A fabrication company in liquidation has been fined $28,000 for a horror industrial accident in 2018, which left a worker with “charred feet” requiring amputation.
The South Australian Employment Tribunal found Woodland Hills Fabrication Pty Ltd, which is in liquidation, and its director Bartyn Dall had engaged in a “systemic failure to engage in safety responsibilities”.
On October 22, 2018, the worker was lubricating a metal elevated platform which was being controlled by Mr Dall.
Above the platform, which the tribunal found was in poor condition, was an active power line.
Electricity arced through the platform, leaving the worker with serious injuries.
Royal Adelaide Hospital medical notes tendered to the tribunal reported the worker suffered 25 per cent full-thickness burns to extensive parts of his lower torso and legs.
“Both lower limbs were burnt to bone with absent pulses and charred feet,” the notes said.
The worker’s injuries had destroyed his social life.
“He says he is scared of electricity and even static shock such as touching an elevator button can cause panic,” tribunal deputy president Magistrate Stuart Cole said.
The tribunal heard Mr Dall had been running a farm which had fallen into dire financial trouble.
He had established a fabrication business to try and improve the farm’s income.
In his published judgment Mr Cole said Mr Dall was active in his local community, had been volunteering at the RAH since the accident and had been left traumatised and racked with guilt.
Counsel for SafeWork SA argued that “simple and inexpensive measures could have been used to avoid the accident.
“None the least of these measures was simply to cordon off the area where the platform should not be taken, to remove the risk of unsafe proximity to the powerline,” Mr Cole said.
Mr Cole said he would have fined the company $250,000 which would have been discounted for the company’s early guilty plea.
However, because the company had no assets, Mr Cole did not impose the fine but convicted the company for the safety breach.
Mr Dall was fined $28,000 despite being a declared bankrupt at the time of sentencing.
Source: The Advertiser