WorkSafe making enquiries into KWM regarding ‘employee fatigue’

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WorkSafe making enquiries into KWM regarding ‘employee fatigue’

Melbourne Australia

King & Wood Mallesons’ Melbourne office has received an Improvement Notice from WorkSafe Victoria, “in relation to the management of employee fatigue in high pressure situations.”

The firm received the notice on 24 August 2018, with the firm’s chief executive partner Berkeley Cox affirming in response to questioning from Lawyers Weekly that “we take the safety and wellbeing of our people very seriously.”

A WorkSafe spokeswoman confirmed that “WorkSafe has been made aware of an alleged health and safety issue and is making inquiries.”

Speaking on behalf of King & Wood Mallesons, Mr Cox said: “We have specific processes to respond to workload demands and support employee wellbeing.”

The processes named by Mr Cox to address these issues include the bringing in of resources from other parts of the firm, the spreading of work across centres and teams, appointing additional permanent legal staff in dispute resolution, use of work rosters and utilisation of a casual workforce.

In a statement, the firm said: “We are taking the notice seriously and we are taking the time to develop a comprehensive and meaningful response.”


“We will be working with Worksafe to ensure they are satisfied that our systems are compliant, and we will formally respond to the notice within the required time frame,” it continued.

Mr Cox noted the firm is “actively looking at what else we can do to support our people working in high pressure situations.”

Lawyers Weekly understands that the firm has started internal processes to seek feedback from lawyers who have been involved in work on the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Under Victorian occupational health and safety legislation, employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect workers from injury by providing a working environment and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health and safety.

Whenever health and safety issues are alleged or identified, WorkSafe may issue an improvement notice that charges the employer with responsibility to rectify the breach.

Employers who fail to comply with the relevant legislation – the Occupational Health and Safety Act – may be prosecuted.

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is a senior writer for Lawyers Weekly and Wellness Daily at Momentum Media.

Jerome is an admitted solicitor in New South Wales and, prior to joining the team in early 2018, he worked in both commercial and governmental legal roles and has worked as a public speaker and consultant to law firms, universities and high schools across the country and internationally. He is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines self-help book series and is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Western Australia.

Jerome graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry).

You can email Jerome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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