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AG To Investigate Workplace Safety Fine Loophole

Occupational health and safetyThe state Attorney-General in Adelaide will be carefully looking into a legal loophole that allows insurers to pay fines placed upon businesses  who have been charged for unsafe work conditions.

The move came about following the death of a Adelaide desalination plant worker in Summer 2010.

Brett Fritsch, 35, died after  a 1.8-tonne steel beam fell onto him from a crane while it was being moved.

Rigging company Ferro Con SA and its director were prosecuted for breaking workplace safety laws.

The company was told to pay out $200,000, but its insurer covered the cost.

Unions called on the Government to close the loophole, saying it allowed companies to put a price on workers lives by making it cheaper to get insurance instead of implementing safety systems.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says businesses should not be able to choose insurance over safety.

“Imagine if you were able to get an insurance policy that said somebody else would go to jail if you committed an offence. What we’re looking at here is something pretty well in that space. Somebody else pays the fine instead of you,” he said.

“Some people are in effect insuring against criminal liability and having an insurance company basically pay their fines for them. It’s clearly unsatisfactory. It’s a way of companies actually dodging their responsibilities to keep workplaces safe.”

More info on Occupational Health and Safety  ( OHS )

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-30/insurance-liability-loophole/4924014

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