Officials Cases – Logging Firm Fined $137,500 After Worker Left Paraplegic

A NSW timber firm has been fined $137,500 and ordered to pay prosecution costs by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in court session following a logging incident which left a contract tree feller paraplegic.

Leonard J Williams, of Rose Street, Coffs Harbour, had pleaded not guilty to a breach of Section 16(1) of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1983 at Kundabung, near Kempsey, on 8 September 1998.

The tree feller was seriously injured while working in an isolated bush area with another worker, who was operating a skidder, a machine used for removing logs.

He was hit by a falling ironbark sapling, which had been pushed over by an oak tree knocked down by the skidder. The man had to be airlifted to hospital by helicopter.

Justice R Peterson said the evidence illustrated a total failure by the employer to institute any supervision of the work to be performed.

WorkCover General Manager Kate McKenzie commented: “This case sends a strong reminder to employers about the dangers of failing to properly supervise employees and ensuring that all risks are assessed before work begins, especially in an isolated work environment.”

Media contact: John Kirby, WorkCover NSW, (02) 9370 5257 or 0413 186799

WorkCover Authority (Insp Schultz) v Leonard Williams (Timber) Pty Ltd IRC4503 of 2000

This article is sourced from the WorkCover website at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/

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