Last month, a court imposed fines on the owner of a roofing business for threatening and intimidating a WorkCover inspector. The penalties relate to offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), and together, the fines and court costs exceeded $21,000.
WorkCover NSW’s Executive Director, Work Health and Safety, Peter Dunphy, said that inspectors play a vital role in workplace safety education and regulation to keep New South Wales workplaces safe.
In June 2014, a WorkCover inspector visited the work site and issued directions that the business owner and staff member should not work at heights unless they use the required safety equipment. The WorkCover inspector was threatened and intimidated by the business owner during the visit and for a number of days afterwards.
“Inspectors are required to ensure workplaces comply with obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act. Inspectors have legislated powers to enter workplaces and assess site safety and workplace compliance. Employers need to respect this and allow inspectors to do their job to reduce the risk of serious injury or harm”, Mr Dunphy said.
The owner of the roofing business pleaded guilty to all three charges that had been filed by WorkCover for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act. The penalties included a 25% discount for an early guilty plea.
“Their job can be difficult and putting up with aggression or any actions that put them at risk will not be tolerated”, Mr Dunphy said.
“We want all workers to return home safely at the end of each working day, and this includes our inspectors”, says Dunphy.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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