Crane company and worker fined for health and safety breaches
A crane company and a worker have been fined for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act) following an incident in October 2020.
A company was fined $55,000 in the Gympie Magistrates Court after a mobile crane fell down a steep road while undertaking works at the Mary River Pumping Station, north of Gympie.
In evidence presented to Magistrate Bevan Hughes, it emerged that on 8 October 2020, a worker operating a mobile crane was required to move concrete covers to a pumping tower located at the foot of an embankment.
The crane required three counterweights to perform the lift.
Unfortunately, the worker failed to tether the weights to the mobile crane. While moving the plant on a road onsite, the worker lost control of the mobile crane, which rolled on its roof.
Fortunately, neither the crane driver nor a group of workers adjacent to the incident were injured.
The company had a Safe Work Method for the relevant task; however, the document did not contain specific measures regarding the safe procedure for the movement of counterweights.
Magistrate Hughes accepted that there were several options available to the company to minimise or eliminate the risk.
He further accepted that the company knew of the risk and the potential for serious injury or death.
The company’s failure to manage the risks exposed the workforce to the risk of serious injury or death.
Magistrate Hughes described the crane rollover as a ‘careless oversight with grave consequences’.
He imposed a fine of $55,000 on the company and also ordered payment of preparatory legal costs amounting to $851.40
No conviction was recorded.
With regard to the crane operator, Magistrate Hughes stated that as a competent and experienced operator, he should have known better and acted differently on the day.
In imposing a fine of $10,000, the magistrate noted the remorse of the worker, glowing references, lack of prior criminal history, his cooperation with the investigation, and early guilty pleas.
For queries about safety, dealing with inspectors, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.