Adventure Tours Australia declined to pay Megan Elizabeth Woff compensation for the injury she sustained when she was struck by a snapped shackle of a 4WD tour bus which was towing a bogged car. The company reportedly refused to pay compo on the grounds that she was still a trainee at the time.
The company alleged that she was participating in a familiarisation tour – a prerequisite for any potential employee.
But Ms Woff brought the courts her claim that she was a “worker” under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
Magistrate John Lowndes said: “The breadth of the definition is immediately apparent – it covers a person who is performing work or service not only under a contract but also under an agreement.”
Tour group recruitment manager Steve Wright was unwavering in his feeling that she was simply taking part in a familiarisation tour and thus not an employee by the company at the time .
But Dr Lowndes said: “Mr Wright’s … justification for requiring Ms Woff to go on a familiarisation tour was implausible, illogical and lacked credibility.”
Lowndes was confident that an agreement had been made between Ms Woff and the tour company – rendering them liable for the injury.
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This news come soon after the untimely death of 21-year -old concreter Ben Catanzarity who died when a concrete boom struck and killed him. These type of incidents have even be have garnered it a reputation as an industry that profits off the marginalization of worker’s safety. Usher has even gone to refer to the atmosphere of workers as “apathetic” throughout Canberra.
In addition to the accused breaches, the site representative has also fused requests for Worksafe to visit the site.
Eventually inspectors closed the site due to the large number of non-compliance infractions and a general lack of interest of the company to improve safety. .
While these issues may have long gone undetected, that is no longer the case. Both WorkSafe ACT and the government are working in conjunction to take on a a hardline approach that will leave no room for these practices to continue.
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