The National Rail Safety Regulator Project Office is seeking to appoint a full-time National Rail Safety Regulator/CEO as well as part-time non-executive members who will assist the Regulator in ensuring sound governance, advise on high-profile and sensitive issues, and engage with government, industry and other stakeholders in developing the national co-regulatory rail safety framework.

 

The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) was approved by the COAG Standing Committee on Transport and Infrastructure on 4 November, 2011. The Regulator will facilitate the seamless and safe operation of rail transport and promote rail safety and safety improvement across the country.

SafeWork SA has called for applications for  its Work Health and Safety (WHS) Innovative Practice Grants (IPG) program, which funds projects for the development and dissemination of innovative safety practices that contribute to reducing work injuries, diseases and fatalities in South Australia.           

A report commissioned by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) into the effects of the national workplace safety laws on the South Australian housing industry has found that the laws could drive up costs of a new home by tens of thousands of dolars.

Ken Phillips, the executive director of Independent Contractors Australia, has warned of the imminent ‘gutting of volunteer community work in Australia’ as a result of the introduction of the Federal Government’s national harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws.

A study conducted by Southern Cross University shows that fathers of new born babies experience cumulative fatigue which in turn may pose a risk in the workplace.

Following recent criticism of the impact of the new work safety laws on volunteer workers, the Federal Government has announced it will develop, in cooperation with peak organisations that utilise volunteers and Not-For-Profits, a new resource kit on national workplace and safety laws as well as establishing a stakeholder working group to oversee measures to cut red tape.

Safe Work Australia has announced the finalists for the 7th annual Safe Work Australia Awards, with Chair Tom Phillips commending them for their efforts in reducing workplace death, injury and disease in Australia.

A report released by the Australian Industry Group, Business Investment in New Technologies, has found that improved workplace safety is a major motivation for investment in new technologies - particularly among construction companies and manufacturers.

Safe Work Australia has released of two reports on the risks and health effects of printer particle emissions in the workplace.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has claimed that up to half of the accidents and injuries that occur on building sites in Canberra are not being reported as required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

WorkSafe Victoria’s CEO Greg Tweedly has announced his resignation weeks after the Victorian Government moved to cut funding for the body by $470 million.

UnionsWA has attacked the state’s workplace safety laws after the Supreme Court reduced the fines for a company and its directors who were found negligent in the workplace death of a 22 year old worker.

The ACTU has launched a national awareness campaign to inform workers of their rights and employers of their obligations under harmonised health and safety laws that have taken effect in some states.

New harmonised work health and safety laws have come into effect in New South Wales,  the ACT, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions. 

Safe Work Australia is considering engaging an expert on workplace bullying after nearly a quarter of submissions on a range of OH&S issues referred to the draft bullying code.

NSW Trade and Investment has ordered an indefinite suspension of production at the Werris Creek Open Cut Coal Mine, operated by Whitehaven Coal Ltd, near Tamworth.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its 2010-11 Annual Report, summarising the year's activities and highlighting a number of areas of continuing concern for transport safety.

Safe Work Australia has released two reports on the risks and health effects of printer particle emissions in the workplace.

The Queensland Government has announced it will regularly audit the employment-related provisions in contracts for State Government-funded construction projects to help ensure ‘sham contracting’ does not take root in the Queensland construction industry.

The audits were among several recommendations contained in the report of the Industry Reference Group on sham contracting ordered by Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick.

 

Mr Dick said the Industry Reference Group had found no evidence of systemic ‘sham contracting’ practices on Queensland worksites.

“However, the group recommended a high level of vigilance to ensure the practice does not creep in, and this is why we will be implementing all the recommendations in the report.”

Building Minister Simon Finn said employers who use ‘sham contacts’ to avoid paying superannuation and recreation and sick leave will not be tolerated.

“Unscrupulous employers can also use the practice to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums which could ultimately undermine the viability of the scheme.

“This is why we will be keeping a close watch on industry contracting practices to ensure they remain fair and equitable for workers.

The Department of Public Works will introduce a regular auditing process of the industrial relations provisions in selected major projects in early 2012.

The IRG report, carried out by senior union and employer representatives and industry experts, recommended:
• the government undertake a formal review of employment-related provisions in contracts for government-funded construction projects
• ensure compliance with industrial relations obligations on Government funded projects
• undertake an audit program on significant construction projects
• liaise with the Commonwealth Government via the Fair Work Ombudsman and Australian Tax Office to ensure that building and construction industry workers are receiving their proper superannuation entitlements
• establish a Project Monitoring Group to provide industry stakeholder input into the implementation of the IRG report recommendations.

Mr Dick said the report, which had the broad support of the industry, would enable employers to be aware of their responsibilities and assist in protecting Queensland workers from unscrupulous employers.

The Industry Reference Group included: the Australian Workers Union, the Builders Labourers Federation, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union; employer groups including the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association; the Queensland Workplace Rights Ombudsman; and related Queensland Government agencies.

More information about the Industry Reference Group’s recommendations can be found at www.justice.qld.gov.au.

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