety Act 2011 (ACT).
A person breaches the Fair Work Act if they intentionally hinder or obstruct a union official from exercising their rights of entry, which includes the right to enter to inspect suspected safety issues. Whether there is a reasonable suspicion of safety breaches has to be determined objectively.
This case related to the requirement to have a crane operated by two dogmen. It was reported to the union that the crane on the site only had one dogman, who was not properly supervised. When the union came to investigate the breach the project manager on the site refused entry to speak to the dogman, demanding that the union provide particulars of the suspected breaches and denying that there was a requirement for two dogmen.
The Court found that despite there being obvious issues with the CFMEU's evidence, and the union official having limited knowledge of the work requirements for the crane operations obtained essentially by word of mouth, the union "probably had proper basis" (ie. viewed objectively, a reasonable suspicion) that a contravention of the Work, Health and Safety Act occurred on site.
As such, the project manager contravened the Fair Work Act when he refused to permit the union to speak to the dogman on site.
What it means for you
The case illustrates the scope of the power to enter to investigate suspected breaches of safety laws.
Businesses should make themselves aware of their rights under the Fair Work Act and safety laws to question and refuse attempts to enter the workplace. You should also consider having right of entry protocols to plan for union entry. The protocol can include requirements for:
â–º providing notice;
â–º signing in;
â–º induction and PPE;
â–º conduct and safety while on site.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Class 1 Form Pty Ltd & Ors  FCCA 696
CHANGES TO THE FIFO WORKFORCE IN QUEENSLAND The Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 has been introduced to Queensland Parliament, aiming to ensure regional communities located nearby to large resource projects will benefit from their operation.
For large resource projects, there will be a prohibition on employing a 100% fly-in fly-out workforce. Advertising or recruitment documents must not prohibit the residents of a nearby regional community from applying to work on the project. The Coordinator-General must also approve a social impact assessment, which considers the positive and negative impacts the project may have on the social environment of nearby communities.
Large resource projects are a mining or petroleum resource project which requires an Environmental Impact Statement under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) or State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld). The provisions will apply if there is a nearby regional community of more than 200 people or a community prescribed by the Coordinator-General, within a 100 kilometre radius of the large resource project.
What it means for you
Currently the Bill does not apply to existing resource projects. However, the Parliamentary Committee has recommended that the Bill should be extended to cover existing development.
New projects ought to be aware of the changes, and plan their employment strategy accordingly.
HAZARD REDUCTION THE YOUNG INVINCIBLES: OBLIGATIONS OF EMPLOYERS TO YOUNG WORKERS Young workers are overrepresented as an age group in workplace injury statistics in particular industries. Businesses that employ workers under 25 and other vulnerable workers, need to ensure their work health and safety management systems are adequate to address the unique risk profile of this category of workers.
The health and safety of young workers is a strategic priority area for workplace health and safety regulators across Australia, who will scrutinise businesses that have an incident or injury in the workplace involving a worker under the age of 25 and the steps they have taken to meet work health and safety obligations to young workers.
As a result of their inexperience, maturity, physical size and stage of development, young workers have a unique risk profile because they:
â–º may not have the experience to recognise particular risks in the workplace;
â–º might not have the confidence to raise concerns about safety when they do recognise those risks;
â–º might feel pressure to copy other workers who are doing the wrong thing; or
â–º may feel like an injury won't happen to them.
What it means for you
Employers who employ workers under the age of 25 should take steps to:
â–º identify whether there are any specific hazards or risks in the workplace for young workers as a result of their size, development, maturity or inexperience;
â–º identify whether young workers in the workplace may need additional supervision, training or instruction either in relation to specific tasks or safety in the workplace more broadly; and
â–º document the steps taken to address the specific risks relevant to young workers in the workplace.
These steps are particularly important for workplaces involving hazardous manual tasks, repetitive work, the operation of vehicles or machinery, interaction with hazardous chemicals or substances or in environments where workers are exposed to extremes in temperature, noise or vibration.
Each State regulator has guidelines for working with young workers.
NEW FEDERAL INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS BILL The Federal Government has introduced the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 to amend Australia's current process for assessing and approving industrial chemicals. The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) has been renamed as the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS). The Bill will allow companies to introduce very low-risk chemicals without assessing or notifying AICIS. Low-risk chemicals can be introduced with a requirement to submit some information to AICIS.
If a medium or high-risk chemical is introduced, they will need to be assessed by AICIS. High- risk chemicals could be introduced without assessment by AICIS if they have been examined by a trusted international body, which is likely to include bodies from Canada, Europe and the United States.
What it means for you
Companies will decide for themselves whether chemicals are low- or high-risk by determining the appropriate hazard bands using AICIS guidance. As a result of the changes, the number of industrial chemicals subjected to a pre- introduction assessment is expected to drop by more than 70%.
VICTORIA LAUNCHES FIVE YEAR MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE In April, the Victorian Government launched WorkHealth, a $50 million program that aims to improve mental health and well-being for Victorian workers.
Included in the initiative is:
â–º an online platform where employers can access the latest advice, research and support on workplace mental health and wellbeing;
â–º the ability for employers to do a mental health check on their business, access tailored support programs and network with "other like-minded businesses"; and
â–º an innovation fund to kick-start new initiatives and expand existing workplace mental health and wellbeing programs.
