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News Articles and Updates Archive

Archive for: December
Page 2
09 Dec 2013

Qantas is on board with NSCA

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The NSCA welcomes Qantas to the 2013 Platinum Program and looks forward to an exciting and inspiring partnership working together to ensure Australian workplaces are the safest in the world.

The NSCA Platinum Program is Australia’s premier partnership program, allowing industry-leading organisations such as Qantas to partner with NSCA and other like-minded organisations in championing Work Health and Safety across Australia.

Platinum Partners are key people and organisations within industry that have both the capability to influence positive change and the elite leadership qualities required to motivate and facilitate those changes to benefit industry across Australia.

The Program entitles Platinum Partners to essential WHS knowledge resources, access to expert WHS consultant advice, financial savings, prestigious recognition and nationwide promotion and branding, including quarterly acknowledgement and an editorial profile in the National Safety magazine and exclusive promotion on the NSCA website.

If your organisation is interested in the Platinum Program please contact the NSCA Membership Manager on 1800 655 510.

Photo: NSCA CEO Adam Baldock presents the Platinum Partner plaque to Alan Joyce, CEO and Managing Director Qantas and Tim Jenkins, Executive Manager – Safety and Health at Qantas Group.

The latest Mental Health Commission report card is calling for a new national strategy to reduce discrimination at work and elsewhere.

“As a country, we can’t afford the personal, community and productivity costs that too often accompany poor mental health,” said Professor Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission.

“As a society, and as individuals, we must stop blaming people for their mental illness. And we must find the courage to call out those who do.”

The commission is advocating for more targeted antidiscrimination initiatives beginning with those who come into frequent contact with people with mental health problems.

Beyondblue says more than three million Australians experience depression or anxiety, so it’s “quite likely” work colleagues and employers will know someone who is experiencing these illnesses.

However, many people don’t feel comfortable disclosing their mental health status. The Elephant in the Boardroom, a survey of more than 4000 people with depression and stress disorders found that 86 per cent of people living with mental illnesses were uncomfortable talking about them with their work colleagues.

“They are remaining silent because they fear disclosure will compromise their career prospects, and may exclude them from projects,” says Graeme Cowan, the survey’s author and Director of ICMI Work Health and Safety Solutions.

Some of Cowan’s key recommendations for change include teaching managers and team members to ask their colleagues and employees, ‘Are you OK?’; and managers understanding and using their employees work strengths every day.

Meanwhile, in early 2014, the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, which was established by the Mental Health Commission, will release practical mental health resources for businesses.

This initiative stems from the commission’s previous 2012 report card, which included the importance of meaningful work.

For more details, visit the Commission’s 2013 and 2012 report cards and The Elephant in the Boardroom.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Government announced this week that the moratorium on private corporations seeking to become self-insurers under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme has been lifted.

The Former ALP government imposed the moratorium in 2007.

Private corporations can now submit an application to the Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz to determine if they are eligible to apply for a workers’ compensation self-insurance licence under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the Minister that they are in competition with a current or former Commonwealth authority.

The minister may also consider other factors, including the likely impact of a self-insurance licence on employees and the corporation.

If a corporation is eligible, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission will then consider the suitability of the applicant to hold a licence.

For more details, visit the Department of Employment.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

05 Dec 2013

Unions reject Qld’s WHS changes

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The ACTU says proposed changes to Queensland’s work health and safety (WHS) laws will increase safety risks.

Earlier this year the Queensland Government launched a review of the WHS laws and sought feedback from businesses.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin the review found support for the laws but also the need for change.

The Queensland Government said the proposed changes were significant and the amendments needed to go before the national Select Council on Workplace Relations before they were implemented.

Details of the changes would be made available once they had been approved.

However, the ACTU has already cited the changes. It says the proposals call “for national laws that require unions to give 24 hours’ notice before entering a site and [the removal of the] right of health and safety reps to call a cease work due to safety concerns”.

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do. Some workers won’t be willing or able to put their hands up and complain, especially if they are in casual work,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick.

Borowick added: “Forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety [breaches] are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe”.

He said the Queensland Government “should wait for the national OHS law review in 2016, not respond with knee-jerk laws”.

For more details, see Workplace Safety Queensland and the ACTU.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

05 Dec 2013

Legal loophole quashed

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Legislation ensuring work health and safety (WHS) prosecutions aren’t thrown out on a technicality has passed the New South Wales parliament.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin The Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced into parliament last month.

The bill has now passed both houses without amendments.

It clarifies that the District and Local Courts have jurisdiction over WHS prosecutions brought under the repealed Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2000.

The OHS Act 2000 was repealed and replaced with the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 in January 2012.

The bill also clarifies the validity of the WHS Regulations 2011 and that proceedings may be brought and prosecuted by a legal practitioner representing a WorkCover inspector or the regulator.

The District Court’s jurisdiction and the other matters had been challenged in the courts. The amendments aim to prevent such challenges in the future.

For more details, visit the legislation.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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