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2015
Archive for: August

Some workers compensation benefits in NSW will be restored, WorkCover NSW split up and the Dust Diseases Board changed in proposals announced by the NSW Coalition government.

The changes are part the NSW Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015.

The NSW Government is restoring some of the workers compensation benefits removed in 2012, now that the scheme is in the black.

Changes to medical benefits payments are among amendments. For those with up to 10 per cent permanent impairment, medical benefits will be provided for two years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 11 to 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for five years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for life.

Among other changes, workers’ weekly payments will be paid for up to 12 months past retirement age.

Employers’ workers compensation premiums will also be discounted by between 5 and 20 per cent for employers who maintain safe work places and help injured employees return to work.

The reforms also see WorkCover NSW split into three entities: SafeWork NSW will be the work health and safety regulator; Insurance & Care NSW (icare) will deliver insurance and care services; and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) will oversee all state insurance schemes.

Also, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority. “As part of the broader insurance reform package, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority, with all existing functions, expertise and staff retained,” said Dominic Perrottet, NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, in a media release.

“The Board of the Dust Diseases Board will become an Advisory Committee, providing expert advice to the new Insurance and Care entity.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW and the workers compensation changes

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ordered that a manager not work in the same location as two workers to stop the bullying of the workers.

Two workers from the same company lodged separate stop bullying applications to the FWC in June. The FWC decided to hear the applications together.

The workers alleged the manager’s behaviour included belittling conduct; swearing, yelling and use of otherwise inappropriate language; daily interfering and undermining the applicants’ work; physical intimidation and “slamming” of objects on the applicants’ desks; attempts to incite the applicants to victimise other staff members; and threats of violence.

The FWC found that the manager had bullied the workers. Although the manager now works at a different location for a related business, she had been seconded back to the business where the bullying had taken place. But the two victims were off work on workers compensation.

The FWC has ordered that the two workers and the manager not approach each other and that they not attend each other’s business premises. Also, the manager only continues her secondment in the absence of one or both of the applicants being fit to resume work and the employer is responsible for ensuring the safe return to work of the workers.

The employer has also been ordered to establish and implement anti-bullying policies, procedures and training.

The orders remain in force for two years from 15 August.

The identities of all parties remain confidential.

For more details, visit the stop bullying order

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

A Western Australian company has been fined $180,000 after two of its workers fell from a scissor lift and were seriously injured.

The scissor lift platform basket in which the two workers had been operating was elevated to about 10 metres when an overhead crane hit it in February 2013, according to a WorkSafe media statement.

One of the workers stayed in the basket as the scissor lift fell to the ground. The other worker grabbed the overhead crane as it passed by, but he eventually fell to the ground.

The worker who stayed in the basket sustained arm, shoulder and rib fractures and a punctured lung. The other worker dislocated his arm and leg and fractured his arm, leg, foot, pelvis and lumbar spine.

HVLV Pty Ltd (in liquidation) was prosecuted in the Midland Magistrates Court for breaching the WA Occupational Safety and Health Act. The company was fined $180,000 and ordered to pay costs of $784. It was convicted on 4 August 2015.

“Although the company is in liquidation, it was considered important to prosecute the company and have a conviction recorded as a deterrent to others,” WorkSafe WA Acting Executive Director Ian Munns said in a media statement.

“Other employers in the same or similar industries need to appreciate that if safety measures are not taken, they will be liable to prosecution and substantial penalties.”

For more details, visit WorkSafe WA

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

Thousands of pages of explosives regulations are now under review in Australia.

Safe Work Australia has released the ‘Explosives Regulation in Australia: Discussion Paper and Consultation Regulation Impact Statement’. The aim is to find out what industry and other stakeholders think about the current state of explosives regulation in Australia and if changes are needed.

The discussion paper notes that each state and territory currently has its own extensive explosives regulatory system, and in 2009 more than 4000 pages of regulations governed explosives across Australia.

Pre-empting feedback from industry stakeholders wanting to see the introduction of nationally consistent regulations, Safe Work Australia also wants to know how stakeholders would like this to be achieved. The discussion paper includes suggestions, such as referring state powers to the Commonwealth, implementing national applied laws where legislation enacted in one jurisdiction is applied in others, or using a national model law.

Submissions are open until 10 September.

For more details, visit the discussion paper

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

Thousands of heavy vehicle drivers were found in breach of speed and fatigue regulations during the latest Operation AUSTRANS.

Operation AUSTRANS is an annual safety blitz, which this year ran from 18 May to 13 June and inspected 75,000 heavy vehicles. Police in Australia and New Zealand collaborated with other agencies to target heavy vehicle road transport safety.

Among the offences uncovered were 1076 major defects, including not speed limiting, and 574 trucks were caught speeding. The number of speeding offences is down on the 936 recorded the year before.

Some 1100 work diary offences related to failure to take required rest were also found. This is less than the 1383 offences recorded last year.

Drug driving tests caught out 154 drivers, who returned positive results.

For more details, visit the offences

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter


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