Rugby league club fined $195,000 after armed holdup

Company fined for not having proper OH&S procedures for an armed robbery situation

OH&S Club fined

Rugby League Club fined $195,000 after armed hold-up

Company: South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club

Date of judgement: 30 July 2004

The South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club has been fined $195,000 by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in Court Session following an armed robbery at the club’s Kingsford premises in 2002.

The club pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers under section 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000.

WorkCover told the court that on the evening of 5 March 2002, a man wearing a balaclava and brandishing a knife entered the club’s gaming lounge, took the doorman hostage and forced three employees in the cash handling area to hand over $10,409.

WorkCover said the club had failed to put in place measures that would deter armed hold-ups, such as close circuit tv; duress alarm buttons; limits on cash kept on the premises, and staff training in security emergencies.

The employees involved in the robbery all required time off work and received counselling due to the trauma to which they were exposed.

In handing down the penalty, Justice Boland said: “The circumstances at the club on 5 March 2002 presented themselves almost as an invitation for the premises to be robbed and, in the process, for employees to be placed at serious risk of harm.”

WorkCover Chief Executive, Jon Blackwell, said: ”Armed holdups present a serious threat to employees in all workplaces where large amounts of cash are handled.

“Employers have a statutory duty to ensure that employees are not exposed to the risk of injury or trauma.”

WorkCover Issue 59 December 2004 - February 2005