It is a requirement for all businesses to ensure that their staff are trained in the risks and hazards associated with their jobs, and the controls that have been put into place to mitigate them.  A case this week has again highlighted the importance of not only ensuring staff are trained to do the work they are doing but also ensuring that they are not directed or allowed to undertake any works that they have not been trained for.

“It is well understood by businesses that they have to train their staff in the risks and hazards associated with the work that they do.  This is a pretty simple concept.  But the flip side is often not understood well…that the business has to stop workers doing any work that they are not trained or qualified for” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“The distinction may seem small, but it is a positive and active duty to ensure that the directions and work instructions that the business gives the employees keep them out of harms way.  This means that they need to be explicitly directed to NOT do certain things until they are trained in how to do them” continues Elisha.

In this particular case the business operator did not specifically instruct an untrained worker to NOT operate the crane on the worksite.  The worker lifted the crane boom and it struck powerlines electocuting the worker and his colleauge.

The business owner argued that he has not told the worker to operate the crane and was not onsite at the time.

The business (and the site controllers) have been charged over the incident.

In finding the business guilty the Judge noted that there was a positive duty on the business so that the worker “should never have been permitted to drive the crane”.

Learnings for businesses

“All businesses should take the opportunity now to review the tasks and activities in their businesses, especially the rare or unusual ones, and ensure the instructions to ALL staff are clear on who can and can not complete those tasks or activities” explains Elisha.

“One example is the main power board in a service station.  It is rare that staff would need to interact with it, but they may, without clear instruction, default to treating it much as they would their power box at home, which can have disastrous outcomes.  The business must specifically instruct all staff to not interact with the board, or clearly identify the specific situations and elements that can be interacted with” adds Elisha.

Here to Help

ACAPMA members are reminded that ACAPMA has a series of resources from Quick Reference Guides to template letters and investigation and reporting checklists that can assist with ensuring compliant and consistent responses in this area, and can call on the advice and support of the ACAPMA Employment Professionals via .

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business.

They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by emailing it’s free for members.

ACAPMA Membership is affordable at only $810 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.  Click here to learn more about ACAPMA Membership.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
Executive Manager Employment and Training