WHS Update: Training, supervision and the safe performance of work.

A recent NSW decision, Jurox Pty Ltd v Fullick [2016] NSWCA 180 has looked at the obligations of an employer to ensure that workers understand and comply with training about the safe performance of their work.

In the case, a labour hire employee was required to use a mechanical aid to lift 25kg bags of dextrose and empty them into a hopper. She was seriously injured when she manually manipulated a bag in breach of her employer’s system of work.

A majority of the Court found the worker was only shown how to empty the dextrose into the hopper once, and she routinely performed the task incorrectly without a supervisor correcting her. They found that she:

… did carry out the task in the manner … contrary to the instruction given to her … and that she did so as a matter of routine. Put differently, she adopted an unsafe work practice, and that work practice continued, uncorrected, until the day of her injury. [70]

Despite the apparent repeated non-compliance with the system of work, the employer was found to be negligent, in part due to a failure to ensure that the training the employee had received was understood, implemented in practice and enforced:

That would not have involved (as was contended on behalf of Jurox) constant supervision; it would have meant no more than reasonable attention, when the respondent was first instructed, to whether she had absorbed the instruction.

You can download a more detailed analysis of the case HERE.

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