02:15 pm, Wednesday 31 August, 2011
The Industrial Court last week fined an automotive component maker more than $30,000 for failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work after an employee was injured in a fall in 2008.
The incident occurred at the company’s Clovelly Park premises, where it manufactures shock absorbers and associated products.
The company had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of breaching section 19(1) of the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986 in that it failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work.
The employee, a storeman at the facility, was concussed and injured his neck and back after falling backwards from a ladder three metres onto a concrete floor.
He had been climbing a ladder to hook slings to bundles of steel tubing stacked high in stillages, so that they could be moved by crane for cutting.
Following the incident, the employer modified its system of work by placing the stillages at ground level, which eliminated the use of ladders altogether.
The magistrate said constant use of the ladder placed an employee at risk of significant injury.
The company was fined $33,750, after a discount of 25% to acknowledge the company’s cooperation, contrition, assistance to the injured worker and remedial action.
SafeWork SA acting executive director, Bryan Russell said the ease with which the hazard of the ladder was eliminated after the event shows what could have been achieved had a proper safety evaluation been done beforehand.