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Prosecution Details

Defendant HVLV Pty Ltd (ACN 140 720 654)
Section 19(1) and 19A(2)
Offence Date 25th February 2013
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed so far as was practicable to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that contravention caused serious harm to an employee contrary to sections 19(1) and 19(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

HVLV Pty Ltd is a business designing and manufacturing electrical switchboards and switch rooms from premises located at 155 Lakes Road, Hazelmere WA 6055.

Within the workshop on the premises, HVLV Pty Ltd carried out steel fabrication work for the electrical switch rooms.

HVLV Pty Ltd operated an electric travelling overhead crane within their workshop to assist with the work.

 

ACTIVITIES AT THE WORKPLACE ON 25 FEBRUARY 2013
On 25 February 2013, two employees of HVLV Pty Ltd were welding together a portal, which was used to make the framework for the electrical switch rooms manufactured by HVLV.

At the same time in the workshop, a group of employees were conducting penetration tests on material used in the outer cladding of the switch rooms.

To conduct the penetration test, a test weight (weighing 46 kilograms) was tied to the handrails of a scissor type elevated work platform (EWP), and the EWP was raised to a height of approximately 10 meters, where the test weight could be placed in a fabricated tube, which was affixed to the side of the workshop, and dropped onto the outer cladding.

Due to the combined weight of the worker in the EWP and the test weight, the worker asked his supervisor if he could be assisted by someone with the testing in the scissor lift to act as a counter-balance.

 

THE INCIDENT
At approximately 3:00pm, the employees working on the steel portal had completed their task and intended to move the steel portal to an area at the south end of the workshop where they were stacked.

The employee operated the overhead travelling crane using a wireless remote control and his assisting co-worker was supporting the portal and keeping it steady. During this movement the overhead crane collided with the EWP the two workers were in and tipped it over.

One worker rode in the EWP basket to the ground and the other worker managed to grab the crane as it passed overhead and was left hanging from it for a few seconds but then he to fell to the ground.

The worker who rode the lift to the ground suffered numerous fracture injuries, including to his arm, shoulder, ribs and a punctured lung. The other worker who fell after briefly holding onto the crane suffered multiple injuries, including dislocation of his arm, leg and fractures to his arm, leg, foot, pelvis and lumbar spine.

 

POST INCIDENT
When the director of HVLV Pty Ltd was interviewed following the incident he conceded that "with hindsight" a Job Safety Analysis or some form of hazard assessment should've been done in these circumstances.

It was practicable for HVLV Pty Ltd to identify the hazards associated with having a EWP in an area of other mobile plant such as an overhead travelling crane and take measures to reduce or control the hazard, such as:

a) Restrict the use of the overhead travelling crane while the EWP was used;
b) Notify and actively communicate with all staff working in and around the area of the EWP;
c) Isolate the area that the EWP was operating with bunting or use of a ground spotter.

 




Outcome Summary

Found Guilty.

Conviction Date 03 Aug 2015
Court Midland
Fine $180,000.00
Costs $784.30
Charge Number MI 6398/15