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Work Health and Safety
2 Feb 16
NSW Mining Law Harmonisation in force from 1 February 2016
On 21 October, the NSW Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum) Legislation Amendment (Harmonisation) Bill 2015 (NSW). The Bill commenced in force as an Act from 1 February 2016.
20 Oct 15
Back to the future for WHS right of entry in Queensland
The Queensland Government has passed legislation that will reverse major changes made by the former LNP Government, and in doing so, has used a legislative Delorean to take right of entry requirements for work health and safety issues ‘back to the future’.
29 Apr 15
FWC supports combined urine and saliva drug testing in the workplace
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has found that workplace drug testing that relies on combined urine and saliva samples provides a far superior deterrent against illicit drug use in the workplace compared to single-method regimes.
17 Dec 14
Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 (NSW) commences 1 February 2015
The New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment has released the finalised Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 2014 (NSW) and confirmed the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Act 2013 (NSW) will commence on 1 February 2015.
8 Dec 14
Queensland work health and safety laws - 2014 wrap up
Queensland work health and safety laws have been reviewed in 2014 with important changes being either contemplated or brought into effect. This article considers these developments as well as prosecution trends from reported matters.
2 Dec 14
Supreme Court clarifies inspectors' powers under the NSW WHS Act
In the recent decision of Hunter Quarries Pty Ltd v State of New South Wales (Department of Trade and Investment)  NSWSC 1580, Her Honour Justice Schmidt of the Supreme Court has clarified inspectors’ powers under sections 155 and 171 of the NSW WHS Act.
18 Feb 14
Fair Work Act right of entry powers and protections for Union officials extended
Companies should be aware of recent case law that clarifies the broad application of the Fair Work Act’s right of entry protections, which make it an offence for employers to refuse or delay entry, or to hinder or obstruct a permit holder from exercising their access rights for the purpose of investigating work health and safety breaches under state legislation.
14 Feb 14
First wave of Queensland WHS reforms
Following a recent review of WHS laws, the Queenland Government has introduced the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Bill 2014 (Qld). If passed in its current form, the Bill will implement significant changes to rights of entry on WHS concerns, the powers of health and safety representatives and significantly increasing penalties available for certain electrical WHS breaches.
21 Jan 14
Principal contractor acquitted of safety breaches after worker killed in NSW
In a closely followed case, the Industrial Relations Commission has found Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd and GTE Workplace Management Pty Ltd not guilty of charges under section 8(1) of the now repealed Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW).
11 Nov 13
Introduction of retrospective work health and safety amendment legislation in NSW
The introduction of retrospective work health and safety amendment legislation in NSW is intended to rectify procedural errors and clarify jurisdiction of Courts to hear matters under the OHS and WHS Acts.
13 Sep 13
Queensland mining work health and safety harmonisation back on the agenda
The harmonisation of Queensland’s mining industry work health and safety laws is firmly back on the agenda with the DNRM releasing further consultative material on 11 September 2013.
4 Sep 13
Important changes to Queensland anti-discrimination procedures
Significant amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) have been passed by the Queensland Parliament under the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013. Partner Cameron Dean reviews the changes to anti-discrimination procedures.
28 Aug 13
Heavy Vehicle National Law likely to come into effect from October
The new Heavy Vehicle National Law is now likely to come into effect from 1 October 2013. Participating states currently include Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
23 Jul 13
Queensland Court of Appeal decision throws doubt on safety prosecutions
A recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision has clarified the obligations placed on a prosecutor to fully particularise breaches alleged against a defendant to work health and safety prosecutions, confirming the principles established in the High Court’s Kirk decision can be applied to Queensland law.
1 Jul 13
UPDATE: WHS Mining Bill passed by the NSW Legislative Council and now awaiting royal assent
The Work Health and Safety (Mines) Bill 2013 (NSW) was passed by the NSW Legislative Council on 25 June 2013, creating a single regime for the regulation of mining and coal mining under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). WRS specialists Partner Jeremy Kennedy and Senior Associate Suzie Leask, provide an update on the status of the new mining legislation.
5 Jun 13
WHS Mining Law changes - Further comments from NSW Parliament and a before vs. after comparison
The content of the proposed Work Health and Safety (Mines) Bill 2013 (NSW) has been debated further and read a third time in Parliament on 29 May 2013. The Minister indicated there will be a ‘sensible’ commencement date for the new legislation, and an extended industry consultation period of 6-8 weeks for the draft regulations.
27 May 13
One more piece of the WHS harmonisation puzzle for NSW mines
Despite indications from the NSW Department of Trade and Investment officers last week that there would be a consultation period with the industry before the new Work Health and Safety (Mines) Bill 2013 (NSW) was introduced to Parliament, the Bill was placed before the lower house last week.
