WorkSafe has successfully prosecuted two companies and two individuals for breaches of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and Regulations.
Warren James Piggott, Screenwest Pty Ltd, Quentin Victor Healy and Hanssen Pty Ltd were recently successfully prosecuted by WorkSafe WA.
In Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday a machinery operator at a recycling facility was fined $7500 (and ordered to pay $1000 in costs) for failing to take reasonable care during an incident in which a diesel mechanic was seriously injured.
In March 2019, Warren James Piggott was working for Splendid Enterprises Pty Ltd – trading as Soils Aint Soils – at a recycling facility in Neerabup when the excavator he was operating moved, causing a worker who was gas-cutting steel plates to fall, leaving him with several serious injuries.
Also on Friday in Albany Magistrates Court an earthworks business and its director were fined a total of $44,000 (and ordered to pay $5000 in costs) for failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment after the director reversed a skid steer loader into a confined area, striking a worker and causing serious leg injuries in May 2017.
Screenwest Pty Ltd was fined $33,000 (and ordered to pay $3500 in costs), while Quentin Victor Healy was fined $11,000 (and ordered to pay $1500 in costs).
On Monday in the Perth Magistrates Court the building company that engaged a labour hire backpacker who died as the result of a fall in 2016 was fined $60,000 (and ordered to pay $5000 in costs) for failing to apply mesh to holes or openings in floors at an apartment building site in Perth.
The court found that Hanssen Pty Ltd repeatedly breached the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations by failing to install mesh in the openings in floors during construction of the Concerto Apartments building in Adelaide Terrace, Perth.
WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said today the prosecutions should serve as a reminder that WorkSafe is prepared to take action against individuals or entities who do not do their part to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for employees.
“The two businesses prosecuted recently failed in their duty of care to provide and maintain a safe workplace, and the individuals prosecuted also did not comply with their duties under workplace safety laws.
“The cases demonstrate that the courts have recognised the importance of both businesses and individuals meeting their obligations.
“In the case of Hanssen Pty Ltd the circumstances of the death of the backpacker were investigated, and while no charges were laid, these other breaches were identified during the course of the investigation.
“The company believed it had a guarding method better than mesh, but Magistrate Hills-Wright commented that the law needed to discourage employers from taking matters into their own hands.
“The other charges related to items of mobile plant striking workers, unfortunately too common an occurrence in WA workplaces and one of WorkSafe’s operational priority areas.
“Although these cases are quite different, the consistent message is that failing to keep workplaces safe can result in costly prosecution action in addition to the physical and mental impacts of a serious injury.”