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$54K in fines for unsafe loading

November 28, 2019

A Queensland company and its director have been fined a total of $54,000 after an elderly woman was struck by a water tank being unloaded at her property.

The 400kg water tank that was supplied and delivered by the company was pushed off the truck by the delivery driver.

Both the company and its officer pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court over breaches to section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with their primary duty of care towards other persons.

“The tank was supplied and delivered by the company. The delivery driver had only been employed by the company for 14 days,” Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) reported in its media release.

“The court heard the driver had received “hands on” training in a system for the delivery of tanks by pushing the tanks off the truck or trailer onto the ground.

“The tanks would bounce and roll some distance before coming to a stop when pushed off the truck or trailer.

“There was no system of establishing an exclusion zone and lowering the tanks to the ground in a controlled manner.

“The woman was struck when she walked in the path of the tank being pushed off the trailer, and, although the driver did not warn her before he pushed the tank off the trailer, it was clear that he was in the process of unloading the tank.

“The driver did not see the woman when he pushed the tank to the ground and was unaware that she had moved into the path of the tank.

“The tank knocked the home owner to the ground and she suffered a fractured sternum, soft tissue injuries, bruising and a laceration above her eye.

“The court heard that although the company had procedures in place for unloading of tanks, the driver had not been trained in the procedures, which included where customers were to put themselves in dangerous situations.”

After the incident, the company sought help from WHSQ and amended its unloading procedure. The company has now included the establishment of exclusion zones and the controlled lowering of tanks.

The company and officer were fined $34,000 and $20,000 respectively, plus almost $850 each in costs.

No convictions were recorded. The court noted early guilty pleas, considerable remorse the parties had and full cooperation with WHSQ’s investigation into the incident.

Health and safety duties apply to everyone in the supply chain

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