Training organisation fined $200,000 for fraud

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Tuesday, 23 July, 2019 - 14:15
Incidents & prosecutions

An occupational health and safety training organisation has been convicted and fined $200,000 for falsifying scaffolding and forklift training records, while an assessor employed by the company has also been fined $25,000 without conviction.

ATTA Quality Training Services pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrates Court to 14 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of knowingly providing false information, and ATTA was also ordered to pay $22,581 in costs.

Assessor Vincent Marino pleaded guilty to five charges that mirrored the charges against ATTA.

Marino, who was also a director of ATTA at the time of the offending in September and October 2016, was also ordered to pay $5,000 in costs.

ATTA was a WorkSafe-approved registered training organisation which conducted a range of OHS training courses, including for people to obtain high-risk work licenses.

The court heard ATTA falsified notices of assessment for students attending courses in basic scaffolding and forklifts by certifying that students had attended a full two-day course when in fact the courses had finished at lunch time each day.

The court was told the notices certified that various mandated components of the courses had been completed when the evidence from a number of students was that those components were not covered.

All affected participants were provided with options to either show evidence of their competency or undergo re-assessment.

The matter was a catalyst for changes in 2017 that saw WorkSafe become responsible for registering independent assessors in addition to its existing role of registering the training organisations.

Certified training for users of particular types of equipment was essential to ensuring workers make it home safely each day, said WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen.

“Without certified training, inexperienced and possibly incompetent workers operating machinery would pose a potentially deadly risk to themselves and all around them,” Nielsen said.

“Registered trainers have a legal responsibility and a community obligation to train workers property and WorkSafe will not tolerate assessors or organisations who cut corners or fail to play by the rules.”