|Offender||Eastlink Enterprise Pty Ltd (ACN 109 159 999)|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||PE43870/2016||Between 19 July and 9 September 2013 inclusive||12th August 2016||19(1) 19A(3)||3A(2)(b)(i)||$20,000.00||12th August 2016|
|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; contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
The Accused is a labour hire company based at 47 Forsyth Street in O’Connor.
As a labour hire company the Accused supplies workers to its clients to carry out work for them. At the time of the offence, the Accused had approximately 100 employees that it supplied to approximately 15 clients.
One of the Accused’s clients since October 2012 was a company that specialises in recycling waste from construction and demolition sites.
The recycling company is based in Bayswater where waste material is brought to the workplace by trucks. During the time of the offence, the Accused had numerous employees at this workplace, approximately 6 workers.
The main part of the workplace is a very large shed housing an automated recycling plant. Within that shed there are numerous crushers and screeners with the material being moved through the process by a series of conveyors. Also inside this large shed is a small pre-fabricated hut known as the Picking Station. The Picking Station building has a flat roof constructed of rectangular modular panels.
Passing over this flat roof are two large conveyor belts that carry the recyclable material, which is mostly masonry, but contains ‘fines’ such as dirt and sand. As the conveyor belts pass over rollers, fines are jolted loose and fall off the conveyors, landing on the roof of the Picking Station.
Cleaning the fines off the Picking Station roof was usually carried out at the end of each day as part of a general workplace clean-up.
Between two and four workers were usually instructed to do the job. The procedure for accessing and egressing from the Picking Station roof was via an adjacent conveyor belt that the workers walked up and down and from which they could jump off onto the roof.
Whilst on the Picking Station roof they had to shovel the fines back on to the conveyor belt or off the side of the roof. This required them to get very close to the edge.
Between 19 July 2013 and 9 September 2013, various workers, including the Accused’s employees, the six workers, were on the roof of the Picking Station to clean the ‘fines’ off it.
The height from the edge of the Picking Station roof to the concrete floor below was 5.76 metres, exposing the Accused’s employees to a significant falls hazard. The roof was not fitted with any edge protection, nor was any fall-injury prevention system, such as safety harnesses, used.
Although prior to sending its employees to the workplace, the Accused’s recruitment consultant had visited the workplace and concluded it was a suitable place to send its employees, the consultant had not been provided with any sort of hazard identification checklist nor had he received any training from the Accused in how to identify hazards at client workplaces.
The Accused therefore failed to conduct an adequate identification of the hazards that would be in the working environment of their employees. In fact the Accused failed to identify all of the tasks that their employees would be carrying out at the workplace.
The Accused sought some information from the recycling company about job duties, hours of work, break times and asked the client to do safety inductions, but it failed to ask the client if it had done any risk assessments on the tasks the workers would be doing. If the Accused had asked the recycling company then the answer received would have been in the negative.
The WorkSafe Bulletin 7/2006 ‘Agents providing workers – Labour hire’ advises that the key steps to ensuring safe work placements are to:
a. Provide an induction;
b. Assess the placement; and
c. Monitor the workplace
That Bulletin also states on page 3:
‘The first step in securing a safe work placement is to gather information about the client… You must know about the client’s operations and hazards, their OSH performance and their approach to managing safety in the workplace… Remember, it is your decision to place a labour hire worker or contractor. If you are concerned that the workplace is not safe or that its hazards are not well managed, you should not provide workers.’
Also on page 3 of that Bulletin, under the heading ‘Monitor the workplace’, it states:
‘The agent must monitor the workplace to ensure that OSH requirements are being implemented as expected and that no new or potential risks have arisen.’
In the period between the initial visit and the offence, the Accused’s recruitment consultant visited the workplace regularly. However those visits were for the purpose of managing the Accused’s relationship with the recycling company, as the Accused’s employees placed there never spoke with or even saw the recruitment consultant at the workplace. Occupational health and safety matters were not discussed between the Accused and the recycling company.
If the Accused had implemented a system to adequately monitor safety at this client, in particular, to actively try to identify new work tasks that its employees were carrying out and, by extension identify what hazards were associated with the new tasks, then the Accused ought to have identified that its employees were having to clean the dirt accumulating on the flat roof of the Picking Station. This could have been identified either through observations or by simple discussions and enquiries with the employees.
The Accused had knowledge that its employees were being directed to conduct some sort of ‘work at heights’ at the workplace, as in late July 2013 one of the Accused’s employee’s had telephoned a director of the Accused, and reported his concerns about dangerous working conditions at the workplace. Specifically, one of the workers reported having to work at heights without being provided with a safety harness.
Although the director of the accused stated to one of the workers that he would speak to the recycling company about the issue, he did not do so. No discussions were had between the Accused and the recycling company about working at height without a safety harness or edge protection. Nor did the Accused revisit the workplace to do any further assessment of the tasks being required of its employees.
Convicted in absence of the Accused. The Magistrate fined the Accused $20,000.00 and ordered costs of $517.50
|Court||Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth|
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