Prosecutions

Swim school fined $150k
A Ballarat swim school was last week convicted and fined $150,000 over an incident in which a student became a quadriplegic when she dived into the shallow end of a pool and struck her head on the floor. 

De Kort Enterprises Pty Ltd, which operates the Swim and Survival Academy, pleaded guilty in the Ballarat County Court to failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The court heard that the 12-year-old girl was instructed to dive into a toddler pool with a water depth of about 1.37 metres during a swimming lesson in 2016. She struck her head on the bottom - and was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne with a severe spinal injury. The young girl spent nearly 200 days, and still requires 24-hour care.

The Department of Education has also been charged with breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was is to appear in court in June.
Read more: WorkSafe media release; ABC news online.

Warnambool abattoir convicted, fined $95k for forklift incident
Midfield Meat International Pty. Ltd. (MMI) operates an abattoir in Warrnambool (the workplace). Behind the site's main office building is a yard area comprising of a number of loading and unloading areas for various bins, a forklift refilling station, parking for personal use vehicles and an area for the movement of stock between pens.

On 30 October 2017, an employee and the director of the company were standing in the middle of the yard in the "thoroughfare". There were no designated pedestrian walkways or physical barriers to designate pedestrian only areas. At the same time another employee was loading his truck. After filling a bin with skins, he drove a forklift back through the thoroughfare towards his truck. His view was obscured by the full bin; he heard someone yell out "stop, stop." He had hit the two people in the thoroughfare. The worker sustained two fractured ribs; the director was not seriously injured.

A WorkSafe Inspector issued the company with three improvement notices. The company was charged with breaching section 21(1) of the OHS Act, pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined  $95,000 plus $4,000 costs.

Plumbing company fined $50k after student injured in fall
Sean Allan Plumbing Pty Ltd is a Middle Park company with both full-time employees and casuals, including a 16 year old Victorian Certificate of Adult Learning (VCAL) student studying one day a week.

the company had a job on Bay Street, Port Melbourne to remove and replace a pitched slate roof with corrugated roof sheets, and to remove and replace a flat roof and its two skylights. On 9 June 2017, student was clearing debris from the flat roof when he stood on a skylight and fell 5 metres through it, hit a steel balustrade and then tumbled 3 metres down a flight of stairs under the skylight. He suffered a broken rib, fractured vertebrae and bruising.

No Safe Work Method Statement ('SWMS') had been prepared for the High Risk Construction Work, nor was there any appropriate fall protection such as anchor points and a work positioning system. The company had also not provided the necessary information, instruction and training on working from height. The company had received two compliance notices at another site in 2011, one for failure to control falls from height and the other for failure to prepare a SWMS.

The company pleaded guilty and was with conviction fined $50,000 plus $3,500 in costs.

Fine for lack of fall protection
C&S plumbing, a roofing and plumbing company operating in the Benalla area, was engaged to install a roof at a residential property in Creswick.

On 30 June 2017, a WorkSafe Inspector attended the workplace following a service request to report persons working from the roof with no fall protection in place. The Inspector observed employees doing roofing works with no perimeter protection. The distance from the roof to the concrete below was between 3 and 5 metres. Further, the company had not prepared a safe work method statement for the roofing work.

Luckily, no incident occurred at the workplace prior to WorkSafe's intervention.

On 24 July 2018, C&S Plumbing pleaded guilty and was fined $2,000 (and costs of $3,115) without conviction. The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the sentence before Judge Lacava in the County Court sitting at Ballarat. HH set aside the orders of the Magistrates' Court and sentenced the company, without conviction, to pay a fine of $12,000 and costs of $3,115.

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

WA: Companies fined after worker's jaw broken
Two companies have been fined a total of $176,000 for an incident that broke a worker's jaw at the Cloudbreak iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The man was conducting maintenance work on the mine's conveyor belt system when he was struck in the face by a hook attached to a hand operated hoist in September 2014. He suffered a broken jaw, requiring the surgical insertion of a neurostimulator to suppress chronic pain.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Director Mines Safety Andrew Chaplyn said the hazards associated with conducting the maintenance work should have been addressed. "The man and a co-worker were tasked with replacing one of the return rollers on the conveyor system," Mr. Chaplyn said. "This task had work instructions that directed workers to use a particular Conveyor Belt Lifter to change return rollers on the conveyor system, however, he was not aware of the work instructions and neither worker had received any training on the work instructions." Source: Safety Culture OHS News

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