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Case Study: Worker Who Ignored SWMS and WHS Code Failed to Overturn His Dismissal


A Queensland council worker who was accused of breaching safety guidelines, and possibly WHS laws, has failed to overturn his dismissal for operating plant in a reckless manner and showing little concern for his own and others’ safety.

The worker was demoted from the roads maintenance supervisor to a slasher worker and was dismissed for repeatedly operating plant in a dangerous manner including excessive speed. The worker challenged both the demotion and dismissal claiming that the council failed to provide him with any relevant training. The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found that the worker was provided with plenty of relevant training about how to operate the tractor, including about the importance of using shadow vehicles and traffic control. The worker had repeatedly operated plant recklessly and disregarded the feedback and warnings given to him.

The Commission found the council’s decisions to demote and subsequently dismiss the worker were reasonable with regard to the nature and seriousness of the misconduct.  The worker disregarded the employer’s safety management system and placed himself, other workers and members of the public at risk.