SafeWork successfully secured a conviction against a site supervisor for a Category 1 offence under section 31 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 in relation to an apprentice being squirted with a flammable liquid and set alight at work in March 2017.
The supervisor had a health and safety duty, failed to comply with that duty and that failure exposed the apprentice to a risk of death or serious injury. He was convicted of the offence and fined $12,000 plus court costs, prosecution costs, and victims of crime levy. He was given a discount of up to 40 percent because of his early guilty plea.
SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell said the incident should serve as a reminder to everyone that bullying of any worker will never be tolerated.
“The health and safety of young workers is critical. This includes protecting them from psychological harm as well as physical harm.
“The behaviour of this supervisor was atrocious. In his supervisory role, there is an expectation he would immediately put a stop to this type of harmful action and certainly not engage in it himself,” he said.
SafeWork reminds workplaces of the importance of having a process in place to ensure bullying does not occur in the workplace. They advise training workers on managing instances of bullying and reassuring them that reporting such behaviour can occur confidentially and without fear of repercussions.
“I hope this sentence serves as a warning to all people in leadership positions that SafeWork SA will enforce individual actions where leaders don’t follow their statutory duty of care for workers in their charge,” said Mr. Campbell.
Another site supervisor involved in the incident, as well as the employer, have both been charged with offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.