Two workers fined $75K each over duck farm death

By Portner Press on July 12th, 2019
  1. Policies & Procedures
  2. Safe Operating Procedures

WorkSafe Victoria has fined a business trustee and a sole trader $75,000 each for health and safety breaches that resulted in the death of another worker at a rural duck farm.

The sole trader had engaged the worker to help him install roof mounted winches to lift feeder and drinker lines in a duck breeding shed.

They used a front-end loader for the task.

The worker was standing inside in the loader bucket with tools and equipment preparing the motor for the fitting when the sole trader leant into the cabin and raised the bucket about four metres so the worker could reach the roof.

The worker fell forward out of the bucket and hit the ground.

Before assisting the worker, the sole trader entered the cabin of the front-end loader, reversed it and lowered the bucket to the ground. Only afterwards did he call out to another worker outside the shed, who then called for an ambulance.

The sole trader then called the business trustee, who was interstate at the time, before calling 000 himself.

The worker died at the scene.

An autopsy revealed his death was caused by head injuries. He had also sustained multiple fractures to his skull and facial bones, neck, back, ribs and left arm.

Both the business trustee and the sole trader pleaded guilty to breaching section 21 of Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to provide, as reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

WorkSafe investigators found that neither the business nor the sole trader had a health and safety policy or documented procedures to carry out the installation task safely.

No operation is too small to ignore health and safety

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