01:24 am, Thursday 29 December, 2011
The Industrial Court convicted and fined a director of a company which ran lunch vans in Adelaide because of safety breaches which caused the injury of a worker.
The director has pleaded guilty to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Welfare Act 1986 – failure to do the duties of a Responsible Officer in ensuring that the company meets its safety obligations, and failure to report a notifiable incident to SafeWork SA.
The defendant manages a lunch van business together with a partner. SafeWork conducted an investigation after an incident occurred in July 2008. His partner received his penalty from the court early this year.
According to investigations, the victim recorded in the maintenance logbook that a rear door of her van was already loose and rattling. Ten days later, the victim, while at work, opened the rear door of her van. The door was detached from its screws and struck her on the head. The victim became unconscious and suffered from a broken nose. The court was told that the repairs conducted were insufficient.
The defendant’s company was liquidated in April 2010 but according to a news release, SafeWork SA told the court that the defendant and his partner had:
- as Responsible Officers, failed to ensure a body corporate met its obligations
- failed to provide safe plant and equipment
- failed to ensure the safety of an employee
- failed to ensure the safety of others (namely customers at risk near the faulty van door)
- failed to notify SafeWork SA of a notifiable workplace injury.
Magistrate Richard Hardy acknowledged that the offence was “born out of naivety and ignorance rather than wilfulness.” He imposed a fine of $16,000. A twenty percent discount was given to acknowledge the early guilty plea, cooperation and contrition.