$200k fine after worker crushed at barracks
LOGISTICS powerhouse Linfox Australia has been fined $200,000 over safety breaches that saw a man crushed by a defence vehicle at a Brisbane army barracks.
Linfox and Thales Australia were Department of Defence contractors at the Damascus Army Barracks in Brisbane in July 2015 when a worker helping to move a Bushmaster was crushed between two vehicles, causing "dreadful injuries".
Both companies were charged with failing to comply with their health and safety duties and Linfox was this week sentenced after pleading guilty to the offence.
Crown Prosecutor Julian Noud said on the day of the accident, a purchase order was sent from the Department of Defence to Thales requesting the repair and upgrade of eight of the four wheeled, all-wheel drive armoured Bushmasters.
"The decision was made by the workers to use a chain (to tow the Bushmasters), that was not correct and an A frame and or chocks were the appropriate engineering controls that should have been used to move the vehicle," he said.
"As a result of this movement action a (Thales worker) who was acting essentially as a spotter between the Bushmaster and the towing vehicle became crushed when the chain was removed…"
"As a result of the crush, (the worker) received most dreadful injuries, to his pelvis, bladder, urethra, femur and lower leg."
Both Linfox and Thales were charged with criminal offences of failing to comply with Workplace Health and Safety duties and Thales is yet to be dealt with in court.
"It's a failure to have in place reasonable practical measures and training, such that this erroneous belief in the work was spawned that a chain could be used," Mr Noud said.
Defence barrister John Bremhorst said Linfox "expressed regret from the board down" for the incident.
"It's acknowledge through the company that as a result of this accident there were a number of changes made to procedures within the company to remedy the situation to ensure that it would not happen again," he said.
Mr Bremhorst said Linfox staff were not usually involved in the process of moving the Bushmasters but a "Linfox employee was asked for assistance and assisted" and "there was a requirement to co-operate".
"This activity was not necessarily something contemplated within the overall safety system because it was not work Linfox would undertake," he said.
Magistrate Judith Daley said Linfox had committed a "serious offence" which carried a "significant" maximum penalty of $1.5 million.
"By failing to provide that safe system of work utilising tow couplings, a frames and wheel chocks, workers and others were put at a significant risk of crush injury," she said.
"I note and I accept the defendant is a responsible corporate citizen it regularly supports charitable organisations, community events and community organisations, health care and health research but it does have two civil breaches of the occupation health and safety act."