No new results of prosecutions were put on the WorkSafe site this week - but to check over the next week, go to the WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.
NSW: PCBU & director fined after putting neighbours at risk
A PCBU and its director exposed four worksite neighbours to the risk of serious injury or death in ignoring their WHS obligations under time and cost pressures, a court has found in fining them a total of more than $200,000.
On 29 February 2016, the eastern side of a Liverpool, NSW building containing a hairdressing business and a residential apartment collapsed after ADN Investments Pty Ltd excavated the neighbouring property to 450mm below the building's brick foundations.
ADN pleaded guilty to breaching sections 19(2) and 32 of the State WHS Act in failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of "other persons" wasn't put at risk from the conduct of its business or undertaking. ADN director Adnan Yassine, who was responsible for ADN's WHS procedures and personally performed the excavation work that undermined the hairdressing building, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 27 and 32 in failing to exercise due diligence to ensure that ADN complied with its section-19(2) duties.
In the District Court, ADN was fined $180,000 after a 25 per cent discount for its guilty plea. Yassine was fined $30,000 after a high 40 per cent discount for his plea and willingness to provide evidence for the prosecutor in any proceedings that might be brought against the excavation site's owner, Liverpool Developing Pty Ltd, and principal contractor Erector Group Pty Ltd.
UK: Council fined after seven get vibration disease
A council in the UK - the Dacorum Borough Council - has been fined after seven grounds maintenance workers developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) caused by excessive, poorly controlled use of power tools. Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how the council reported seven cases of HAVS between May 2015 and June 2016. The affected employees were all part of its grounds maintenance and street care team, looking after the public spaces in Hertfordshire. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council had neither adequately planned its working methods nor trained or informed employees on the risks to their health. Furthermore, Dacorum Borough Council did not limit the duration or magnitude of exposure to vibration and failed to put in place suitable health surveillance to identify problems at any early stage. Dacorum Borough Council guilty to a criminal breach of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,672.62. HSE inspector Rubeena Surnam said: “This was a case of the council failing to identify the risk from hand arm vibration which is a recognised health risk with potentially disabling consequences. Unless vibration is identified and properly assessed, an employer won’t know the level of risk and whether action is needed to protect workers.”
Read more: HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Information on Vibration. Source: Risks 914