So you bought a lemon? What now?

DID you hear about the “lemon laws”?

They were passed by the State Parliament in April 2019 in the form of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (“the Act”).

The laws came into effect on September 1, 2019, and provide additional protections for consumers in relation to defects in second-hand motor vehicles.

Several pieces of legislation were amended by the Act including the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 and Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014 (“MDCAA”).

Key amendments include:

  • Restoration of the “one month or 1000 km defect warranty” for vehicles built more than 10 years before the sale date or with 160,000 km plus on the odometer (defined as Class B warranted vehicle). This complements the “three-month or 5000 km warranty” for younger vehicles with less than 160,000 km on the odometer (defined as Class A warranted vehicle).
  • Increase in the Tribunal’s monetary jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding motor vehicle matters (as defined) from $25,000 to $100,000.

Under the MDCAA, the buyer is obligated to provide written notice of the suspected defect within the warranty period.

However, not all defects are covered (refer section 8 of the MDCAA) and the buyer is to be given a written response to confirm whether the defect falls within the warranty.

Disputes can then be escalated to the Tribunal, provided the value claimed does not exceed $100,000.

If you suspect a defect in your vehicle, act promptly to protect your interests.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

There’s room for improvement for our tradies’ health

I HAVE been talking about tradie health over the past couple of weeks.

It is only through continual discussion, education and action that we, as a community of workers and employers, can help tradies return home safely each day.

How do you think Ipswich compares against the state average in trade related occupation injuries and workers’ compensation claims?

The most recent publication of the Ipswich Region Work Health and Safety Profile was based on a three-year review of the period 2015-2017.

It showed the following, which may be of interest to readers:

  • Construction (7 per cent) and manufacturing (13 per cent) roles accounted for 20 per cent of employment;
  • Ipswich had a slightly greater return to work rate following injury (94.5 per cent) than the state (94 per cent);
  • Ipswich had a lower average rate of work days lost per injury (41.4 days compared with 45);
  • Ipswich had a lower average claim rate per 1000 workers in both construction (42.5) and manufacturing (73.7) when compared to the state average (50.4 and 85.6);
  • Our automotive and engineering trade workers fell within the top five high-risk occupations coming in at number 3;
  • “Body stress” was by far the greatest cause of injury to our workers causing 33 per cent of injuries.

It is good to see the Ipswich region statistics better than state averages, but there is a lot that can be done to reduce the number of trade worker injuries.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Four steps to stop tradies falling

WE CONTINUE to recognise that August is Tradies National Health Month; a time to raise awareness of the risks posed to those in our community who work in trade occupations.

One particular incident that is all too common in trade industries is falls. That includes falls at ground level (for example, slipping, tripping) or falls from height (for example, from ladders, a roof, scaffolding).

Either type of fall can result in significant and permanent injuries. Tragically, death can also result. These outcomes can be devastating for the injured tradie, their family, friends and colleagues.

Falls can be easily prevented and it is critical that employers take proactive steps to address the risks. Prevention is possible by following four very simple steps:

  1. Identify hazards
  2. Assess their risk
  3. Take steps to eliminate the risk (if it cannot be completely eliminated, ensure the steps you take to guard against it are adequate)
  4. Monitor performance by continually reviewing 1, 2 and 3

Despite the simplicity of these four steps there are still far too many fall incidents (particularly on construction sites) that could have been prevented.

Tradies can do their part as well by helping keep their employer informed of new and changing hazards in their workplace (or on their work sites).

The health of our tradies is so important to our community, and not just in August, it’s important all year round.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Tradie Health on the radar for the month of August

AUGUST is Tradies National Health Month.

We have a lot of tradies in our community and keeping them safe at work is important. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing safety in the construction industry to help raise awareness.

First, let’s understand what construction work is. According to Safe Work Australia, construction work can be defined as “any work carried out in connection with the construction, alteration, maintenance, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or the dismantling of a structure, or preparation of a building site”. In the Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (“WHS”), “demolition” includes “deconstruction”.

There are many steps to construction work processes. If you are a “person conducting a business or undertaking” (“PCBU”), there are both specific and general duties under the WHS that you must comply with, including compliance with the Regulation and Codes of Practice.

There are a number of construction related Codes of Practice in place in Queensland. Following amendment to the WHS that came into effect on July 1, 2018, it is a requirement under section 26A of the WHS that a PCBU must comply with approved Codes or else manage hazards and risks to a standard “equivalent to or higher” than the standard provided for in the relevant Code.

Do you know what codes have been approved in Queensland? No? Email me directly for a list.

Until next week – keep our tradies safe and keep it legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Practical solutions for common risks

MY ARTICLE last week and this week covers four of the most common causes of rural accidents and injuries.

