A recent WorkSafe prosecution reminds employees of their
responsibility towards fellow employees under the OSH
Craig Robert Lee was prosecuted in Perth Magistrates'
Court under s.20(1)(b) & 20A(3) of the Occupational Safety
and Health Act 1984 for failing to "take reasonable
care to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of any other
person through any act or omission at work, and by that
contravention caused serious harm to any other
The Accused was employed by a company which supplied and
installed racks and walkways. He was engaged to manage an
installation at a car spare parts warehouse, assisted by two
There were to be three levels of walkways - a concrete ground
floor level and two steel upper floor levels accessible by stairs.
The upper walkways were made of mesh panels screwed to a metal
frame. The steps to the first floor had a sign in front of them
saying "No Entry Unsafe Surface". The area in which work
was being carried out was also cordoned off with yellow tape.
The Accused had instructed one of the labourers to unscrew one
side of the steel mesh on the first level to allow the width of the
walkway to be reduced. The screws that were removed had held the
mesh panels to the frame of the walkway.
A Project Manager employed at the warehouse later asked the
Accused if he could use the walkway. The Accused allowed him to do
so, despite having previously instructed one of the labourers not
to allow anyone access to the walkways whilst they were unsafe.
Whilst standing on the first level of the walkway, the side of the
panel which had been unscrewed collapsed and he fell 2.6m onto the
concrete floor below, suffering serious injuries. At trial, the
Accused pleaded guilty and was fined $2,500 plus costs.
It is not clear why he effectively went against his own advice
in allowing access to the unsafe walkway but the case once again
demonstrates the importance of developing and embedding a culture
of safety awareness to avoid the consequences of carelessness or
complacency in the workplace.
For any other information regarding this update or any other
workplace risk matters, please contact Philip Brunner on (08) 9321
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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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