January 2014 Newsletter

Happy New Year !!!!!!

Well it is finally here….another year begins and the challenges start straight away.

It is only half way through the first month of 2014 and already we are seeing “changes” come into legislation.

Firstly: As of the first of January there have been changes to the “Bullying” Laws.

New provisions in the Fair Work Act, effective January 1, 2014, whereby the Fair Work Commission (FWC) can receive applications to make workplace bullying stop. So we thought we should refresh you all on the actual definition of Bullying. Bullying at work, as defined by the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people behaves unreasonably and repeatedly towards a worker or a group of workers while at work

AND

  • the behavior creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Also in order for Fair Work to undertake the “investigation” into the alleged Bullying it must be against a “constitutionally covered business”. This is a proprietary limited company, a foreign corporation, a trading or financial corporation within the limits of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth or Commonwealth Authority, a body corporate incorporated in a Territory, or a business or organisation conducted principally in a Territory or Commonwealth Place.

It does not include sole traders, partnerships, some state government employees, corporations whose main activity is not trading or financial. So I hope this information is of interest to you and a good time to revisit your training for “potential issues” to your management team and others.

Secondly: As of January the 1st there are the “transitional arrangements” for codes of practices through changes flow on from Harmonisation and WHS Act 2011.

  • There has been an extension of the transitional arrangements for high risk work licensing where the national competency units and assessment instruments are not available until January 1st 2015. This will give some RTOs time to deliver.
  • Clarification of requirements for specific control measures to be used where there is a risk of falling at least three (3) metres in housing construction work or two (2) in constructions.
  • Repeal of specific provisions relating to Spray Painting and Excavation work that were carried over from the repealed WHS Regulation 2008 as an interim measure from December 2013.
  • Commencement of the Electrical Regulations 2013.

As well as Queensland review there were also changes at the national level which sees the introduction of new codes of practices as well as existing ones being replaced. The new codes are:

  • Abrasive Blasting Code of Practice 2013.
  • Demolition Work Code of Practice 2013.
  • Excavation Work Code of Practice 2013.
  • Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013.
  • Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013.
  • Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice 2013.
  • Spray Painting and Powder Coating Code of Practice 2013.
  • Welding Process Code of Practice 2013.

The codes now no longer in use are:

  • Abrasive Blasting Code of Practice 2004.
  • Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice 2003.
  • Plant Code of Practice 2005.
  • Tunnelling Code of Practice 2007 (replaced by the National Tunnelling Guide)

So just when we thought we were “organized” changes have again had us reading and cross referencing!!!!

So what is next?

  • The guys that require specific “referencing” on their documents need to ensure they have theirs updated.
  • Make sure you have “communicated” any changes through all levels of your work place and to all “workers”
  • Set up a schedule so you make sure any relevant and significant changes effected into your operation of the business are in place, checked and signed off to ensure your “due diligence” is met.
  • Give us a call if you need assistance to sign any of these changes off for you.

Finally: Make your new year’s resolution commitment to ensuring ongoing compliance and timely monitoring (Audits, Meetings etc)

So there it is. A simple run down of the changes so far for 2014. I am sure there will be more and we will send them through as they come to our attention.

I hope that this information is useful to you and you can refer back to it if you need at any stage.

Once again…….you know where to contact us if you need anything clarified.

Remember our goal is to ensure you and all your workers go home in the same condition they come to work in………….that is safely, and you business remains compliant.

Our next newsletter will start you give you some idea of the “prosecutions” that have come out through the year now since the start of the new “fine” and “breaches” regime in WHS Act 2011.

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Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

PO Box 678
Bribie Island QLD 4507
Tel: 07 3410 8482

Worplace Health & Safety Training and Audits

WH&S Services:

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  • Seminars
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