The Victorian Government has stated that mental health continues to be a significant concern in the community, and that WorkSafe Victoria is recording more than 3,100 mental disorder claims last year, or about 12% of total claims.
WorkSafe will fund and manage the five-year WorkHealth program, with the assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services.
What it means for you
There is increasing awareness that employers' duties to provide safe workplaces includes safeguarding both the physical and mental well- being of their employees.
The figures released by WorkSafe Victoria clearly demonstrate the potential cost to the economy that mental health claims cause.
However, employers looking for ways to reduce mental health risks to their employees should realise that methods of managing these issues will differ from workplace to workplace and industry to industry, and will depend on the individual workers and environmental factors in the workplace. Care should be taken when introducing measures to address these very sensitive concerns.
KFC IN HOT WATER OVER COOKING OIL INJURY KFC has been fined $105,000 and had a conviction recorded by the Industrial Magistrates' Court of South Australia, as a result of an incident involving a 16 year old casual cook who suffered second and third degree burns to 9% of his body after falling into a container of hot cooking oil that had been placed behind him without warning.
The container of hot cooking oil was placed on the ground by a 17 year old employee who was training other employees in the filtering of oil and cleaning of the deep fryer.
It was found that:
â–º the system of work for the cleaning the deep fryer did not identify how to safely remove and dispose of the oil and the associated risks;
â–º there was limited information, instruction, and training available for employees on an internal website but they did not deal with safely storing hot oil, or the associated risks; and
â–º the employee who was demonstrating cleaning of the deep fryer had not seen the website information, had never been assessed for competence in performing the task, and had not been given any specific instructions about how to train new employees in the task.
Following the incident, KFC changed its processes and introduced self-filtering cookers, to minimise interactions with hot oil in the workplace. The penalty imposed by the Court was reduced as a result of the early guilty plea by KFC, its contrition and reparations provided to the injured employee. However, the Court found that the fact that the injured worker was only 16 years old was an aggravating factor.
What it means for you
The case highlights the importance of employers taking steps to ensure that:
â–º hazard identification and risks assessments identify all reasonably foreseeable risks and that processes are put in place to minimise those risks;
â–º this information is clearly communicated and available to employees;
â–º adequate training and instruction is provided to employees on undertaking tasks that involve safety risks. It is not enough to develop training materials, if:
Â»that information does not cover all relevant safety risks and steps to minimise those risks; and/or
Â»that information is not actually provided to the workers performing the tasks on a day-to-day basis.
Boland v Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd  SAIRC 16
WA SUPREME COURT SAYS NO DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY AFTER SITE CLEAN-UP In a recent judgment, Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd v Contaminated Sites Committee  WASC 155, the WA Supreme Court found that the Contaminated Sites Committee had no jurisdiction to determine responsibility for remediating a site after a site had already been remediated. This is because the site, having been cleaned up, no longer required such a determination. This left the landowners, who had remediated the site, out of pocket.
This was a very technical decision. The Judge relied on Part 3 of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003, titled "remediation of contaminated sites", along with section 23 of the Act, which provides that only sites classified as "contaminated â€’ remediation required" require remediation. Accordingly, the Committee is limited to allocating responsibility to sites classified as "contaminated â€’ remediation required" only. Once a site, as here, is reclassified to "remediated â€’ restricted use", the Committee no longer has the power to determine who is responsible for remediation.
"It is important to ensure that when procedures in respect of safety change your employees are adequately trained, and the changes are clear and well communicated to them."
The Court arrived at this position despite section 56 of the Act providing that a person who is not responsible for remediation of a site may claim their costs from the person who is responsible.
What it means for you
This decision may lead to instances where those who want to remediate a site will delay taking action until the Committee determines responsibility. Any determination as to responsibility must be carried out while the land is classified as "contaminated â€’ remediation required". If steps are taken to remediate a site which changes the site's classification from "contaminated â€’ remediation required" before the Committee determines responsibility, then the party will bear the cost of remediating the site, even if they have not caused or contributed to the contamination
Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd v Contaminated Sites Committee  WASC 155
WORKERSâ€™ COMPENSATION INJURY IN CO-WORKERS' RUGBY GAME NOT WORK-RELATED A recent case from the New South Wales Workers Compensation Commission reinforces that not every injury arising from a social activity organised at the workplace is work-related.
A load operator employed by Pybar Mining Services Pty Ltd made an application for workers' compensation after sustaining a knee injury playing in a charity rugby league game in March 2015 organised by his work colleagues.
In seeking compensation, the employee asserted that during a pre-start meeting, his shift foreman, who was employed by Newcrest Mining Cadia Valley Mine, told the crew that they had organised a rugby league game as a fundraiser and if anyone was interested in playing they should put their names down. The invitation was brought up at other meetings, including meetings attended by the employee's manager, who was employed by Pybar, and the manager did not say anything to discourage Pybar employees from participating. The employee argued that this amounted to encouragement to participate and as a result, the injury arose in the course of employment.
Pybar denied liability and the Arbitrator rejected the claim. The Commission then rejected the employee's application for an extension of time to appeal the Arbitrator's decision.
