Farm fined $80k following forklift incident
Gippsland vegetable farm Covino Farms Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $80,000 (plus $4573 costs) after a contractor was struck by a forklift. The company last week pleaded guilty in the Sale Magistrates' Court to failing to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that the workplace was without risks to health and safety.

In December 2016, the 50-year-old contractor was walking along a corridor at the company's Longford site when she was struck from behind by a forklift carrying crates of lettuce. The contractor was required to use the same corridor as forklifts to access a nearby room. She was treated for a dislocated shoulder, fractured pelvis, bruising and scarring, and has been unable to continue working in her role.

Covino Farms has since painted crossings and provided pedestrians with an alternative walkway to separate them from forklifts.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said it was unacceptable for workplaces to ignore the extreme dangers moving machinery such as forklifts can pose to pedestrians. "Forklifts and pedestrian workers should be able to safely co-exist where reasonably practicable control measures are in place, however when they are not the consequences are often severe," she said.

The company has had two previous convictions: two years ago, it was fined a total of $85,000 over two serious safety incidents that occurred within several weeks in early 2015. In the first incident a worker was run over by a tractor attachment, and in the other a labour hire worker stepped into an uncovered drain, lacerating his leg.  Read more: WorkSafe media release

Corkman pub owner fined over demolition
160 Leicester Pty Ltd, the sole proprietor of the Corkman Irish Hotel in Carlton has been convicted and fined $45,000 (plus $6,879 in costs) for breaching sections 26  and 9 of the OHS Act. In October 2016 the Corkman Irish Hotel was demolished; a large amount of waste left at the site including asbestos containing material ("ACM"). Subsequent intervention and testingrevealed a relatively small quantity of non-friable asbestos present at the worksite, and according to air monitoring, the risk to health was considered to be negligible.

However, before demolition the company failed to identify ACM that was likely to be disturbed by the demolition work and ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, it was removed, as required by the Asbestos regulations.

On 30 May 2017, a notice was served under s.9 requiring the company to provide WorkSafe with information and documentation. The company only responded after the compliance date had expired, by providing a copy of the notice with hand written annotations. The only responses provided were "unknown" and "unknown – unable to locate." WorkSafe did not receive any other responses or documents. The company pleaded guilty.

To check all of the recent prosecutions, go to the WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.

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