Host employer fined $60,000 over serious injury in workplace

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A host employer has been fined $60,000 over an incident in which a worker supplied by a labour hire company was crushed and left a paraplegic.

Maddington boilermaking and metal fabrication company G & G Mining Fabrication Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the provision of a safe workplace under a labour hire arrangement and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a worker, and was fined in the Armadale Magistrates Court on Thursday.

In September 2007, the injured worker was employed under a labour hire arrangement as a welder to, among other duties, weld large mining vehicle water tanks.

On the day he was injured, the worker was engaged in welding a component of a large (45,000 litre) water tank.

There was no adequate mechanism used to hold the tank component in place while it was being welded, as chains connected to an overhead gantry had been removed before welding began.

Consequently, the component toppled onto the worker, causing serious crush injuries and leaving him without the use of his legs.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the case should serve as a reminder that both host employers and labour hire companies had a responsibility to ensure workplaces were safe.

“Host employers have an obligation to ensure the workplaces in which workers are placed are safe and healthy, something that clearly did not happen in this case,” Mr Attard said.

“The court heard that the welding practice used was inherently dangerous, as it relied heavily on the tank component remaining in place without any support.

“It was practicable for the employer to have ensured the component was supported during the welding work, but the required safe system of work was not implemented.

“Both parties to a labour hire arrangement need to be aware of the responsibilities they have in ensuring that workplaces are safe for the workers sent to host companies by labour hire providers.”

The labour hire company has also been charged by WorkSafe in relation to the incident.

Further information on workplace safety and health under labour hire arrangements can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au

Media contact:  Caroline De Vaney 9327 8744 or 9408 927563 (media enquiries only). 

WorkSafe
Media release
15 Feb 2011

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