1 min read

What can we do if a project manager has ignored safety issues?

Q: I am working as a subcontractor at a company in WA that is building a road. There are up to eight side tippers on the worksite at any one time, delivering gravel to the site from a gravel pit 15km away. We have been asking for a portable toilet for 2 weeks now and several hazard cards have been handed in. It is compulsory to hand in a hazard card every day; otherwise the company will not sign our docket book for our days of work.

One of the drivers handed in a hazard card in that said “Lack of action on safety issues” in the hazard section. He didn’t suggest any controls because he didn’t know what to suggest. The project manager screwed it up in front of everybody and told him to write out another one. Legally, can he screw up a genuine hazard card just because he doesn’t like what’s been written?

A: There is no unlawfulness in the project manager’s action if it was because the manager did not understand what the specific safety issues were, and requested that they be specified in a new hazard card.

On the other hand, if the project manager has in fact taken no action on safety issues, then he may not be complying with his personal duty to take reasonable care of the safety and wellbeing of others.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Duties of managers for current advice.

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