A Queensland company Brisbane Auto Recycling has been the first in Australia to be convicted of industrial manslaughter. Brisbane Auto Recycling was convicted of category one offences under the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the company was fined $3 million and two directors received 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 20 months.
The case followed an incident at Brisbane Auto Recycling’s Rocklea wrecking yard on the 17th of May 2019, where a worker was struck by a forklift and later died of his injuries. The operator of the forklift was unlicensed and unskilled and was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. Action was taken against the company and its directors for their negligence and lack of safety systems in place, specifically a traffic management plan. Brisbane Auto Recycling pleaded guilty to causing the death of a worker by failing to separate pedestrians from the mobile plant and failing to effectively supervise workers including the operators of the mobile plant.
Failure of the business to provide traffic management systems to ensure the safety of workers was the reason for such a serious offence. This is an important consideration for other businesses that do not have a traffic management plan in place and have likely never had one. Industrial manslaughter laws in Western Australia are currently being introduced and are likely to be included in Work Health and Safety legislation. These have been modelled off legislation in Queensland and will be similar in application and consequences.
How does this impact your business?
This case highlights how important it is for directors and others that govern businesses to ensure they have appropriate Work Health and Safety procedures in place to protect their workers. Many directors do not understand their responsibility in this field and their ability to be held liable for incidents that occur. To avoid this it is recommended directors conduct a safety audit to identify risks, formally review work health and safety documentation, and update policies procedures and training of workers.
ProcessWorx offers personalised Work Health and Safety management systems for small businesses and farms to ensure compliance for more information contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or firstname.lastname@example.org