Leeton-based Toorak Winery Pty Ltd was found guilty of a breach of section 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) by Justice Haylen after WorkCover NSW commenced prosecution proceedings.
The worker was emptying grape juice and skins (known as marc) from a Potter overhead fermentation tank into a mobile bin when the rapid discharge of contents from the tank caused the bin to move and crush the worker. (WCxKit)
The Court heard that the winery failed to provide safe plant for use by employees and failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work. It also heard that it didn’t conduct an adequate risk assessment or provide employees with adequate information, instruction and training in relation to the use and operation of the plant.
Justice Haylen’s judgment said the offence highlighted the importance of employers conducting regular and detailed workplace risk assessments.
It also said it highlighted the level of ongoing diligence required of employers and the danger of being lulled into a false sense of security due to a lack of adverse or dangerous events.
General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Occupational Health and Safety Division, John Watson said the case reinforced the need for wineries to have effective safety controls in place for the harvesting of grapes.
“Every worker has the right to expect that they will return home safely to their loved ones at the end of their working day,” Watson said.
“All wineries should have safety controls in place which specifically address the emptying overhead fermenter tanks, draining of juice and the discharge of marc from tanks.”
WorkCover NSW has developed a Wine Industry Safety Strategy to promote safety, and reduce fatalities and serious injuries in the sector.
A Wine Industry Safety Group comprised of WorkCover NSW, the NSW Wine Industry Association, union and key industry players has been established to coordinate the development and implementation of the Strategy.
The Strategy has involved the delivery of 43 workplace advisory and compliance visits in the Riverina, Hunter and Central NSW. It has also involved the development and delivery of five practical, on-site workshops to provide industry with information, guidance and advice. (WCxKit)
WorkCover NSW has commenced a review of the Wine Industry Code of Practice of OH&S in consultation with the Wine Industry Safety Group. At the completion of the review a Wine Safety Industry Guide will be developed and number of workshops held to assist wineries in implementing the reviewed Code of Practice.
WC GROUP: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
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