Archerfield Kart Hire Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in writing to breaching its duty as a person conducting a business or undertaking involving the management or control of fixtures, fittings and plant and the failures exposed persons to a risk of death or serious injury.
A 15 year old girl attended a motorised go karting track with her mother and 12 year old sister.
Following a verbal induction which included instruction on overtaking, speeding issues and flag signals, helmets were issued and karts were chosen. Staff observed and supervised the girls undertake a round of the track. Neither of the go karts were fitted with seat belts.
As the girl approached a turn in the track, she failed to slow and continued driving at speed. She collided with a tyre wall and was thrown forward. The force broke the steering column. She sustained cuts and abrasions requiring significant surgery.
A report prepared by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland engineering unit identified the tyre barrier at the location of the incident was ineffective in controlling deceleration of the kart during impact and that higher than average forces were applied to the driver. The risk of injury due to impact with parts of the kart during collision was not controlled. There is no requirement to fit seatbelts or safety harnesses to motorised go karts in Queensland. However the defendant failed to provide at least an equivalent safety outcome for patrons when compared with expected safety outcomes of a go kart and track which comply with the Australian Standard.
In sentencing the defendant the Magistrate took into account it had a previous conviction less than 2 years prior to this incident. The breach related to a failure to 'implement adequate and appropriate safety barriers and a failure to undertake a risk assessment', which resulted in a member of the public sustaining injuries.
His Honour identified this as an early plea of guilty, but found that general and specific deterrence were most relevant. Magistrate Noel Nunan fined the defendant $100 000 and ordered professional and court costs totaling $1092.90. A conviction was recorded.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the recreational services industry where there is exposure to risks from uncontrolled impact with fixtures, fittings or 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 high velocity impact between humans and fixtures or fittings, obligation holders should consider adequate design and construction of a collision system taking into account the type of barriers used, the type of go-kart in use, the design and layout of the track and consideration of participant/driver experience. Duty holders should also ensure fixtures and fittings are installed to provide energy attenuation limiting or minimising the risk of injury.
Visit the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website for information on:
- Arts and recreation services
- Archerfield Kart Hire Pty Ltd
- Date of offence:
- Cuts and abrasions requiring significant surgery
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Noel Nunan
- s.32 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $100 000 fine
- Maximum Penalty:
- $1 500 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: