Prosecutions

Prison operator fined $75k after inmates injured
The Geo Group Australia Pty Ltd manages correctional services at the Fulham Correctional Centre, in Sale, Victoria.

The company employs inmates to undertake a variety of jobs, including metal work tasks. On 15 December 2017 three inmates were using a gantry crane to move a metal workbench weighing approximately 620kg. During the lift the gantry crane flipped over, seriously injuring two of the inmates.

WorkSafe's investigation concluded that this task was "dogging work" as defined by the OHS Regulations 2017, thus requiring a high risk work licence. None of the inmates held such a licence, nor was there a safe system of work in place for lifting and slinging of loads.

Following the incident Geo Group took remedial action including implementing a new lifting and suspended loads policy and having two of its industrial officers complete their Basic Dogging course.

The company pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $75,000 plus $3,891 costs.

Man fined for assaulting inspector
A man has been convicted and fined $3500 plus costs for assaulting a WorkSafe inspector at a construction site in Elwood.  The inspector had been driving past the site in October 2018 when he saw workers were working close to an unprotected edge more than two metres above the ground. He directed them to return to the ground for their own safety before asking for details. One of them refused to identify himself to the inspector: swearing and pacing around him, then twice spitting on him. He also hit the inspector’s notebook from his hand and attempted to take his identification. He later returned with his ‘red card’ to identify himself.  The 51-year-old man pleaded guilty to breaching s125 of the Act (hindering an inspector in the performance of his/her powers and assault).

Plumbing company charged after director falls
A. Alderton Plumbing Services Pty Ltd, a generalist plumbing company, has been sentenced to pay a fine of $20,000 (and costs of $4,725), without conviction after an incident in which the sole director fell 5 metres, sustaining a fractured vertebrae and lacerations to his head and knee.

In October 2017, the company was replacing about 400 square metres of roof and box guttering on a factory in Moorabbin, the roof of which sloped approximately 22 degrees from front to back. On the 26th three workers, including the sole director, were on the roof and were about halfway through replacing the roofing shields when the director fell through a gap between the existing roof and the safety mesh.

WorkSafe Inspectors attended and observed there were no side perimeter guard railing and no safety-harness system in place. A prohibition notice (later rescinded) was issued which prevented access to the roof. An Improvement notice was also issued requiring the company to control the risk of a fall from height.

To check for updates go to the WorkSafe Victoria Prosecutions Result Summaries page. 

NT: Woolworths escapes fatality prosecution
Mega company Woolworths Ltd has escaped prosecution relating to the death of a 47 year-old man who was run over while sleeping in one of its loading docks, after promising to spend almost $1.8 million on improving back docks, installing defibrillators and other safety initiatives.

The $1,793,500 enforceable undertaking (EU) with NT WorkSafe included a $1.6 million for capital upgrades to the infrastructure of back docks at all its Northern Territory stores, and for enhancing its traffic management controls to above what was required by WHS laws, WorkSafe acting executive director Melissa Garde said.  This was in addition to the $500,000 that Woolworths had already spent on securing the loading dock at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre in Leanyer where the fatality occurred, and other Woolworths loading docks in the Territory assessed as high-risk.
Read more: NTWorkSafe. Source: OHS Alert

NZ: company fined after worker killed
A New Zealand fruit juice company whose employee was killed after being dragged into machinery has been fined $NZ367,500 ($349,624) and ordered to pay $NZ141,000 ($134,141) to the employee's widower.

The young woman, 23, was cleaning machinery at the end of a night shift at The Homegrown Juice Company in Hastings on June 15, 2017, when a piece of her clothing was caught on a travelling hook of a bottle-filling machine. She was drawn into the machine and died of asphyxiation.

The company was sentenced in Hastings District Court on Wednesday, having pleaded guilty last year to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Source: The Age

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