The information regarding common causes of rural accidents and proposed steps has been helpfully sourced from information published by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

3 – Animal handling and mustering;

Causes of accidents: Using unsuitable equipment, inexperience or lack of understanding (e.g. horse riding, animal temperament and how to handle it), poorly maintained yards, yards not adequately designed for tasks.

Practical steps: ensure yards are designed to include escape routes, where possible utilise levers that are external, before allocating a rider to a horse determine the skill and competency of the rider (allocate accordingly), identify training needs and requirements for the handling of animals, ensure yards are designed with both task and safety in mind, always wear a helmet when horse riding.

4 – Hazardous manual tasks (e,g. uncoupling equipment, bending/reaching for common tasks, lifting and carrying loads and working in awkward positions)

Causes of accidents: work surfaces that are too high/low, slippery or uneven ground causing trips / falls/slips, inadequate plant and equipment for lifting, inadequate training and induction of workers, repetitive tasks.

Practical steps: ensure work areas suit the tasks (e.g. raise or lower benches to appropriate heights), replace manual lifting with mechanical lifting aids (where appropriate), induct your staff and make sure they have adequate training to work safely, if a task is repetitive then rest and rotate!

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Solutions to help mitigate common farm safety risks

I AM going to stay with the topic of farm safety a little longer.

Specifically, over two weeks, I will identify four of the most common causes of accidents in the rural industry and provide suggestions of practical steps you can take to avoid them.

The information here today has been helpfully sourced from information published by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

1 – Quad bike

  • Causes of accidents: inadequate training of rider, speeding, putting passengers on bikes not designed for passengers, rough/uneven terrain and children riding adult sized bikes.
  • Practical steps: ensure riders are both trained and competent, know your bike and its design capabilities (e.g. passengers, child bike for those under 16 years), keep a lookout for hazards in terrain (warn others if you know about hazards), wear safety gear (helmet, gloves, covered shoes), drive at a speed suitable to the conditions and terrain.

2 – Utes and farm vehicles

  • Causes of accidents: passengers in the tray without restraint, unlicensed/inexperienced drivers, licensed drivers who do not exhibit safe driving skills, lack of maintenance, children around vehicles unsupervised.
  • Practical steps: never allow/carry passengers in the tray, drivers should be both licensed and exhibit safe driving skills, keep vehicle well maintained and repaired, do not allow children to be unsupervised around vehicles and equipment (always keep a lookout regardless), wear a seatbelt, drive at a speed suitable to the conditions and terrain.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Practical tips for farms to help improve safety

NATIONAL Farm Safety Week came to an end on July 26, but farm safety is an ongoing issue and should be at the front of mind all year round. Risks to health and safety need to be proactively identified, managed, reviewed and improved.

Even though National Farm Safety Week has come to an end, I want to share some practical steps you can take if you operate, or are otherwise responsible for, safety on a farm:

  • Have a written safety management system (“Plan”) for health and safety risks around the farm. There is plenty of publicly available information available to assist. For example, the “Serious about farm safety” guide developed by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and agricultural industry representatives. https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/agriculture/health-and -wellbeing-at-work/seriousabout-farm-safety
  • Review and update the plan regularly to ensure new or changing risks have been captured.
  • Share the knowledge. Make sure those visiting and working on the farm know the risks and what you require of them to ensure they stay safe (e.g. are your workers being inducted adequately?).
  • Keep written records – of inductions, incidents, safe work methods, hazardous materials registers, policies and procedures etc.

We all have a role to play in the safety of ourselves and those around us.

Until next week – keep it legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Good maintenance is a farmer’s friend

THIS week, I continue my discussion on farm-specific safety matters in light of National Farm Safety Week and I want to talk about the importance of ensuring that the plant and equipment on farms is properly maintained and repaired.

A farm is a place where you generally find a lot of different plant, equipment and vehicles.

You want to ensure that all of these items are properly maintained because if you don’t, then there is a risk that the plant, equipment or vehicle may not work as intended and may cause someone to be injured.

Separately to that risk, you may also be exposing yourself to prosecution for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 if you operate the farm as someone conducting a business or undertaking. Prosecution can result in a monetary fine or imprisonment and Queensland has its own Work Health and Safety Prosecutor whose focus is currently on safety in the workplace.

The prosecutor was only appointed in March 2019 and is Queensland’s first.

Plant, equipment or vehicles on your farm should be sold with manufacturer guidelines including any maintenance requirements.

If you do not have the guides, then get in touch with the supplier or manufacturer directly for a fresh copy. Also make sure someone appropriately trained and qualified is maintaining these for you as improperly maintained items may create the same risks (and more).

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.