Following a number of recent incidents involving SafeWork inspectors, businesses and workers are being reminded that it is a criminal offence to hinder, obstruct, assault, threaten, or intimidate an inspector.
SafeWork Regulator and Secretary of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, Martin Hoffman, said it was not acceptable that two inspectors had been allegedly assaulted in the last two months while carrying out their duties.
“SafeWork staff are out there in the field to help businesses comply with health and safety legislation and to keep workers safe – any violent or aggressive behavior displayed against our inspectors will not be tolerated,” Mr Hoffman said.
“Police are currently investigating after two separate incidents which occurred on November 2 last year and on January 17 this year.
“SafeWork NSW inspectors play a vital role in securing the health and safety of workers and as such they should be afforded the same level of respect and protection as every other worker,” Mr Hoffman said.
Mr Hoffman reminded both businesses and individuals of the penalties in place for those who intimidate or assault an inspector.
“The maximum penalties for persons convicted of intimating or assaulting a SafeWork NSW inspector are a $50,000 fine or imprisonment for two years or both for an individual, or in the case of a body corporate a $250,000 fine,” Mr Hoffman said.
“All workplaces have the obligation to not just provide necessary access to the workplace, but to be honest and provide information as requested.
“We will investigate all instances of alleged intimidation and assault of SafeWork NSW inspectors, we will report such instances to NSW Police and where warranted, we will prosecute those offences,” Mr Hoffman said.
For more information on the rights and responsibilities of businesses when visited by SafeWork, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call us on 13 10 50.