Reporting health and safety has always been an important issue, but over recent years some businesses have become lax on the matter. This may be due to a flagrant disregard of the rules, or down to the simple fact that they need to refamiliarize themselves with the WHSA. Due to a recent failure to report health and safety in Queensland, a business was prosecuted and hit with a $25,000 bill in Queensland. This is a reminder for all businesses that failure to stick to the rules of the WHSA will not be tolerated.
Anybody running a business must report a health and safety incident, no matter what, or faces being hit with fines, prosecution, and criminal convictions. Learn more about the incident below.
Prosecution, Fines, and Criminal Convictions
If a health and safety incident is not reported by the business owner, that person faces prosecution, fines, and even ending up with a serious criminal conviction. The company hit with the $25,000 fine in Queensland, KFS Fuel Services, were prosecuted for failing to report a serious incident to WHSQ. In this case, a worker suffered with a compound skull fracture and brain injury while completing pressure testing on a road fuel tanker. This is an extremely serious incident that should have been reported immediately.
It was only 17 months later when WHSQ spoke with a lawyer representing the worker that they became aware of the incident that took place within the business. The magistrate found that there was a serious breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and that the defendant was aware of the obligation to notify WHSQ under the legislation. The situation was made worse by the fact that the injured worker stepfather was actually a managing director of the company.
By test and tagging equipment appropriately, it can be assured that everything is safe to use for employees, and many incidents and injuries can be avoided. However, in this case, the defendant was charged $25,000 (the max fine is $50,000) and ordered to pay professional and court costs totally $2,000. A criminal conviction was also recorded. The fine could have been increased had there been an ongoing safety concern while the investigation took place.
Refamiliarize Yourself With The WHSA
It is up to employers to learn from this mistake and refamiliarize themselves with the WHSA and other safety legislation that could stop these things from happening. A workplace injury absolutely must be recorded if it takes place within the conduct of a business and results in a fatality, serious injury/illness of a person, or if it is considered to be a dangerous incident. It’s also important that employers know not to disturb the scene of the injury site until an inspector arrives.
It’s always in an employer’s best interests to report incidents the moment they occur. If this does not happen, then a conviction can have serious consequences. Remember that specialist advice should be sought after if you have an individual circumstance that you would like advice with.