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2013
Archive for: August

The new Heavy Vehicle National Law will start in October instead of September because of IT problems surrounding the permit application system.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) said in a media statement that it had identified IT integration problems that must be fixed before the new application system goes live.

The system is expected to process up to 100,000 applications per year.

“Until our new start date, though, it’s business as usual for heavy vehicle operators and drivers,” said NHVR CEO Richard Hancock.

“Come to us for [the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme] and [Performance-Based Standard] services as you have been since January.

“Stick with your local road transport authority for all other road transport business with government, including access, vehicle standards and fatigue management.”

Once implemented, the new laws will apply in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

For more details, visit the regulator.

The model code of practice for construction work is being changed to include guidance on housing construction.

The revised draft code Managing Risk in Construction Work is expected ‘to make the existing code more accessible to the housing construction industry’, says Safe Work Australia in a media release.

Safe Work Australia members are currently considering which changes will be highlighted in the public comment document.

Once this is finalised the draft code will be released for six weeks.

Meanwhile, the public comment period has been extended to 27 September for the draft Code of Practice: Managing Risks in Stevedoring.

Safe Work Australia members have also agreed to update the list of scheduled workers compensation diseases.

The revised list is expected to be available after August 2014.

For more details, visit Safe Work Australia.

Changes to bullying laws and the recently established Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal are on the cards if the Coalition wins Government on 7 September.

Under ALP laws that passed Federal Parliament in June, workers in constitutional corporations will be able to take bullying complaints directly to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) from 1 January 2014.

However, the Coalition’s election policy only supports workers complaining to the FWC after they have first sought help and advice from a regulator.

It also wants to extend the laws so managers, employers and workers can make bullying claims against union officials.

The ALP’s recently established Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal may also be in jeopardy.

As the Coalition remains unconvinced about the link between pay rates and safety, it will review the tribunal’s operations if it wins government.

Among other policies and announcements, the Coalition has also said it would hold a judicial inquiry into the ALP’s home insulation scheme.

Tragically, four people died while working for home insulation installers.

As at 23 August, 109 people had already died this year in work incidents across a range of industries, says Safe Work Australia statistics.

This includes 26 people in transport, postal and warehousing, 27 people in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and 15 people in construction.

Last year, 212 people were reported to have died at work.

No judicial inquiry is being held into why people are also dying in other industries.

Other Coalition and ALP policy positions are available on each party’s respective website.

For more details, visit the Coalition, ALP and Safe Work Australia 

Three companies, two directors, a project manager and a site manager have been fined $330,000 after a worker sustained serious brain injuries.

The worker had been moving building materials on a housing construction site in Western Sydney when he fell four metres through an uncovered hole in August 2009, said WorkCover NSW in a media statement.

He landed on a concrete floor, sustaining severe head and brain injuries – including a brain haemorrhage – tissue damage and bruising.

The companies and the individuals were prosecuted for breaching the NSW Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000.

The site developer and manager, Multiplus Group Pty Ltd was fined $110,000, and its director was fined $11,000 in the Industrial Court of NSW on 16 August, said WorkCover NSW.

The other companies and individuals had been prosecuted previously.

Carpentry company, Aleksic Carpentry Pty Ltd, and its director were fined a total of $135,000 in May 2012.

Construction company, Austar Constructions Pty Ltd, which supplied the site manager and project manager, was fined $50,000 in October 2012.

The site manager was fined $12,000 in August 2012, and the project manager was fined $12,500 in February 2013.

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW.

Asking workmates if they are okay contributes to health and wellbeing and suicide prevention.

World Suicide Prevention day is on 10 September, and this year’s theme is Stigma: A Barrier to Suicide Prevention.

‘In Australia each year, 2,500 people die by suicide and over 65,000 will attempt to take their life,’ says Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA).

Sue Murray, CEO of SPA, wants Australians to speak openly about suicide and create a community where people give and seek help.

To support this goal, SPA has partnered with ‘R U OK?Day’, including ‘R U OK? at work’, which will be held on 12 September.

‘There’s … an emerging body of research which links supportive social relationships and a sense of social connection with protective factors in suicide prevention,’ says the R U OK? website.

‘With workplaces feeling the impact of lost productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism and high job turnover, taking time to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ is something we can all do to increase individual and workplace wellbeing,’ the website adds.

If you need immediate help and support call Life Line on 13 11 44

For more details, visit World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? at work.


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