Dale advises and acts for both private and public sector employers in the areas of workplace health and safety, employment, anti-discrimination and industrial relations. Dale has extensive experience in all aspects of workplace health and safety related matters, including responding to regulator prosecutions, advising clients responding to safety regulator improvement notices and coronial inquests and public inquiries which often follow workplace deaths or other serious or significant workplace safety incidents.
Workplace health and safety
Dale regularly advises clients in the immediate response to critical workplace incidents, including workplace deaths. Dale has extensive experience in advising clients at this early stage with an eye on long term strategies that can impact the ability of his clients to properly respond to action from workplace safety regulators in Victoria, other States and Territories (including the ACT) and at a Commonwealth level. Dale also advises clients about appropriate policies, procedures, contractual arrangements and systems of work to ensure compliance with workplace safety laws and minimisation of risk exposure, including for company officers and directors who may be personally liable.
Work health and safety prosecutions
In 2016 Dale assisted a Victorian Local Council in the immediate aftermath of a workplace incident that caused the death of an employee at its Council depot. Dale’s knowledge of the regulatory processes and likely issues at an early stage combined with his ability to quickly respond as circumstances changed, together with his extensive litigation experience, enabled him to provide valuable advice to the client throughout what was a traumatic three-year long journey for all involved, lead to the client successfully defending criminal charges laid by WorkSafe Victoria and being acquitted of all charges by a jury in the County Court of Victoria in September 2019.
Work health and safety prosecutions
Dale is also currently acting for the Commonwealth of Australia (Department of the Environment and Energy) and assisting it to defend charges initiated against it by Comcare (Commonwealth safety regulator) regarding a workplace death that occurred in Antarctica. This hearing took place in the ACT Magistrates’ Court over 5 weeks and is currently awaiting judgment. Dale not only understands the various workplace safety regimes throughout Australia but has first-hand knowledge of how those regimes and the Courts in which those matters are heard in operate if they proceed to prosecution.
Dale has over 20 years of experience in inquest related matters, including reviewing inquest briefs for clients and providing advice regarding potential exposure to clients named as interested parties in coronial matters. Dale has been engaged by the Department of The Environment and Energy (acting for an Antarctic Base Station Leader) in a long drawn out inquest into the death of a helicopter pilot in Antarctica, which has raised several unusual issues, including jurisdictional limits of the Coroner, cross-over with criminal proceedings and privilege against self-incrimination. Dale assisted the Victorian State Coroner in the initial aftermath of the multiple fatalities that occurred in Bourke Street Melbourne in January 2017. Dale’s experience with Victoria Police (specifically eight years as a detective with the Victoria Police Homicide Squad), combined with his legal experience, means he has an intimate and unique knowledge of the functions of the coronial jurisdiction and regularly appears in this jurisdiction.
Prior to joining Maddocks, Dale enjoyed a successful 17-year career with Victoria Police as an investigator. Dale has extensive experience conducting large complicated investigations, including eight years as a detective with the Victoria Police Homicide Squad and Purana Taskforce investigating suspicious deaths and organised crime. Dale has undertaken extensive investigation training, including investigation techniques, investigation management, witness/suspect interviewing and evidence collection methods.
Plans, Masks, Records & Contact Tracing – What do Victorian Workplaces need to do from today?
Key directions for Victorian workplaces as outlined in the Workplace Directions (No 8).
Coronavirus – the ABCH guide for Australian employers as at 12 March 2020
Consider reviewing risk assessments and how you will be assured that employees are following your guidance