Site supervisor receives a conviction and personal fine of $10,000 over serious injury to worker

A site supervisor working for a land development company in WA has been personally fined under the WHS Act for not implementing the company safety procedures.

The supervisor who failed to heed safety advice, or comply with internal safety procedures and a Code of Practice, has been convicted and personally fined $10,000 for failing to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the health of another person. In this incident, a worker was seriously injured when limestone blocks from an adjacent retaining wall and a steel plate fell on him. The company was also fined $95,000 over the incident.

In summing up the case, the Worksafe WA Commissioner said the company had internal policies and procedures to ensure the work was performed in a safe manner but these were not followed, with the supervisor instead deciding to use a steel place as ad-hoc shoring for the retaining wall, which is not a recognised safe method as per the Code and internal procedures.

In addition to the risk of a personal fine a prosecution under the WHS Act is a criminal charge and may result in imprisonment. Having a criminal record (even if not imprisoned) curtails many professional activities (such as the ability to hold various positions or the ability to hold research grants) and curtails many personal activities (such as international travel).

The WHS Act requires that workers follow the safety policies and procedures of the organisation that they work for.  Supervisors have an important role in leading safety and ensuring that safety policies and procedures are complied with.  At the University of Adelaide this means implementing the requirements of the HSW Handbook.

If you supervise anyone in the University of Adelaide, ensure you understand and meet your obligations.

Refer to the HSW Supervisor Toolkit  and the University of Adelaide’s HSW policies and procedures in the HSW Policy & Handbook.

If you have any questions or need advice please contact the HSW Team.

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