In rejecting the application, the Commission upheld the Arbitrator's finding that while the employee thought that by participating he would be looked at by Pybar in a more favourable light, this was not the legal test and there was no evidence to support Pybar authorising, encouraging or permitting the employee's
participation in the fundraising rugby game. In particular, the Commission found that it was open for the Arbitrator to find the manager's silence "could equally amount to a lack of authorisation, encouragement or inducement" of participation in the game.
What it means for you
While this case occurred in New South Wales, the findings can be applicable to workers' compensation matters in other states.
This case reflects the courts' and commissions' ongoing position regarding these types of matters, in that for an injury occurring outside of work, to be eligible for compensation the employer must encourage or induce the activity that gave rise to the injury and the employee must be engaging in that activity when they sustain their injury. It is not enough:
â–º for the employee to simply be at the place that the employer encouraged or induced the employee to attend;
â–º that there be an opportunity to participate in a social activity outside of work that is not otherwise connected to the employee's role; and
â–º for the employer to not actively discourage an employee to participate in the activity.
With employers introducing different activities to promote workforce engagement and fun, such as social sports, determining whether an injury is work-related can be challenging, so employers should consider seeking advice.
Crowley v Pybar Mining Services Pty Ltd  NSWWCCPD 10
IMAGINED MICROMANAGEMENT NOT COMPENSABLE A recent decision from the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has emphasised that a worker will be denied compensation for a psychiatric injury, if the injury arises out of reasonable management action.
A BWS liquor store worker argued that he suffered a work-related psychiatric injury that was caused by "intentional hardship" and "instant targeting" from his store manager and area manager. The worker alleged they set out on a premeditated "witch-hunt" to terminate his employment after he received a warning for a work incident. Following this incident, the worker was relocated to a different store after he informed BWS that he did not wish to return to the store he was working at.
In dismissing the appeal, Commissioner Black held that the store manager acted reasonably in reprimanding the worker for turning up to work an hour late two days in a row and failing to help a customer. The worker had an obligation to attend work on time and help customers in compliance with store policies and procedures.
The area manager also acted reasonably in attending the store on regular occasions as he had overall responsibility for the store's operations and there was no evidence this went beyond a reasonable level of visitation.
The Commissioner stated that the worker was in a "disaffected and anxious state of mind" following the workplace incident and his relocation, including that the worker was unhappy that he could not be relocated closer to his home, but there was a lack of evidence of unreasonable management action beyond the worker's perceptions.
What it means for you
This case highlights the importance that for management action to be found to be unreasonable, the unreasonableness must be real and not imagined. Further, simply because a worker may not agree with a decision or action by management, does not mean that action or
decision being unreasonable.
This case also reinforces to managers the importance of engaging in reasonable management action, even when a worker is being difficult. This includes:
â–º promptly addressing concerns with workers;
â–º complying with company policies and procedures;
â–º when undertaking disciplinary action, taking action that is proportionate to the misconduct engaged in;
â–º clearly communicating expectations.
It also highlights the importance of actively managing workers' compensation claims relating to management action and where necessary appealing incorrect decisions. A failure to manage workers' compensation claims can have a significant impact on the workplace operations including:
â–º managers failing or refusing to manage disciplinary matters;
â–º inability to action or defend disciplinary matters;
â–º unfair dismissal or adverse action claims;
â–º common law claims;
â–º increased premiums; and
â–º increased legal fees.
Bartlett v Workers' Compensation Regulator  QIRC 049
WORKER WITH CHRONIC HEADACHES ENTITLED TO LUMP SUM In a recent case, the Federal Court dismissed Comcare's appeal against an AAT finding that a worker who suffered from migraines had a whole person impairment (WPI) of 14% and was eligible for permanent impairment payments.
Between 2006 and 2010 the worker suffered from increasingly severe symptoms similar to chronic fatigue including being diagnosed with chronic daily work-related headaches in 2008. The worker was on leave between 2008 and May 2010 when she was dismissed.
In 2015, after her claim was rejected by Comcare, the worker's claim was upheld by the AAT. The AAT assessed the worker's disorder qualitatively with reference to the approved American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) calculating it to be at 14%.
In the appeal against the AAT decision, Comcare argued with reference to the AMA Guides that because headaches were a well-established medical condition they attracted a maximum WPI of 3%. However, Justice Rares dismissed the appeal and rejected Comcare's interpretation of the AMA Guides, stating that it was fallacious and would result in a person's WPI for a pain disorder falling below the required threshold even where they were unable to work or even function. This, he said, could not have been its intention, and would be a cruel farce on workers if it were.
What it means for you
Businesses should be aware of the issues caused by fatigue and migraines and the risk of workers developing these conditions as a result of their work.
As people are working longer hours and spend more time looking at their computers the risk of fatigue and headaches can rise. Businesses should identify factors that contribute to the risk of fatigue in their workplace by:
â–º consulting with workers;
â–º examining systems of work, such as rosters and breaks;
â–º reviewing workplace incident data; and
â–º obtaining advice and information about fatigue.
After assessing this information, you should consider ways to address risk factors through, work and shift scheduling, developing fatigue policies, provide information and training in relation to the risk and symptoms of fatigue.
Comcare v Wuth  FCA 433
INHERENT REQUIREMENTS MUST BE INHERENT IN PRACTICE In May, the Fair Work Commission upheld a decision on appeal which found that it does not
have to accept an employer's assertions as to the inherent requirements of an injured worker's role when assessing that worker's ability to return to work.
