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Prosecution Details

Offender Airroad Pty Limited (ACN 002 955 419)

Charges

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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE31972/11 17 December 2008 to 5 January 2009 20th December 2011 3A(2)(b)(i) $100,000.00 20th December 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being a person that has, to any extent, control of the workplace where persons, who are not employees of the Accused, work or are likely to work, failed to take such measures as are practicable to ensure that the workplace is such that persons who are at the workplace are not exposed to hazards, in contravention of section 22(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

At the time of the offence, Airroad Pty Limited (ACN 002 955 419) was registered under the name Air Road Distribution Pty Ltd (Air Road).  Air Road operates a freight logistics company out of a premises located at 18 Aitken Way, Kewdale in the State of Western Australia (the Premises).

Air Road had operated from the Premises since May 2008.  The Premises is comprised of a large warehouse with large outdoor storage areas, which are large enough to store many sea containers and has vehicle and truck access at two points.  A driveway close to the administration area of the Premises and a driveway to the rear yard of the Premises.  The Administration area and the rear yard are separated by a gate which is chained and padlocked.

The Gate

The driveway which accesses the rear yard of the Premises is secured by a large metal sliding gate (the Gate).  The Gate was installed in October 2008.  It was 2 metres in height, 10.9 metres in length and in excess of 417kg in weight.  It is held in the vertical position by a frame at one end and slides on a track.

At the time of the installation of the Gate, a metal stopper post was dynabolted to the concrete to stop the Gate at its designed extension in the closed position (the Stopper Post).  The Gate was designed to be an automated gate. At the time of installation there were difficulties with automating the Gate. This meant the Gate had to opened and closed manually.  The manual operation of the Gate was described as "quite difficult" by those who had to open and close it.

Damage to and Repair of the Stopper Post

In or around mid September 2008, there was damage to the track along which the Gate travelled. As a consequence, the Gate was not used and the previous 2 door mesh gate was re-installed and used until the damaged track had been replaced. The track was replaced on about 9 October 2008.  Thereafter, the 2 door mesh gate was removed and the Gate was reinstated. The Gate continued to be operated manually.

On 17 December 2008, a truck, which was not owned or operated by Air Road, collided with the Stopper Post causing it to be almost completely dislodged from the ground. From that point on the Stopper Post was no longer capable of stopping the Gate from travelling past its designed extension or stopping the Gate.

On 17 December 2008, the then State Manager of Air Road requested a maintenance repairman to provide Air Road with a quote to repair the Stopper Post.  The Maintenance repairman works for a maintenance company and had been providing maintenance services to Air Road for some years.  On the same day, a verbal quote to repair the Stopper Post was provided to the State Manager.

On either 19 or 22 December 2008, the State Manager informed the maintenance repairman that his verbal quote was accepted and requested that he perform the work to repair the Stopper Post.  The Maintenance repairman advised the State Manager that he would attend the Premises between Christmas Day and New Years Day to perform the work.

On about 23 December 2008, a representative of a security company, the employer of the security guards who worked at the Premises from time to time, attended and inspected the Gate and recorded in the log book "ok".

On 30 December 2008, the maintenance repairman attended the Premises to remove the damaged concrete and then pour new concrete as a first step in the process to repair the Stopper Post, he then left the Premises with the intention of returning in the New Year (2009) to complete the repairs to the Stopper Post.

On 5 January 2009, the first working day in 2009, before becoming aware of the incident the State Manager telephoned the maintenance repairman and enquired when the repairs to Stopper Post would be completed.  The repairman advised the State Manager that he had scheduled 6 January 2009 to attend the Premises to complete the repairs to the Stopper Post.

On 5 January 2009, upon becoming aware of the incident, the State Manager telephoned the repairman for a second time and requested the he complete the repairs to the Stopper Post that day. The repairman attended the Premises at approximately 5:30pm on 5 January 2009 and completed the repairs to the Stopper Post.

The Incident on 5 January 2009

The security company was contracted on behalf of Air Road, to provide it with security guard services at the Premises from time to time.

At approximately 8:40pm on Sunday, 4 January 2009 a security guard attended the Premises for the first time to commence a shift as a security guard to undertake static security guard duties inside the rear yard of the Premises. He was met at the Premises by a fellow employee/colleague who opened the Gate before both walking through it to enter the rear yard of the Premises.  After the colleague explained to the security guard that his duties were to be a static guard keeping an eye on the trailers, he exited through the Gate and pulled it shut and passed the ends of the metal chain through the chain link fence. At that time, the Gate was closed in line with the black fence post.  The colleague did not notice anything untoward about the Gate or its Stopper Post.

At approximately 2:40pm on Monday, 5 January 2009, the security guard was manually closing the Gate when the Gate was dislodged from its vertical holding frame and fell on him.  It was not part of his assigned duties to take any action with respect to the Gate.  He suffered injuries as a result of the Gate falling on to him.  Those injuries included multiple fractures to the skull and base of the skull, facial fractures and foot fractures.

Practicable Measures

It was practicable for Air Road to lock the Gate and prevent any person using the

Gate until it was fixed.  It was practicable for Air Road to fix the Stopper Post.  The Stopper Post could have been reinstated in 8 hours.

Further it was practicable for Air Road to weld a T-bar shaped stopper to the rear end of the Gate which prevented the Gate from over-travelling. The T-bar which was installed on 7 January 2009 was done in one hour.

Air Road failed to implement any of these practicable measures before the Incident on the morning of 5 January 2009.




Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $1706.00

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