TWU NSW Member Wins Landmark Health and Safety Ruling

Release date: 11/12/2014

NSW Transport Workers’ Union secretary-elect Michael Aird hailed a landmark legal ruling, allowing a TWU member the right to choose his own Health and Safety Representative training provider, as a major step towards safer workplaces in NSW.
TWU NSW MEDIA RELEASE, 11 December 2014

Mr Aird said safety was a big issue for all workers, but especially in transport where the workplace fatality rate was 15 times the Australian average.
“This landmark decision will help save worker’s lives,” Mr Aird said.
“Last year alone, 65 people were killed at work in the transport, postal and warehouse industries.
“This case represents the first time WorkCover has ever made a decision on this Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation,” Mr Aird said.
WorkCover NSW made the decision in the case of Virgin Australia baggage handler Joe Hutchings, after the company refused to allow him to undertake training with the TWU, as was his right under NSW legislation.
Mr Hutchings said he was determined to do whatever it took to gain a definitive answer so that he and others wanting to undertake HSR training knew where they stood.
“Safety at work is the highest priority,” Mr Hutchings said.
“HSR training allows me to ensure my workplace is a safe, by giving me the skills and the knowledge to properly address safety issues before someone gets hurt.
“Now that this precedent has been set, other HSRs are free to choose where they want to do their training,” Mr Hutchings said.
Mr Hutchings completed his HSR training through the TWU earlier this month.
Mr Aird said it would have been much easier for Joe to do Virgin’s training, but he fought on principal for his right to undertake training with his union.
“Joe’s determination and this ruling have established a legal precedent for all workers in New South Wales,” Mr Aird said.

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