The decision was handed down in the matter of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell, which was an appeal of a decision initially made by His Honour Justice Bromberg.
In essence, the Court found that when a health and safety representative (HSR) seeks occupational health and safety (OHS) assistance from a person who is also a union official, the union official is required to hold a federal entry permit.
Victoria’s HSRs play a significant role in keeping workplaces safe, and the power they have to seek advice from external safety experts is an important tool in their prevention armoury.
Today’s decision has a serious impact on this critical element of the Victorian OHS system.
WorkSafe strongly supports HSRs being able to call on any person with sufficient health and safety knowledge to assist them to resolve OHS risks in the workplace. We continue to maintain that the safety of workers in Victorian workplaces is paramount and should not be constrained.
WorkSafe is considering its options in relation to the Court's decision.