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$1.1m fine imposed for unsafe work practices

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A large fine for unsafe OH&S work practices was imposed on a Melbourne company in August. The criminal prosecution arose as a result of a workers’ death that took place in an accident with a depalletiser which used a conveyor belt to move empty beer bottles.

The judge identified unsafe work practices as the cause of the death. The company pleaded guilty, in failing to provide suitable Plant and safe systems of work, as well as failing to provide its employees with sufficient information, instructions and supervision.

The unsafe work practices identified in this criminal prosecution are virtually identical in Victorian and NSW legislation.

Moreover, the sections in the OH&S Acts lay down mandatory compliance. The contraventions identified, are elements of every employer’s compulsory–duty of care. These are fully set down in Section 8 of the NSW OH & S Act and Section 21 of the Victorian Act.

RMH Schaffer , OH&S consultants, specialise in developing for clients a customised OH&S Safety Management System (SMS).

These latter can evidence a company’s due diligence instead of running the risk of employees being exposed to unsafe work practices.

Whether a company have an existing SMS or are still establishing the business’ SMS, RMH Schaffer can review the present system or advise on key compliance requirements customised to business’ specific risks and hazards, whatever is the industry type.

This will protect a business from the risk of a criminal prosecution arising from unsafe work practices.

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