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Company’s first offence attracts penalty of $150,000

In Safe Work NSW v Newcastle Stevedores Pty Ltd (2016) a worker was fatally injured after the set of aluminium ingot packs he was climbing fell on top of him.

The stevedoring company was found guilty despite having extensive risk assessment systems in place. The risk of toppling ingots was foreseeable and was foreseen in the company’s risk assessment.

Despite the risk assessment form acknowledging this potential harm, the company failed to enforce the use of safety equipment. Specifically, the use of ladders was seen as a crucial element of avoiding risk and the Judge identified that the company’s failure to put in place such measures had aggravated the possibility of this risk.

However, the risk assessment program and other safety measures in place resulted in the Judge characterising this first offence as ‘low range’. Keeping in mind the fatal consequences of the incident, the Judge handed down a fine of $150,000.

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