Construction waste management reforms
The EPA has prepared an explanatory paper, draft regulations and draft standards for construction waste for public comment following previous consultation. The proposed changes set standards to ensure appropriate management, production and use of materials recovered from construction waste. Other changes also proposed by the EPA relate to improving performance at landfills, improving handling of asbestos waste, monitoring of waste at licensed facilities and waste transport, among other things. More.
Victorian Site inspections announced
The Victorian Building Authority, WorkSafe Victoria, Consumer Affairs Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria and the EPA will be conducting site inspections of construction projects in Melbourne to ensure compliance with building, construction, environment, consumer rights and OH&S laws. More here and here.
SA Mining Review Bill Released
The SA Government has released the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 as part of the ongoing Leading Practice Mining Acts Review. The Bill proposes amendments to the Mining Act 1971, Opal Mining Act 1995 and Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920. It is the first of several amendment Bills that will be released over the next two years. More here and here.
QLD Plumbing and Drainage Bill introduced
The QLD Government has introduced the Plumbing and Drainage Bill 2017 into parliament to help ensure Queensland maintains the highest plumbing and gasfitting standards. The new laws will repeal the current Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 and establish a framework for the making of new regulations and a new plumbing code. It will also establish a penalty framework for public health and environmental offences, and streamline the building approval process, among other things. More here and here.
Heavy vehicles - Master Code Of Practice Development
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are currently developing an industry-wide master code of practice for heavy vehicle safety. The master code will address the management of speed, fatigue, mass, dimension and loading and vehicle standards under the national law. The code is expected to be submitted for assessment in the first quarter of 2018. More here.
VIC - Consultation on e-waste ban underway
The VIC Government has released a number of policy documents for public consultation in regards to a proposed ban on e-waste from landfill-waste. The ban aims to reduce e-waste in landfills, better manage hazardous materials in the waste and enable greater recovery of valuable materials. The ban is expected to be implemented by July 2018. Comments close 25 January 2018. Download the media release here and have your say here.
Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement released
The QLD Government is seeking feedback on the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS): Broadening and enhancing reef protection regulations following feedback received from an earlier discussion paper in March 2017 (see discussion paper). The RIS outlines and assesses the costs and benefits for the Government’s proposal to broaden and enhance the existing reef protection regulations. Comments close 3 November 2017. More here and here.
QLD building product safety laws
The QLD Government has passed new chain of responsibility laws for dangerous building products under the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-Conforming Building Products-Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Act 2017. The Act will help ensure building products are safe and fit for their intended use, as well as expand the powers of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. Commencement of the Act is yet to be proclaimed. More here and here.
WA container deposit scheme
The WA Government is planning to introduce a container deposit scheme on 1 January 2019. The scheme is expected to reduce litter, increase recycling and protect the environment. Consultation on the scheme is now underway, and a discussion paper has been released for public comment. Feedback can also be provided through an online survey. Comments close 23 October 2017. More.
Worksafe receives new power to enforce tougher penalties
The VIC Government has passed the WorkSafe Legislation Amendment Act 2017, which strengthens WorkSafe’s compliance and enforcement tools. Duty holders who fail to notify WorkSafe of an incident, or do not preserve an incident site, face increased fines. WorkSafe also has new powers to prosecute where an offender breaches an enforceable undertaking. More
EPA announces NSW draft resource recovery strategy
The EPA has released the draft NSW Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy 2017-2021 for public comment. The strategy proposes a target for diverting waste from landfill to 75% by 2021. The strategy has been developed to assist councils and waste industry participants to understand the expected increase in waste streams and how to plan to ensure infrastructure is available. Comments close 20 November 2017. More
Safety blitz on risks of structural collapse
WorkSafe inspectors will be focusing on the risks of structural collapse during construction work after several incidents in recent months. Inspectors will be raising awareness as well as providing practical information and guidance during site visits. More
New Work Health and Safety bill announced
The WA Government has announced it will develop a modernised Work Health and Safety Bill for WA. The Bill will be based on the national Work Health and Safety Act and will replace the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety Levies Act 2011. Consultation on the Bill will be available prior to its expected introduction to State Parliament in mid-2019. Click to see the full media statement
Victorian building regulations - 2017 Update
The Victorian Government has released the draft Building Regulations 2017 for public comment. Changes include improving consumer protection and safety, improving administrative efficiency and reducing regulatory burden. It is expected the proposed Regulations will commence in June 2018. Click here for more
Safety blitz underway for food industry
SafeWork NSW has announced a safety blitz of restaurants, cafes and bakeries using LPG cylinders to prevent incidents and promote safety. The inspections come after a baker was seriously injured following an explosion at the bakery when he attempted to light a portable gas burner. Inspectors will check cylinders to ensure they comply with WHS laws as well as provide safety advice. More.
Review of health legislation
Local Governments are being asked to answer optional questions to assist the Department of Health with the regulatory review process for the Public Health Act 2016. Subsidiary legislation under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 will be reviewed and streamlined with redundant features omitted. Responses from local government will be used to determine how public health risks should be managed in the future. Comments close 29 September 2017. More.
