On 22 July 2022, an individual who runs a business specialising in demolitions and who has been involved in the industry for over 40 years, was sentenced in the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court for intimidating an inspector, pursuant to section 190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).
On 29 September 2020, an inspector attended at a worksite where the defendant was demolishing a house, having received an asbestos complaint. The inspector was wearing his WHSQ uniform, a hi-vis vest and had his ID card on a lanyard around his neck. Before the inspector had even entered the site, the defendant confronted him on the footpath and was angry, aggressive, and repeatedly shouting expletives. The defendant also came in close proximity to the inspector and was waving his arms around. The inspector tried to placate the defendant, telling him he was only there to assist, but the defendant continued to swear at him. The inspector thought he was going to be assaulted so began to walk away, and the defendant followed. The inspector ultimately returned with another inspector, and they spoke with the defendant, who apologised, but denied threatening the inspector.
Acting Magistrate Murphy took into account the defendant’s plea of guilty but observed that the purpose of the provision was to observe the critical role of inspectors in the industry within which the defendant participates, that the defendant’s behaviour had been deplorable and that the inspector was just doing his job.
In the circumstances, the defendant was convicted and fined $5,000. A conviction was not recorded.
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Section 190 Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)