Recent WorkSafe Victoria prosecutions

Over the last two weeks, WorkSafe Victoria has released over a dozen reports and summaries about prosecutions over OHS breaches.  Some have been highlighted in SafetyAtWorkBlog posts but there are too many for us to cover in detail or to expand upon.

Below is a list of those prosecution summaries

A Bending Company Pty. Ltd. – 8/12/09
Summary: Crush injury

Compass Recruitment Australia Pty Ltd – 8/12/09
Summary: Unguarded Plant/Labour Hire

McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd – 7/12/09
Summary: Lack of isolation procedures, instruction and training

Barro Group Pty. Limited – 7/12/09
Summary: Fatality (crush injury) and a failure to provide and maintain for its employees, a safe working environment that was without risks to health.

Alan Mance Motors (Melton) Pty Ltd – 1/12/09
Summary: Explosion

Victorian State Emergency Service Authority – 30/11/09
Summary: Fatality, Volunteers, Employer, Drowning

Dynamic Industries Pty Ltd – 25/11/09
Summary: Fall from height – Fatality

The Inflatable Event Company Pty Ltd – 25/11/09
Summary: Failure to inform, instruct, train and supervise

Transglobal Shipping & Storage (Vic) Pty Ltd – 25/11/09
Summary: Forklifts, Failure to comply with a Prohibition Notice

Andrew Irvine – 25/11/09
Summary: Fall from height – fatality

Canningvale Timber Sales Pty Ltd – 25/11/09
Summary: Unguarded Plant

John Mavros – 25/11/09
Summary: Unguarded Plant

Shane Grigg -v- The Precast Company Pty Ltd – 16/11/09
Summary: Fail to provide suitable employment

Categories business, government, law, OHS, research, safety, Uncategorized, WorkSafeTags , , , ,

3 thoughts on “Recent WorkSafe Victoria prosecutions”

  1. According to the Act WCB suppose to address certain work place issues. However, in my case there is certainly not enough attention and investigation. Here, I would like to point out that Section 73 of the WCB Act states that the employer has the responsibility to create a safe workplace. I am convinced that in my case the employer failed in providing such a safe workplace. Before the disputed incident sometime in the Fall 2007, I numerous times complained to my supervisor that I had discomfort in my right shoulder often aggravated with work performed as a sole circulating nurse without any assistance. Additionally, I asked her about possibility of diversifying work duties so that my shoulder would not be a subject for frequent and continuous demand of power. She refused my requests and commented: “I was a complainer!” and she intimidated me with a discipline process. Moreover, I learned months later that she wrote in my evaluation that my complaints regarding not being able to obtain help for certain OR positioning was “paranoid” (I have related documents). She did start a discipline process that I was a constant complainer that other staff members refused to help me. She intimidated me to perform my OR duties by myself meant to be performed by 2 staffs creating hazardous circumstances contrary to section 177 and 150 (coercion or intimidation) of the Act. During the meeting with WCB Officer, she stubbornly maintained that it was not necessary to assign 2 circulating nurses for positioning patients into Lithotomy positions because other staff members would volunteer to help. It turned out that on January 8, 2008, I sustained right shoulder injury because I was not able to obtain such a helper after prior intimidation. Operating Room standards do not describe that such positioning cannot be performed by 1 person. However, according to these standards patient’s legs should be placed into stirrups simultaneously because of likelihood of possible patient’s injury. There were 4 other staffs at work at this time dismissed for lunch. WCB ignored the above information and events and allowed my employers appeal to overturned my compensation. My shoulder tendon never healed in 2 years post this injury.

  2. Like many subscribers to the WorkSafe case updates I find them an interesting and informative read for many reasons. One of those reasons is the lesson or training value of various fact scenarios which I see as applicable to the circumstances of various clients. When I identify such a case I usually send the details by email to a relevant client’s OHS manager knowing that they will be able to use it to press a point in training, and sometimes even make an impact with management who may be OHS “deniers” (to borrow a label from the current climate change debate).

    From time to time though we come across case reports where the outcome is “all charges withdrawn” or “charges dismissed” – but never with an explanation as to why. An example of such a case is the Alan Mance Motors charges in the list on this blog – all charges were withdrawn. Yet on a reading of the factual summary one could genuinely wonder why. There can be many reasons, but in the absence of any explanation I know some people will draw the conclusion that the facts described did not constitute an offence. In some cases this will be the wrong conclusion.

    I have written to WorkSafe suggesting that such cases warrant an explanatory note to ensure that they retain a learning value. Unfortunately my email to a senior manager with responsibility for prosecutions has not even warranted an acknowledgment.

    Of course, a different issue is where I have been personally involved in a case as a legal representative of one of the parties and have found the “factual” summary of the case to be materially inaccurate – but that is another story.

    1. Graham
      Graham

      Thanks for reading the blog and for commenting. I see the stats on readership but much prefer having some idea of the thoughts of my readers.

      The “lobbying” benefit that can come from the prosecutions reports is exactly the reason I put these up.

      The problem with the Alan Mance case is that the case was heard in Magistrate’s Court and the judgements of these Courts are not made publicly accessible. This has been a constant source of frustration to those, like myself, who need evidence of the effectiveness of court orders and penalties in order to show the impact of poor safety management on businesses.

      The only time a Magistrate’s Court judgement is covered is if there is a court reporter from the media present. No reporter = no coverage. No coverage = no preventative benefit from you or I waving the decision at our clients.

      WorkSafe is unlikely to be able to do anything about the situation as expanding the public access to Magistrates’ decisions is likely to be expensive or, at least, it used to be. Given the electronification (?) of Court records, the cost must be getting cheaper all the time.

      WorkSafe used to provide hard copies of ots prosecutions summaries and I can understand the move online is cheaper and provides broader access but, you’re right, the level of detail needs expanding.

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