A regulator has warned that union officials must hold valid right-of-entry permits when entering sites under provisions for "resolving" WHS matters, after the High Court blocked an appeal on the issue.
A full Federal Court has upheld a union's high-range penalty for pressuring WHS inspectors to shut down a site unnecessarily, while the Fair Work Commission has suspended and revoked the entry permits of union officials involved in the incident.
An employer acted unreasonably in citing COVID-19 concerns to block a union official from entering a workplace lunchroom, given it failed to apply its COVID-safety policies consistently and the official didn't pose additional risks, the Fair Work Commission has found.
Right-of-entry permit holders who fail to comply with a site's safety rules can be taken to have acted in an "improper manner" in breach of Fair Work laws, the Federal Court has ruled in a case against a CFMMEU organiser who refused to wear safety glasses and overalls.
In an important judgment on the interaction of WHS and industrial laws, a full Federal Court has confirmed union officials cannot bypass right-of-entry requirements by attending a worksite under provisions for resolving work health and safety matters.
WHS entry permit holders were entitled to rely on "hearsay information" from a union safety hotline to form the suspicion that WHS contraventions were occurring at a site, a commission has ruled. It also found the union was not required, for entry purposes, to obtain and record the names of hotline complainants.