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January 2020

Container crane incident costs company $20,000

Container crane incident costs company $20,000

Worksafe Victoria v L. Arthur Pty Ltd (2017)

Facts

An employee of L Arthur Pty Ltd – a company that provides transport, integrated logistics, warehousing and distribution services – was operating a crane to move an empty 40-foot shipping container across a warehouse space. The crane was off-centre and the floor of the warehouse where the work was being performed was sloped at a 3.7-degree angle. Despite these conditions, the crane was still rigged for lifting. In the process of using the crane to move the container, the crane fell to the ground and narrowly missed hitting an employee.

Judgment

The Werribee Magistrates’ Court found that there was a risk of death or serious injury to employees in the event of the crane rolling or the container falling off it while performing the task at that particular site. The crane also exceeded its operational capacity.

The company was fined $20,000.

Lessons

Even though an actual injury did not occur, the risk of a death or serious injury is enough for there to be a breach of health and safety laws. In this case, the incident was foreseeable given the crane’s physical surroundings and the load it was required to carry.

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