Company fined $30,000 after worker crushed by reversing truck

A DELACOMBE company was yesterday fined $30,000 in Ballarat Magistrates Court after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries after being crushed by a reversing truck.

The court heard Troy Kenny was flown to The Alfred hospital with a ruptured femoral artery, a broken pelvis and a broken wrist after the accident at Profast Precast Panels in Douglas Street on October 17, 2011.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe system of work.

Prosecutor Eliza Holt said a truck being driven by a sub-contractor was reversing into the company’s loading yard when Mr Kenny began walking along the right side of the truck, using hand signals to help the driver.

She said the driver was momentarily distracted and trapped Mr Kenny between the trailer’s rear and the concrete panels to be loaded.

Ms Holt also said Profast had developed a new system for loading and unloading panels and had complied with all WorkSafe requirements since the accident, including erecting signage, establishing a storage area for panel props, erecting chains to barricade “no entry” zones, establishing a forklift and truck loading and unloading procedure and erecting bollards to delineate “no go” zones.

Defence counsel Rob Taylor said Mr Kenny, who had been through a staff induction with the site manager, thought the driver could see him standing behind the truck through his mirrors.

Mr Taylor said Profast Precast Panels had suffered due to a downturn in the construction industry, dropping from 21 to 6 staff.

“But beyond simply responding to the WorkSafe notice, they have also prepared a complete set of revised procedures, traffic management plan and policy and all staff have been retrained and reducated,” Mr Taylor said. “It can’t be ignored and it wasn’t ignored.”

Magistrate Peter Couzens said penalties imposed by parliament showed its “overwhelming concern for breaches of occupational health and safety provisions”.

But he also said the company had taken significant steps to avoid future episodes of this type.

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