Demolition contractor fined for intimidating safety inspector

Demolition contractor fined for intimidating safety inspector

In an unusual prosecution, a veteran demolition contractor has been sentenced and fined in the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court for breaching section 190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act). Under section 190 of the Act, it is an offence to assault, threaten or intimidate a safety inspector. A person must not directly or indirectly assault, threaten or intimidate, or attempt to assault, threaten or intimidate an inspector or a person assisting an inspector.

In evidence before acting magistrate Patrick Murphy, the inspector had attended a worksite where the defendant was demolishing a house following the receipt of an asbestos complaint.

Despite the inspector being clearly identifiable due to his WHSQ uniform, Hi-Viz vest, and his ID card in full display on a lanyard around his neck, the defendant verbally attacked him before he entered the site. He appeared angry and aggressive, waved his arms about, and shouted expletives at the inspector.

Although the inspector attempted to calm down the defendant, he continued to be abusive and aggressive. Believing he was likely to be assaulted, the inspector left the site and returned later with a work colleague for support.

The maximum penalty for an offence under section 190 is a fine of 1,000 penalty units (currently amounting to $143 750) or a jail term not exceeding two years imprisonment.

In imposing a fine of $5,000 on the contractor, acting Magistrate Murphy noted the defendant’s apology and guilty plea but referred to the critical role played by inspectors in the building industry.

No conviction was recorded.

Demolition man fined for intimidating inspector | owhsp

For queries about safety, dealing with inspectors, or 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

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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