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Worker is injured when a bakery trolley falls on her

The Case

Campbell v Woolworths Group Limited (2021)

On 26 August 2018, a Woolworths worker with 20 years of experience sustained an injury after a loaded 2-metre-high bakery trolley with jammed wheels fell on her, pinning her to the ground.

The Verdict

Woolworths pleaded guilty to breaching sections 19 and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), in exposing the worker to a risk of serious injury.

The Court heard that while Woolworths had a number of safety protocols, it failed to have any adequate protocol for the inspection and maintenance of the bakery trolleys. Following the incident, Woolworths took immediate action to remove all comparable bakery trolleys from use and to isolate them. Woolworths also developed a bakery trolley rack inspection and maintenance procedure.

Woolworths was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $72,000, following a 40% reduction for entering a guilty plea. Woolworths was also ordered to pay prosecutor’s costs of $1,100 and expert report costs of $1,500.

The Lessons

It is important for employers to be actively monitoring work practices to check whether they remain safe or if change is required. Developing an inspection and maintenance procedure is an effective tool to control risks.

Please note: Case law is reported as correct and current at time of publishing. Be aware that cases in lower courts may be appealed and decisions subsequently overturned.

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