Misleading WorkSafe a Bad Call
Health and Safety / 19 August 2019
WorkSafe has successfully prosecuted a farm company director who instructed an employee to lie to investigators.
An employee suffered a hand injury at a firewood business in an unguarded wood-splitter. The director admitted a charge of wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice. The company, 4 Hippos Farm Limited, admitted a charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
The director was sentenced to four months community detention. The Court deemed that an end fine of $273,288 would be appropriate for the company, but no fine was able to be imposed due to financial circumstances. The company was ordered to pay $25,000 for emotional harm and $16,110 for consequential wages to the injured employee. There was also an “adverse publicity order”, meaning the company was ordered to publish its offending in newspapers nominated by WorkSafe.
Message for Employers
Attempting to manipulate or mislead WorkSafe in the wake of an incident can lead to serious consequences. Cooperating with WorkSafe is essential and the best way to assess your obligations and rights is to speak with us early, after an incident. We can explore the options with you and the advice we give is confidential and privileged, which means WorkSafe cannot access it, and support you through a strategy to manage your obligations and mitigate risk.
If you have any questions about health and safety prosecutions or obligations, please contact our team.
Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.