ATTA Quality Training Pty Ltd was convicted in Sunshine Magistrates Court after it pleaded guilty to 14 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 of knowingly providing false information.
It was ordered to pay an additional $22,581 in costs. ATTA assessor Vincent Marino was also fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to five charges that mirrored those against ATTA. Marino, who was a director of ATTA at the time of offending in September and October 2016, was ordered to pay an additional $5000 in costs but was not convicted.
ATTA was a WorkSafe Victoria approved and registered training organisation (RTO) that conducted a range of OHS training courses, including those required to obtain high-risk work licences. The Court heard that ATTA falsified notices of assessment for students attending basic scaffolding and forklift courses by certifying that students had attended a full two-day course when they had actually finished at lunchtime each day.
It also heard that the notices certified that various mandated components of the courses had been completed when the evidence from a number of students was that those components were not covered. All affected participants were allowed to either show evidence of their competency or undergo reassessment.
WorkSafe Victoria became responsible for registering independent assessors in 2017 in addition to its existing role of registering the training organisations, as a result of the issue.
Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Health and Safety Director, said certified training for operators of certain types of equipment was critical for their health and safety. “Without certified training, inexperienced and possibly incompetent workers operating machinery would pose a potentially deadly risk to themselves and all around them,” Nielsen said. “Registered trainers have a legal responsibility and a community obligation to train workers property and WorkSafe will not tolerate assessors or organisations who cut corners or fail to play by the rules.”
WorkSafe Victoria added that people must not do high-risk work unless they hold an appropriate licence in relation to that work. These include scaffolding, rigging, crane, hoist and forklift licences. Training for a high-risk work licence must be provided by a WorkSafe Victoria RTO and assessments must only be undertaken once RTOs are affiliated with a WorkSafe Victoria-authorised individual assessor and the affiliation is acknowledged by WorkSafe Victoria.
Source: NSCA Foundation