Employees fined in Magistrates Court after posting planking
photos on Facebook
Two individual employees have been prosecuted by WorkSafe
Victoria after the regulator was alerted to photos posted on
Facebook showing them planking in their workplaces.
One employee had planked on the raised tines of a forklift and
the other on top of a spray booth.
The employees were charged under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) for failing to
take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
In imposing a fine of A$1500 each, the Magistrate said the pair
clearly wanted to attract attention when they posted the
photographs on Facebook, but their previous good character allowed
them to escape conviction.
Employees who engage in planking at work are also putting their
employment in jeopardy. Planking at work would likely constitute a
valid reason for termination of employment if it is in
circumstances where there is serious risk to health and
The case also demonstrates regulators have an appetite to
prosecute individuals who place themselves and others at risk.
This case follows the imposition of a four month jail term last
week for a tradesperson who shot an apprentice in the eye with a
nail gun. The tradesperson pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering
the health and safety of another person. The jail term was scaled
down to a community based order. This was the first jail term
imposed in Victoria under the OHS Act.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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