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15 Aug 2013

Kiwis to use Aussie safety laws

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New Zealand is introducing new WHS laws based on Australia’s Model Law.

The changes are in response to the Pike River coal mine explosion in November 2010, which killed 29 miners.

A royal commission into the tragedy found the New Zealand WHS system was in need of major reform.

In response to the commission’s findings the New Zealand Government established an independent taskforce to research the required changes.

After considering the taskforce’s recommendations, the government created the Working Safer blueprint, which includes a new Health and Safety at Work Act based on Australia’s Model Law.

“Australia has been through an extensive modernisation process to develop this legislation, drawing on its own and international experience,” the blueprint says.

“We can capitalise on that work and at the same time generally align ourselves with our neighbours.”

The changes include introducing positive duties for directors and clarifying duty holders and their duties.

Corporate manslaughter is also under consideration.

The New Zealand parliament is expected to introduce the new laws by December 2014.

For more details, visit the reforms

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Guidelines for businesses to help prevent and respond to shootings in mass gatherings have been released this week.

The Active Shooter Guidelines for Places of Mass Gathering covers sporting venues, shopping/business precincts, public transport hubs and tourism/entertainment venues.

Such places present potential opportunities for mass casualties, symbolic attacks and high-impact media coverage, and pose security challenges for their owners and operators, says the Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC in a media statement.

The Guidelines’ primary objective is to minimise an offender’s access to potential victims by initiating immediate response activities, minimising the duration of the incident, restricting the offender’s movements, moving people from danger, preventing people from entering the scene and helping police to locate and contain the shooter.

According to the Guidelines, “Owners and operators of PMG [places of mass gatherings] and event organisers are strongly encouraged to ensure their own prevention, preparedness, response and recovery arrangements and activities align with those of emergency service agencies”.

For more details, visit the Guidelines.

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Woolworths Ltd has failed in its bid to stop workers compensation being paid to an employee for a psychological injury.

The Workers Compensation Commission of New South Wales (WCC) heard that the employee had attempted suicide and was admitted to hospital as an involuntary patient following a meeting about his work performance with Woolworths in May 2009.

The employee then claimed compensation for major depression. He alleged it was caused by Woolworths’ failure to provide enough support for him to do his work, and harassment and bullying.

Woolworths disputed the liability, blaming the employee’s depression on drug dependency.

The company also claimed that any aggravation of his condition was the result of reasonable employer action.

The WCC found in favour of the employee and granted compensation.

Woolworths unsuccessfully appealed this decision.

The WCC said work was a substantial contributing factor to the employee’s injury and the company’s appeal was without merit.

For immediate help, call Lifeline on  13 11 14

For more details, visit the case

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Importers, hairdressers and other businesses have a new voluntary chemical code of practice to help them prevent terrorist attacks.

The Federal Government released the National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern late last week to help businesses prevent certain chemicals getting into terrorists’ hands.

The chemicals include ammonium perchlorate, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, nitromethane, potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, sodium azide, sodium chlorate, sodium perchlorate and sodium nitrate.

The code covers managing security risks, investigating and reporting security breaches and suspicious behaviour, and verifying if customers are legitimate.

The Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC says in a media statement that the code is for importers, distributors, transporters, universities, farmers, hardware stores, pool chemical suppliers, hairdressers and other industry sectors that manufacture, handle or use the chemicals listed in the code.

For more details, visit the code.

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Work health and safety (WHS) charges must include more detailed particulars about the alleged offences, a Queensland appeals court has ruled.

In June 2007, NK Collins Industries Pty Ltd was found guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court of Queensland for breaching the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 after one of its workers was killed.

Initially, the company tried unsuccessfully to appeal the ruling, arguing that the WHS charges levelled against it had failed to include specific acts or omissions.

It then took its case to the Supreme Court of Queensland – Court of Appeal.

The company based its appeal on Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1 (3 February 2010).

In line with the Kirk ruling, the Court of Appeal found “it was incumbent on the prosecution to identify the measure or measures which should have been taken to ensure workers’ safety from the risk …

“That would in turn clarify what the risk was… It would then fall to the applicant to make out its defence…”

The Court of Appeal has ordered that earlier appeal and review orders be set aside and the case be sent back to the Industrial Court to be determined according to the law.

For more details, visit the NK Collins case and the Kirk case.

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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