Safety liability is highlighted

An armed robber who could injure workers.
An armed robber who could injure workers.

BRISBANE lawyer Mark O'Connor says a Rockhampton man suing his employer after suffering injuries in a workplace robbery has focused renewed attention on employer workplace safety liability.

He said publicity about Glenn Herley, of Rockhampton, who is suing his former employer for more than $850,000 after a robber slashed him in a workplace attack should encourage all employers to check on staff safety protection measures.

His warning comes after a spate of recent armed robberies in Rockhampton.

Mr Herley claims his former employers were negligent and failed to take care of his safety when he was alone in an outside relocatable office when he was attacked by an intruder in August 2009.

Mr O'Connor, a compensation law expert and a director of Brisbane law firm Bennett and Philp Lawyers, said it was not unusual for a worker to sue his employer after a robbery, especially over lax security.

"There are cases of console operators at servos who have brought claims against their employers after armed robberies of the premises," Mr Connor said.

"The issue is whether it could be envisaged the worker could be exposed to risk and was enough done to safeguard them?

"Employers have an obligation to provide for the safety of their employees but the key is whether possible risk could be reasonably foreseen?"

Mr O'Connor said banks, servos and late-night convenience stores were more vulnerable to robbers and so there was a heavier onus on employers to safeguard employees.

"In some places staff are behind security screens and some servos have a late night security door button so staff can screen customers before they are allowed into the building.

"The banking industry and more risk-likely businesses such as servos and late-night convenience stores know of the risks of robbery but the safety responsibility applies to all workplaces.

"Employers need to review their security and ensure their staff are not at risk from robbers," Mr O'Connor said.

Topics:  mark o'connor, robbery, workplace health and safety



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