NSW - Draft Pesticide Regulations
The draft Pesticide Regulation 2017 and regulatory impact statement have been released for public comment, with the Pesticides Regulation 2009 set for staged repeal on 1 September 2017. The majority of requirements will remain the same, however key changes include streamlining record keeping requirements for non-licensed users, new licence categories, including universities in the definition of public authorities required to have a pesticide use notification plan, and updated fees and penalty amounts. More.
OHS Regulations in Victoria
New regulations for occupational health and safety, and equipment public safety, in Victoria are commencing on 18 June 2017.
The new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) remain similar in nature to the old regulations, but have been updated to “reflect modern work places and hazards”. The changes to the Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 (EPS Regulations) are relatively minor and are designed to bring them in line with the new OHS Regulations.
According to WorkSafe, if you are a one of the following, you will be disproportionately affected by the changes to the new OHS Regulations:
- person in workplaces with asbestos
- manufacturer or importing suppliers of hazardous substances or agvet chemicals
- worker in construction
- operator of a mine or major hazard facility
Other changes streamline (and reduce regulatory burden on duty holders relating to) licensing for high risk work and record keeping for designers and manufacturers of plant. Many of the regulations have also been re-numbered and re-formatted.
Changes brought forward by the EPS Regulations will also affect duty holders who work with plant in non-workplace settings, such as designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and people in charge of prescribed equipment.
For a comparison of the new and old regulations, see the following WorkSafe guidance material:
- Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017: Summary of Changes
- Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017: Summary of Changes
Transitional provisions are in place which give duty and licence holders time to comply with certain new requirements, however WorkSafe has announced that (in most cases) compliance is required by the commencement date on 18 June.
QLD - Audit of work health and safety
The QLD government has launched a best practice audit of work health and safety laws, procedures and policies due to several workplace deaths in 2016. The audit will consider if a ‘gross negligence causing death’ offence and an increase in the current penalty levels should be introduced. More
Changes to planning law for recycling equipment exemptions proposed
The NSW Government has proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 to allow minor and low impact recycling equipment such as reverse vending machines, to be exempt development not requiring a planning or building approval. The changes aim to support the container deposit scheme and reduce the volume of litter in NSW. More
Environmental Protection Water Policy changes proposed
The QLD Government is inviting public comment on the draft environmental values and water quality objectives for Queensland waters. The draft documents and maps inform development of environmental values and water quality objectives for various regions under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy. Comments close 31 May 2017. More here and here.
Campaign to focus on electrical safety commenced
WorkSafe is currently focusing on electricity safety in the construction industry with inspectors visiting sites to ensure risks associated with electrocution and electric shock are being controlled. More.
VIC - Biodiversity - Review of Flora and Fauna Act
A consultation paper has been released seeking public comment on possible improvements to the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Proposed changes to the Act aim to prevent the further decline of native species and better address the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Due to a high level of interest, the submission period has been extended for 2 weeks from 13 March 2017. Comments have now closed. More.
VIC - Construction - Inspection blitz underway
WorkSafe inspectors will be conducting an inspection blitz of construction sites to ensure that risks from falling objects are being controlled. WorkSafe statistics indicate more than 860 construction workers have been injured since 2010 by falling objects. More.
Australia - Biosecurity - NEBRA Discussion paper released
A discussion paper for the 5-year review of the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments has been released for public comment. The NEBRA established the national arrangements for responding to significant pest and disease incursions where there are predominantly public benefits. The discussion paper provides background to the NEBRA and highlights themes for discussion under the review. Comments close 17 March 2017. More.
WA - Warehouse Safety - WorkSafe targeting warehouses in inspection program
WorkSafe has begun an inspection program to look at safety issues in warehouses due to a spike in injuries in warehousing over the past 5 years. Inspectors will look at priority areas such as manual tasks, forklifts, falls, electrical safety, slips and trips, machinery guarding, pressure vessels, hazardous substances, materials handling equipment, work in excessively hot or cold conditions and safe movement of vehicles and plant. More
Australia - Chemical Legislation - Draft national standard for environmental risk management
The Department of the Environment and Energy has released the Draft National Standard for Environmental Risk Management for Industrial Chemicals for public comment. The Standard aims to provide a nationally consistent approach to environmental risk management, and will apply to all industrial chemicals regulated under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989. Comments close 3 March 2017. More.
WA - Aviation Legislation - WorkSafe to launch airport safety inspections
WorkSafe Western Australia has begun an inspection program to investigate health and safety issues in airport operations due to the high number of work-related injuries recorded for the sector. Inspectors will look at issues such as manual tasks, slips, trips and falls, machinery guarding, hazardous substances, infectious diseases, electricity and safe movement of vehicles and plant. More
Environmental Legislation SA - Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016
The Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 commences 2 February 2017 and 1 July 2017. The Act will help provide the tools to effectively deal with litter and illegal dumping in SA and helps to clarify the roles of the Government to reduce confusion. Councils will now be the first point of call for the community regarding local nuisances. More information can be found here.
Australia - Heavy Vehicle National Law - Load capacity issues paper released
The National Transport Commission is seeking feedback on the Increasing heavy vehicle volumetric load capacity without increasing mass limits Discussion paper, following a similar earlier consultation releases in September 2016. The discussion paper explores possible ways to increase the volume of heavy vehicles to increase their productivity. The National Transport Commission is now calling for comments here, until 3 February 2017. More information can be found here.