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The owner of a roofing company has been hit with a nine-month suspended jail sentence for threatening and intimidating a WorkCover NSW inspector.

The business owner threatened and intimidated the inspector while the inspector was visiting the owner’s workplace and for a number of days after the visit, said WorkCover NSW in a media release. During the visit, the inspector had asked the owner not to work at heights unless he and his worker used the required safety equipment, WorkCover added.

Following the incident the owner was charged and prosecuted for not following a WorkCover inspector’s direction and obstructing the WorkCover inspector. He pled guilty to breaching work health and safety (WHS) laws in NSW and was fined a total of $16,000.

The owner was also ordered to pay $5000 to cover WorkCover’s legal costs.

“Inspectors are required to ensure workplaces comply with obligations under the Work Health & Safety Act. Inspectors have legislated powers to enter workplaces and assess site safety and workplace compliance. Employers need to respect this and allow inspectors to do their job to reduce the risk of serious injury or harm,” said Peter Dunphy, WorkCover’s Executive Director of Work Health and Safety, in a media release.

“WorkCover will take appropriate action, including enforcement action through the courts, with regard to any conduct that subjects its inspectors to the risk of harm to their health and safety.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW

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

A residential care service in New Zealand has been prosecuted and fined after a 15-year-old teenager with multiple disabilities drowned in a bath.

Nathan Booker had profound intellectual and physical disabilities. In January last year, while he was in respite care at an Idea Services facility, he drowned after being left unattended in the bath, according to WorkSafe New Zealand in a media statement.

Following the incident, Idea Services was prosecuted in the Palmerston North District Court under the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no action or inaction of an employee harmed another person.

The company pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay reparation of $90,000 and fined $63,500.

“Nathan was a young man with complex needs. He was not capable of bathing himself. His care documents stated that he required ‘full support’ and his care plan said that he must be ‘supervised at all times’. He simply should not have been left alone in the bath,” said WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief inspector, Keith Stewart, in a media statement.

“If Nathan had been fully supervised and not left alone during his bath this tragedy is unlikely to have occurred. This case should serve as a wake-up call to the residential care sector to ensure that they fully assess and manage the risks of services such as bathing people with complex needs.”

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

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

Hungry Jack’s has been fined $90,000 after one of its South Australian employees was severely burned and it failed to call an ambulance.

The young worker had been asked by his supervisor to filter cooking oil from deep-fryers using a mobile filter.

“During the process, the worker slipped and fell into the open top of the mobile filtration unit, which resulted in hot oil splashing onto him,” said SafeWork SA in a media statement.

“An ambulance was not called, despite the worker sustaining third-degree burns to more than 10 per cent of his body, including his right hand, forearm and right-side torso, requiring skin grafts.”

SafeWork SA prosecuted Hungry Jack’s in the Industrial Relations Court of SA under the former Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The charges included failing to provide safe plant, failing to maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide a procedure which ensured that employees received proper medical treatment.

Hungry Jack’s was fined $150,000, which was reduced to $90,000 plus costs following the company’s early guilty plea and contrition.

Hungry Jack’s had been prosecuted for a similar incident that occurred in July 2003.

“Since these incidents, Hungry Jack’s has reviewed its policies and procedures for oil filtering and will now install self-filtering deep-fryers in SA,” said SafeWork SA.

“The company has also committed to spend more than $5 million replacing existing fryers with self-filtering fryers nationally.”

For more details, visit SafeWork SA

Published on 26 February 2015 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

A New Zealand Forestry company has been prosecuted after a log weighing more than a tonne slid down a hillside and hit a worker.

The company, HarvestPro New Zealand Limited, was prosecuted in the Gisborne District Court recently for breaching the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The incident occurred in September 2012 when the log came loose from the jaws of a loader and slid down a steep hillside, said WorkSafe New Zealand in a media statement.

The worker sustained “fractures to his arm and leg that have required multiple surgeries and left him unable to work”, Worksafe said.

“The accident was caused by the decision to allow Mr Henare [the worker] to enter the danger zone at the same time that another worker was using the loader to stack logs on the landing above him,” WorkSafe said, in noting Judge Adeane’s findings.

The court fined the company $80,000 and ordered it to pay $40,000 in reparations.

For more details, visit WorkSafe NZ.

Published on 19 June 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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