The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal has overturned a decision by WorkCover NSW to withdraw an OHS assessor’s licence, finding he was wrongly accused of fraud.
WorkCover NSW falsely accuses OHS assessor of fraud
In 2002 the assessor was granted accreditation to conduct testing for OHS certificates (forklifts and platform booms), and to conduct OHS induction training for construction work. In 2005 he contacted the National Safety Council of Australia Ltd (NSCA) to seek verification of his NSCA Class IV Certificate, in order to gain additional accreditation as a trainer.
The NSCA said it had no record of the assessor and could not verify his certificate. WorkCover then cancelled his accreditation and accused him of being accredited on the basis of false or misleading information.
The assessor applied to WorkCover for an internal review, which affirmed its decision. He subsequently applied to the Tribunal for a review of that decision.
No record of the certificate most likely due to human error
The assessor told Judicial Member Linda Pearson that he gained his initial certificate after contacting the NSCA.
He said he spoke with an OHS trainer, who told him he would have to draft a training and assessment program. He said a few months after he submitted the program for appraisal, he received his certificate in the mail.
The assessor’s employer at the time vouched for his character. The managing director described him as an honest and diligent worker, and said that although it had no record of payment for his certificate, the company had regularly paid for other courses he had attended and he believed a receipt or record of this certificate could have been lost.
WorkCover disputed the assessor’s version of events. (as they would of course)
The NSCA trainer told the Tribunal that she had never spoken with the assessor nor received a submission of his assignment.
She also disputed the integrity of the certificate held by the assessor, claiming that her signature on it was a forgery.
The NSCA added that there was no record on any of its databases of the certificate being issued to the worker, nor was there any record of payment for the course.
Judicial Member Pearson accepted the assessor’s version of events, and found that he was issued with an NSCA Certificate, and it was not obtained through false or improper means.
She said the fact that there was no record of the assessor or his certificate at the NSCA was most likely the result of “human error”, with the organisation having a high turnover of staff and regularly moving premises in the time between the assessor’s application for a certificate and its cancellation.
Judicial Member Pearson set aside the previous decision, and said any fresh application for accreditation (his previous licence has now expired) would need to be determined on the basis of the information available at the time.
We believe that this OHS assessor may just have been “too nice”, eh?!