Workcover declares amnesty for improper accreditations

Thursday, 22 April, 2004

WorkCover NSW Chief Executive Officer Jon Blackwell announced an amnesty for workers who hold Certificates of Competency without completing a proper knowledge or practical assessment.

"This amnesty period has been declared due to concerns that people may be posing a risk to themselves and their workmates by operating industry machinery if they were not properly assessed," Blackwell said. "Employers must also ensure that they meet their obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 to only allow competent operators to operate industrial machinery. This amnesty program is one of a series of initiatives WorkCover has put in place to improve the management and auditing of training and assessment for plant operations," Blackwell explained. "WorkCover has initiated this program in response to allegations of corruption in the accreditation and assessment system.

"In September 2003 we established an Audit Management Unit to conduct rigorous audits of WorkCover's approved service providers, such as accredited assessors, and to take action against those found to be operating corruptly or inappropriately.

"In the past five months, we have cancelled or suspended 31 accredited assessors and 47 certificate holders," Blackwell said.

"To be eligible for the amnesty program, workers must hand in their Certificates of Competency to WorkCover and provide information about the improper assessment.

"Certificate holders who were improperly assessed and who do not apply for the amnesty may be prosecuted and face heavy fines and prison," Mr Blackwell explained. The amnesty period will run from 9 February to 30 April 2004.

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