ABCC wins OHS site entry appeal

by 13 Apr 2010

The Australian Building and Construction Commissioner has claimed victory in its Federal Court appeal to retain the right of unions to enter construction sites to inspect safety concerns.

The appeal was in response to a 2009 decision by a Federal Magistrate who found that two Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) representatives were lawfully refused entry to a construction site at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

The magistrate found that the union representatives had acted improperly - a decision which the Full Court dismissed.

“The ABCC alleged that the union organisers were unlawfully denied access to the site,” ABC Commissioner John Lloyd said.

The Full Court found that the ACT’s 1989 Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 gave unions the right to enter a site to investigate alleged OHS breaches, and that they could do so without giving prior notice.

“The laws do not exist only to protect contractors from unlawful intrusion and trespass. They also safeguard workers by ensuring legitimate OHS concerns can be addressed appropriately,” said Lloyd.