In this case, the injured worker was a Bulk Delivery Driver; the Core Positions Document for that position had requirements as to a minimum lifting ability of the driver. Based on the medical evidence submitted to the Commission, the driver could not meet those minimum abilities.
On appeal the employer argued that the Commission had erred in considering evidence outside the Core Positions Document and other material presented by the employer which were asserted to contain the inherent requirements of the role in question. However, the majority in the appeal upheld the first instance decision in finding it was correct to consider other sources of evidence which confirmed the inherent requirements of the role in actual terms. For example, there was evidence to hand that drivers were responsible for assessing each load on their own against their ability to lift it, and were authorised to employ other methods to lift loads they were not comfortable with (ie. by using manual handling devices).
Further, the Commission found that manual handling devices were available for use by all employees, and were therefore not a reasonable adjustment that needed to be made for the injured employee, but were part of the day-to-day operation of the role.
What it means for you
When assessing the inherent requirements of an employee's role in relation to a return to work from injury, you should ensure that you consider the actual requirements of the role and not just what is set out in the position description or policy manuals.
Further, if tools are already in place to assist workers on a day-to-day basis, they may not be considered reasonable adjustments to a returning worker's duties, even where that worker may be more reliant on those tools than others.
TNT Australia Pty Ltd T/A TNT v Stephen Martin  FWCFB 1510
COMPLIANCE LABOUR HIRE LICENSING COMES TO QUEENSLAND The Queensland Government has introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 to establish a licensing scheme from next year.
The licensing regime, which will be broader than those being considered in Victoria and South Australia, will apply to all labour hire providers operating in Queensland regardless of where their registered address is located.
The Bill requires persons engaging labour hire providers to only engage a licensed provider. It will also require labour hire providers to:
â–º pass a fit-and-proper person test to establish that they comply with all relevant laws and that the business is financially viable;
â–º comply with workplace laws, including workersâ€™ compensation, wages and superannuation;
â–º pay a licence fee;
â–º report regularly on their operations; and
â–º divulge a range of information including the number of employees they have engaged, how they are engaged, the type of work performed and where it is performed.
Licence fees will range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of the provider. The laws will also include high penalties for breaches and criminal offences for the most serious transgressions.
The Bill will commence by proclamation and the exact date of commencement is not yet known.
What it means for you
Labour hire operators or businesses that engage labour hire companies should begin reviewing their arrangements now to ensure they are compliant with employment and work health safety laws before the introduction of the new regime.
Learn more here and here.
LARGEST FINE EVER UNDER QUEENSLAND'S CMHS ACT The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has reported that it successfully prosecuted AngloCoal (Capcoal Management) Pty Ltd in relation to the death of Mr Ian Downes, a coal worker in 2014.
In December 2014, Mr Downes was killed when he was struck by a piece of coal that fell from the sidewall in an underground coal mine.
The fine of $284,625 imposed by the Brisbane Magistrates Court was the largest fine ever imposed under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld). The regulator has noted that this is also the first time a conviction has been recorded against a coal mine operator company for such an offence.
In delivering the sentence, the magistrate remarked that employees of the mine are entitled to expect that the site was safe and that workers should not be the last line of defence.
What it means for you
The tragic death of Mr Downes and the magistrate's comment that workers should not be the last line of defence are clear reminders that it is the company's and the employer's duty to ensure work health and safety standards at their workplace are maintained.
While workers have a role in managing their own safety and safety at their workplace, persons conducting a business or undertaking must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of injury and death to workers and others at the workplace.
The case shows that there are serious implications for failing to meet this duty, and the regulator has stated that "there is no room for complacency when it comes to safety. All workers in the industry must ensure that safety is part of their everyday operations and culture."
UPDATES TO ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE FEES IN QUEENSLAND The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation (Fees) Amendment Regulation 2017 and Environment and Heritage Protection Legislation (Fees) Amendment Regulation 2017 have updated the fees across a suite of environmental legislation in Queensland, commencing from 1 July 2017. Fees including the annual fee for an environmental authority and an environmental impact statement have increased. Waste tracking fees have now been assessed as GST exempt and will therefore be reduced by 10%.
The aim of the updates has been to index regulatory fees for Department of Environment and Heritage protection and the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing. The Government is currently considering the indexation of Apiary and Stock Grazing Permit fees. The index fees have been rounded in accordance with each Department's rounding policy.
WHITE SPOT SYNDROME VIRUS IN QUEENSLAND White Spot Syndrome Virus is a rapidly spreading virus that kills crustaceans such as prawns, crabs and lobsters. In March this year there was an outbreak of the disease in Queensland's Logan River and Moreton Bay. The import of contaminated raw prawns has been blamed for the outbreak and Logan River prawn farms will remain shut for a year in an effort to contain the outbreak.
The Biosecurity (White Spot Syndrome Virus) Amendment Regulation 2017 has established the whole of Queensland as a biosecurity zone for the virus. The new Regulation has put restrictions in place on moving any virus carriers out of the state and fishing within the range of a drainage channel or intake channel used by a prawn facility. The Regulation aims to reduce the spread of the virus to uninfected areas of Queensland or interstate. There has previously been one instance of the virus in the wild in Darwin, which eventually died out.
