In a long-running case that clarified right-of-entry laws for assisting health and safety representatives, the Federal Court has found a union official's breaches only deserved a low-range fine, in part because they probably improved the safety and efficiency of the relevant site.
The powers of elected health and safety reps are generally confined to their own work groups and don't extend to challenging an action, like a decision quashing an improvement notice, which affects other groups or workers, a commission has found.
An employer had a valid reason to sack a health and safety representative after a dispute over a new mobile phone policy, but the dismissal was harsh because he had attempted to avoid conflict, a commission has found.
The Federal Court has refused to restrain an employer from sacking an elected health and safety representative until his adverse action claim is resolved, after finding an injunction could undermine the employer's right to enforce its safety protocols.
In the period leading up to one of the worst industrial disasters in Australian history, workers on the project raised many safety concerns that were ignored by their employers, according to a labour historian.
The author of the review that led to the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws in Queensland has recommended that senior officers face up to "life" in prison for negligently causing the death of a worker in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, the Territory has passed laws to protect emergency workers from violence.
In this follow-up story on the major review of the model WHS laws, OHS Alert examines more recommendations and two areas that will, according to leading health and safety lawyer Michael Tooma, have a significant impact on the regime and duty holders.