WorkSafe inspector attacked

Monday, 29 March, 2010

The alleged assault of an inspector recently at a Lardner Park field day has prompted a WorkSafe investigation into the incident.

Assaulting a WorkSafe inspector can attract a two-year prison term and fines of up to up to $6450 (for individuals).

The inspector was subjected to offensive language and intimidation after attempting to caution a person riding on the draw bar of a trailer attached to a rubbish collection vehicle.

The inspector stopped the vehicle and attempted to tell the person why riding on the draw bar could be dangerous. The driver, who refused to identify himself, then used the vehicle to push the inspector away while verbally abusing him.

WorkSafe has previously warned that obstructing inspectors, verbal or physical assaults will not be tolerated - and that preventing them from doing their job will be followed by investigation or possible prosecution.

Last January, the owner of a panel-beating business appeared in court after physically charging and shirt-fronting an inspector while yelling abuse. And two men appeared in court in 2007 after an inspector’s camera was taken from him and the film buried in a drainage project trench.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Stan Krpan said WorkSafe inspectors have the right to enter workplaces at any time to ensure safety standards are maintained: “WorkSafe’s aim is to work constructively with all employers and workers. However, our inspectors have a job to do. Preventing them doing their job is a matter WorkSafe takes seriously. For obstruction, the courts can fine individuals up to $6450 for obstructing inspectors, while companies can be fined $33,000.

“For assault, intimidation or threatening an inspector, a two-year prison term is possible, along with fines of nearly $129,000 for companies or nearly $26,000 for individuals.

“We know most Victorians support the role of WorkSafe and our objective to ensure all Victorians get home safely at the end of the day. That right includes members of our team.”

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