By Brigitta Poulos

Did you know that breaching Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) obligations can have extremely serious financial, legal, and even criminal consequences?

In a timely reminder, SafeWork NSW has reported that a former risk assessor has recently been fined $65,000 following an investigation into his conduct. Both businesses and individuals should take this as a warning that you cannot, either intentionally or accidentally, fail to comply with your WHS obligations.

In this article, I explain why employers must meet their WHS obligations and ensure they are 100 per cent compliant to avoid penalties.

What happened?

As an accredited high-risk work assessor, Mr Eiszele was responsible for assessing the competency of people applying for high-risk work licences to operate cranes with enormous weight capacity. After an extensive investigation undertaken by SafeWork NSW, Mr Eiszele was found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of an authorisation issued by SafeWork NSW, and guilty of providing false and misleading information on 10 different counts. Mr Eiszele had colluded with crane licence applicants for exorbitant self-profit in exchange for declaring them as having been properly assessed as competent when this had not occurred.

A fine of $65,000 was imposed following the conviction of 11 offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). The 10 falsely assessed licences and Mr Eiszele’s accreditation were also cancelled.

This case highlights that now more than ever, complying with your WHS obligations is crucial. Compliance is not only vital for ensuring your staff are safe, but also for making sure your business is protected.

As an employer and PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking), you need to be aware of your many obligations under WHS laws, and how to comply with them. It is not only intentional breaches, as seen in the case above, that are heavily prosecuted, but also accidental breaches.

How HR Assured can help?

To make sure you’re complying with all your WHS obligations, HR Assured is here to help. As part of our dedicated WHS service, you’ll receive an initial WHS audit, ongoing WHS management with access to our WHS management system, and support with our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service.

If this article has raised any questions for you about WHS obligations or compliance, please reach out to our workplace relations experts via our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service.

Brigitta Poulos is a Workplace Relations Advisor at HR Assured who loves helping clients and businesses achieve excellent workplace compliance with their obligations and duties, interpretation of relevant employment legislation and awards. She particularly enjoys researching and explaining new or ‘hot’ topics in the workplace relations and human resources fields to our clients.