SafeWork NSW recently issued a warning against assaults on safety inspectors, after a number of incidents allegedly involving the intimidation of inspectors simply doing their jobs.
SafeWork regulator and Secretary of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, Martin Hoffman highlighted the issue and called it unacceptable, saying 2 inspectors in the last 2 months had been assaulted while on duty.
He reiterated that aggressive behaviour toward inspectors would not be tolerated,
“SafeWork staff are out there in the field to help businesses comply with health and safety legislation and to keep workers safe – any violent or aggressive behaviour displayed against our inspectors will not be tolerated,” he said.
“Police are currently investigating after two separate incidents which occurred on November 2 last year and on January 17 this year.
“SafeWork NSW inspectors play a vital role in securing the health and safety of workers and as such, they should be afforded the same level of respect and protection as every worker.”
He also went on to remind people that assaulting, threatening or intimidating an inspector was a criminal offence carrying maximum penalties for convictions of $50,000 or 2 years imprisonment or both. He also reminded businesses of the consequences for them,
Mr. Hoffman reminded businesses and individuals that it is a criminal offence to assault, threaten or intimidate an inspector.
“The maximum penalties for persons convicted of intimidating or assaulting a SafeWork NSW inspector are a $50,000 fine or imprisonment for two years or both for an individual or in case of a body corporate a $250,000 fine,” said Mr. Hoffman.
SafeWork reminded workplaces that they are obligated to provide necessary access to the workplace to inspectors and provide them with the information they request, honestly.
SafeWork will be investigating all cases of assault and intimidation of its inspectors, Mr Hoffman warned.
“We will investigate all instances of alleged intimidation and assault of SafeWork NSW inspectors, we will report such instances to NSW Police and where warranted, we will prosecute those offences.”
Inspectors not only check the site to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, but also to educate. One important consideration for construction employers, that inspectors will check, is that all workers have completed the necessary construction induction training as mandated. The White Card course is an obligatory course for everyone working on a construction site and can be completed quickly and conveniently online here.