OHS News: Mining Company Fined $90,000 After Pleading Guilty To Failing To Maintain A Safe Working Environment Stemming From A 2007 Incident That Seriously Injured A 15 Year Old Boy

If you think that failing to follow OHS policies and procedures is not a costly mistake then perhaps you can learn a lesson from the August 10th ruling that left a mining company $90,000 dollars poorer from a 2007 incident in which they admittedly failed to maintain a safe working environment that resulted in severe injuries to a 15 year old apprentice.

The young man was injured when a 10-tonne tray attached to a dump truck crushed him resulting in severe facial fractures and lacerations as well as significant back and leg injuries.

The incident took place in Western Australia and it was learned during the course of the hearing that the tray on the dump truck was being held in place by hardened bars instead of the usual safety pins. The safety pins could not be used on this truck due to damage to the eyelets that hold the pins so the company made the decision to use the hardened bars in place of the pins.

The court found that the mining company failed to properly train it’s employees, that it did not ensure that proper isolation procedures were followed, and that company policy did not require employees to physically lock out machinery while it was tagged.

The company did improve safety procedures after the the incident but, that did not change their failure to provide adequate safety for the young man that resulted in his injuries.

In another mining case settled just the day before the mining company and it’s supervisor were found not guilty of any OHS breaches. In this case stemming from another 2007 incident it was found that the coal mining company and it’s supervisor not only had all safety procedures in place but, the supervisor actually held weekly safety meetings. It was actually the employee who despite having an induction training course refused to follow safety procedures which resulted in his injury. The company was held blameless.

The lesson to be learned from this incident and the resulting decision is that taking the time to ensure that safety procedures are in place and used properly and that all employees receive adequate training may seem costly but, the consequences of not ensuring adequate safety may be costlier still both to the companies and the employees who work for these companies.

In these two cases settled only a day apart the results were completely different. The company that went out of it’s way to try ensure safety was held blameless while the company that failed in it’s duty to adequately insure that safety procedures were in place paid dearly for their mistake.

In the end, it is clear to see that by ensuring that safety procedures are in place and that employees have adequate safety training your company can save themselves from huge fines that may well cripple or completely destroy your company.