Officials Cases – Waste Firm Fined $155,000 Over Compactor Death

A Tuncurry-based waste disposal firm has been fined $155,000 by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in court session after an employee was crushed to death inside a garbage compactor truck.

JR & EG Richards Pty Ltd (trading as JR Richards & Sons) pleaded guilty to two charges under Section 15(1) of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1983 by failing to provide information, training, supervision and a safe system of work to ensure the health and safety of the employee.

The 46-year-old man was fatally crushed while working alone clearing garbage from inside the truck at the company’s Port Macquarie waste management and recycling depot on 15 December 1999.

WorkCover investigations showed that a proximity switch which should have disabled the compactor blade while the operator was inside, failed to operate correctly, contributing to the incident.

WorkCover General Manager Kate McKenzie commented: “This case is a tragic example of the consequences that can result from an employer’s failure to give induction safety training, failure to monitor and inspect safety systems and failure to provide adequate supervision to employees.”

WorkCover Authority (Insp Colin West v JR & EG Richards Pty Ltd, IRC319 of 2001 & IRC321 of 2001

Source: WorkCover NSW.

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