This is a good “lesson” for any one that deals directly or indirectly with labor hire business, including temporary recruitments.
We actually attended this site after the fatality to assist and has left a mark on all of us.
Do not let it happen to any of our clients, contacts or relations.
On the 31 December 2007 a 28 year old worker sustained fatal injuries when a beam fell and crushed him while he was undertaking strip down maintenance work on a metal shredder.
Adecco Industrial Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the obligation it held as an employer under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.
The court found the defendant held obligations under s.28(1) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 being an employer providing labor hire services.
The investigation findings presented to the court alleged:
· the host company was undertaking a shutdown to permit maintenance work on plant within its workplace
· the defendant provided on-hire labor services to the host company, including a second year apprentice who had been on site for approximately 13 weeks
· the apprentice and another worker were instructed by the host employer to undertake strip down work, which involved removing feeder plates bolted to a floating beam, at the mill feed assembly of a metal shredding mill
· the workers were not supplied to the workplace to perform such work, they were not given instructions on how to remove the beam and were not told it was unsupported
· the beam fell on the apprentice, who was cutting bolts from underneath it, and he sustained fatal crush injuries.
· the defendant did not conduct adequate enquiries about the tasks its workers would be performing, nor had it attended the workplace to conduct a risk assessment or site inspection since October 2006
· the defendant placed too much reliance on the host workplace to ensure the safety of the defendant’s workers
· the defendant should have made it clear to its workers exactly what their roles included and could have instructed its workers to immediately report any tasks asked of them which fell outside the scope of duties for which they had been contracted to perform.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Industrial Magistrates Court on 17 March 2011 to breaching s.24(1) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, having failed to meet its workplace health and safety obligation and was sentenced with no conviction recorded.
Industrial Magistrate Mr Paul M Kluck fined the defendant $100 000 and ordered costs totaling $3553.40.
In reaching a decision the industrial magistrate acknowledged the defendant failed to ensure the health and safety of a worker.
In deciding the penalty imposed Industrial Magistrate Kluck took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any workplace health and safety breach and cooperated with the investigation.
Considerations for prevention:
(Commentary under this heading is not part of the Court's decision.)
When supplying labor hire workers to work in the metal recycling and fabrication industry where there is exposure to risks whilst undertaking maintenance work on plant with moveable components, obligation holders should apply a risk management approach to ensure the selection of suitable control measures.
Risk management involves:
· identifying the hazards
· evaluating the consequences and likelihood of harm that may result from the hazard
· deciding and implementing control measures to prevent or minimise the level of the risk from the hazard
· monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures to ensure they remain working correctly.
Obligation holders should ensure that labor hire workers supplied to a host workplace only perform the duties they have been assigned to undertake. Labor hire workers should be clearly directed to report to their employer any unauthorised work that they may be asked to perform at a host workplace. The employer should also ensure that its workers only partake in tasks for which a proper risk assessment has been conducted.