19 Feb 13
Heavy vehicle amendment bill passes in Queensland: a driving force for national reform
Further to McCullough Robertson’s previous updates on the Heavy Vehicle National Law, the Queensland Parliament has now passed the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2012. The legislation is aimed at improving safety and productivity.
6 Feb 13
Employment and safety issues after Oswald
The responses to natural disasters often require difficult decisions to be made. The better informed businesses are about their obligations, the better they will be able to manage risks. McCullough Robertson partner, Cameron Dean sets out some of the key employment and work health and safety considerations in the wake of ex tropical cyclone Oswald.
13 Dec 12
How will the new federal discrimination regime impact you?
Following the November release of an exposure draft of the Federal Government’s proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012, McCullough Robertson’s Tim Longwill and Peta Shanahan explain the nature of the proposed changes and what they mean in practical terms.
13 Dec 12
Federal privacy law reform - how will it affect your business?
The much anticipated reform to Federal privacy legislation has recently been given the tick of approval by both houses of Parliament. McCullough Robertson’s Tim Longwill and Peta Shanahan explain how the proposed changes will affect organisations in an employment context.
5 Dec 12
Newsflash: Queensland public sector outsourcing and privatisation
The new workplace relations laws affecting outsourcing and privatisation of Queensland public sector jobs take effect on 5 December 2012. McCullough Robertson Workplace Relations & Safety specialists Michael Moy and Angela Petie look at how these changes may affect how you do business.
30 Nov 12
Developments in National Heavy Vehicle Regulation
Recently introduced Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2012 (Bill) is said to provide generally for policy and technical matters, however, there are some other significant matters that have been further defined or introduced. These matters are outlined by McCullough Robertson’s Workplace Relations and Safety specialists Cameron Dean and Lauren Bain.
29 Nov 12
New mine safety laws for NSW - other mining states to follow
Jenny Nash, Director of Mine Safety Performance at the NSW Office of Resources and Energy, has confirmed at today’s NSW Minerals Industry 2012 Regional Health & Safety Conference in Dubbo, that Chapter 10 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (NSW) will be put before Parliament on 14 December 2012. The regulations will then be available to the public. McCullough Robertson will provide an overview of the legislation as soon as it comes to hand.
22 Oct 12
Morbidly obese employee returned to work after finding no 'current' risk
The Queensland Court of Appeal has overturned a decision not to allow a morbidly obese coal mine employee back to work after he was deemed unfit to operate machinery due to a ‘significant risk’ of a heart attack. Partner in our Work Health and Safety Group, Cameron Dean, looks at the decision and what it means for coal mining employers.
29 Aug 12
Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill
The Queensland Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill 2012 has passed through Parliament, establishing the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
22 Aug 12
Mining safety laws - harmonisation update
Following the Queensland Government’s call for submissions about proposed changes to mine safety legislation, more clarification has been provided on the process that will follow if amendments to the legislation are made. Workplace Relations and Safety Partner, Cameron Dean explains further.
8 Aug 12
National truck safety
Regulation of heavy vehicles is set to become simpler nationally. In the first step, the Queensland Government introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill 2012 (Qld Bill) into parliament on 2 August 2012. It is anticipated that other States and Territories will pass mirror legislation in the coming months.
3 Aug 12
Top issues in Fair Work Act review
Head of our Workplace Relations and Safety Group, Partner Michael Moy, talks to BRR Media about what business and industry can expect out of the review. To listen to the 6 minute interview, please click here.
3 Aug 12
The Fair Work Act review - a summary
The Fair Work Act review was released by the Federal Government on 2 August 2012. The review was conducted by panel members Professor Ron McCallum, former Federal Court judge Michael Moore and senior economist Dr John Edwards. The Panel recommended 53 changes to the Fair Work Act. To view our summary of the Panel review, please click here.
28 Jun 12
Minimum wage decision rejects carbon tax discount - mining awards varied to reflect decision
The annual wage review decision by Fair Work Australia (FWA) on Friday 1 June 2012 has increased minimum award wages by 2.9%. This decision lifts the federal weekly minimum wage by $17.10 to $606.40 (up from $589.30) and the hourly rate by 45c to $15.96 (from $15.51).
28 May 12
Supreme reckoning - court hands down first reckless endangerment sentence
The Supreme Court of Victoria, Court of Appeal has dismissed a long fought appeal, upholding the state’s first conviction for ‘reckless endangerment’. This decision has been eagerly anticipated not only in Victoria, but also in New South Wales and Queensland where, as a result of harmonised workplace laws, similar provisions exist involving the mental element of recklessness and duty owed by officers.
10 May 12
Clear signal - harmonisation of rail safety laws on track for 2013
Those with current or soon-to-arise rail safety obligations (including mining expansion projects or resource railway construction) may soon have another piece of safety legislation to wrap their heads around. McCullough Robertson Workplace Relations and Safety lawyer Gillian Holmes explains why
10 Apr 12
The winds of change - 'reasonably practicable' defence succeeds
A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia has added to the pool of case law surrounding the definition of ‘reasonably practicable’ and the role of duty holders as the harmonisation of work health and safety regimes continues.
