On 20 March 2012, a rigger received foot and rib fractures when a hoist car collided with him.
The defendant, a construction company, was building a multistorey residential building in Brisbane's CBD. The defendant hired a STROS man and materials hoist to use in the construction. The hire company undertook all repairs and maintenance of the hoist.
The defendant had organised with the hire company that a rigger be employed to observe the operation of the hoist during a 'jump' (where construction moves to the next level of the multistorey building). The hire company decided that the hoist car operator would not approach the mast while the rigger went out onto the mast of the hoist. About ten minutes after the hoist car operator had stopped and allowed the rigger to exit the hoist car, the hoist car operator was asked by the supervisor of the 'jump' to proceed to a level above the rigger. The hoist car operator forgot the rigger was on the mast of the hoist and continued to move the hoist. The hoist car collided with the rigger, injuring the rigger with foot and rib fractures.
The defendant company held duties under s.19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 being a person conducting a business or undertaking.
The defendant pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and after trial the court found it had breached s. 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Hall fined the defendant $40 000 and considered as it had not reoffended in the three years since the offence, there was little utility in imposing a s. 239 recognisance. The magistrate ordered professional and court costs totalling $12 000. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the magistrate acknowledged the defendant had breached its duty and the hire company did take some responsibility. The task was imposed on the defendant on short notice and during a busy time. There was a lack of communication as to how the activity was to take place, and the process was initiated by the hire company. However the two worked together.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Hall took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any workplace health and safety breach, cooperated with the investigation and the trial was conducted professionally.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When deciding and implementing control measures associated with the risk of moving plant, obligation holders should consider use of spotters, maintenance of exclusion zones, radio communication and use of a tag out system where appropriate.
- Date of offence:
- Fractures to right foot and rib cage
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Ms Elizabeth Hall
- s. 32 of the duty under s. 19 of Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $40 000
- Maximum Penalty:
- $1 500 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: