Airroad fined over gate falling on guard

Fracture injuries to security guard costs transport firm $100,000 in WorkSafe WA prosecution

January 10, 2012

A tardy response to repairing a damaged gate has cost Airroad $100,000 in Western Australia.

The company pleaded guilty to not providing a safe workplace for a person who was not an employee in the Perth Magistrates Court just before Christmas.

The fine related to a 2009 incident where the gate fell on a security guard, fracturing his skull, face and foot.

The metal sliding gate was 2 metres high and 10.9 metres long.

It was designed to be an automatic gate but, due to difficulties with automating it, the gate had to be opened and closed manually.

Earlier, the track on which the gate ran had been damaged and replaced, and on December 17, 2008, a truck had collided with the gate’s stopper post and almost completely dislodged it from the ground.

At the time of this incident involving the security guard – almost three weeks after the gate’s stopper post was damaged – repairs had commenced but had not been completed.

According to WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch, the case was an example of an organisation that did not act quickly enough to remedy a hazardous situation.

"It would have been possible for the company to have had the repairs made to this gate within around eight hours," McCulloch says.

"Instead, the repairs had still not been completed almost three weeks later.

"It would also have been practicable for the company to have locked the gate and prevented anyone using it until it was properly repaired.

"Two days after this incident, a t-bar stopper was welded to the rear end of the gate to prevent it from over-travelling.

"This took one hour, and would have prevented the security guard from being injured if it had been done sooner.

"This fine is the highest we have had under this section of the workplace safety laws, demonstrating how seriously the court viewed the company’s failure to act on this hazard."

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