June 27, 2023 | Susan Napier-Sewell

The High Costs of Compliance Failure

stockpile rolloever

The investigation into the death of an Australian quarry worker found compliance failure to “ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health and safety.”

While safety alerts were issued by WorkSafe Victoria shortly after a fatal accident, the investigation into the May 2016 death of a Victorian quarry operator has taken a much longer course. In the incident, the worker’s dump truck tipped over a quarry stockpile edge. The edge gave way, sending the truck cascading down the other side. According to the Australian Mine Safety Journal (AMSJ), the findings reveal compliance failure: “The operator of a quarry in Victoria has been convicted and fined $230,000 after a driver was killed when his vehicle rolled on a stockpile in May 2016.

“Keilor Melton Quarries Pty Ltd was . . . found guilty of contravening Section 26 of the Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Act, by failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health and safety.'”

What can happen when you overlook performing a risk assessment, resulting in compliance failure?

News from the Australian Institute of Health & Safety’s investigation into the quarry incident findings reveals the following:

Keilor Melton Quarries was recently sentenced after it was earlier found guilty of contravening Section 26 of the OHS Act, by failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health and safety.

The Melbourne County Court heard the driver, a man in his 60s, died when the dump truck he was driving flipped over the edge of a stockpile at the Plumpton quarry and slid down the other side.

The court heard the driver, a sub-contractor, was moving material up an earthen ramp to dump near the top of the stockpile when the incident occurred.

A WorkSafe investigation found that Keilor Melton Quarries should have completed a risk assessment and a Safe Work Method Statement for the task.

It also found the company failed to take a number of reasonably practicable steps including ensuring the perimeter of the stockpile was adequately walled and engaging a qualified engineer to assess the stability of the stockpile.

WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said the death was a tragic reminder of the importance of identifying the hazards involved in high-risk work.

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure Safe Work Method Statements are prepared for all high-risk work, including work involving subcontractors,” Nielsen said.

“It is not acceptable to put the safety of any worker at risk by failing to identify hazards and failing to take action on these.”

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Accident, Investigations
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