Friday 02 June 2017

WorkSafe disappointed with Federal Court ruling

WorkSafe is disappointed at today’s decision by the Full Federal Court.

The decision was handed down in the matter of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell, which was an appeal of a decision initially made by His Honour Justice Bromberg.

In essence, the Court found that when a health and safety representative (HSR) seeks occupational health and safety (OHS) assistance from a person who is also a union official, the union official is required to hold a federal entry permit.

Victoria’s HSRs play a significant role in keeping workplaces safe, and the power they have to seek advice from external safety experts is an important tool in their prevention armoury.

Today’s decision has a serious impact on this critical element of the Victorian OHS system.

WorkSafe strongly supports HSRs being able to call on any person with sufficient health and safety knowledge to assist them to resolve OHS risks in the workplace. We continue to maintain that the safety of workers in Victorian workplaces is paramount and should not be constrained.

WorkSafe is considering its options in relation to the Court's decision.

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Caitlin Rode: 0434 685 577, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.