WA trailer maker fined over tanker injury

WorkSafe WA says case demonstrates that safe systems of work need to be in place at all times

December 16, 2011

Western Australian trailer-maker General Transport Equipment has been fined $20,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court over a safety breach.

Kewdale company had pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety or health of a person not being an employee after a worker was injured by a tanker that rolled off a stand.

WorkSafe WA says the In July 2009, General Transport Equipment 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 pressurised 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 says the case demonstrated that safe systems of work needed to be in place at all times.

"It was fortunate that this man was not more seriously injured - or even killed - in this incident," McCulloch says.

"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.

"It should reinforce the message that everyone in the workplace needs to be vigilant and look out for each other."

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