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Building Construction, Government ACT

‘Disgraceful’ response to paraplegic worker highlights urgent need for judicial reform

CFMEU ACT 2 mins read

CFMEU ACT has called for new judicial guidelines after a building site supervisor was ordered to make a video over a worker being left paraplegic.

ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker sentenced Karl Allred to a three-year good behaviour bond and ordered him to create a second work health and safety video for use in the construction industry.

In his first effort, Allred – who pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a health and safety duty exposing a person to risk of death or serious injury – claimed the worker was "up there to try and impress me".

Allred provided no training and left the site before the worker's six-metre fall, which left him paraplegic for life.

CFMEU ACT Secretary Zach Smith said Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury needed to act.

"A worker is now paraplegic for life and the only consequence for the boss is being ordered to have another go at making a safety video after a disgraceful and offensive first try," he said.

"Canberrans will be rightly appalled with this outcome given it's so wildly out of step with community expectations.

"There's something gravely wrong with the system when a boss admits to exposing a worker to serious injury, makes a victim-blaming video and then winds up without even a fine.

"Karl Allred has taken no responsibility for leaving an unskilled and unsupervised worker paraplegic.

"Claiming the worker was trying to impress him, then suggesting he was lazy and complacent, is sickening.

"The attorney-general must urgently update judicial guidelines so a so-called penalty like this is never handed out again.

"Worksafe's resources shouldn't be poured into helping guilty bosses make videos masquerading as some sort of contrition for unconscionable behaviour.

"Worksafe should never have agreed to helping people like this film crocodile tears to get them off the hook. A decent regulator must do everything in its power to make sure dodgy bosses cop the full whack."

Contact details:

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 /

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