WA: Labour Hire Comany Fined Over Farm Death

The Perth Magistrates Court has fined a labour hire firm $30,000 following the death of an employee in a farm accident over a year ago.

The Perth company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace as a labour hire provider and causing the death of a worker.

The accident took place at a grain growing farm near Miling in November 2008, where the worker was working alone operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). He apparently crashed into a wire gate, and was found the next day by a truck driver.

The man, who was not wearing a helmet, sustained grave head injuries. He died in hospital two days after the incident.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne said it is another reminder that labour hire firms had a responsibility to check for hazards and manage risks in the workplace.

“Labour hire companies have an obligation to ensure the workplaces in which they place workers are safe and healthy, something that clearly did not happen in this case,” Ms Lyhne said.

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

“There had even been a previous incident in which someone had driven into a wire gate. The gate supports had been painted to make them more visible after the previous incident, but they had faded over time.

“The labour hire company that supplied the worker had not 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.

“As a result, the company had no idea that the worker had not been provided with a helmet or that there had been a previous incident involving an unseen gate.

“The fact that the injured worker was not found until the next day should also serve as a reminder that workplaces must have procedures in place for remaining in contact with employees who are working alone, especially in more remote locations.

“Labour hire companies should be aware of the responsibilities they have in ensuring that host workplaces are safe for the labour they send to them.”

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