Tunny Pty Ltd – a car wreckage and used parts seller – and its sole director Aidan Arthur Waring have been fined $120,000 and $30,000 respectively following a 2019 incident that resulted in a worker being struck by a one-tonne truck tray.
Both parties offered early guilty pleas of breaching multiple sections of the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and as a result received 25 per cent discounts off their fines.
Tunny was convicted of contravening sections 19 and 32, while Waring admitted to breaching section 27 of the Act, in failing to exercise due diligence to ensure Tunny complied with its section-19 duty of care.
The incident took place at Tunny’s Lake Munmorah site in NSW in June 2019. At the time, two employees were loading the dismantled tray of a flatbed truck onto a shipping container.
The wheel loader used to move the tray had been modified and fitted with pallet forks, slip-on fork extensions and a slip-on jib attachment. In addition, chain slings and a grab hook were also used.
The tray was lifted and suspended on its side, however afterwards the hook became detached and the chain gave way. As a result, the one-tonne tray fell and knocked a worker to the ground in the process. He suffered serious damage including sustained fractures to his spine and ribs and along with internal injuries.
What went wrong?
Whilst Mr Waring was the sole director of the Tunny and had owned the business since 1978, he retired to Tasmania in 2014. In his absence he left the management of his company with his nephew.
NSW District Court Judge David Russel found:
The company had no formal safety policies in place.
Mr Waring had adopted a completely ‘hands-off’ approach to running Tunny and made no attempt to exercise any due diligence to ensure the company complied with its safety obligations.
Tunny had not conducted a risk assessment for lifting the tray using the loader or for using the modified loader at all, meaning it had no safe work procedure in place.
Tunny did not ensure the equipment was suitable to lift and suspend the tray, implement any exclusion zones, ensure the injured worker had appropriate qualifications for rigging and dogging, or provide proper training or supervision.
The chain sling and hook arrangement used did not comply with the relevant Standard.
For more information on this incident please visit the NSW District Court case summary.
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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.