Court ups Post Logistics fine to $120,000 for workplace injury

Post Logistics fined an extra $40,000 over workplace accident that fractured employee's small toe

Court ups Post Logistics fine to $120,000 for workplace injury
Court ups Post Logistics fine to $120,000
By Brad Gardner | December 7, 2012

A fine against Post Logistics for an accident where a worker’s small toe was fractured has been upped to $120,000 after a court ruled the original penalty was not harsh enough.

The subsidiary of Australia Post will now pay an extra $40,000 for not having effective training and traffic management programs in place when a forklift ran over Roslyn Mary Borg’s foot in 2008.

Justice Robert Buchanan imposed an $80,000 fine in the original matter, but the full bench of the Federal Court ruled he should have gone higher to highlight the importance of complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

"It appears from the reasoning of the primary judge that no weight was given to deterrence," the full bench ruled.

"A penalty has the consequence of providing a salutary reminder of the importance of observing the obligations specified in the Act to both the contravenor and other potential contravenors."

The full bench’s written judgment says the revised fine delivers a specified deterrence to Post Logistics and sends "a clear message to other entities bound by the OH&S Act about the need for compliance with their relevant statutory obligations under the Act."

"In our view, having regard to all these matters, an appropriate pecuniary penalty is $120,000."

Comcare, which prosecuted Post Logistics, initially wanted a minimum fine of $180,000 on the basis the accident constituted a "high range" offence.

Forklift driver Kevin Cox ran over Borg’s foot when he was putting a pallet down at Post Logistics’ Eastern Creek depot. Post Logistics did not provide adequate training or instruction to Cox regarding acceptable pedestrian behaviour around forklifts.

Borg was a store person and had not received any formal training at the site or instruction or training on pedestrian exclusion zones around forklifts.

She says she went into shock after Cox ran over her foot. Borg was treated at the scene and then taken to hospital in an ambulance.

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