What it means for you
Fishermen ought to be aware of the regulation and review the location of their practices. We also recommend fishermen seek technical advice on reducing their risk of contamination.
QUEENSLAND DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION REJECTED FOR OVER-DEVELOPMENT Althaus Enterprises Pty Ltd appealed against a refusal for a development permit for a material change of use for 18 townhouses in Goodna, Queensland. They subsequently modified the application to include only 16 townhouses.
The Ipswich Council argued that the modified application was still in conflict with the planning scheme, which identified the lot as being in a Residential Low Density Zone. The 16 townhouses would involve a density of 2.5 times that contemplated in the planning scheme. This was considered by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court to be a significant conflict with the scheme. As the supply and demand for multiple dwellings in the area were already being met by the planning scheme, the Court found there was no planning need to justify the conflict. The development application was rejected by the Court.
What it means for you
Developers ought to seek advice on their development applications and compliance with the local planning scheme before making the application.
AMENDMENTS TO THE NEW TASMANIAN PLANNING SYSTEM The Tasmanian Government is proposing to amend the Tasmanian planning system to allow for the creation of Tasmanian Planning Policies. Last month the Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Tasmanian Planning Policies) Bill 2017 was released by the Tasmanian Government for consultation and, if introduced to Parliament and passed, it will provide for a new legislative mechanism for Tasmanian Planning
Policies to be made under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPA Act).
The Draft Bill proposes to amend the LUPA Act to establish the mechanism to create Tasmanian Planning Policies (TPPs) that will provide strategic direction on matters of state interest, guiding councils when they make decisions regarding development and land use planning. The TPPs are proposed to relate directly to the planning system established under the LUPA Act rather than the broad range of State legislation that State Policies relate to. The provision relating to State Policies in the LUPA Act will continue to apply.
The Draft Bill contains provisions for exhibiting the draft TPPs for 42 days, within which representations can be made. The Tasmanian Planning Commission will the provide a report to the Minister within 60 days after the exhibition period and the Minister will then decide whether to make or refuse to make the TPP.
What it means for you
Developers ought to seek advice on how the TPPs may affect any future development applications.
We also recommend keeping track of any published TPPs so representations can be made where relevant.
NEW VICTORIAN ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCHEME The Victorian Government has released the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (Project-Based Activities) Regulations 2017. The Regulations allow energy efficient certificates to be earned through project-based activities if they deliver significant carbon savings as determined through the measurement and verification method. This method marks an expansion of the current Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme which has only issued certificates for simple activities such as lighting upgrades, based on standardised formulas.
The number of certificates to be earned will be calculated depending on the forward projection of savings or the annual report of savings. This
change means Victoria's scheme now matches the NSW energy efficiency scheme, which also contains a measurement and verification method for earning certificates.
What it means for you
Companies should seek advice on the application of the new regulation to determine if they have any projects that qualify for the certificates.
COMPANY ORDERED TO PAY $532,000 IN POLLUTION FINES AND COSTS The NSW Land and Environment Court has ordered Dyno Nobel to pay pollution fines and EPA costs totalling $532,000. The company breached its licence after a valve on a transferring pipe failed, causing contaminated water to flow off its property. This subsequently caused the death of five cows in a neighbouring paddock. The valve was not a part of routine inspection or maintenance at the site (however the cause of the valve failure was not identified). The death of the cattle meant the environmental harm was considered substantial, resulting in a harsher sentence.
The Court also ordered the company to publicise the offence in two local newspapers and The Australian Financial Review to have a deterrent effect amongst the Australian business community.
What it means for you
Companies should review their routine inspection and maintenance programs to ensure they are thorough and avoid similar offences. They should also be aware of the strong deterrent approach the court is likely to take in future cases involving substantial environmental harm.
Environment Protection Authority v Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific Pty Ltd  NSWLEC 64
A TAILORED SOLUTION TO FINANCIAL ASSURANCE AND REHABILITATION IN QUEENSLAND The Queensland Government is reviewing
the State's existing financial assurance (FA) framework for resource activities. Two discussion papers have been released as part of the new proposed Financial Assurance Framework Reform Package.
The first discussion paper sets out the proposed reforms to implement a "tailored solution" for calculation and lodgement of FA. The tailored solution aims to determine FA liability according to the estimated costs and risk profile of the authority holder. Under the new framework, financial assurance arrangement categories have been established which are fluid, as are the resource "entity" categorisations. This allows for the FA arrangements to change if the authority holder's financial liability changes.
The second discussion paper proposes a new policy for mining rehabilitation, which is the key component of the Integrated Mined Land Management framework. The most significant reform is the introduction of life- of-mine plans (LOM Plan) for all site-specific mines (new and existing). The objective is to align with other Australian jurisdictions and ensure ongoing accountability and rehabilitation effectiveness. There would then be regular monitoring, assessment and reporting against the rehabilitation objectives in accordance with the LOM Plan to ensure progressive rehabilitation performance of the site is appropriate. The LOM Plan would have enforceable requirements and performance based incentives through a wide range of measures.
What it means for you
We are likely to see substantial reform to both rehabilitation and FA for resources projects in Queensland. Owners of resource projects and investors should be aware that future operations and FA requirements are likely to change in the future.
