Company fined $225,000 after worker dies from loader accident

A company from the Far North Coast was fined $225,000 and was ordered to pay legal costs when a worker was killed after being struck by a loader in Rapville, north of Grafton and west of Ballina.

The 60-year old worker was using the loader to load logs onto a semitrailer for transportation to a local sawmill on 5 August 2008. He was working on ground level just after loading some logs when the loader rolled forward, crushing him. The victim died at the scene.

An investigation conducted by WorkCover revealed that the 30-year old loader was not in a good condition and was unsafe to use. The Court heard that the loader was in a poor condition and doesn’t have an operating park brake or any other braking mechanism for some time before the incident happened.

The company was charged with breaches of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000. The Court determined that the breaches were serious and found that the loader was unsafe due to its size and the lack of park brake.

WorkCover NSW’s General Manager of Workplace Health and Safety Division John Watson said that risks to the worker’s safety were entirely predictable. He also said that the incident could have been prevented and should never have happened.

“The fine goes some way to highlighting the seriousness of the offences.

“What makes this case even more tragic is that there were simple things the company could have done to prevent this.

“If a park brake or other braking mechanism had been installed in the loader and had been activated, the employee would not have been fatally injured.

“This is a sad reminder of the need to make sure all workplace equipment is safe. This company did not do this and a man has died.”

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