Details of successful prosecution against E186379
The defendant company ran a waste transfer station (a dump) and employed three people.
According to the defence, the operation and turnover were reasonably small. A (known) member of the public who had been dumping rubbish, enquired about car tyres and wheels dumped at the premises. He was advised that he could remove them using his own jack and brace. He was offered help by a worker operating a bob cat to suspend the vehicle, but declined the assistance.
In the process of removing the tyres, the car fell on him, fatally crushing him. A short time later a worker came to check on the progress of the tyre removal, and found him pinned under the car.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court on 13 November 2014 to breaching s.32 of the Act, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
It was accepted that whilst there was a general system (namely an offer assistance) in place to address such enquiries it was not adhered to on that day. On this occasion the system of communication among workers was defective. Post incident, the defendant completely overhauled its system of control. It no longer permits members of the public to undertake such tasks. This policy and system of control is recognised and implemented at other refuse sites.
Magistrate Simon Young fined the defendant $55 000 and ordered professional and court costs totaling $1079.40. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the magistrate accepted the timeliness of the plea, and gave the defendant the benefit of several mitigating features in addition to the genuine remorse on the part of its representatives.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Young 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. The court also acknowledged the victim impact statement presented by the son of the deceased.
Considerations for prevention
(Commentary under this heading is not part of the Court's decision)
A person conducting a business or undertaking should conduct risk assessments on all tasks to be carried out in the workplace to determine if the task should be allowed to proceed. In this case, a member of the public should not have been allowed to remove the tyres from the vehicle without proper control measures and supervision. A properly conducted risk assessment would have uncovered unacceptable risks.
Where risks of injuries have been identified, appropriate control measures should be implemented to ensure the safety of workers and other persons at the workplace. People performing the tasks should also be effectively trained and supervised when performing the task.
- Date of offence:
- Kingaroy Magistrates Court
- Mr Simon Young
- s.32 of the duty under s.19(2) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $55 000
- Maximum Penalty:
- $1 500 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number:
- Last updated
- 02 July 2018
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