A training organisation, one specialising in workplace health and safety, has been fined $200,000 after it was found to have falsified training records for high-risk safety certifications.
WorkSafe Victoria revealed that ATTA Quality Training Services Pty Ltd was handed the penalty after it pleaded guilty to 14 charges of providing false information, in breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The company was also ordered to pay $22,581 in costs.
Vincent Marino, an assessor at the business who was also a director at the time the offences were committed in September and October of 2016, also pleaded guilty to five charges and was ordered to pay $5,000 in costs, SafeWork said in a public statement.
According to the safety regulator, ATTA had been an approved registered training organisation, including for the provision of licences for high-risk workplace activities.
The court, it said, heard allegations that ATTA had falsified assessment notices for students of basic scaffolding and forklift licences, by stating they had attended a full two-day course, when they had only done half days, finishing up at lunchtime each day.
Furthermore, WorkSafe said “a number of students” gave evidence that various mandated components of the course had not been covered, despite their certifications’ notices stating they had been completed.
Affected students were given the option to either undergo re-assessment or show evidence of their competency in the relevant areas.
“The matter was a catalyst for changes in 2017 that saw WorkSafe become responsible for registering independent assessors in addition to its existing role of registering the training organisations,” WorkSafe said in its statement.
Julie Nielsen, the agency’s health and safety executive, said the training requirements are in place to ensure workers return home safely at the end of every work day.
“Without certified training, inexperienced and possibly incompetent workers operating machinery would pose a potentially deadly risk to themselves and all around them,” she said.
“Registered trainers have a legal responsibility and a community obligation to train workers properly and WorkSafe will not tolerate assessors or organisations who cut corners or fail to play by the rules.”