Company fined $85,000 over worker death

by John Hilton21 Nov 2016
Resource Recovery Solutions has pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment for a labour hire worker who died in September 2013.

The waste recycling company was fined $85,000 (and ordered to pay $2488.50 in costs) in the Perth Magistrates Court.

The company specialises in recycling waste from construction and demolition sites.

The incident involved five workers who were working in the picking station when one of the roofing panels collapsed due to the weight of the accumulated debris on the roof.

One of the workers was killed, while the other four didn’t suffer any injuries.

It was found that there was 709.02 kilograms of debris on the roof which was more than five times the Safe Working Load.

It was also equivalent to around five to six weeks of the usual build-up if it had not been removed.

The employees were unaware that the build-up of debris was a hazard, and expected that it would be cleaned off later in the day.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Chris Kirwin said the incident was a tragic example of a workplace not having safe systems of work in place.

“The safety procedures that were in place at Resource Recovery Solutions were lax at best,” Kirwin said.

“There was no clear system in place to monitor the roof of the picking station and ensure it was kept free of debris, and workers had not been warned of the hazard of a build-up on the roof.

Kirwin added that even though the roof was usually cleaned off as part of the general clean-up at the end of the day, the task was not included in any formal safety procedure and it was not regularly checked on.

“Since this incident, the employer has introduced procedures to ensure workers are aware of the hazard and that the roof of the picking station is checked throughout the day,” said Kirwin.

“The conveyor belts have also been upgraded so less debris is deposited on the picking station roof, which has also been reinforced with steel beams.

“But it would have been practicable for each of these control measures to have been put into place earlier, and it may well have prevented this tragic loss of life.

“Employers everywhere should use this case as a reminder to ensure that risks are assessed and all practicable safety measures and safe work procedures are put into place.”

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