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                        2 min read

                        Australia's first industrial manslaughter conviction

                        Australia's first industrial manslaughter conviction

                        In an extraordinary case, a Queensland employer has been convicted of Industrial Manslaughter and fined $3m. The company’s two directors were also convicted of reckless conduct and sentenced to 10 months gaol.

                        The incident that led to the convictions took place in May 2019, when Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Limited casual contractor Barry Willis was struck by a forklift while securing a load on a truck.

                        The company and the directors understood the risks posed by the interaction between forklifts and pedestrians; however, failed to take steps to manage the apparent risk that this posed.

                        They made the situation worse by lying about the circumstances, blaming the injured worker and lying about the identity of the forklift driver – as the driver that was driving the fork at the time of the incident was not licenced.

                        All in all, this is a horrible tragedy that has resulted in an entirely avoidable fatality. It is a lesson in how not to manage safety risks or manage a major incident.

                        The court ended up suspending the goal sentence of the Directors who are both refugees and faced potential deportation back to Afghanistan if they were to go to gaol.

                        More detail on the convictions is available in this report from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce.


                        It’s not that hard to prevent this from happening!!

                        Here at Plant Assessor, we have dedicated our lives to helping people get machinery safety right. It makes us extremely angry when people neglect their responsibilities in this area.

                        It doesn’t take that long to conduct a risk assessment on a forklift. Ensure that safe operating procedures are in place for the use of mobile plant. Put in place exclusion zones to reduce the risk of pedestrian and plant interaction and ensure operators are licenced & trained in the company’s procedures.

                        Plant Assessor makes all of these things so much easier than they used to be – there is no excuse not to do this, and people’s lives depend on these things being done.


                        How are your plant safety management systems? Take the test… 

                        Since 2004 we have been helping people take control of their safety systems relating to plant & machinery.

                        We have recently released our Machinery Safety System Health Check – an easy to use self-diagnostic tool to help people who use plant & machinery understand how good their safety systems are.

                        We urge you to take the test and get a better understanding of your system health, and if you would like some help, contact us, and we will help you with the diagnosis.


                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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