Worksafe wants to chat to Freddy about accident

Farmer Freddy


When Pebbles’ cellphone rings but she doesn’t recognise the number that flashes up. 

“Hi Pebbles, it’s Garth.  I am the lawyer that will be helping your Dad with the Worksafe investigation about his farm accident.”

“Hi Garth,” said Pebbles.  “I have been expecting a call from you.”

“Pebbles, Worksafe has got wind of Freddy’s improvement to his health.  The inspector that is investigating Freddy’s accident was wondering whether they could schedule an interview with him this week,” said Garth. 

“I’m not so sure that Freddy is up to that at this point in time,” said Pebbles. “Freddy has fallen ill again with pneumonia and now is just not the right time for a Worksafe interview.”

“That’s ok.  We need Freddy’s health to improve first,” said Garth.  “Worksafe will want to speak to Freddy at some point, but the time for that must be reasonable.  We must be careful to be seen as co-operative, and not obstructive.  For now, Freddy has a reasonable explanation why he give an interview, and I will explain that to Worksafe.  Keep me updated on Freddy’s condition.”

“I will, thanks Garth,” said Pebbles.  “While I have you on the phone, do these new changes in the Health and Safety Reform Bill make any difference to Freddy’s situation?  I hear that there have been some changes made to the proposed Bill that mean that not all parts of the farm will be a workplace.  Is that correct?” asked Pebbles. 

“In part, that is correct.  Because Freddy’s accident has happened before the new law has passed, it will continue to be investigated under current workplace safety laws, so the changes won’t make any difference to how Freddy’s accident is investigated.  Under the proposed changes, the concept of a workplace has been clarified in regards to farms.  The changes mean that only farm buildings and structures necessary for the operation of the farm business and the immediate areas will be considered a workplace all of the time,” explained Garth. 

“But weren’t the changes meant to address concerns raised by farmers about their obligations to the public who were allowed access across their farm for recreational purposes?” asked Pebbles. 

“Yes, that is correct,” said Garth.  “Farm buildings and places where farming work is carried out will still be considered a workplace under the new law, but farmers will not owe health and safety obligations to a tramper who wishes to cross part of the farm to get to a walking track.  In Freddy’s case, because his accident happened in a farm building and while he was working on the farm, his accident will still be covered under the new changes.”

“Thanks for that Garth,” said Pebbles.  “That has been an on-going concern for farmers for quite some time.  I will let you know when Freddy’s health improves.

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 

 

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Philip McCarthy