Surprisingly a union and a government department has been in the spot light lately regarding safety.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads, in Queensland, pleaded guilty and fined $175,000 for breaching its work health and safety duties, and exposing six workers to asbestos.
The Department, trading as Roadtek, put workers at risk over five months during repair works to a bridge in Ipswich. Workers were not informed the bridge contained asbestos, nor were they given protective gear while undertaking work that generated a significant amount of dust.
The second surprise was a report in the Financial Review that the Federal Circuit Court blasted a union for taking part in “unconscionable” conduct. The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has taken the union, and one of its delegates, to court after the union objected to a builder’s new safety policy. The policy required workers to wear long pants to guard against cuts, abrasions and skin cancer.
The union opposed the policy due to concerns over heat stress. The builder warned they would prevent workers from entering the site if they wore short sleeves and shorts. This resulted in the union delegate threatened to stop work at the whole site if any worker was removed.
The Federal Circuit Court Judge found the union and its official had taken unlawful adverse action, because the builder had exercised their workplace rights to ensure compliance with its safety policy.
While this case is currently in mediation, the union faces a maximum penalty of $51,000 and the individual delegate faces up to $10,200.
Click here to read the full Financial Review article.
Unions and Safety in Your Workplace
If you have concerns with safety in your workplace, maybe not knowing where to start. Or you may have had dealings with a union, WLSS is here to help.
We can help to implement policies and procedures, tailored to your business practices, including interactions with unions.
- Licensed investigators
- Members of the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) and National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA)
- Certified Generalist OHS Practitioner through SIA
So if you need help with safety or have questions and need advice, contact us on (08) 8322 2279.