The repair of equipment has been found to be no excuse for unsafe practices that led to a near miss in a high risk environment. In one of the rarer cases involving a penalty for a near miss, $25k in penalties and $5k in costs have been levied against the business for the use of improvised controls while the primary controls were being repaired lead to an unsafe practice that put lives. This weeks Safety Highlight will explore this interesting case.
The business, which manufactures heavy-duty trailers pled guilty, likely leading to a reduction in penalties.
The near miss occurred in 2018 while constructing a trailer. Two cranes were being used to lift the trailer and a worker was placing a stand underneath it to stabilise it when it rolled and narrowly missed striking three workers.
The standard lifting technique of using crane chains and lifting lugs was replaced with a stand when the magnetic drill needed to fix the lugs was off being repaired.
The business pled guilty to failure to ensure safe systems of work.
“it is a requirement that businesses assess risks and implement appropriate controls to irradicate and mitigate those risks. This requirement does not go away when a piece of equipment or a part is not working. In fact this requirement is reactivated and takes special precedence when the removal of standard controls occurs. Businesses should be vigilant and alive to the reality that when a well practiced procedure is altered that the risk to human life is higher” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
“In this case the business was aware that the standard procedure for lifting could not continue absent the magnetic drill. At that point the whole process should have been revaluated and additional controls implemented as well as additional supervision and exclusion zones. When there is a change to controls the whole process needs to be reviewed BEFORE it is undertaken and someone gets hurt” noted Elisha.
Here to Help
Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice. You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor. ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via email@example.com , it is free for members. ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)