An employee of a Registered Training Organisation (‘RTO’) conducted two competency assessments for high risk work licenses without being accredited to do so, contrary to section 113 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. The defendant was charged with two offences pursuant to section 43(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for carrying out work without authorisation. On 26 May 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the Caboolture Magistrates Court.
The defendant was employed by an RTO and held a high-risk work licence to operate a forklift truck. He was not, and had never been, accredited as an assessor in order to assess competency for any high-risk work licence. The defendant had previously lodged an application with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to become accredited as an assessor to assess competency for licences to operate a forklift truck, but that application was refused in August 2017 on the basis he had not demonstrated at least two years of industry experience as an operator of a forklift truck.
Despite not being an accredited assessor, on 12 June 2018 and 30 August 2018 the defendant conducted assessments for students seeking to obtain a licence to operate a forklift truck, by marking the written component of their assessment and overseeing the practical component. On each occasion, at the completion of the written and practical components, the defendant provided the student with an Assessment Summary form and advised the student they had passed the assessment. Those forms, which were submitted to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, recorded another person as the assessor.
In sentencing the defendant, Magistrate Peter Hasted had regard to the remorse shown by the defendant and to the character references provided which spoke highly of the defendant and the work he had been performing in his new employment. His Honour acknowledged the defence submission that the defendant was merely an employee who was simply doing as he was told, with no injury or loss being suffered as a result of the offending.
His Honour accepted there was a significant need for general deterrence and observed the offending of the defendant was aggravated by the level of fraud involved in the defendant’s actions and the proffering of documents said to indicate the individuals had passed their assessment.
Regard was had to the defendant’s timely plea, being entered on the second mention of the matter, and his lack of history of any similar offending. His Honour considered the defendant’s personal circumstances, including that he supported three children, one of whom was experiencing health issues which had impacted upon his ability to work.
OWHSP contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Section 43(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and section 113 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011