Case law example: Company’s first offence attracts penalty of $150,000

By Jeff Salton on July 3rd, 2018
  1. Risk Management
  2. Risk Assessment


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.

How are your company’s risk assessments undertaken? Do your workers understand the risks you have identified and what measures they should take to control them?

Maybe everyone needs a refresher?

The Health & Safety Handbook chapter on Risk Assessment will take you step-by-step through the process of assessing the risks within your workplace and then the measures you will need to eliminate those risks or at least limit them.

Don’t wait for a regrettable incident and costly penalty to spur you into action.

Act now and order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook today. With more than 70 chapters written in plain English by the lawyers at Holding Redlich, you know the information contained in the pages will help keep you and workers out of trouble.

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