A worker fractured his skull after a fall but his “old-school” employer did not think that matter should have been reported, despite the injury putting the worker in hospital for a week, a court has heard.
Darling Downs transport company Cattletrans Pty Ltd was fined $5000 for not reporting a serious workplace injury that left a worker with a fractured skull. The company pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on April 7 to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in that it failed its duty to report a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business.
The court heard that the company, trading as Robertson’s Transport, operated a small transport business specialising in livestock transportation when, on 8 March 2018, two workers employed by the company transported a broken-down truck on the tray of a tilt tray truck to a site in Wacol for repair.
While at that site, one of the workers fell from the tray of the stationary tilt tray truck, striking his head on the ground below. The other worker contacted the company director that same day to report the incident.
The court heard the injured worker was transported to hospital by ambulance where he was admitted as an inpatient for seven days and received treatment for a fractured skull.
The incident first came to the regulator’s notice on or around 18 June 2019, when Workplace Health and Safety Queensland was notified of the incident by the injured worker. The court heard that at no time, prior to or following 18 June 2019, did Robertson’s Transport notify Workplace Health and Safety Queensland of the incident.
Magistrate Kay Ryan said that Robertson’s Transport had failed its duty to notify – through ignorance of its obligation – and observed the director was an older man who could be considered old-school. Ms Ryan noted that while ignorance of the law was not an excuse, it was a factor that could be taken into account to an extent.
Ms Ryan also took into account the company’s early guilty plea, its otherwise good character, having no previous convictions, and financial difficulties it had experienced after being defrauded by a former employee and as a result of COVID-19. Her Honour also had regard to the fact that the injured worker was back working for Robertson’s Transport, albeit in a limited capacity.
The company was fined $5000 and ordered costs of $1100, with no conviction recorded.
Source: The Chronicle