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A Victorian abattoir has been convicted and fined $250,000 following the death of a driver in September 2013.

The driver was using a hoist on the loading ramp at the abattoir when the hoist broke apart above him and the ramp collapsed, said WorkSafe Victoria in a media statement. He sustained severe head injuries and died several weeks later.

The abattoir in Stawell was prosecuted and pleaded guilty for breaching Victorian occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.

Leanne Hughson, Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety at WorkSafe Victoria, said in a media statement that the design of the hoist, a lack of maintenance and poor driver training in relation to the loading ramp and hoist contributed to the incident.

“The court heard that when a new loading ramp and safety mechanism was installed at the abattoir in 2010, the hoist lug was moved 300mm. However, the new position made it more susceptible to fatigue damage, stress and corrosion,” WorkSafe said in a media statement.

On top of this, the company had failed to get an expert opinion before moving the lug, failed to regularly inspect the hoist system, and failed to put in place a system to train, direct or induct drivers in the use of the loading ramp and hoist, Worksafe added.

For more details, visit WorkSafe Victoria

Published on 18 June 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

The latest notifiable workplace fatalities report reveals that 16 people were killed at work in November last year.

The November figures reveal that 10 male workers, one female worker, three male bystanders and two female bystanders were killed.

Four of the fatalities involved a road crash, two fatalities each resulted from falls from a height, drowning and crushing. The other six fatalities were due to a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle, being trapped in machinery, being hit by an unattended vehicle, being hit by a falling object, insect and spider bites and stings, and being hit by a moving object other than a vehicle.

So far, total notifiable workplace fatalities for 2014 stand at 213.

For more details, visit the fatality figures.

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

A New Zealand farmer has been ordered to pay $152,000 after a farm worker was crushed to death.

The worker was crushed between an excavator and tree stumps while helping to clear scrub at the Orepuki farm in Southland, said WorkSafe New Zealand in a media release.

Farmer Frederick McCullough was prosecuted in the Invercargill District Court in November for breaching the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act.

McCullough was ordered to pay reparation of $100,000 and was fined $52,000 for the death of the worker in August 2013.

“McCullough should have identified a ‘safe area’ on site and ensured the employee was in it before driving or slewing (turning) the excavator. Safe areas are a simple but important way to protect workers,” said Keith Stewart, WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief investigator, in a media release.

“The excavator could also have had rear-vision mirrors and a travel alarm that warns people when the machine starts to move.

“This case is a sad reminder of the risks faced by people who work around heavy vehicles and in uncontrolled settings. Those risks have to be managed and minimised.”

For more details visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 4 December 2014 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

A Grocon subsidiary has been fined $250,000 following a wall collapse in March 2013 that killed three bystanders.

The Victorian WorkCover Authority prosecuted Grocon Victoria Street Pty Ltd for its part in the wall collapse at the company’s Swanston Street building site in Melbourne.

Late last month, Grocon pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to breaching Victoria’s work health and safety (WHS) laws.

Following sentencing, Daniel Grollo, executive chairman of Grocon, said in a media statement: “I personally, along with all of the directors and employees of Grocon, today reiterate our deep regret at the tragic and untimely loss of Bridget and Alexander Jones and Marie-Faith Fiawoo.”

The CFMEU said the fine was “a slap on the wrist”.

“Our thoughts are very much with the families of Alexander and Bridget and Marie-Faith, and all those whose lives have been scarred forever,” said John Setka, CFMEU secretary, in a media statement following sentencing.

Late last month, Aussie Signs Pty Ltd was committed to trial for its part in the incident. It had been contracted to attach hoarding to the wall.

For more details visit Grocon and the CFMEU

Published on 4 December 2014 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

Unsafe design accounts for 36 per cent of work-related fatalities, says a new study.

The Safe Work Australia study found that 188 of 523 fatal incidents that occurred between 2006 and 2011 involved design problems with machinery, plant and powered tools.

Inadequate guarding was one of the most common problems, accounting for 21 per cent of fatalities. Lack of rollover protection accounted for 15 per cent of fatalities, lack of residual current devices accounted for 12 per cent, lack of interlocks accounted for 8 per cent, and driver-obstructed vision accounted for 8 per cent.

“A number of the incidents highlighted in this report involved old machinery and plant, some of which may remain in use for many years,” the study says.

“This is a recognised issue and has been the subject of an intervention campaign carried out among selected manufacturing groups by Australian WHS jurisdictions under the administration of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities.”

For more details, visit the study

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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