Offences Under Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 – Fine

offences under OHS ActOur client operated a retail business selling timber and building materials to the public. His son was seriously injured when a pallet of timber products tipped over a forklift and pinned his son to the ground crushing his legs. His son sustained 2 broken legs.

Our client was then charged with several offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985. These offences included failing to provide a safe work place, failing to report the incident to the Victorian WorkCover authority, and failing to provide a written report of the incident to Workcover.

Shaun Pascoe acted in behalf of the client at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court.

The fines for offences under the OH&S Act are substantial, particularly for offences where it is alleged that a defendant has failed to provide a safe workplace. An individual offence when heard in the Magistrates’ Court under section 21 of the OH&S Act attracts a maximum penalty of $360,900 when the defendant is a company, and $72,180 when the defendant is an individual. Our client operated a small family business with about 4 employees, 3 permanent and 1 casual. We presented the company’s financial position through previous tax returns and financial reports to argue that a large fine would crush the business.

We also argued that there had been some compliance with previous notices served on the business by Workcover investigators, and that we had rectified our operations to ensure the same incident wouldn’t happen again.

It was also submitted that our client had an otherwise good working history with no prior breaches under the OH & S Act.

Ultimately, our client received a fine without conviction in the amount of $7,500. Costs were ordered in the sum of $3,097.


Shaun PascoeShaun Pascoe

Shaun is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist and a partner of the firm. Shaun runs the Heidelberg branch of Doogue + George.

He is an experienced criminal law solicitor and works hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for his clients. Shaun handles indictable and summary criminal offences and is an expert at criminal defence for both contested and non-contested cases.

Visit Shaun's profile to read more about his background and experience.

DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 14/05/2015