The defendant held duties under s.43 (1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 as a worker employed to perform basic scaffolding.
On 22 July 2015, he was performing scaffolding work and was observed operating a forklift truck involved in a safety incident, namely unsecured scaffolding components fell from the tynes of the forklift. The health and safety manager confirmed that the defendant did not hold a Queensland forklift licence. His employer stated that he was not employed or authorised to operate a forklift truck and that no one directed him to do so.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 3 March, 2017 to breaching s. 43 (1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet his work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke fined the defendant $3 000 and ordered professional and court costs totaling $964.40. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate acknowledged the defendant had engaged in a high risk activity without proper authorization, and the gravity of the offence was compounded by the defendant claiming to be suitably licensed when not so, producing a false licence. His Honour accepted that though the incident caused no injuries, the unsecured load fell onto a roadway and could have resulted in a more serious outcome, including injury to workers or other persons.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Clarke took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach and entered an early plea of guilty.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the electricity industry where there is exposure to risks from items falling from mobile plant, duty holders should apply a risk management approach to ensure the selection of suitable control measures.
Risk management involves identifying the hazards, evaluating the consequences and likelihood of harm that may result from the hazard, deciding and implementing control measures to prevent or minimise the level of the risk from the hazard and monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures to ensure they remain working correctly.
When deciding and implementing control measures associated with the risk of death or serious injury, obligation holders should consider:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
- Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace 2013 (PDF, 1.57 MB)
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Date of offence:
- Rockhampton Magistrates Court
- Jeffrey Clarke
- s.43 (1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: