Shared health and safety duty: Boland v Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc  SAIRC 14
The Industrial Relations Court found Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc had a shared health and safety duty to their employee after placing him with a host employer and was fined $12,000 for failing to uphold this duty.
Mr Reynolds had been placed with a host employer, Shear Edge Roofing, by the Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc (TAPS). Mr Reynolds sustained injuries while under the guidance of Mr Argent who was trading as Shear Edge Roofing.
There were powerlines in close proximity to where Mr Reynolds was working, yet there were no safety measures in place. Mr Reynolds was injured by coming into contact with these powerlines.
Prior to the incident, TAPS employed three field officers to attend various sites to consult with other duty holders as per the requirements in s 46 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA). However, TAPS relied upon those on site to comply with health and safety obligations.
Since the incident, TAPS ‘carried out a comprehensive revamp of its safety procedures’ to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.
After the incident, TAPS visited Mr Reynolds at his home, offered him counselling, sponsored him in a charity run, gave him a donation and paid him his actual and full rate of pay when not required to by legislation.
The Court found the extensive contact TAPS had with Mr Reynolds after his accident as well as their efforts to improve their safety procedures was important in determining an appropriate penalty. The maximum penalty for a body corporate was $100,000, however the Court found the starting point should be $20,000 in this case.
The Court found the early plea of guilty entered into by TAPS entitled them to a 40% discount in the penalty. As a result, TAPS was ordered to pay a fine of $12,000 plus levy and costs.
* PCC Lawyers are a team of employment practitioners based in Sydney, with many years of combined knowledge and experience in workplace law, industrial relations, workplace investigations and training. They provide a high standard of excellence and an exceptional level of personal service to a variety of clients in the Sydney metropolitan area, Central Coast, regional NSW and interstate.