A decision of the Queensland Industrial Court has confirmed that personal liability for a failure to comply with WHS obligations under the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (QLD) (Mining Act) will continue to exist even when the person charged ceases to be 'subject to' the Mining Act.

The Court in this case (Addinsall & Ors v Bell [2016] ICQ 002) dismissed an appeal by one of the Site Senior Executive's charged with failure to comply with his personal safety obligations under the Mining Act. He appealed the charges on the basis that he had ceased performing the Site Senior Executive role four months prior to the date of the breach of the Mining Act.

The Court found that 'A failure to comply with an obligation need not coincide with an event which is alleged to have been the result of that failure. A failure to comply may result in an injury at a time when the particular person is no longer bound by the [Mining] Act'.

What does this mean for your organisation?

Individuals with personal safety obligations under safety legislation (including state specific WHS legislation) should be mindful of the fact that liability in relation to any breach will not necessarily end when they leave an organisation or cease in a particular position.