Category Archives: Occupational Health & Safety

Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1 | 3 FEBRUARY 2010

ON THIS DAY IN 2010, the High Court of Australia delivered Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1 (3 February 2010).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2010/1.html

Kirk was charged for offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 (NSW). The statement of offence did not identify the acts or omissions that constituted the alleged offences.

The charges were heard by the NSW Industrial Court. During the hearing the prosecution called Kirk as a witness for the prosecution.

Kirk was convicted and sentenced.

Kirk appealed to the NSW Court of Appeal seeking an order in the nature of certiorari on the grounds that there was a jurisdictional error. Kirk argued that the Industrial Court exceeded its jurisdiction in two ways: (1) the statement of offence did not identify the acts of omissions that constituted the alleged offences, nor the measures available to address the risks, so the defendant was denied an opportunity to properly defend the charges and (2) that under s17(2) of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW), a defendant is not competent to give evidence for the prosecution and the trial was therefore conducted otherwise than in accordance with the laws of evidence. The NSW Court of Appeal refused to quash the convictions and sentences on the grounds that s179 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) prohibits an appeal against a review, quashing or calling into question a decision of the Industrial Court.

The High Court allowed the appeal, set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision and quashed the convictions and sentences. In overturning the Court of Appeal, High Court held that (1) the a “decision” does not include a decision made by the Industrial Court outside of their jurisdiction and (2) it was beyond the power of the State legislature to limit the power of a State Supreme Court to grant relief to correct jurisdictional errors made by courts and tribunals of limited jurisdiction.

Lawyers 1300 00 2088

Legal Issues Bulletins – NSW Department of Education & Communities

The NSW Department of Education & Communities from time to time publishes Legal Issues Bulletins.

As at 12 October 2014, there are 54 Legal Issues Bulletins. The bulletins, which are prepared as general information for officers of the department, cover issues such as criminal offences, confidentiality, power to search students, discipline, child protection, police interviews, accidents, personal injury, occupational health and safety, insurance and subpoenas. The bulletins may be accessed by visiting http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/about-us/information-access/legal-issues-bulletins.

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Sydney, Australia

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Removal and disposal of asbestos

Asbestos fibres should never be inhaled as they may cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestosis related pleural disease. Further information about the health effects may be found at NSW Ministry of Health.

The manufacture and supply of asbestos was banned in Australia in 2003.

Before renovating or performing maintenance work, homeowners are advised to check for asbestos. A WorkCover licenced asbestos removalist must be engaged if more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos needs to be removed. The Local Council should be contacted in case approval is needed for the works.

WorkCover provides a factsheet, guide (Working with Asbestos) and other information on the topic.

Asbestos is a hazardous material and must be disposed of in accordance with the guidelines of the NSW Environment Protection Authority for its packaging, transportation and disposal.

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Sydney, Australia

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Report of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program

ON 1 SEPTEMBER 2014, Commissioner Ian Hanger AM QC presented the Report of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

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Loose-fill asbestos in North Sydney

NORTH SYDNEY COUNCIL has been advised by the Heads of Asbestos Coordinating Authorities (HACA) that some houses in the area might contain loose-filled asbestos insulation supplied by Mr Fluffy from the late 1960’s to 1979.

WorkCover is to appoint an independent investigator to identify and test properties across NSW. Identified homeowners in the North Sydney area will be offered free testing.

The council recommends those who would like to have their roof cavity inspected to engage a Licensed Asbestos Assessor or an Occupational Hygienist who remove a specimen and have it tested at a NATA accredited laboratory at a cost of between $350 and $600. Homeowners are advised to have an assessment before undertaking refurbishment works on walls, ceilings, wall sockets, cornices or sub-floor areas.

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Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1

ON 3 FEBRUARY 2010, the High Court of Australia delivered Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v WorkCover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) [2010] HCA 1 (3 February 2010).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2010/1.html

Kirk was charged for offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 (NSW). The statement of offence did not identify the acts or omissions that constituted the alleged offences.

The charges were heard by the NSW Industrial Court. During the hearing the prosecution called Kirk as a witness for the prosecution.

Kirk was convicted and sentenced.

Kirk appealed to the NSW Court of Appeal seeking an order in the nature of certiorari on the grounds that there was a jurisdictional error. Kirk argued that the Industrial Court exceeded its jurisdiction in two ways: (1) the statement of offence did not identify the acts of omissions that constituted the alleged offences, nor the measures available to address the risks, so the defendant was denied an opportunity to properly defend the charges and (2) that under s17(2) of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW), a defendant is not competent to give evidence for the prosecution and the trial was therefore conducted otherwise than in accordance with the laws of evidence. The NSW Court of Appeal refused to quash the convictions and sentences on the grounds that s179 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) prohibits an appeal against a review, quashing or calling into question a decision of the Industrial Court.

The High Court allowed the appeal, set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision and quashed the convictions and sentences. In overturning the Court of Appeal, High Court held that (1) the a “decision” does not include a decision made by the Industrial Court outside of their jurisdiction and (2) it was beyond the power of the State legislature to limit the power of a State Supreme Court to grant relief to correct jurisdictional errors made by courts and tribunals of limited jurisdiction.

Lawyers 1300 00 2088

Factory Act 1847 (UK)

8 JUNE 1847, the Parliament of the United Kingdom enacted the Factory Act 1847, also known as the Ten Hour Bill.

Women and children could only work 63 hours per week as of 1 July 1847 and 58 hours per week, or 10 hours per week, as of 1 May 1848.

 

Lawyers 1300 00 2088