ABCC pursues CFMMEU officials for safety non-compliance during Right of Entry

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ABCC pursues CFMMEU officials for safety non-compliance during Right of Entry

Australia’s construction industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), has commenced an unusual prosecution in the Federal Court against two Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy (CFMMEU) officials, alleging right of contraventions linked to their refusal to follow safety directions.

On the morning of 8 April 2020, the two NSW CFMMEU officials, DR and PF entered the Armidale Secondary School construction project in regional New South Wales.

The ABCC alleges that the officials:

  • Entered the site by removing security fencing, rather than entering through the site’s designated access point;

  • Refused requests by site representatives to comply with site safety regulations, including visiting the site office, signing the attendance book, or completing a compulsory safety briefing;

  • Refused directions by site representatives not to enter exclusion zones without first undertaking a toolbox talk and pre-start briefing; and

  • Ignored continuous requests to maintain social distancing.

In addition, it is alleged that Mr R deliberately blocked an access path for approximately 30 minutes, preventing 10 site workers from using the access way.

The ABCC alleges that both the officials and the union contravened the requirements for permit holders under s 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

Under the legislation, the maximum penalty for each contravention is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.

As has become its recent standard practice, the ABCC is pursuing personal payments against the officials and therefore circumventing the ability of the union to pay penalties imposed or reimburse the officials either directly or indirectly.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner vs DR & Ors

For queries about union officials, right of entry, or any other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 WAL LAW, 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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