HEIGHT RISKS OBSERVED BY INSPECTOR ATTRACT 15K FINE
In April 2021 Express Sheet Metal Pty Ltd had been engaged to install ‘whirly bird’ ventilators on a factory roof in Dandenong when a WorkSafe inspector observed an elevated work platform, without an operator in the basket, raised about 10 metres onto the roof canopy.
The engine of the EWP was still running when, after several minutes, a person appeared at the live edge of the roof canopy and attempted to climb back into the basket. The person was observed wearing a safety harness with the lanyard removed and no fall arrest system attached to an anchor point.
The inspector directed the person to stop work observing the EWP was in a poor state of repair and a certification plate indicating it was overdue for an inspection.
The safety harness had visible damage with manufacturer dates on the energy absorber and harness indicating a service removal date of 2018.
An improvement notice was subsequently issued, and enquiries revealed the worker’s high-risk licence expired 18 months beforehand.
On 20 May 2021 the inspector re-attended to follow up on the improvement notice, which had been complied with.
The offender pleaded guilty and was without conviction sentenced to pay a fine of $15,000.00 and to pay costs of $2,908.00.
DEATH ATTRACTS $800K IN FINES, DESIGNERS & SUPPLIERS WARNED
In May 2019, a worker was fatally crushed at L&M Radiator, manufacturer, and servicer of industrial radiators, when a suspended radiator that was passing fell from an overhead gantry crane after lifting chains failed.
A WorkSafe WA investigation found the worker was working in what should have been a designated exclusion zone passed over by suspended loads.
It also found which supplier of the lifting chains, Chain Applications Pty Ltd, failed to advise that L&M's site was a corrosive environment that could affect the integrity of the chains.
As a result of its investigation, WorkSafe issued a safety alert, warning certain lifting chains, as well as components like hooks, shackles and links, are ‘susceptible to embrittlement and brittle overload in corrosive environments’ found in radiator repair workshops, electroplating workshops, galvanising workplaces or any other industries where items are placed in corrosive baths to clean or treat materials.
‘The addition of heat, such as a heated caustic bath can increase the level of corrosion and embrittlement. Alloy lifting chains can also be affected if they are used or stored near such corrosives, because of corrosive fumes in the atmosphere.’
R&M pleaded guilty to breaching the OSH Act in failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment, causing a fatality through that failure. Chain Applications pleaded guilty to causing a death by failing to comply with its duty as a designer, manufacturer or supplier to provide adequate information.
Source: OHS Alert, 31 October, 2022.