Managers who fail to properly supervise apprentices performing high-risk work can be handed hefty fines under the recklessness provisions of the model WHS Act, the ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe has warned.
Two new guides have been released - Supervision of Apprentices and Supervision for Electrical Apprentices - state that a duty holder who fails to supervise a high-risk-work apprentice, and is found to be "reckless as to that risk", could be subject to a Category 1 penalty.
Category 1 penalties include a fine up to $600,000 and/or five years' imprisonment for an officer, and up to $300,000 and /or imprisonment for a PCBU * or worker.
"We have seen several accidents in recent months involving apprentices working alone doing high-risk work," McCabe said recently.
"Supervisors should be aware that they are responsible for the safety of all of their workers, and especially apprentices and trainees, who require a higher level of supervision than experienced workers.
“A supervisor's job is to act as a role model and a coach for these learners, many of whom are young and relatively inexperienced.”
The guidance notes outline a PCBU's primary duty of care, and explain how to determine the level of supervision required ensuring the safety of apprentices.
* PCBU – Person conducting a business or undertaking