A union and two of its officials have been fined a total of $151,200 for refusing to provide entry permits on a $5.4 billion project, deliberately beaching the project's WHS requirements, and making patronising and homophobic slurs to a safety advisor.
In the latest chapter of a long-running and acrimonious dispute between an employer and a union, an appeals court has rejected the former's renewed claim that the latter is not eligible to enter its premises to investigate suspected WHS contraventions.
Two union organisers who intentionally obstructed work over safety concerns - including the location of toilets - were in breach of the Fair Work Act, the Federal Circuit and Family Court has ruled, finding none of their imminent-risk concerns were valid.
The fines imposed on a union organiser and his organisation after the official refused to wear safety gear at a site, and "pushed" a manager, have been slashed on appeal, with a full Federal Court finding a regulator "prosecuted a factually confused case".
Two companies have been charged, within a matter of days, in relation to separate but very similar fatalities involving shipping containers and stone slabs. Meanwhile, a union official has been accused of unlawfully ignoring a workplace's COVID-19 rules and safety signage.
In one of two important judgments involving a long-running battle between an employer and a union, an appeals court has warned that a trespass finding against four WHS entry permit holders could have encouraged workplaces to deliberately obstruct such officials, hindering the objectives of safety laws.
An entry permit holder's compliance with a site's directions and requests serves its own critical safety function, the Federal Court has stressed in imposing record entry fines on a union and six officials.
An employer that failed to implement a safe system for inflating tyres has been fined $200,000, after a worker was killed in a "percussive pressure" incident. Meanwhile, a company and its director have been sentenced for repeatedly refusing to allow WHS inspectors to enter a workplace.