The defendant company held duties under s.19 (1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and operated two businesses. One was crane hire and transport equipment, supplying cranes and operators. The other was the manufacture and sale of semi-trailers and modifying and repairing used equipment. The businesses operate at the same location.
On 18 March, 2016 workers from both businesses were working together in a 'one-off' job. A fourth year apprentice was welding modifications on a steel beam weighing 4.2 tonnes. A Franna crane contacted one of the beams, which fell onto the worker pinning him to the ground. He sustained a broken leg, dislocated hip and pelvic fractures.
On 8 June 2018, the defendant pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Kay Ryan fined the defendant $60,000 and ordered professional and court costs totalling $1092. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate acknowledged that the incident was not the fault of the injured worker. He did not hear the instruction to clear the area due to wearing protective equipment and was not actively involved in the work the crane driver was performing. Her Honour took into account the seriousness of the breach, identifying that the SWMS had not been followed and an exclusion zone was not implemented. She noted the significant injuries sustained by the worker but accepted in mitigation the worker had made a full recovery with the support of the defendant and is now working full-time.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Ryan took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach in 26 years of operation, 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 moving plant, duty holders should consider the following:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice 2021 (PDF, 0.65 MB)
- Managing risks of plant in the workplace code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.57 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Broken leg, dislocated hip, pelvic fractures, chipped hip bone
- Toowoomba Magistrates Court
- Magistrate Kay Ryan
- s.32 of the duty under s.19(1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: