Truck companies fined in WA over injuries to workers


Marley Transport and Crane Trucks R Us have been fined $75,000 and $9,877 respectively over two separate work safety incidents

Truck companies fined in WA over injuries to workers
Worksafe WA says such cases should serve as reminders that it is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace to ensure that the workplace is safe.

 

The Perth Magistrates Court has fined two companies in unrelated cases of negligence in maintaining a safe working environment that led to injuries to two workers.

Perth-based Marleys Transport was fined $75,000 plus $1,980 additional costs after a worker received serious head injuries in a forklift accident in January 2013.

The accident happened during a time when Marleys Transport employees were replacing the tailgate seals on one of the company’s trailers.

The employees had completed the replacement of the seal at the sides and bottom of the tailgate when they were instructed that the tailgate would be lifted up with a forklift to give access to the top seal.

One of its employees, who did not hold a High Risk Work Licence to drive a forklift, positioned the forklift at the rear of the trailer and proceeded to raise the tailgate by resting it on the forklift tines.

Another employee was guiding the forklift driver to ensure the tailgate was lifted as required, when the forklift began to reverse slowly while the tailgate rested on the tines.

The employee then positioned himself between the tailgate and the rear of the trailer and continued to guide the movement of the forklift.

The forklift continued to reverse and the tailgate slipped off the tips of the forklift tines and struck the employee in the head.

The employee received a fracture at the base of his skull, facial nerve palsy and lacerations to his head.

"A person standing under a load held and suspended by a forklift is a commonly known hazard in industry, including the transport industry," Worksafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch says.

"The risks of being hit by a swinging unsupported load are extremely high when undertaking this type of work using a forklift due to operator error or unintentionally moving the raised suspended load.

"Employers should ensure they have undertaken risk assessments, have adequate procedures and staff training in place to carry out the work in a safe manner and that staff are supervised by a person who has also been trained in these methods.

"In this case, the employee suffered serious injuries that could have been prevented if the company had used a different method to open and secure the tailgate."

In an unrelated incident, a WA-based crane operating business and one of its employees have been fined a total of $9,877 over a 2013 incident where a dogman received electric shocks and burns while carrying out high risk work.

Crane Trucks R Us pleaded guilty of directing a worker to execute a high risk task without a valid license to delegate such work and was fined $5,000 plus $688.50 in costs.

Simon Pratt, who was contracted by Cranes R Us to lift steel lintels to the window and door frames at a construction site, was fined $3,500 plus $688.50 in costs for failing to take "reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety of others".

Pratt and the dogman on the site conducted a visual site assessment and saw the overhead high voltage power lines at the front of the site.

The crane’s boom commenced rising upward until the end of the boom came in line with the overhead power lines at a distance of approximately two meters from the lines.

The boom then slewed away from the site, toward the power lines.

The dogman, who had been holding onto the crane’s hook, started to let go, however, the crane made contact with the power lines and an arc flashover occurred.

The dogman received an electric shock and burns to the palm of his right hand and both feet.

Pratt was found guilty of not having a High Risk Work Licence at the time of the incident.

His Certificate of Competency for slewing mobile cranes up to 20 tonnes had expired a year before the incident and he failed to contact Worksafe to convert his certificate to a High Risk Work Licence prior to the incident.

Both these cases should serve as a reminders that it is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace to ensure that the workplace is safe, McCulloch says.

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook