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Prosecution Details

Offender Gypsum Metallica Rongonvi Hoff-Higgins


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 HV203/2016 14 February 2014 15th August 2016 20A(2)(c) $7,200.00 15th August 2016
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employee did not take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of any other person through any act or omission at work, and by that contravention caused the death of another person contrary to sections 20(1)(b) and 20A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

Workplace and Employment

The Accused was an employee of a fruit juice and dairy company which operated a business in Harvey (the Workplace).

Both the Accused and the Victim were full time employees of the fruit juice and dairy company on 14 February 2014.

The Victim was employed as a truck driver who was required to transport bulk milk products from the Workplace to various locations within the Perth area.

The accused was employed as a forklift operator who was required to move bulk milk and juice products within the Workplace.


On 14 February 2014 the Victim parked his Scania prime mover truck in the main truck parking area which is located to the East of the main dairy buildings. The truck cab was facing to the West.

To the South side of the truck parking area is the mechanical workshop and to the North side is a storage area for recycling and wooden pallets and pallecons (wooden fruit bins).

At approximately 2pm on 14 February 2014 the Victim had returned from his truck run and parked up his truck in order to clean the cab and then finish for the day.

The Victim asked the accused to collect a pallecon (wooden fruit bin) from the storage area. The Victim told the accused that he wanted to be raised in the pallecon so he could wash the roof of his truck.

The Accused obtained the pallecon using his forklift and returned to the front of the Victim’s truck.

The Victim then placed the cleaning bucket, broom (which was 2.5m in length) and the end of the hose into the pallecon and climbed in.

The accused used the forklift to raise the Victim in the pallecon which was unsecured on the forklift tines approximately 2 metres into the air.  The Victim commenced to wash the truck cab.

During cleaning the Victim moved to the left side of the pallecon which caused the pallecon to tip to the left and fall from the forklift tines.

The pallecons are not secured to the forklift tines and do not have any boards that sit below the forklift tines that prevent it from tipping over or sliding off.  The Victim fell to the ground with the pallecon landing on top of him.

The Victim died as a result of severe head trauma which included:

a.             two scalp lacerations;

b.             bruising around the right eye;

c.             multiple skull fractures; and

d.             a laceration to the brain

Long handled brooms, buckets and hoses were provided for cleaning the truck cabs. The brooms were approximately 2.5 metres in length.

A number of alternatives were available to clean the truck roof. The safest method was for truck drivers was to tilt the truck cab forward (which took approximately two minutes) and to clean from the ground using the long handled broom provided.

There were other methods also available such as using an approved work platform attached to the forklift tines, using a safety ladder which was located in the bulk farm truck parking area or utilising a raised platform that was located at the loading docks.

Accused training

The accused was the holder of a current High Risk Work Licence which was issued on 9 November 2012.  During the accused assessment to demonstrate his competency to operate a forklift truck both a practical demonstration and written knowledge test were conducted. This occurred on 6 September 2012.

During the written knowledge test the accused was asked a number of questions of which his written answers demonstrate his knowledge that what he did on 14 February 2014 was unsafe. The questions were as follows:

  • Question 32. Is it permissible to carry passengers on the bare fork arms or load? Explain your answer (compulsory).

Accused Answer: “No because it is unsafe.”

  • Question 33. By what means can people be raised on a forklift truck? (compulsory).

Accused Answer: “In a approved man cage.” [sp]

  • Question 34. Is a stepladder or other device allowed to be used to gain extra height whilst working from a work platform? (compulsory).

Accused Answer: “No because it is unsafe and could fall.”


The accused knew of the location of the work platform at the workplace as he had used them previous to 14 February 2014 and knew the pallecon fruit bin was not to be used as a work platform. By lifting the Victim in the pallecon which was not secured to the forklift tines the accused adversely affected the safety and health of the Victim.

The accused act resulted in the death of another person.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty at first mention and was convicted.  The Magistrate fined the Accused $7200.00 and ordered costs of $800.00

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Harvey
Costs $800.00

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