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What is a workplace hazard?

All business’ have a Duty of Care to ensure the health and safety of all workers and visitors to their worksite. Business’ must ensure safe work procedures appropriate to the level of risks associated with the work activities, are put in place to identify and control hazards and to train, instruct and supervise workers.

Thursday
Oct152015

When ignoring safety results in a fatality

So you’ve been doing it that way for 5, 10, 20, 30 years and nobody has had an accident yet?

"We don’t need safety and we can’t be bothered spending good money on it..."

Let me ask you a question then, do you have a spare $425,000 to pay a fine when one of your workers is killed due to your business’ lack of safety?

A worker at a recycling plant was killed when a large front-end loader reversed over him. The worker was the load inspector at the plant and was required to inspect the incoming loads and direct the traffic at the site.

It was common knowledge that the worker didn’t have a radio to communicate with any of the drivers and walked around on foot in the yard between all the heavy machinery and heavy vehicles. The use of the radio was not encouraged or enforced by the business.

The court fined the business $425,000 plus court costs of $14,233 for failing, to a significant degree, to draft and rigorously enforce safety procedures in such a hazardous workplace and for failing to take reasonable and practical measures to improve safety systems in their workplace including training workers in safety procedures.

The judge stated that the sentence must deter other employers from permitting workers to perform their duties using an unsafe system of work and without proper training, instruction and supervision.

All business’ have a Duty of Care to ensure the health and safety of all workers and visitors to their worksite. Business’ must ensure safe work procedures appropriate to the level of risks associated with the work activities, are put in place to identify and control hazards and to train, instruct and supervise workers.

This business now not only has to spend the money to put safe systems of work in place and train all their staff but will also be dealing with the cost of the fine, ongoing compensation costs to the family, insurance costs as well as dealing with an unknown quantity of reputational and emotional damage to the business.