A mineral producer admitted it totally failed to instruct an employee in how to perform duties, resulting in a fatal blow to the head.
Two entities owned by Kara Resources recently pleaded guilty for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act. Hallett Resources Truro and Taurus Recruitment allegedly did not train a worker in removing metal blockages from a rollercone crusher at the Truro operation, 101km northeast of Adelaide.
The 29-year-old victim unsafely entered the equipment’s cavity to release obstructing material, causing stored energy from within the machine to move with considerable force and strike the worker’s head during April 2020. The individual had only worked at the site for five weeks.
“No risk assessment or safe work method was created for this hazardous task. No training was provided to the worker in the removal of metal blockages,” SafeWork SA said after completing a thorough investigation.
“[Kara] did not perform an adequate hazard identification and risk assessment process specific to the task information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of its business.”
Investigators criticised labour hire provider Taurus for inadequately consulting, cooperating and coordinating with the host employer to ensure adequate hazard identification and risk assessments process were implemented.
“[Taurus] failed to ensure that the host employer provided and maintained adequate safe work method statements and documented safe work procedures in relation to the safe operation and safe removal of metal blockages,” SafeWork SA said.
The state employment tribunal convicted and fined both the mine operator ($455,000) and labour hire company ($24,000) over the incident plus legal fees. They each received a 30 and 40 per cent discount respectively after entering an early guilty plea.
Deputy president judge Tony Rossi ruled the fatality could have been avoided through “adequate” training and safe work procedures.
“The tragic loss of life in this case could have, and should have, been avoided by a simple but firm instruction implemented as a safe work procedure and properly supervised and maintained – which prohibited any worker from entering a rollercone crusher to remove a blockage or to conduct any other maintenance work,” he said in a public statement.
SafeWork SA urged all employers to not only identify risks but also eliminate them. At the very least they should minimise risk as “reasonably practicable”.