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Prosecution Details

Defendant Wesfarmers Transport Limited
Trading Name Not Applicable
Section 19(1)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Thursday, 17 October 1996
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.

Background Details

A sub-contractor working for the defendant received injuries to his right hand when a jib attachment fell from the raised tines of a forklift truck.

The injured person was involved in the unloading operation of electrical transformers from the back of a truck. A forklift truck with a jib attachment and a chain sling was used to lift the transformers and move them in the yard. This forklift was operated by another employee.

As there was no safety latch on the chain sling the injured person held the hook in position after attaching it to the lifting lug of the transformer. The forklift driver raised the tines of the forklift to take up the slack of the chain sling and begin lifting the transformer. When the chain sling was taut the forklift driver began to tilt the mast of the forklift back to an upright position. The jib attachment under the weight of the transformer, slid forward and fell from the tines of the forklift truck, striking and crushing the right hand of the sub-contractor.

The investigation revealed that there was no restraining bar on the jib attachment which would have prevented the jib from dislodging from the tines of the forklift, even though there was provision for one to be fitted. The jib attachment used at the time of the accident was not fitted with a safety latch on the hook, even though there was provision for one to be fitted.

The Magistrate, in delivering reasons for imposing a penalty of $4,000, accepted that such a good safety record was present and that this was not a intransigent employer. His Worship also gave credit for an early guilty plea on the charge. However the Magistrate, upon considering the photographs of the forklift and jib attachment in question, found that the risk of injury was almost self-evident. The Magistrate found that even a layman might consider that there was a risk of lateral movement of the jib attachment if the tines of the forklift were angled downwards and/or there was no friction causing the jib to remain static.

Also see Significant Incident Summary 25/1996 for further details.

A plea of guilty was entered.

Outcome Summary convicted
Conviction Date 06 Oct 1997
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $4,000
Costs $300
Charge Number Not available