Offender fined $90,000 over workplace negligence incident
Date:May 07, 2019
In Australia alone, 16 per cent of all serious work-related injury claims are caused by employees being hit by moving objects, according to the most recent data from Safe Work Australia. As the below case demonstrates, the consequences can be extremely debilitating for those who suffer this type of incident.
Relationship of the offender and victim
The offender was a business in the civil construction industry, specialising in roadworks, site remediation and earthworks. To fulfil the above tasks, the business owned and/or operated a dump truck. As part of its operations, the offender provided an operator to maneuver the truck, and a plant mechanic to repair any problems with the vehicle as part of the hire agreement. The mechanic was allocated tasks and was supervised by the offender. The mechanic was also the victim of the case.
Background to the workplace incident
On June 29, 2016, the victim was instructed by the defendant to undertake repairs to the dump truck. In order to access part of the mechanical systems, the victim required the truck's main body to stay in a raised position. Whilst the victim was undertaking repairs to the truck, the main body of the vehicle unexpectedly lowered from its raised position and crushed the victim between the body and chassis of the truck. As a result, the victim suffered a number of spinal fractures, a broken hand and psychological injuries. He underwent rehabilitation to regain the ability to walk.
What did the offender fail to do?
As the employer of the victim, the offender had a duty to ensure the health and safety of all workers, and eliminate potential risks. However the offender was unsuccessful in doing so by failing to:
- Conduct an appropriate risk assessment of the repairs task whilst working beneath the raised body of the dump truck.
- Develop, implement and enforce a safe operating procedure for tasks associated with the mechanical repair of the dump truck.
- Provide instruction and training to workers in relation to the risks associated with working beneath the raised body of the truck.
- Display warning signs to the dump truck alerting workers of potential dangers.
The court found that the victim's injuries and overall offence was serious, and after taking in the above failings, imposed a fine of $90,000 (after a 25 per cent discount for plea of guilt) on the offender.
If you've been injured as a result of workplace negligence, get in touch with the expert lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners and find out how we can help you.