SafeWork NSW is encouraging businesses to remember mental health at work after a Hunter tradesman was convicted of failing to take reasonable care that his actions did not adversely affect the health and safety of two young workers.

One year since the launch of the Mentally Healthy Workplaces in NSW Strategy 2022, SafeWork NSW SafeWork Special Services Executive Director, Andrew Gavrielatos said the $6,000 fine and order to pay costs is a reminder for workplaces to address mental health as part of their work health safety procedures.

“The defendant pleaded guilty to having failed to comply with his obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act NSW (2011) to take reasonable care that he did not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“The carpenter and joiner admitted to bullying behaviour towards two workers over an extended period of time including verbal abuse, name calling, swearing, belittling and threats.

“The tradesman’s behaviour caused the young apprentices to feel distressed and anxious, with both reporting to have nightmares and be fearful of going to work.

“The court also ordered the tradesman to attend courses of training in bullying and harassment and anger management and emotional intelligence.

“The prosecution outcome clearly illustrates our commitment to act against businesses and individuals doing the wrong thing in the workplace when it comes to mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

The NSW Government invested $55 million in the Mentally Healthy Workplaces in NSW Strategy 2022. The plan includes manager training and recovery at work programs, research projects to help inform ongoing strategies, a media campaign and online resources to raise awareness, as well as assessment and mentoring tools to support businesses.

Information, resources and assistance to create a mentally healthy workplace can be found at www.mentalhealthatwork.nsw.gov.au.

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