Prosecutions

Victorian Prosecutions
Plumbing company fined for height-related risks 
Plumbing company K.C. & T.L. Murray Pty Ltd was on 16 March 2018 engaged to replace a gas hot water system on the roof of a three storey building. On 24 March 2018 WorkSafe received two photographs and video footage of the work being undertaken.

The company was using an Elevating Work Platform (EWP) on the back of a truck to access the roof of the building. An employee, operating the EWP from its basket, was using it to remove the old hot water system and pass the new hot water system up to an apprentice and the Company Director. There was no edge protection for those on the roof and no safety harness or guard railing in place. There was a risk of a fall from a height greater than 2 metres. There was also a risk of the EWP becoming unstable and tipping over as it was not on a solid level surface and remained on a vehicle.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 21 of the OHS Act, and was, without conviction, fined $7,500, plus costs of $3,592

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

QLD: company fined $250k for work near powerlines
Last week SafetyNet reported that Victorian company Rainshield Roofing Pty Ltd was without conviction fined $25,000 plus costs of $4,022 over an incident in which the handrail of the scissor lift made contact with both high and low voltage overhead power lines - luckily the two workers in the scissor lift were not injured. This week OHSAlertreports that Queensland billboard company Paradise Outdoor Building Company Pty Ltd found guilty, in the Mackay Magistrates Court, of breaching the State Electrical Safety Act 2002, after one of its employees received an electric shock from a 33 kilovolt overhead powerline while changing the skin on an advertising sign in 2016, was fined $250,000 (and costs of $7,475). The investigation and prosecution was carried out by the Queensland Electrical Safety Office.

The company failed to implement readily available measures to eliminate the risk of workers receiving an electric shock from a powerline: contacting the relevant power company and asking for the powerline to be raised (which it did after the incident at a cost of just $4,500), and properly training to its workers on exclusion zones and the need to stay at least three metres away from overhead powerlines
Source: OHSAlert
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UK: Floor layer killed by toxic fumes
Both the chemical supplier and flooring company were fined over lack of safety precautions which resulted in the death of a floor layer in the UK.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that on 4 September 2015, the 30-year-old worker was found dead on the bathroom floor by the owner of the house he was working in. The adhesive used to fix the flooring contained a large amount of the toxic substance dichloromethane.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that T Brown Group Ltd had not implemented any systems or procedures to adequately control the risks to its employees from working in an enclosed space with a substance known to be hazardous to health.  The decision on whether to wear respiratory protection (face masks) or on what type of respiratory protection should be used was left up to employees. The worker was found to be wearing a completely ineffectual face mask.

Altro Limited, the flooring company that supplied the adhesive, was found not to have ensured so far as reasonably practicable that the product supplied was safe to use at all times.

T Brown Group Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £250,000 (A$455,498) and ordered to pay full costs of £23,936 (A$43,611. Altro Limited also pleaded guilty to a breach of the Act and was fined £500,000 (A$911,005) and ordered to pay full costs of £34,773 (A$63,357).

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