On 18 June 2024, an accredited assessor was sentenced in the Richlands Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to two offences against s 45 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (‘the WHS Act’) committed between 15 August to 7 October 2022.

When assessing candidates for the high-risk Reach Stacker competency in August 2022, the defendant provided the answers to the questions in the National Assessment Instrument before they undertook the assessment, provided assistance for candidates while undertaking the assessment, and provided assistance to candidates in the hearing of other candidates still undertaking their assessments.

When assessing candidates for the high-risk Open Crane (‘CO’) competency in October 2022, the defendant failed to assess all 6 performance tasks, undertook a group performance assessment rather than individual ones, and deemed candidates competent in calculations questions, where that had failed to answer questions correctly. Each of these acts breached conditions placed on his accreditation.

Magistrate Shearer acknowledged that the defendant had pleaded guilty, had no previous convictions and that these charges had effectively forced the defendant to retire and had had a financial impact on them. The Magistrate noted however, that the financial impact was entirely of the defendant’s own making. His Honour observed that the offending had breached the trust placed in the defendant by the Regulator and had undermined the process set down for the competency assessment of those seeking to perform high risk work. The Magistrate observed that the potential risk for serious injury in ‘turning people loose’ who may not be competent was both obvious and serious. His Honour considered offending in this case to be more serious than that of a previous case heard in the Caboolture Magistrates Court, as in that case there was no suggestion that the candidates were not competent although the defendant was not accredited as an assessor.

The offending in this case was aggravated by the fact that the defendant knew the rules but had chosen to help people pass the assessments, which had undermined the regulatory system for assessment.

In applying the provisions of s 9 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, the Magistrate took into account the need for general deterrence and punishment of the offender.

No conviction was recorded against the defendant.

The defendant was also ordered to pay court fees of $101.40.

OWHSP contact: enquiries@owhsp.qld.gov.au

Court Report

Education and training
Date of offence
Richlands Magistrates Court
Magistrate or judge
Magistrate Stuart Shearer
Decision date

Section 45 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

$7,000 global fine
Maximum fine available
$40,000 ($20,000 for each offence)
Professional and legal costs
Court costs
In default period
Time to pay
Referred to SPER
Conviction recorded