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January 2020

Placement service fined following injury to apprentice

Placement service fined following injury to apprentice

SafeWork SA (Boland) v Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc (2016)

Facts

A prosecution was brought against Trainee and Apprentice Placement Service Inc, a not-for-profit organisation that places apprentices in the construction industry with host employers.

In January 2014, the not-for-profit placed an apprentice with a construction company, but failed to consult with that business regarding its safety systems.

The apprentice was severely injured when a section of guttering he was handling came into contact with live powerlines.

Judgment

The not-for-profit pleaded guilty to breaching section 46 of the Work Health and Safety Act, which requires a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs over safety matters.

The not-for-profit was penalised $12,000 and was also ordered to pay court costs. The construction company itself was not prosecuted as it had gone into liquidation.

Lessons

You must not forget that you have a statutory duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs where you share a responsibility over safety. This duty applies even if your organisation is a not-for-profit, as long as the organisation has employees and is not made up entirely of volunteers.

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