Only a day or two after writing about fines applied in Victoria over ignoring improvement notices from OHS inspectors, a similar case has been reported by SafeWork South Australia.
According to SafeWorkSA:
“Gillman-based Adelaide Ship Construction International Pty Ltd was fined $13,500 after pleading guilty to failing to comply with three Prohibition Notices issued by SafeWork SA.
The court heard how in September 2006, the shipbuilder’s managing director continued to operate a mobile crane and elevated work platform after removing the yellow “Do Not Use” tags placed on them by inspectors.
The Prohibition Notices were issued as a result of the lack of inspection records and logbooks for the machinery, and the managing director being unable to produce a certificate of competency to operate the crane.”
$A13,500 may not be much of a penalty but the point about respecting inspector’s direction is made. Also, the disregard for the prohibition notices puts Adelaide Ship Construction firmly on the radar as a company that not only breaches OHS law but is not interested.
The judgement in the South Australian Industrial Relations Court is available online.
The judge, S M Lieschke, said up front in this judgement that
“These five charges arise from the deliberate actions of Adelaide Ship Construction International Pty Ltd (ASCI) through its managing director Joe Glamocak, to disregard three formal Prohibition Notices regarding a mobile crane and elevated work platform (EWP).” [emphasis added]
The notices concerned the managing director, Joe Glamocak,
“…regularly operates this item of plant [a crane] and does not have the appropriate certificate of competency.”
In regard to the elevated work platform (EWP), the judgement says
“On the following day the inspectors returned to ASCI premises. As they arrived they observed the 12.5 tonne crane moving about the yard, and they also saw two people in the raised box of the EWP and with neither wearing a fall arresting harness. The EWP was then being driven by an ASCI employee Mr Pavlovic and also held a contractor by the name of Martyn.
When Mr Glamocak was spoken to he produced the two “Do not use” tags from his pocket and admitted he had removed them.”
Justice Lieschke said that Glamocak “displays a surprising level of ignorance”.
There is a lot to learn from the judgement in terms of the reasons for operating plant without certificates and the attitudes to OHS by a small business. $A13,500 is a small fine but one that Justice Lieschke feels is
“…proportionate to totality of the offending and the justice of the overall case.”
The judgement says that the company is in economic decline and that the company has reduced its workforce to seven employees where once it employed over one hundred. The judgements says
“ASCI emphasised that it was a company, once great, and now in decline. It now has only seven employees and has operated at a trading loss for the last two years.”
ASCI’s media website says
“Adelaide Ship Construction International is regularly in the press in both Australian and International publications, and for good reason.”
The good reason behind this media mention is so that other companies may learn to respect the law regardless of the economic state of one’s business.