The security guard was performing static-guard duties when he attempted to close an automatic gate which was recently damaged. The 417 kg gate fell on top of him causing multiple fractures to his skull, facial fractures and foot fractures.
This case serves as a reminder to all businesses that under section 22(1) of the OSH Act controllers of workplaces:
Air Road is a freight logistics company which had been operating out of premises in Kewdale since May 2008. A large automated gate weighing 417 kg was installed at these premises in October 2008. Due to problems with the gate it was operated manually and at times replaced by a manual two door mesh gate system. The original gate was fixed and reinstated on about 9 October 2008, although continued to be operated manually. On 17 December 2008 a truck collided with the Stopper Post which meant that the gate no longer stopped properly.
A quote was requested for maintenance works on the gate on 17 December 2008 and was verbally received two to four days later. The maintenance was commenced more than a week after that on 30 December however the repairman did not complete the work and planned to return to complete the repairs on 6 January 2009– by the time of the incident more than two weeks had past.
On 5 January 2009, the first day back after the Christmas and New Year shut down period, a security guard was injured while manually closing the gate. He had previously witnessed a security guard colleague open and close the gate without incident. His injuries included multiple fractures to the skull, the base of the skull, facial fractures and foot fractures. The security guard was an employee of a security company contracted on behalf of Air Road to provide security services.
Air Road pleaded guilty and was convicted in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia.
At sentencing, the Magistrates Court found that it would have been practicable for Air Road to take the following interim steps pending a full fix of the stopper post:
The Magistrates Court also found that the Stopper Post could have been properly fixed within 8 hours.
This case serves as an important reminder of the need to take interim steps to prevent persons at a workplace being exposed to known hazards pending a permanent fix. Where it is impracticable to fix the hazard immediately, steps need to be taken to ensure the hazard is isolated and the appropriate people are notified that the hazard exists. It also confirms that safety duties are not relaxed due to holiday periods and that interim steps need to be taken to immediately prevent exposure to hazards at all times.
Who does this affect?
Person who are in control of workplaces.
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