TAKING SEWAGE SERIOUSLY In the NSW Land and Environment Court, there have been a number of recent cases regarding pollution offences by water and sewage service operators.
For example, Hawkesbury City Council was recently ordered to pay $175,000 for inadvertently discharging sewage into the
ephemeral watercourse in a neighbouring Nature Reserve after a portion of pipework was modified without the changes being documented. Employees operating the plant and equipment were not aware of the changes and could not respond to alter their processes to avoid it.
What it means for you
There are a number of steps that that operators can consider to minimise their risk:
â–º identify environmental law compliance requirements and key risk areas;
â–º develop a best-practice environmental compliance framework that includes operational checks and balances, requirements to clearly document procedures and record any changes to operations or to plant and equipment;
â–º train employees to know, understand and implement the environmental compliance framework and undertake regular refresher training;
â–º continuously update and improve the environmental compliance framework; and
â–º seek legal advice regarding reporting obligations, incident investigation and management, and engaging with the regulator.
NSW GOVERNMENT PURSUES IMPROVED ENVIRONMENTAL OUTCOMES FOR MINES The NSW Government has proposed an increase in the regulation of ancillary mining activities and new offences and powers relating to enforceable undertakings. The Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill will make various amendments to the Mining Act 1992, Mining Regulation 2016 and Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991.
The Bill aims to simplify the regulatory regime of ancillary mining activities, which includes the construction and maintenance of dams and the use of stockpiles of displaced soil from mine operations. The concept of "designated ancillary mining activity" has been introduced and will mean that activity can only be carried out within the area of authorisation or in the immediate vicinity of the mining lease. The Bill will facilitate the consolidation of Mining Act authorisations for ancillary mining activities.
The Bill also seeks to address minor gaps in the enforceable undertakings framework. To improve compliance and enforcement, the proposed changes allow for criminal proceedings to be commenced in the NSW Land and Environment Court for serious breaches of an enforceable undertaking under the Mining Act or the Petroleum Act (rather than the NSW District Court). Finally, the Bill has created a new offence relating to providing false or misleading information by persons in connection with the holder of an authorisation or title, and increased the maximum penalties for similar offences.
What it means for you
Mining operators should consider the new consequences of breaching an enforceable undertaking in ensuring compliance with that undertaking. They should also seek advice before providing information in relation to the Mining Act 1992 and Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, to ensure that information is in no way misleading.
It will be a valid defence if the holder of an authorisation or title can establish that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent the provision of false or misleading information.
WA INQUIRY INTO MINE SITE CLOSURE AND REHABILITATION: THREE KEY CONSIDERATIONS The WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum has made submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications during its inquiry on mine rehabilitation, highlighting three key issues:
1. Mine site rehabilitation obligations under the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
Even though WA has legislative requirements and standards for mine closure and rehabilitation, this does not guard against the possibility of a person/company becoming insolvent. In the event of insolvency, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) applies, which allows a company's liquidator to disclaim onerous property when winding up a company. The effect of this is that it removes the obligation for mine site rehabilitation. Additionally, there is no individual or entity acting as a
creditor to meet rehabilitation liabilities under the Corporations Act, so the Crown is liable for the abandoned mine site. The assets of an insolvent person/company do not contribute to the costs of rehabilitation.
The Minister has asked the Committee to consider addressing parent company and director obligations, property provisions, and treatment of the State as a creditor.
2. Accounting Standards
A person/company with mine site closure and rehabilitation obligations may not provide for these obligations in the same way as other financial obligations (eg. debts and liabilities). Currently, the Australian Accounting Standards Board publishes Accounting Standards for future obligations to comply with the Corporations Act. However, the Standards do not apply specifically to mine site rehabilitation. Additionally, the financial information for mine site rehabilitation is not transparent in the Standards, which can reduce confidence that mine closure obligations will be met.
The Minister has asked the Committee to consider recommendations for amendments to the Accounting Standards to accommodate this concern.
3. Risks of duplication between State and Commonwealth legislation
In 2014, the WA and Australian Governments signed a Bilateral Agreement on Assessments to reduce duplication under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). However, a Bilateral Agreement on Approvals cannot be finalised until the Commonwealth Act is amended. This highlights that there remain administrative burdens and costs to governments from overlapping approval requirements at the State and Federal levels.
What it means for you
Mining operators should seek advice and stay up to date on the possible changes to legislation that may result from these recommendations.
REGULATOR NEWS EPA POWER TO ENTER PREMISES VIA DRONES The NSW Government has amended the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act) to clarify that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can enter and inspect premises via drones.
This amendment forms part of a suite of amendments that received asset on 1 June 2017 under the Protection of the Environment Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2017.
The POEO Act is amended by clarifying the definition of aircraft to include "a remotely piloted aircraft, an unmanned aircraft system or a drone". The EPA has the power under section 196 of the POEO Act to enter industrial, agricultural or commercial premises at which a pollution incident is suspected "by means of motor vehicle or other vehicle, or by an aircraft or vessel, or in any other manner."
The specific inclusion of drones in the definition of aircraft has the effect of confirming the EPA's very broad powers to enter and inspect premises. It also enables the EPA to use drones where it may be impractical or cost-prohibitive to otherwise enter and inspect the premises.
