In July and August 2017 two WHS cases prosecuted by SafeWork NSW were decided on in the District Court.
The first WHS fine for a company considered to be negligent in their care of an employee occurred in October 2014. An employee was permanently incapacitated after falling 2.7 metres whilst working on a construction site. The company was found to be in breach of section 32 of the of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and for failing to comply with its obligations under section 32/19(1) of the Act, and fined $27,000 .
The second incident happened in November 2015. An employee fell from a height of 3 metres as he was working in a warehouse. The company he worked for was also found to be in breach of WHS guidelines, and they were fined $85,000.00.
- Workers, their families’, and friend’s lives can be devastated in the split second it can take an accident to occur.
- It’s never easy for anyone to ‘move on’ when one of your employees suffers an accident or incident.
- Your company’s moral, reputation and bottom line can be irretrievably destroyed.
WHS fines have a devastating impact on the annual financial performance of any
company, now companies have extra WHS fines to consider. SafeWork NSW has introduced targeted on-the-spot fines for breaches of WHS requirements in response to a big increase in 2017, of the number of accidents and fatalities experienced by workers who’ve fallen from heights.
Now, if your company is found:
- not to have taken enough steps to protect your employees from falling from heights
- if your employees aren’t carrying the correct license
- if your employees don’t have the correct licenses
your company could be given an on-the-spot fine of $720 for an individual, and $3,600 for an incorporated company.
Furthermore, you could be fined for simply not checking or sighting an employee’s license.
Although SafeWork officers will be targeting all worksites, it is safe to assume, they will be putting in extra effort to visit construction worksites. Over 50% of fall incidents in 2017 have been reported have occurred on Construction worksites.
More information on SafeWork’s WHS expectations and a handy list of what steps your company is required to take can be found here.
But, regardless of the threat of fines and costly and emotionally catastrophic court appearances, just imagine how you would feel if a person you employ suffers permanent damage or worse still, simply because you haven’t made sure you’ve taken every step possible to protect them from a fall.
Do everything you can to protect your employee’s safety as well as your company; make sure your workforce is fully accredited and carrying their qualifications.
Contact our professional consultants at Training Aid for more information about all the courses we offer. We have onsite training premises in both Sydney and Melbourne, but we are happy to provide group training at your choice of location.
*This blog is general in nature and is ONLY meant to give readers an overview of the subject matter. Do NOT rely on this information for your specific needs. If you are planning to hold one of Training Aid’s group training courses, we highly recommend that you contact Training Aid for more information or discuss your SPECIFIC requirements