19/06/2017 - 14:52

WorkSafe assessor banned, for second time

19/06/2017 - 14:52

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A high-risk work licence assessor has been fined $14,000 and had his registration cancelled in WorkSafe’s latest efforts to address chronic problems in the sector.

WorkSafe assessor banned, for second time
WorkSafe says it takes any non-compliance with the duties of a high-risk work licence assessor very seriously. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A high-risk work licence assessor has been fined $14,000 and had his registration cancelled in WorkSafe’s latest efforts to address chronic problems in the sector.

Former Austep director Kenneth Sully was found guilty of seven charges of failing to properly assess the competency of workers seeking high-risk accreditation.

Mr Sully was fined $14,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court and had his registration cancelled, marking the second time he had been removed from the industry after having his registration previously cancelled in 2005.

It was reinstated two years later after he accepted wrongdoing.

In an audit, WorkSafe found that, in August 2014, Mr Sully marked 19 high-risk work licence candidates as ‘competent’ and issued 19 notices of satisfactory assessment when those candidates had answered one or more critical questions incorrectly and/or had failed to answer a critical question.

“This should have resulted in assessments of ‘not yet competent’, with the unsuccessful candidates to be reassessed at a later date,” WorkSafe said in a statement.

In the court’s determination, the judge ruled that there needed to be an element of punishment as well as a general deterrence as it was not an isolated incident.

WorkSafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case should send a warning to any other assessors who may be tempted to mark candidates as competent when they might not be.

“The prosecution action that has been taken in response to the discovery of further offences is evidence of how seriously WorkSafe takes any non-compliance with the duties of a high risk work licence assessor,” he said.

“High-risk work licences are only issued to workers who have been appropriately trained and have the skills to perform high risk work safely and competently.

“They apply to anyone engaged in work considered to be ‘high risk’, including scaffolding, dogging and rigging work and the operation of cranes, hoists, pressure equipment and forklifts.

“It is vitally important to ensure that high risk work licences are only issued to workers who have been appropriately trained and have the skills to perform high risk work safely and competently.”

Last year, WorkSafe found a former Choice Industrial Training employee had been falsely assessing candidates for high-risk work licences; he was fined about $2,300 in the Fremantle Magistrates Court.

The WorkSafe crackdown follows an audit of registered training organisations specialising in high-risk work licences undertaken last year by the Training Accreditation Council, which found an alarmingly high level of non-compliance with regulatory standards.

In its report, the TAC found that only 30 per cent of those audited were fully compliant with industry standards, while 70 per cent were non-compliant.

Of those that were found to be non-compliant, 35 per cent were found to be significantly or critically non-compliant.

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