Kozarov – A Bit of A No Brainer

The High Court has confirmed that where a risk to health and safety is obvious and foreseeable an employer must take proactive steps to reduce that risk. Uh how is this news and why on earth was the case appealed by the employer (a State Government department) all the way to the High Court. It seems that we still can’t get our head around the fact that psychological risk is just like any other risk and must be proactively identified and reduced so far as is practicable. What is even more astounding is that the worker was working in the Specialist Sexual Offences Unit – psychological harm pretty foreseeable there. Not surprisingly the High Court observed that Ms Kozarov’s role within the SSOU involved an inherent and obvious danger to the psychiatric health of all SSOU employees such that the State of Victoria owed a duty of care to all employees to proactively reduce their risk of psychiatric harm.
In 2006 I wrote an essay as part of my law degree setting out why OHS law applied equally to psychological risks in the workplace as to any other risk. It’s a bit sad we are still arguing over it.
Kozarov v State of Victoria [2022] HCA 12