A recent post on WorkSafe’s site detailed an incident involving a Brooklyn company who were fined $50,000 without conviction and ordered to pay costs of $29,000 after a stone benchtop, weighing 182kg fell on a worker’s foot, causing the loss of 3 toes.
The company was found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court of committing 2 offences of the Occupation Health and Safety Act 2004.
The company failed to provide or maintain a system of work and failed to provide training to employees to enable them to work in a safe way and without risks to health.
The court heard that the 30 year old stonemason was using an overhead jib crane and lifting attachment to move a heavy stone benchtop during the September 2015 incident.
The court also heard that the man had placed a rag between the lifting attachment’s rubber clamps in order to protect the benchtop while it was being moved. In the process the benchtop slipped out of the clamp and landed on his foot. Placing a rag over the lifting attachment’s clamps most likely impacted the stability of the load. Workers had been instructed to use the rag to protect stone slabs while moving them.
The injured worker had also not been formally trained for use of the jib crane.
WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Health and Safety, Paul Fowler explained that a worker had suffered life changing injuries because the company had failed to adequately train staff in the correct use of its jib crane, and adopted an unsafe system of work.
“It is totally unacceptable for an employer to take shortcuts and compromise safety when moving heavy, awkward objects that can, and do, cause serious injuries,” he said.
“Every employer must provide appropriate training to enable their workers to carry out tasks safely and WorkSafe will prosecute where employers fail to do so.” Fowler went on to explain.
WorkSafe provided some useful tips on how to move heavy loads safely,
Ensuring workers never stand in the drop zone of an unsecured or suspended load.
Developing a safe operating procedure (SOP), which is then implemented, monitored and enforced.
Properly training workers in the safe use of plant and machinery that assists in the lifting of heavy objects.
Regularly check machinery to ensure it is in working condition and safe to use.
In addition to the formal training that workers require for high risk work such as crane operation, everyone involved in construction and building work must also complete general construction safety training or induction training known commonly as The White Card course. Find out more about the course here.