Michael Tooma is a regulatory and investigation and an environment social and governance (ESG) specialist. Michael regularly advises clients globally on ESG issues including responding to incidents, undertaking investigations, acting in inquiries including coronial inquiries and advising regarding ESG systems, processes, policy culture and leadership.
Michael is the author of numerous books. His work has included speaking at UNIDO conferences including presenting to the General Assembly and being on the taskforce for the development of the Global Manifesto for Industrial Safety. Michael is a thought leader on health and safety issues.
His books include books on Due Diligence, Mental Health at Work, Incident Investigations, Dealing with Regulators and the COVID pandemic. Michael regularly investigates psychosocial incidents and workplace culture and proactively implements mental health and wellbeing programs.
Michael is the leading industry expert in relation to COVID Mandatory Vaccination roll out to businesses in Australia. He is advising boards and executives on business legal obligations and risks in relation to enforced employee vaccination.
Michael's practice covers specialist safety related regulatory regimes, particularly occupational health and safety, security and anti-terrorism, product safety, aviation safety, rail safety, construction safety, food safety, maritime safety, road safety and chain of responsibility.
His practice involves all aspects of crisis management and he responds to major incidents in the Asia Pacific region. Michael also proactively advises his clients on health, safety, product safety and security compliance issues on a global basis, including assisting in the development and implementation of global compliance systems.
Michael is a core member of the firm's resilience team. The team delivers solutions to clients with the aim of building organisational resilience.
Michael is the author of numerous books on health and safety law in Australia and New Zealand. His books are prescribed in Universities and often cited in academic literature and judgements and are standard references for safety and legal practitioners alike.
Michael is consistently ranked Band 1 in Chambers legal directory and is recognised by Best Lawyers, Legal 500 and Doyle's Guide.
- Mining and resources – undertaking a global benchmarking review for a global mining and resources company which involved developing an assessment model, surveying the businesses of the company and 10 peers and reporting on best practice in safety across industries. Participants in the projects included leading companies in the aviation, rail, defence forces, construction, manufacturing, mining and oil & gas industries
- Construction – acting for a construction company in successfully defending a prosecution because of a defect in the manner in which the prosecution was brought in the criminal charges were signed by a person not authorised to commence such proceedings. We were successful in the District Court of NSW. The NSW Attorney General appealed to the Supreme Court of NSW and the appeal was dismissed. The matter resulted in retrospective legislation aimed at curing a significant number of cases affected by the same defect
- Aviation – assisting a major airline in its preparedness for the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (NZ) including undertaking a legal gap analysis of its safety management system, developing policies and delivering a series of training workshops with the Board, the senior leadership team and managers across the business
- Aviation – acting for a major airline in relation to an incident in an Australian Airport in relation to an injury to a worker who was crushed by a high speed door. We secured an enforceable undertaking in relation to the incident which resulted in a significant investment in safety improvement
- Mining – undertaking a global benchmarking review for a global mining original equipment manufacturer including delivering a report setting out the blueprint for a global best practice health and safety framework
- Transport – undertaking a review of the stevedoring and logistics businesses of a major logistics company, including undertaking implementation audits
- Transport – providing the owner of one of Australia's state rail infrastructure systems with an objective external assessment of their safety culture, focusing on leadership, safety management system design, human factors, systems/tools and organisational resilience
- Infrastructure – undertaking a gap analysis and safety culture maturity assessment for a broadcast infrastructure company including conducting a series of interviews with a cross-section of the organisation and delivering a report with recommendations for improvement
- Inquiries – acting for an electricity utility company in a landmark case relating to a fatal incident involving a line worker which included an application to the Supreme Court of NSW quashing initial coronial findings of a work related cause of death. We acted in the subsequent coronial inquest which determined the cause of death to be a coronary artery disease and not related to the work being performed
- Oil & gas – acting for a petrochemical company in relation to a regulatory investigation by the health and safety regulator regarding an oil spill at one of its refineries including proposing and negotiating an enforceable undertaking on its behalf which resulted in a significant innovative initiative designed to improve health and safety
- Oil & gas – developing the offshore emergency management plan for a state owned oil & gas operator in the Asia Pacific region
- Oil & gas – conducting a comprehensive internal investigation and advising on liability in regards to a workplace death on a major LNG oil and gas project
- Oil & gas – acting as defence counsel for our client who was injured in a non-fatal gas explosion while working on a gas leak as part of his employment. The matter resolved with the prosecutor withdrawing proceedings with no order as to costs
- Telecommunications – conducting a comprehensive audit of a telecommunication company's Australian and New Zealand sites and desktop workplace health and safety systems
- Government – assisting a government department in a full review of their approach to officer due diligence and the organisation's practices and perceptions around safety leadership