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Occupational health and safety

Our team provides employers with expert legal advice in managing workplace health and safety risks.  We have a wealth of experience in criminal and employment law, including:

  • Incident investigations
  • Regulatory prosecutions
  • Risk management
  • Coronial inquests
  • OH&S management systems
  • Training

The Hon. Jeff Kennett on mental health in the workplace


Our services

24/7 Incident Response Service

From experience, we know that when you are faced with an urgent health and safety incident, environmental incident or an industrial relations issue, this is a very stressful time and demands your immediate attention.

Our Incident Response Service is on call 24/7 and is accessed by simply calling 0411 111 000 or using the Lander & Rogers Incident Response Service App in your iPhone. The service will ensure you are immediately transferred to one of the senior lawyers in our Workplace Relations & Safety team, who will deal with your matter.

The benefits of using our Incident Response Service include:

  • immediate legal management of a health and safety, environmental or industrial relations issue
  • where appropriate, the attachment of legal professional privilege to early discussions surrounding a health and safety, environmental or industrial relations issue
  • our liaising with various authorities your behalf, such as workplace safety regulators, the coroner, police and emergency services
  • receiving advice on any incident notification requirements, as defined under state and Federal OH&S laws
  • ensuring consistency of legal approach throughout Australia
  • achieving quick and practical solutions for our clients' businesses.

Advice and training

We help employers introduce and implement policies and procedures to ensure compliance with their statutory and common law obligations under OH&S legislation.

We also develop and deliver training to directors and officers, managers and employees in relation to OH&S compliance, risk management and incident management, including:

  • the development and review of OH&S management systems
  • contractor management systems
  • incident and crisis management systems
  • workplace safety policies and procedures
  • legal compliance
  • directors' and officers' liability
  • improvement, prohibition and provisional improvement notices
  • workplace bullying
  • changes to work health and safety law and how they will impact your business. 

We are also happy to develop and tailor specific training for our client\'s needs.

Coronial Inquests

Our team regularly advises and represents both government and commercial clients in coronial inquests. We act for both individuals and corporations in this highly specialised jurisdiction.

During coronial hearings, it is critical that a flexible approach is taken, to deal with any unexpected avenues of inquiry and deflect those which have the potential to cause difficulty for later civil or other proceedings.

We understand that special considerations arise in representing clients before the coroner and we are experienced in the particular nuances of the criminal justice system (within which the coroner operates), as well as the potential civil liability that may result from a coronial hearing.

Investigations

After a workplace incident occurs, several types of investigations may be conducted. For example, the WorkSafe regulator may conduct an investigation and, if there has been a death, the police will often investigate on behalf of the coroner.

We are able to conduct workplace incident investigations on behalf of employers and in parallel to the regulators, the police and the coroner, so that we can arm our clients with the right information to defend themselves against prosecution. We know what evidence to focus on and what to look out for, and we advise our clients on how best to deal with the other investigating bodies.

Our investigations are generally conducted under legal professional privilege, which limits the extent to which the findings of an investigation can be disclosed. This allows an employer to understand the reasons why an incident occurred and how it can be prevented from occurring again.

Read more about our services in relation to workplace investigations and other types of investigations.

Litigation and defence

Our team regularly defends employers which are being prosecuted by regulators under both OH&S and criminal law, including white collar crime. We also provide advice on minimising the impact of a prosecution on a client\'s business and its employees.

We liaise and negotiate with the prosecution to get the best result for our client. We regularly settle OH&S and other criminal matters with the prosecution and appear at plea hearings on behalf of our clients to mitigate the offence and minimise any penalties.

Our expertise also includes negotiating alternatives to OH&S prosecutions, such as enforceable undertakings. An enforceable undertaking is an agreement that our client will not be prosecuted for breaches of the OH&S Act, in exchange for taking steps to contribute to health and safety at their workplace.

Enforceable undertakings can provide a number of significant advantages for employers, including gaining certainty about the outcome of safety breaches, avoiding the delays and costs inherent in the prosecution process and ultimately avoiding a criminal conviction.



Client success story

We successfully defended a large national manufacturer, which was prosecuted by the Victorian Government following a workplace incident in which an employee's hand became trapped between the gears of a machine. The incident resulted in partial amputation of the tips of two fingers of the employee's right hand.

It was alleged by the prosecution that the machine lacked sufficient guards as it allowed the employee to access moving parts while the machine was still slowing down.
At trial, we were able to demonstrate before a judge and jury that our client had taken wide-ranging measures to identify and control the risks posed by the machine.

As a result, the jury was satisfied that the employer had done everything that was reasonably practicable to assess and identify the risks associated with this machine and acquitted our client.

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