The defendant company held duties under s.19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and operates a business involving abrasive blasting and application of protective coatings to items of steel product. The business owned and operated various items of plant including an 8 tonne mobile yard crane for load shifting.
As a consequence of a fatality that occurred at the workplace on 23 November 2015 the mobile crane was inspected and the following defects were identified – all wheel brakes were defective (only 4% braking efficiency), defective park brake, broken boom operating wire lifting cables, non-operational headlights, taillights, warning light and a non-operational horn. The defendant had systems in place for maintenance of plant, including an on-site mechanic and work-shop, though this crane had not received appropriate mechanical repair for a lengthy period. The defendant was prosecuted for the defective state of the mobile yard crane.
The defendant pleaded guilty on 22 June 2018 in the Ipswich Magistrates Court to breaching s.33 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate David Shepherd fined the defendant $50,000 and ordered professional and court costs totalling $1,092.55. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate noted the risk from operating large mobile plant within the workplace was obvious and the risk from defective plant, particularly brakes, was real given the nature of the plant being operated within this restricted environment – hence the need for adequate systems of maintenance. His Honour acknowledged that there was no evidence that the plant's defects would be immediately apparent without inspecting the plant however it would have been relatively easy to have followed a planned maintenance schedule given there was a mechanic and workshop on-site.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Shepherd took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation 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 manufacturing industry where there is exposure to risks from being run over by defective mobile plant, duty holders should consider the following:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Mobile Crane Code of Practice 2006 (PDF, 1.34 MB)
- Managing the Risk of Plant in the Workplace Code of Practice 2021 (PDF, 1.57 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Ipswich Magistrates Court
- David Shepherd
- s.33 of the duty under s.19(1) of Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $50,000 fine
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: