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Court summaries

WorkSafe Tasmania actively enforces the law, prosecuting alleged offenders under the prosecutions framework.

Where there has been a successful prosecution but an order was made that no conviction was to be recorded, we have removed information from the court summary to avoid breach of the court's order and infringement of the Sentencing Act 1997.

Plumbing company convicted and fined

November 2020

Machos Pty Ltd (trading as Nu Jet) has been fined $50,000 for a Category 2 offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.

The incident

On 22 January 2018, a worker from Machos Pty Ltd struck an underground extra high voltage electrical cable with a pneumatic rock breaker while working on the roadway in front of 282 Argyle Street North Hobart. The subsequent flash ignited oil in the cable, causing the oil to burn.

The worker received burns to his face, both hands and torso. He was treated initially on site and admitted to hospital where he made a full recovery and returned to work.

Contributing factors

The WorkSafe Tasmania investigation found the company:

  • failed to undertake an adequate risk assessment and failed to provide adequate supervision
  • failed to notify TasNetworks of the work it was undertaking, so TasNetworks could provide onsite supervision.

The penalties

Machos Pty Ltd was charged with one count of failing to comply with a health and safety duty (category 2). It entered a guilty plea and was fined $50,000.

Abattoir convicted and fined

November 2020

JBS Australia Pty Ltd was prosecuted and fined $150,000 after a worker fell into a wash bath filled with hot water, causing serious injuries.

The incident

On 23 November 2016, a worker was performing his normal tasks in the offal/tripe room at the JBS Australia Pty Limited plant at Longford. He noticed the tripe had not fallen through the provided hole, but was still in the chute on top of the cooker.

In order to get the tripe into the cooker, the worker tried to dislodge it with a steel pole. When that was unsuccessful, he decided to use his hands. So he climbed up onto the edge of the pre-wash tub (that was full of hot water) and stepped onto the edge of the pre-wash basket that was immersed in the pre-wash tub. As he was manoeuvring the tripe through the hole into the cooker, he lost his footing and slipped into the tub of hot water, which was determined to have been 82 degrees Celsius.

The worker’s gumboots immediately filled with hot water, causing second and third degrees burns to both his legs from the knees down (including both feet).

The penalties

JBS Australia Pty Limited was convicted and fined for:

  • failing to comply with a health and safety duty: Category 2 under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (fine of $130,000)
  • failing to consult with workers pursuant to section 47 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (fine of $20,000).

Crane company convicted and fined, crane driver receives suspended jail sentence

May 2020

Pfeiffer Cranes Pty Ltd and one of its crane drivers, Glenn Gault, were prosecuted after Gault’s negligence caused a 1.9 tonne load of plaster to fall onto an Island Block and Paving Pty Ltd worker, causing serious injuries.

Pfeiffer Cranes was fined $50,000 and convicted and Gault received a 6 month suspended jail sentence.

The incident

On 7 April 2017, a worker of Island Block and Paving was working with a builder on a construction site in Trevallyn. A crane was being used to lift pallets of plaster to the first floor of the building under construction. The lifting was complicated when the builder asked the plaster to be placed further away from the crane.

The crane has a safety system stopping the crane from moving when it senses it has reached 75% of capacity. When the crane reaches 100% of its capacity, alarms and lights also sound, which are visible both inside and outside of the crane.

The crane driver Gault overrode the safety system. On the fourth lift, while the load was being extended, the weight of the load caused the crane to fail and the boom to collapse, trapping the worker under the load. He sustained serious injuries.

A WorkSafe Tasmania investigation found the manual override had been used on more than 100 prior occasions.

The charges

Pfeiffer Cranes Pty Ltd was charged with:

  • one count of failing to comply with health and safety duty: Category 2 contrary to Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012
  • one count of failing to comply with health and safety duty: Category 3 contrary to Section 33 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.

Glenn Gault was charged with:

  • one count of failing to comply with health and safety duty: Category 1 contrary to Section 31 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012
  • one count of failing to comply with health and safety duty: Category 2 contrary to Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.
Updated: 18th November 2020