What it means for you
While the amendment has many benefits for the EPA in terms of cost and practicality, occupiers of potentially affected premises should consider the implications of these powers including what happens in situations where a drone may enter a premises and take photographs or video recordings without the knowledge of the occupiers.
In such a situation, the occupiers would not have the opportunity to exercise their rights to ask the EPA officer to identify themselves or determine
what in fact the EPA officer is investigating. However, the POEO Act does not override general privacy and surveillance legislation and, in many ways, entry into premises via a drone is no different to the EPA flying over a premises in a helicopter or other aircraft.
AUDIT REPORT INTO PERTH CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL RELEASED The Western Australia Building Commission has released its final report on compliance and conformance issues that arose during the construction of the new Perth Childrenâ€™s Hospital at the QEII Medical Centre site.
The audit was announced in July 2016 following the discovery of asbestos in unitised roof panels supplied and installed by Yuanda Australia Pty Ltd for principal contractor John Holland Pty Ltd.
The audit examined the actions of the registered and licensed contractors John Holland Pty Ltd (builder); Christopher Contracting (plumber); and Philip Chun (building surveyor); as well as looking into issues of public concern such as asbestos, plumbing (including lead contamination in the water), fire safety, and other issues.
A separate audit is assessing all Yuanda-supplied products and materials installed in other WA buildings.
The Report indicated that in relation to the specific terms of the audit it did not identify conduct that required immediate disciplinary action. However, it noted that "delayed completion, complaints, material failures and contractual disputes suggest that the registered building contractor may have failed to properly manage and supervise the project".
The Building Commission has also stated that it will continue to review evidence from this audit,
other inquiries and the resolution of disputes to determine whether any disciplinary action is required.
What it means for you
The Building Commission stated that the audit has highlighted the Australia-wide building industry issue of material and product non- compliance and non-conformance. It has also raised concerns about potential for wide reaching plumbing issues that may require regulatory changes.
As recommended by the report, building industry participants should implement thorough quality assurance and quality checking procedures when sourcing materials and components. It states that this will increase efficiency for the building industry and reduce the amount of time and resources spent on rectifying non-compliant or non-conforming building elements.
VICTORIA MAKES SIGNIFICANT CHANGES On 18 June 2017, the new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) and Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 (EPS Regulations) commenced.
While largely consistent with existing legislation the OHS Regulations make some significant changes for:
â–º workplaces where asbestos is present;
â–º manufacturers or import suppliers of hazardous substances or agricultural and veterinary; chemicals;
â–º work in construction; and
â–º operators of a mine or major hazard facility.
Eight compliance codes that align with the regulations were recently open for public comment and are currently under review:
â–º Hazardous Manual Handling Compliance Code;
â–º Hazardous Substances Compliance Code;
â–º Plant Compliance Code;
â–º Confined Spaces Compliance Code;
â–º Demolition Compliance Code;
â–º Facilities in Construction Compliance Code;
â–º Excavation Compliance Code; and
â–º Noise Compliance Code.
Other codes of practice are also being reviewed by WorkSafe to ensure they are consistent with these changes.
The EPS regulations prescribe the use of plant in non-workplaces to ensure public safety. They largely replicate the relevant part of the OHS Regulations 2017. Only minor amendments have been made to these regulations.
What it means for you
WorkSafe Victoria has stated that compliance with the new regulations is now mandatory. If you haven't already done so, you should make yourself aware of these changes and assess what action needs to be taken to ensure your business is compliant, especially if you fall within the categories set out above.
If you are unsure about how these laws affect you and your business, seek legal advice or contact WorkSafe Victoria for more information.
NEW DUTIES FOR QLD BUILDING INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN PARTICIPANTS The Queensland Government has introduced the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-Conforming Building Products-Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017. The Bill will amend the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 and others and will establish a chain of responsibility, placing duties on supply chain participants in order to ensure building products used in Queensland are safe and fit for purpose.
According explanatory memorandum, the Bill will:
â–º oblige building product supply chain participants to ensure a building product is a conforming building product;
â–º give greater powers to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and align existing powers with those of safety regulators;
â–º create requirements for QBCC licensees to report to QBCC about activities that present work health and safety issues; and
â–º widen grounds for the QBCC to take disciplinary action against a licensee, including in relation to laws that can impact on health and safety, or where work leads to death, grievous bodily harm, or a serious risk to the health or safety of a person.
The Bill states that non-conforming building products are products or materials that:
â–º are claimed to be something they are not;
â–º do not meet the required standards for the use in which they are intended; or
â–º are marketed or supplied with the intent to deceive those who use them.
These are products, according to the explanatory memorandum, that pose a significant risk to health and life safety and which can impose significant costs on owners to rectify damages or undertake remedial actions.
The Government has cited two incidents, the Melbourne Lacrosse Tower fire in 2014 and the recall of Infinity and Olsent-branded cables in 2015, and related reviews and consultation as demonstrating that the current building regulatory system does not provide an effective overarching framework for identifying and addressing nonconforming building products.
What it means for you
These amendments have the potential to impact on businesses inside and outside the building and construction industry. It will place duties on all supply chain participants, including designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers. Fines for failing to comply with the supply chain and non-conforming building products duties is $121,900 for an individual.
As the laws are likely to commence before the end of the year, building industry and supply chain participants should strongly consider reviewing their supply chain practices now to ensure they are satisfied that the products they use or supply will satisfy the new requirements.
