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January 2020

Impersonating safety inspectors results in $15,000 fine

Impersonating safety inspectors results in $15,000 fine

DPP v Narroway (2016)

Facts

Samuel Narroway was charged with seven separate breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (WHS Act) by impersonating a safety inspector in South Australia. This included posing as a SafeWork inspector at:

  • two retail stores and pretending to investigate safety incidents;
  • a police station and suggesting that a hairdressing salon be prosecuted for having an unsafe workplace, and recording in an affidavit that he was an inspector; and
  • a Yellow Cab office and obtaining the names and addresses of a specific taxi’s owner and driver he had he been in an altercation with. He later went to the homes of the taxi driver and the owner, and made threats about imposing a penalty.

Judgment

The Court considered the offences to be serious and to have “involved significant planning”, while some “were executed with an alarming level of intimidation”.

The Court also took into account Mr Narroway’s criminal record that included impersonating a police officer and imprisonment for fraud-related offences.

Each separate WHS offence exposed Mr Narroway to a maximum fine of $10,000. In issuing a fine, the Court took into account:

  • the need for deterrence;
  • Mr Narroway’s personal situation; and
  • his guilty plea.

Mr Narroway was convicted and fined $15,000 plus court costs.

Lessons

Ensure your business has a system in place to check that anyone attending your work premises who represents themselves to be an inspector or any other regulatory officer demonstrates that they are legitimate. In this case, Mr Narroway carried a SafeWork lanyard, but did not possess an identity card or authority badge.

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