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Details of successful prosecution against E245407

Incident description

The defendant held duties under s.19 of the Work Health Safety Act 2011. He was a member of a family trust partnership that owned and operated two properties. He was responsible for the management of one of these properties, lived on site and provided training to workers.

On 28 July 2017 two workers were preparing to undertake fencing work on the property. Their task required them to load new 600kg coils of wire to a tractor mounted crane. The process involved placing the new rolls on the ground, putting the spool through the centre of the roll, attaching the spool to the crane and lifting to an upright vertical position. The workers would then position the roll onto a spinner (for feeding the wire roll out for fencing) which required movement of the roll and visual inspection for correct placement onto the spinner. This required the workers to be in close proximity to the roll to visually ensure it connected and fitted properly onto the spinner. The locking pin, essential to ensure the wire and spindle did not fall, was not inserted into the bolt (through the capping device) on this occasion. The roll of wire fell from the crane onto one of the workers, who sustained two fractures to the pelvis, a fracture to the ankle and a fracture to the tailbone.

This particular task had been completed approximately 80 times. However, on about 20 to 30 occasions, the locking pin had not been used. During the Work Health Safety Queensland investigation, the injured worker and his co-worker indicated the defendant had instructed them that not using the locking pine would save time in the work process. The defendant confirmed there were occasions when they did not use the locking pin, but that post incident he would always ensure it is in use.

Court result

On 11 April 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet his work health and safety duties and was sentenced.

Magistrate Mack fined the defendant $60,000 and ordered professional and court costs totalling $1,289.40. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.

The Magistrate noted the incident was simple to avoid, the instruction to be given was simple and the design was there to be used with the mechanism available. His Honour commented that the offending was made worse by the ease with which it could have been avoided.

Magistrate Mack took into account the defendant's remorse, good character and that he had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach. The defendant co-operated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty.


Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Date of offence:
Fracture injuries to pelvis, ankle and tailbone
Townsville Magistrates Court
Magistrate Mack
s.32, duty 19(1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
Maximum Penalty:
Conviction recorded:
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