Vic company fined for not providing safe workplace

Technicolor Pty Ltd manufactures optical media at a workplace with a number of separate areas, including a large roof space with designated walkways.

In June 2018 an employee had to access the roof space to extend a network cable. Before doing the job, he completed a risk assessment form which was signed off. There were risks to health and safety of persons conducting work in the roof space due to the risk of falling from a height of 3.5 metres through an unprotected plasterboard ceiling - which would the company could have eliminated or reduced by covering these areas in the roof space, or by installing fixed platforms and guard railing restricting access.

The worker entered the roof spac and walked along the designated walkway until he found the switch required - but realised he'd left a tool on a walkway, and walked across the floored area to retrieve it. Not realising there was an area that was not floored, he stepped off the floor and fell through the plasterboard ceiling into the room below, resulting in heavy bruising to his right shin, bruising to his chest and left bicep, and a torn tendon on his right shoulder.

The company pleaded guilty and was without conviction fined $50,000 plus $3,500 costs. The Magistrate said that but for the plea of guilty he would have fined the offender $80,000 with conviction.

To keep up to date with prosecutions, go to the WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.

UK: Port operator sentenced after worker seriously injured during loading operation

A Liverpool port operating company has been sentenced after a worker was struck by a load falling from two fork lift trucks (FLTs) at the Port of Liverpool.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that on 28 May 2015, three agency workers performing work for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company were loading bundles of rebar onto HGV trailers for onward transfer. The injured worker was acting as banksman whilst his two colleagues were operating their FLTs as part of a tandem lift manoeuvre. During the loading procedure a single bundle of rebar weighing 1,924 kg, suspended on the forks of the two trucks, was struck by the reversing HGV’s headboard causing it to fall onto the worker standing on the far side by the HGV’s cab. He sustained multiple fractures, lacerations, scarring and abrasion, ligament reconstruction to his left knee and has undergone four operations which resulted in the amputation of two toes of his left foot. He has been unable to return to work since the incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found no suitable risk assessment relating to the hazards arising from loading bundles of rebar onto reversing flatbed trailers had been carried out. The tandem FLT lifting operation was also not properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner.

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Limited of Maritime Centre, Port of Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £300,000 (almost $A500,00) and ordered to pay costs of £7,593.55  ($A13,840). Read more: HSE media release

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