New WHS laws see first director charged

work health and safety

An ACT company director has become the first officer of a corporation charged under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws.

The charges follow an incident in which a truck driver died from an electric shock in 2012, says a Norton Rose Fulbright report.

The director has been charged under the ACT WHS Act for failing to exercise due diligence to ensure Kenoss Contractors complied with its WHS duties and failing to comply with his health and safety duty, the report says. He faces a potential maximum penalty of $300,000.

Although he has been charged in connection with Kenoss Contractors, the accused was not a director of this company, but a director of a related company, the report adds.

The case goes to trial in December. The director has already pleaded not guilty in an earlier mention of the case last week.

Kenoss Contractors has also been charged with breaching the ACT WHS Act in connection with the same incident. However, the company has gone into liquidation and the court will need to determine if the prosecution can go ahead, the report noted.

Since this report, the court has decided the prosecution of the liquidated company can proceed. The case will be heard at the same time as the director’s case, according to The Canberra Times.

The corporation faces a potential maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

Source: National Safety Council of Australia