NEW ELEVATED WORK PLATFORM TRAINING STANDARDS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA SafeWork SA has developed a minimum standard of training expected for workers who operate Elevating Work Platforms (EWPs). The new standard applies in all industries and SafeWork SA advises that it should be read in conjunction with its information sheet on Elevating Work Platforms. Further information is also available in:
â–º Code of Practice â€“ Managing the Risks of Plant in the Workplace
â–º AS 2550.10: Cranes, hoists and winches â€“ Safe use. Part 10: Mobile elevating work platforms.
The new minimum standard of training consists of specific criteria, contained in a checklist in the standard, that must be addressed to satisfy five elements:
â–º plant identification;
â–º hazard identification and control;
â–º pre and post-start inspections;
â–º safe general use; and
â–º shutdown and post-use inspection.
The new training standard is in accordance with the person conducting a business or undertakingâ€™s primary duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA).
What it means for you
All businesses in South Australia that use EWPs should make themselves familiar with the new training requirements.
This may also be a good time to audit and review your safety procedures relating to them with reference to the relevant standards.
SAFEWORK NSW RELEASES GUIDE ON MANAGING RESPIRATORY CONDITIONS IN THE WORKPLACE SafeWork NSW has released a guide on workplace management of respiratory conditions, including asthma. It states that the quality of the air we breathe at work can have major implications for a workerâ€™s respiratory health.
Importantly, it points out that failure to correctly manage workplace respiratory hazards may put workers at risk of exposure to a range of respiratory conditions detailed in the guide. The Guide includes information on:
â–º identifying hazards;
â–º assessing and controlling risks;
â–º eliminate, isolate and substitute hazards;
â–º engineering and administrative controls; and
â–º Personal Protective Equipment.
What it means for you
The Guide contains information on a wide range of respiratory disorders ranging from allergies to pneumoconiosis.
All businesses in NSW are encouraged to review the Guide and consider whether there are risks of respiratory conditions at their workplace.
Given the significant risks arising from air borne contaminants and the difficulties involved in managing them. Companies in all states should also review the guide for important insight.
ON THE HORIZON QUEENSLAND QUEENSLAND TO INTRODUCE "NEGLIGENCE CAUSING DEATH" OFFENCE
The Queensland Government has committed to introducing an offence of "negligence causing death" under State Work Health and Safety laws. This is a move that is likely to have national implications, particularly in States with harmonised workplace safety laws.
The new offence was an interim recommendation to the Employment Minister Grace Grace by former ACTU Assistant Secretary, Tim Lyons, who is currently conducting a wide ranging audit of State work health safety laws, procedures and policing for the Queensland Government.
The "best practice review" follows a number of fatalities last year at Eagle Farm race course and Dreamworld. The findings and recommendations of the review will be presented to the Government by 30 June 2017.
No details are available about the proposed amendment and Mr Lyons is expected to make recommendations about how the law will operate as part of his review report.
CHANGES TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION FOR DUST DISEASES
The Queensland Government has introduced the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation (Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis) and Other Legislation Bill 2017 designed:
â–º to increase access to WorkCover entitlements for workers suffering from dust diseases, including black lung, silicosis and asbestosis; and
â–º to allow workers who no longer work in the coal mining industry access to testing for black lung on the recommendation of a doctor, with the testing paid for by WorkCover.
The Bill introduces lump sum payments for
workers diagnosed with a pneumoconiosis and also allows for the reopening of Work Cover claims where a worker's condition deteriorates. It also introduces a scheme which allows coal workers access to medical examinations to test for black lung.
Also contained in the Bill are changes to the electrical licensing framework designed to increase the scrutiny the regulator can give to the competency of applicants.
VICTORIA VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING AMENDMENTS TO SAFETY LEGISLATION IN LINE WITH MODEL LAWS
The Victorian Government has recently released its response to the Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work, which provides support for a number of the recommendations proposed.
One of the matters considered by the Inquiry was amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act), to ensure that obligations under occupational health and safety legislation are not able to be avoided through the use of labour hire relationships. The Inquiry recommended that Victoria adopted the model Work Health and Safety Act's imposition of safety duties "on persons conducting a business or undertaking in respect of the broadly defined category of workers, and the explicit inclusion in that definition of labour-hire employees placed with a host".
In its response to the Inquiry, the Victorian Government has flagged that it supports the changes proposed by the Inquiry in principle, however, any changes to bring the OHS Act into line with the Model Work Health and Safety Act are likely to be some time away.
The Government has suggested that further work is necessary to ensure appropriate coverage and that legislative change does not have unintended consequences. The Government has indicated an intention to examine the legislative changes in detail and canvass stakeholder views.
NEW SOUTH WALES Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill
Protection of the Environment Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2017
LEGISLATION TASMANIA Planning and Approvals amendment (Tasmanian Planning Policies) Bill 2017
QUEENSLAND Building and Construction Legislation (Non-Conforming Building Products-Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017
Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016
Planning Act 2016, Planning and Environment Court Act 2016, Planning (Consequential Amendments) Act 2016, Planning Regulation 2016 to commence on 3 July 2017
Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017
VICTORIA Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (Project- Based Activities) Regulations 2017
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017
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ENVIRONMENT & PLANNING
EDITOR Brett Thompson