A company’s failure to enact its safe working procedures and traffic management plan has cost it more than $50,000 and a conviction. The Victorian warehouse operator was convicted and fined $50,000 in the County Court over an incident in which a truck driver was injured by a falling 185kg wool bale.
The truck driver, a sub-contractor, was knocked unconscious and suffered a leg injury in the incident, forcing him off work for two weeks.
Winnipeg Textiles Pty Ltd in Footscray was originally found guilty in June by the Melbourne Magistrates Court and was charged with breaching the 2004 OHS Act by failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The company was fined $7,000 without conviction. It was also ordered to pay costs of $2,649.
But following a successful appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the County Court upped the penalty to $50,000 and upheld the original costs of $2,649 as well.
This case provides a salient reminder that safety in the workplace is more than having policies written down. Policies must translate into procedures which are 100% adhered to on the ground by everyone, including visitors and contractors. Agsafe reminds members to ensure that safe work procedures exist and are readily available to staff, that employees or contractors are correctly trained and informed about the workplace, training, consultation and safety meetings are documented and to check that employees are capable of carrying out procedures safely.