WA: Labour Hire Company Fined over Farm Death

Following the death of an employee at a wheat farm in 2008, a labour hire employer has been fined $50,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace.

The death occurred after the man rode an all-terrain vehicle into a wire gate. He was found lying on the road the following morning by a truck driver.

The man was not wearing a helmet at the time, suffering serious head injuries which resulted in his death two days later.

WorkSafe WA commissioner Nina Lyhne said the host employer’s obligations to provide a safe workplace was something which did not happen in this case.

“The court heard that the workers on the farm were involved in riding the ATV without wearing helmets as a matter of course, and that the wire gate was difficult to see,” she said.

“There had even been a previous incident in which someone had driven into a wire gate.

She said the gate supports had been painted to make them more visible after the previous incident, but had faded over time.

“The labour hire company that supplied the worker was also prosecuted and fined $30,000 last May,” she said.

“No-one from the company had visited the farm at any time during the six months the man had been working there to check for hazards, identify risks and consider control measures.”

She said the labour hire company therefore had no idea the host employer had not provided the worker with the helmet, or that there had been a previous similar incident.

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