The Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate will replace the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) affecting the building and construction industry.

The bill is known as the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2012.

The new inspectorate retains coercive powers to compulsorily obtain information or documents relevant to investigations. Some safeguards, however, will be put in place, such as the right to have a lawyer present and the right to refuse to give information on the grounds of legal professional privilege and public interest immunity.

A full council meeting of the State's peak union body will tonight consider applying an interim Green Ban to work on a former James Hardie site riddled with asbestos at Camelia, in Sydney's west.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe has advised that a prohibition notice has been issued for work to cease at an ACT construction site following safety concerns. 

A building company has pleaded guilty to two breaches of workplace laws in Melbourne’s Magistrate’s Court.

Plans for a new $3 million National Workers Memorial have been revealed in Canberra, with the Federal Government funding the memorial to pay tribute to all Australians who have lost their lives to work related accidents and diseases.

WorkSafe Victoria has handed out 117 notices requiring businesses to act on breaches after the agency conducted a blitz on the Bendigo area.

Safe Work Australia has released two research reports on occupational skin diseases, finding that they cost up to $33 million per year.

The South Australian Liberal opposition and Family First party have indicated they intend to block nationally harmonised workplace safety laws in the South Australian upper house.

WorkSafe Victoria has announced results for the first half of 2011-12, with the key indicator of health - performance from insurance operations (PFIO) returning $118m, up from $61m in the previous corresponding period.

The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute has published research that shows workers, drivers and call centre staff who sit for protracted periods of time could improve their health by breaking up their sitting time with frequent activity breaks.

WorkCover NSW has launched a Small Business Rebate Program that offers rebates of up to $500 to help small business owners and sole traders purchase and install safety improvements.

General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, said the program would help small businesses implement solutions to workplace safety problems.

“The Small Business Rebate Program will help more NSW small businesses implement safety improvements, leading to safer workplaces and reductions in injury and illness rates across the State. 

“The Program covers a broad range of safety solutions, providing small businesses with the flexibility to fix specific risks in their workplaces while focusing on solutions to the most common risks in NSW workplaces; manual handling, slips, trips and falls, injuries from moving objects, chemical and hazardous goods and hazardous noise.”

The Small Business Rebate Program aligns with WorkCover’s flagship programs which aim to improve health and safety in the State’s highest risk industries.

The Small Business Rebate Program is open to NSW small business owners and sole traders with 0-20 full-time employees or equivalent and replaces the Safety Solutions Rebate Program. To be eligible for a rebate, small businesses must attend a WorkCover safety workshop, webinar, program, event or receive a workplace advisory visit. Applications must be lodged within six months of attending a WorkCover event with rebates provided after the purchase or implementation of an eligible safety improvement.

For more information on the Small Business Rebate Program and a list of eligible safety solutions, call WorkCover NSW on 13 10 50 or visit

Safe Work Australia Chair, Tom Phillips, has announced the release of a new publication on the Safe Handling and Use of Carbon Nanotubes.

WorkSafe Victoria has announced it will hold a free two-hour workshop aimed at providing employers the tools and information they need to assist injured workers remain motivated during the return to work process.

Applicants from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia have been awarded grants under the Comcare Asbestos Innovation Fund.

The prosecution of a woman who went back to work after suffering a back injury, but kept claiming workers’ compensation benefits has prompted a WorkSafe call to do things the right way.

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