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Rand cops Worksafe WA industrial accident fine

Refrigerated logistics company fined for contractor's chemical burns after storeroom incident

 

Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) subsidiary Rand Transport has been penalised $47,900 in the Perth Magistrates Court after a contractor incurred serious ammonia gas burns while working for the company.

Rand pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace within a large cold storage room where contractors were building a dividing wall, back in December 2014.

The contractor suffered chemical burns to his eyes and face and severe internal respiratory damage when the scissor lift he was operating struck a purge valve on a forced-air cooler unit suspended from the ceiling in the storage room.

Hitting the purge valve caused the unit to discharge the ammonia liquid and gas from the cooler unit.

Rand was fined $45,000 out of a possible $200,000 and will pay agreed costs of $2,900 following the decision, with its early guilty plea, good corporate record and introduction of new processes to ensure the incident would not be repeated all weighing in its favour.

Western Australia’s WorkSafe Commissioner Ian Munns says Rand had a responsibility to ensure the worker understood the need to maintain a safe distance from the valve.

“With proper risk assessment and appropriate controls like providing the correct working space, isolating the unit, using protective structures and attaching warning labels and signs, this accident would have been avoided,” Munns says.

“Providing the necessary information, delivering the proper inductions and appropriate training is an absolute occupational safety and health basic for every person in control of a workplace.”

“This is an easy safety measure for employers to implement,” he says.

Rand is one of four companies within AHG’s refrigerated logistics business, which is due to be sold to Chinese company HNA International by June 30 this year.

 

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