29 Mar 12
New obligations in Queensland for body corporate committees under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
As of 1 January 2012, bodies corporate and their committee members in Queensland may have to take further steps to protect workers from health and safety risks under the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (WHSA), with significant penalties for failing to do so. In this article, Partner Cameron Dean and Senior Associate Alex Power look at when the new obligations will apply, and what steps body corporate committees should take to avoid the risk of penalties under the new legislation.
21 Feb 12
NSW Codes of Practice - is your workplace using the right ones?
To coincide with the commencement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (WHS Act) on 1 January 2012, the WorkCover Authority of New South Wales released 11 new Codes of Practice. Workplace health and safety specialist, Partner, Jeremy Kennedy summarises which codes have been released, which are no longer applicable in New South Wales, and which codes are expected to be released later this year.
23 Dec 11
NSW releases WHS Regulations
The release of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW) (WHS Regs) on 16 December 2011 has given businesses less than three weeks to understand and implement the requirements under the new regulations. Workplace health and safety specialist, Partner, Jeremy Kennedy summarises the new regulations and accompanying Codes of Practice.
30 Nov 11
New Queensland WHS Regulations and Codes of Practice - are you ready?
Workplace health and safety specialist, Partner, Cameron Dean issues a timely reminder and details the new and transitional provisions.
27 Oct 11
Despite recent rumours, NSW WHS laws to take effect from 1 January 2012
McCullough Robertson’s workplace health and safety specialist, Jeremy Kennedy, explains why business should act now in preparation for the commencement on 1 January, 2012 of new work health and safety legislation in New South Wales.
25 Jul 11
What's new in Work Health and Safety
Minerals Council - please click here to view the video. Major changes - please click here to view the video. Officers' Duties - due diligence - please click here to view the video. Incident management - please click here to view the video.
2 Jun 11
NSW Work Health and Safety Bill passes through Parliament - the disharmony of harmonisation
The pathway towards harmonised national work health and safety legislation by 1 January 2012 took the final step in NSW with passing of the Work Health and Safety Bill 2011 through NSW Parliament yesterday (1 June 2011).
27 May 11
Work Health and Safety Bill passed by Queensland Parliament
As mentioned in our earlier Alert (11 May 2011), and discussed on Boardroom Radio (12 May 2011), new workplace health and safety laws will come into effect in Queensland as a result of the harmonisation of OHS legislation across the country. The Work Health and Safety Bill was passed by the Queensland Parliament yesterday and will come into force on 1 January 2012.
12 May 11
Work Health and Safety overhaul for Queensland - another step towards harmonisation
The Work Health and Safety Bill is currently before Parliament. Listen to workplace health and safety law expert and Partner Cameron Dean outline the major changes to existing workplace health and laws on Boardroom Radio.
11 May 11
Work Health and Safety Bill before Queensland Parliament - tipped to bring major changes
The Work Health and Safety Bill was introduced into the Queensland Parliament last night (10 May 2011). The Bill is at the second reading stage to be debated in a future sitting of the Parliament and will take effect from 1 January 2012. Workplace health and safety law expert and Partner Cameron Dean outlines the major changes to existing workplace health and laws.
5 May 11
NSW Parliament introduces Work Health and Safety Bill: major changes to Jurisdiction
Partner Jeremy Kennedy provides a summary of the major changes to the NSW workplace health and safety laws with the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Bill (model legislation).
4 May 11
Work Health and Safety Bill before NSW parliament tomorrow - tipped to be a major change in Jurisdiction
The new Work Health & Safety Bill (based upon the model legislation) will go before the NSW parliament for consideration tomorrow. The main change is expected to be a change of jurisdiction away from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to the Supreme Court of NSW as a criminal jurisdiction. Other key issues for NSW to be included in the Bill are the adoption of the new duty proposed by the model legislation, removal of the power of unions to prosecute and no reverse onus defence provisions.
29 Mar 11
Employers placed on-the-spot in NSW
The Workers Compensation Regulation 2010 (NSW) commenced on 1 February 2011 and introduced new penalty notice offence provisions applicable to NSW employers including on-the-spot-fines.
21 Mar 11
Forced redundancies back on the table
The Code of Practice introduced in August 2007 protecting local government employees from redundancy resulting from council amalgamations has expired. Our team of industrial relations experts, including Cameron Dean and Tim Longwill explain the laws around redundancy.
1 Feb 11
After the floods - employment and safety considerations
The flooding throughout Queensland has had a major impact on many businesses, so much so that many may not recover. We detail some of the key considerations for businesses after the floods in employment and workplace health and safety matters.