Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme

Having your business information compromised, lost or stolen by an external party or even a disgruntled employee can be awkward. Your clients trust you with their information and you need to take all reasonable measures to protect it. But when the worst happens, what should you do? Should you avoid losing your clients’ confidence and attempt to keep it quiet?

New changes to the Privacy Act, referred to as the ‘Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme’ commenced on Thursday 22nd February 2018 and now means this decision is easy for certain businesses to whom the changes apply.

Construction contract law

The importance of a sound construction contract is often overlooked when the need to ‘win the project’ or ‘get on with the job at a minimal cost’ are factors at play. When a construction dispute (inevitably) arises, it can cost your company hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to resolve issues which could have been prevented by an expertly drafted contract.

In this article, we consider five important clauses to turn your mind to when negotiating your next construction contract. 

Smoke alarm

While most of us enjoy the festive spirit that Christmas lights bring during the holiday season, they unfortunately do lead to a higher incidence of house fires.

In an effort to continue to reduce the frequency of property damage and loss of life, the law was amended at the beginning of 2017 to impose significant new smoke alarm obligations on the owners of all residential dwellings in Queensland. Unfortunately, given the lengthy ‘phase in period’ for the laws, many homeowners are unaware that their obligations have changed. This is particularly concerning from an insurance perspective, as there is a risk that failure to comply with these requirements could void your insurance, resulting in no payout in the unfortunate event of a fire. Even worse, the improvements required by the laws are considered necessary to better protect human life and a failure to comply could have devastating results. So, what do you need to know? 

I’m an owner-occupier

Any existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced with ‘photoelectric alarms’ (which operate by ‘seeing’ the smoke, rather than ‘smelling’ it) that comply with the Australian Standard. All alarms must be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling, so that all alarms activate together. They cannot contain an ionisation sensor. The alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

There are also new requirements for the placement of smoke alarms throughout the dwelling.

All smoke alarms in your home must be upgraded to meet the requirements by 1 January 2027. 

I’m looking to renovate

If your project requires a development approval, you will need to comply with the new smoke alarm requirements as part of the approval process. Keep this in mind when determining your project budget.

 I’m looking to sell

From 1 January 2022, a home will need to have smoke alarms which satisfy the new requirements prior to the property being able to be sold. Obviously if you are planning on selling in the next few years, you should budget (both from a financial and a time perspective) for the installation of new alarms, to ensure it does not prevent your potential sale. 

I’m a landlord

Smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago must be replaced and all alarms must be upgraded by 1 January 2022. However, we recommend that landlords make it a priority to upgrade existing smoke alarms as soon as possible, to minimise any risk of liability to your tenants for property damage or even worse, injury or death.

For more information, check out the Information Sheet published by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services or contact the Enterprise Legal Property and Construction Law experts today.

Office party

‘Tis the Season to be jolly, not careless –

With less than a month to go until Christmas, most businesses will find themselves busy organising the annual office Christmas party. If you haven’t started your organising yet, you should probably stop reading this article and start phoning some local venues and suppliers to avoid you and your staff missing out! Make sure that you return to read this article once you have a Christmas party planned, as it could come in handy!

Christmas is a great time of the year to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year with your staff, to thank them for the important part they play in your business and to relax over a cold beer or wine (perhaps even a couple of both)! Whilst there is nothing wrong with a drink or two (or three), there are key steps you need to take to reduce the risk of your business being exposed to a post-Christmas party legal claim involving (for example) sexual harassment, bullying or a workplace injury.

Here are Enterprise Legal’s top five tips to ensure the only post-Christmas party issue your business faces is a blown out bar tab and a couple of “sickies”.

Tip One: Pre-Party Precautions

Send an email to your staff a week before the event reminding them it is a work function and that the normal policies, procedures and workplace expectations will apply.

Follow the email up with a pre-party staff meeting the day of the event.

Tip Two: Policies and Procedures

Make sure all of your workplace policies are up to date, and at least appropriate cover off on the following potential risks:

  • Harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Expected behaviour at workplace events
  • Social media

Tip Three: Appoint a Supervisor

Appoint a trusted staff member to supervise the event, behaviours at the event and manage the responsible service of alcohol (or liaise with the venue regarding same) and empower them to take appropriate steps in circumstances where they identify a workplace health and safety hazard or risk.

Tip Four: Transport To and From

Make it clear to your employees that transport will be arranged by your business and that you encourage them to use it at the time(s) stipulated, or tell your employees what options are available to them to ensure they arrive home safely.

Tip Five: Post-Party Complaints

Make sure that any post party complaints are dealt with promptly and appropriately. This is the biggest indicator that a potential claim is looming and experience shows that handling the complaint properly (including seeking legal advice where appropriate) can significantly reduce the likelihood of a claim.