A marble and granite distributor has been convicted and fined $90,000 after a storeman was crushed under slabs of porcelains on February 8, 2016, leaving him a quadriplegic.
The company was found guilty of failing to provide a safe system of work, by failing to provide information and instructions to employees to enable them to perform their work in a way that was without risk to health and safety.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that the 25-year-old man and his co-worker were preparing to unload sheets of porcelain off three wooden A-frames when the incident happened.
They had cut the PET strapping that held the porcelain to the A-frames when a sheet from the first frame tipped onto the second and knocked the sheets to the ground.
The storeman was struck on the head and knocked to the ground before the sheets fell on top of him.
The man sustained a C4 spinal cord injury, leaving him with no feeling from the chest down.
The court heard that a retaining strap should have been used to ensure the slabs were still secured to the A-frames prior to the PET strapping being cut.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams said the incident should remind employers to think through all aspects of a complex task, especially when they are involved in the transportation and storage of dangerously heavy items.
“Any plan that involves workers handling large, heavy objects which are unsecured and effectively balancing on racks is a flawed one,” she said.
“The worker injured in this incident was lucky not to have been killed but the serious nature of his injury has irrevocably altered the course of his life, and the lives of his family and friends.”