Company fined for worker’s death

PJL Pty Ltd has been fined $225,000 over the death of a worker at its Cobar workshop in 2014.

A 30 year old diesel mechanic suffered fatal injuries when working at the company’s mechanical and engineering workshop in Cobar on May 16, 2014.

The man was crushed when a load frame from a 20 tonne underground haul truck slipped from its supports and fell on him.

An investigation by SafeWork NSW found cylindrical stands were propped up on wooden blocks which were unable to handle the load.

The wooden blocks then split, causing the load frame to fall on the worker, resulting in fatal crush injuries to the man.

SafeWork NSW charged PJL Pty Ltd with a breach of section 19(1)/32 of the Work Health and Safety Act (NSW) for failing to manage the risk of serious injury or death from the load frame moving or falling.

The company was found guilty in the District Court and fined $225,000.

SafeWork NSW executive director Peter Dunphy said the business failed to follow its own policy of stopping a job if it could not be completed according to instructions and that a safe system of work should have been developed specifically for the job.

“When the job was varied and expanded there were no equipment manuals, additional instructions or revision of existing ones for the additional work,” Mr Dunphy said.

“The risk of working underneath a 20 tonne load was clearly foreseeable and a safe system of work, including a safe work method statement and work plan approved by the workshop foreman or supervisor should have been developed.

“Comprehensive instructions should have been developed and appropriate equipment, including properly engineered load bearing supports should have been used.”

Over the past three years there have been more than 140,000 injuries in NSW workplaces as a result of using machinery and equipment incorrectly.