Worker ‘almost unrecognisable’ after unsecured cable rack fell on head

A talented sportsman was left “almost unrecognisable” after an unsecured cable rack fell on his head at his workplace, resulting in numerous injuries including a broken skull.

On the morning of 12 January, 2022, the 21-year-old was serving a customer at TLE Electrical in Belconnen when the unsecured, heavy, metal cable rack fell onto his head, his mother told the ACT Industrial Court on Friday (28 June).

She said he was left with fractures to his skull, hard palate and cheekbones, had three teeth knocked out, needed 30 staples to a cut on the back of his head and also had cuts to his ear, lip and lower back.

He was “almost unrecognisable” afterwards, his mother said, but “surviving was only the beginning” and he continued to need medical treatment two and a half years later.

“This was a dark time for both of us … his smile literally disappeared,” she said.

Her son had been a first-grade Australian rules player in Canberra, but had now been told to avoid contact sports.

The mother did say she was “forever grateful” to the team who treated her son, who had demonstrated “incredible strength”.

“I am extremely proud of him,” she said.

During their sentencing hearing on Friday, Metal Manufactures Pty Ltd, which operates TLE Electrical Belconnen, and the workplace’s site manager Jack Platt pleaded guilty to charges of failing to comply with a health and safety duty risking death or serious injury, and Magistrate James Lawton formally found the offences proved.

Aaron Guilfoyle, appearing for the informant, argued this was a serious example of such offending as the potential consequences were extremely serious.

He argued that the risk was known to Metal Manufactures as it had policies and procedures in place for cable racking. There were simple steps it could have taken to minimise the risk, which should have been known to the company, he said.

Metal Manufactures’ barrister Michael Tooma said the racking hadn’t been properly installed, but described this as an “oversight”. There had been plans to properly install the racking, but this had been delayed by COVID-19.

Mr Tooma said his client had operated for 108 years without a single conviction in any jurisdiction, nor any serious injury.

It had expressed contrition over this incident, he said, and had supported the victim.

Magistrate Lawton will hand down his sentence on 7 August.

Source: Riotact

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