OH&S and WorkSafe Lawyers
This is one very professional and capable firm. I dealt with Ruth Parker and she was the ultimate professional. Her knowledge of how the court system works is amazing.
She predicted the outcome right from the start and how it was going to pan out and she was 100% spot on.
Worksafe Lawyers for OH&S Prosecutions
Our practice is one of few criminal law firms that defend individuals and companies prosecuted by the Victoria Workcover Authority (VWA) or WorkSafe. WorkSafe prosecutions can adversely affect the operations and profitability of your company. For the Directors, being prosecuted by WorkSafe can be very stressful and overwhelming. This is particularly the case for small businesses or businesses in a phase of growth and development. Often they are family businesses who don’t have the same level of infrastructure as large companies. Getting the best representation as early as possible will make the difference to the outcome and will reduce the pressure of the proceedings on your Directors and Staff.
What OHS Matters Can Worksafe Lawyers Help With?
Individuals and companies can be prosecuted under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, the Accident Compensation Act 1985, the Dangerous Goods Act 1985, the Equipment (Public Safety Act) 1994, and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
The VWA frequently prosecutes companies in relation to allegations that an employer has failed to provide a safe working environment, which include:
- unguarded plant;
- inadequate fall prevention measures;
- situations where asbestos has been removed by unqualified individuals and/or in circumstances where inadequate protective equipment and measures have been employed;
- failure to provide employees with amenities and facilities integral to the health, safety and welfare of employees;
- and failure to manage workplace hazards such as toxic gases and vapours, heat, cold and confined spaces.
VWA prosecutions proceed through the same criminal procedure as prosecutions for criminal offences instigated by Victoria Police and the Department of Public Prosecutions. These prosecutions are initiated (and often remain) in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and, if found guilty after a contest or plea, the accused company can face significant and sometimes crippling financial penalties and orders for costs that can significantly impact upon, particularly, small businesses. For businesses that tender for government work, a conviction for OH&S offences can make the tender process more difficult, as convictions usually need to be disclosed.
There are many ways in which WorkSafe matters can be managed, negotiated, and presented which can reduce the number of charges, negotiate the summary of facts read out to the Court and ultimately affect the penalty that the company receives if any penalty is incurred at all. Given our significant experience in the criminal jurisdiction, we have access to the best barristers who regularly represent companies and individuals charged with OH&S offences. Our solicitors also appear in such matters, which may confine the legal fees incurred and ultimately make it a more cost effective method of resolving VWA prosecutions than engaging a firm which does not regularly practice in this area and has little experience in the criminal jurisdiction.
More About the Occupational Health and Safety Act
The purpose of this law is to make sure that workplaces are safe for employees and community members. Since it was implemented, several companies and individuals have been charged with criminal offenses. The team at Galbally Parker has been involved in multiple cases related to workplace safety, and through our significant experience, can give expert advice and achieve the best outcomes for our clients.
Offences Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
There are several circumstances that can lead to violations of this legislation, such as:
- Acting with disregard for the safety of others
- Failing to create and maintain a safe workplace
- Exposing non-employees to risk
- Neglecting to take appropriate precautions and comply with health and safety regulations
Penalties Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
The primary punishment for these violations is usually a monetary fine, which can be significant. However, the court also has the option to impose other penalties, such as imprisonment. When determining the appropriate penalty, the court takes into account various factors, including:
- The specific details of the violation and the likelihood of causing harm
- The offender’s prior offenses and safety record
- The extent of harm and potential risk
- The offender’s role in the violation
- The offender’s actions following the violation, including any steps taken to improve safety
- The offender’s remorse for their actions
Contact Galbally Parker WorkSafe Lawyers
At Galbally Parker, our expert team of lawyers are dedicated to defending companies and organisations against OH&S and workplace offences. We provide specialised legal counsel and representation for employers, duty holders, or organisational officers facing accusations of workplace offenses, neglect, or violations of laws. We are committed to providing our clients with quality legal advice and representation that is personalised to their unique situation.
If you or your company has been charged with OH&S offences, please contact our experienced team of Worksafe lawyers in order to discuss your matter.