New Zealand Employer Fined after Serious Injuries to Workers
Two companies from Taranaki, New Zealand have been fined a total of $71,500 after an employee suffered serious injuries when the hired machine he was operating rolled down a slope, pinning him underneath.
According to details from the Department of Labor, Taranaki Civil Construction Limited was fined $38,500 and ordered to pay $12,000 in reparation to its employee who suffered a compound fracture to his right arm and lacerations to his scalp and neck. (WCxKit) Graham Harris (2000) Limited, the company that hired out the roller, was fined $33,000 and ordered to pay $4,000 in reparation for failing to ensure the roller was safe to use.[WCx]
The New Plymouth District Court heard that the company was working on a project in New Plymouth to improve flood defenses in February this year. The employee was using a roller to compact clay at the top of the stop bank.
“The roller that the company hired was not fit for the operation as it did not have a roll over protective structure or a seat belt,” says the Department of Labour’s Taranaki Service Manager Jo Pugh. “This type of machinery is not appropriate to use on top of a narrow stop bank of clay and it put this employee at serious risk of harm,” says Pugh.
“This accident could have been prevented had some basic safety steps been followed, saving this employee from a number of operations that were required due to his injuries.”A Kewdale, Australia, company engaged in designing and manufacturing semi-trailers has been fined $20,000 over an incident in which a worker was injured by a tanker that rolled off a stand, according to the Western Australia Department of Commerce.
Australian Employer Fined after Worker Injury
General Transport Equipment Pty., Ltd., pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety or health of a person not being an employee and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court this winter. (WCxKit)
In July 2009, General Transport was holding a tri-axle tanker trailer in its workshop that had undergone welding repairs. During the time it was being held, the tanker was empty and remained supported by a semi-trailer jack stand fabricated by General Transport.
On July 7, a worker was directed to perform a hydrostatic test on the tanker, a process where each separate compartment of the tanker is filled with water in turn, then pressurized to test for leaks.
During the filling of the front compartment there was a component failure that caused the tanker to roll to its left. A man not employed by General Transport who was working at a bench to the left of the tanker was trapped between the tanker and the bench, suffering pelvic bruising.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case demonstrated that safe systems of work needed to be in place at all times. [WCx]
“It was fortunate that this man was not more seriously injured — or even killed — in this incident,” McCulloch said. “The court found it would have been reasonable to expect that the tanker would have been supported using appropriately rated trestles or stands, or that the employees should not have been allowed to hydro test without the tanker being properly supported.
“This employer failed to take any practicable measures to ensure this task was performed in a safe manner, and the case should serve as a reminder to ensure that safe systems of work are in place at all times,” he said.