1 min read

Tradesman fined for bullying apprentices

SafeWork NSW has convicted and fined a tradesman for bullying two young apprentices.

Carpenter and joiner Paul Kearney pleaded guilty to a Category 3 breach under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) for failing to comply with his obligations to take reasonable care to not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons.

The maximum fine for an individual for a Category 3 offence is $50,000.

Mr Kearney was fined $6000, plus costs.

In the Downing Centre Local Court, the tradesman admitted that he had bullied the apprentices over an extended period of time.

His bullying behaviour included:

  • verbal abuse;
  • name calling;
  • swearing;
  • belittling; and
  • threats.

SafeWork NSW Special Services Executive Director, Andrew Gavrielatos said that the conviction and fine is a reminder for workplaces to address mental health as part of their work health safety procedures.

“The tradesman’s behaviour caused the young apprentices to feel distressed and anxious, with both reporting to have nightmares and be fearful of going to work,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“The court also ordered the tradesman to attend courses of training in bullying and harassment and anger management and emotional intelligence.

“The prosecution outcome clearly illustrates our commitment to act against businesses and individuals doing the wrong thing in the workplace when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.”

The conviction comes one year after the regulator launched its Mentally Healthy Workplaces in NSW Strategy 2022.

The $55 million scheme has been designed to help train and assist managers to create mentally healthy workplaces and comply with their legal duties.

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