TONY EASTLEY: A leading workplace health and safety lawyer says homeowners will soon be facing a possible six year jail sentence if a worker is injured or killed on their properties.I caught this on the radio thismorning. All I could think was "WTF?".
The warning comes as a Sydney homeowner faces a $70,000 compensation bill for the death of an electrician working on his home.
ASHLEY HALL: The electrician Allan Harley was working on a terrace house in Sydney's inner-west in 2004, when he came into contact with a live wire and was electrocuted.I was just stunned. Then we learnt more about the case. The home owner had an old hot water service taken out and supposedly was aware there were live wires in the ceiling. Hmmm. Okay.
The New South Wales District Court last week ordered the owner of the home to pay Mr Harley's widow $70,000 in compensation.
The owner of the house had a duty of care.
ASHLEY HALL: So that means that home owners are required, essentially to check the work of any tradespeople that come through and make sure that they don't leave anything dangerous?
MICHAEL TOOMA: In effect it does mean that people have to take reasonable care to make sure that whatever they ask a tradesperson to do is safe for them to do. That requires a bit of vigilance on their part when they are commissioning work.
ASHLEY HALL: If all goes to plan, from 2012, the liability that flows when someone is hurt while working on your home will become criminal.
It's the result of an attempt to harmonise the states' occupational health and safety laws.
And again, I say WTF?
But look here:
ASHLEY HALL: Michael Tooma says people should be especially vigilant to make sure their home is safe if they've recently had ceiling insulation installed under the Federal Government's bungled scheme.This really takes the cake:
MICHAEL TOOMA: And that is precisely the sort of situation where you would want to go back and have another look at the work that has been done and make sure that your home is safe for you and your family importantly and I think, I think certainly the insulation scheme debacle has given people a wakeup call as to the sort of things that could happen when shonky work goes on in your home.
MICHAEL TOOMA: The fact that they are doing work at a home makes the home for that period a workplace. It means that the people at that workplace have a duty to that workman. In effect, if they are negligent in relation to the workman who is doing the work, well they would be in breach of that duty and that duty is a statutory duty that creates a criminal offence, attracting penalties of up to $300,000 and/or six years imprisonment in a really serious case.How is Joe (or Josephine) Ordinary expected to know that a tradesman they've employed hasn't left some dangerous thing somewhere on their property? What about the dodgy roof insulation (which was mentioned earlier in the interview).
Isn't that why you employ a tradesman in the first place?
Read it here.