Case Study: Non-compliance with WHS legislation
The following scenario describes problems with health and safety in the workplace.
The firm of Perkins Accounting and Taxation Services is run by owner/manager Kevin Perkins and his wife. They employ twelve staff and occupy a turn of the century sandstone building on the city fringe. The building is in need of renovation and problems with it have affected the health of some of the staff.
Riding damp has made two offices cold and clammy, flaking paint and dust fall from the ceiling in another room and the photocopier is in a small poorly ventilated room. The latter situation results in operators feeling sick from fumes if they are in there for extended times.
Kevin has heard about new government penalties for health and safety problems so his wife has taken on the role of Safety Officer for the company. She attended a five day course for Health and Safety Representatives conducted by the local Chamber of Commerce. Ana „, The staff have complained about the problems with the building, but find Mrs Perkins is not very responsive. A staff member, Julie Saunders, has approached Kevin, as a spokesperson for the employees, about setting up a Safety Committee or appointing a member of the staff as a Safety Representative. He has responded by saying that in a small firm like theirs this was not appropriate, particularly as they have an appointed Safety Officer.
Unfortunately for Kevin there was an anonymous call to the Worksafe Tasmania offices and, after auditing the premises, the Inspector issued a notice for a number of problems to be fixed.
The Inspector also requested to view the company's records of any health and safety incidents. Mrs Perkins said these were at her home, so he could return in two days time to check these out. Julie Saunders is very concerned because she had overheard Kevin and his wife talking about what they could do to "get rid of her".
1. Identify the health and safety problems in the workplace and relate these to the Act
2. Briefly note what action is required to address the problem, in the short and long term
3. Discuss the consequences of non-compliance with the legislation