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Changes to Comcare’s workers compensation and self-insurance eligibility laws have passed the House of Representatives and are now in the Senate.

As reported in an earlier Safe-T-Bulletin, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 was introduced into the House of Representatives in March this year.

In May the bill was referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee, where in July the Government members recommended that the bill pass and the ALP and Green members rejected it.

Following debate in the House of Representatives last week, the bill was passed and is now being debated in the Senate.

As indicated in the earlier e-bulletin, under the bill, Comcare will no longer pay workers compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks away from an employer’s premises.

Nor will it pay compensation for death or serious and permanent impairment if the person killed or injured engaged in serious and wilful misconduct.

The bill also removes the need for the Minister of Employment to declare a corporation’s eligibility to be granted a self-insurance licence. Corporations can go straight to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) to apply for the licence. Nevertheless, the Minister can still direct the SRCC.

Corporations that are operating in two or more jurisdictions, and meet the workers compensation obligations in these jurisdictions, can apply to join the Comcare scheme. Also, group licences can be granted to related corporations.

Corporations granted a self-insurance licence will also be covered under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

For details visit the bill

Published on 4 December 2014 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

The Western Australian (WA) Government is seeking to consolidate its state resources safety laws and have one government body regulate the laws.

The government wants mining, petroleum and Major Hazard Facilities (MHF) safety laws regulated by one Act and the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), or two Acts and the DMP.

Currently, six Acts cover resources safety, and WorkSafe and DMP regulate safety at MHFs, with WorkSafe regulating general work health and safety (WHS), and DMP regulating process safety.

A consultation paper discussing the government’s proposal plus other options for administering the laws has been released for public comment.

Other options in the paper include partially consolidating the laws into separate safety-specific Acts, as well as retaining the status quo of six separate Acts and two regulators.

Changing the content of the laws is not a consideration of this consultation paper.

Public comment closes on Friday, 19 December 2014.

For more details, visit the consultation paper

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

A number of proposed changes to New South Wales mining laws are open for public comment.

The proposed draft NSW WHS (Mines) Regulation 2014 includes a number of amendments that differ from the model mining regulations developed as part of the National Mine Safety Framework.

NSW along with Queensland and Western Australia determined that more detailed mining regulations were required in their jurisdictions.

Under the proposed NSW regulations, for example, a mine operator can only be appointed if the person has the skills, knowledge, experience and resources to exercise the functions of the mine operator, in addition to the requirements included in the model laws.

A number of proposed NSW codes of practice are also open for public comment, including safety management systems in mining, strata control in underground coalmines, inundation and inrush hazard management, emergency planning for mines and roadway dust analysis in underground mines.

Comment on the draft regulations closes 27 June, while comment on the draft codes closes 11 July.

For more details, visit NSW mines.

Published on 19 June 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

A number of changes to the Queensland work health and safety (WHS) laws started last week.

Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 commenced on 16 May.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the amendment removes the power of health and safety representatives to direct workers to stop unsafe work. However, workers will continue to have a right to stop unsafe work.

Among other changes, it also allows codes of practice adopted in Queensland to be approved, varied or revoked without requiring national consultation. However, local consultation will continue.

Work Health and Safety and Another Regulation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2014 also commenced on 16 May.

It removes a number of requirements, such as that requiring certain workers to undergo audiometric testing, fitting rollover protective structures to earthmoving machinery, and the requirement that an applicant applying for class B asbestos removal licence to nominate a supervisor to the WHS regulator when.

Among other changes, an asbestos register is not required if a workplace was:
• constructed after 31 December 1989 (instead of 31 December 2003), and
• no asbestos has been identified at the workplace, and
• no asbestos is likely to be present at the workplace from time to time.

For more detail, visit the changes.

Published on 22 May 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Western Australia’s version of the model resource and general work health and safety laws could pass through the WA parliament by November.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the Work Health and Safety (Resources) Act is expected to be operating in Western Australia in early 2015.

Also, the new general work health and safety laws are included in the WorkSafe WA Business Plan 2013-2014.

However, the timing of both laws has become clearer.

The minutes from the recent meeting of the WA Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislation Reform include an indicative timetable, which notes both laws being introduced into the WA parliament in August and passing the parliament by November.

As flagged by the WA Government some time ago, some of the provisions in the laws will differ from the model work health and safety laws, such as work health and safety representatives not having the power to direct the cessation of work.

For more detail, visit the meeting minutes.

Published on 23 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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