Prosecutions

FORMAL WARNING RESULTS IN RARE DISCRIMINATION PROSECUTION

In a rare prosecution involving section 76 discrimination (SafetyNet are aware of only 3 in 18 years), bus company Transdev, has been fined $30,000 and sentenced, without conviction, after giving a written warning to a driver for reporting safety concerns to WorkSafe.

Transdev were found guilty in County Court on Thursday after being charged under the OHS Act for discrimination.

The court heard that Transdev gave the driver a written warning in September 2018 after he contacted WorkSafe after previously informing his supervisor a bus was unroadworthy.

He was instructed to drive it anyway but refused.

After reporting a separate safety issue a few days later, the driver was required to attend a meeting where he was advised by his manager, he’d breached company policy in contacting WorkSafe and that his reports amounted to misconduct.

"Every Victorian worker has the right to a safe workplace and that includes the right to report health and safety concerns to WorkSafe, their employer, or to their workplace Health and Safety Representative or committee member," WorkSafe said.

"It's not always easy to speak out about safety issues at work, but it's vital that workers feel empowered to raise safety concerns without fear of discrimination or unfair repercussions."

Source: WorkSafe 26 August 2022

ALLEGED CATASTROPHIC NEGLIGENCE RESULTS IN MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

NSW Police allege a sole-trader failed to adhere to applicable Australian Standards when certifying oxygen connections at a neonatal unit within Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

The 61 year-old man was contracted to install, test and commission gas delivery lines in 2015, but catastrophically erred in connecting a nitrous oxide pipe to an oxygen outlet and failing to conduct necessary tests before falsely documenting tests had been conducted.

In 2016, a newborn baby girl suffered severe brain damage after being administered nitrous oxide from the oxygen outlet. The gas problem was not identified, and a newborn baby boy then died from being ventilated with the toxic substance a month later.

In 2021 a coronial inquest commenced, and the matter was referred to NSW's Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to review.

As a result of a the ODPP review and advice provided to police, the man was arrested and charged with manslaughter by criminal negligence and causing grievous bodily harm by negligent act or omission, under the State Crimes Act 1900.

The offence of manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 25 years' jail.

Source: OHSAlert 23 August 2022

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