A West Australian host employer has been fined $50,000 over the death of a farm worker supplied by a labour hire company in November 2008.
The Perth Magistrates Court imposed the fine on Jenara Pty Ltd, after it pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the provision of a safe workplace under a labour hire arrangement and, by that failure, causing the death of an employee.
In November 2008, the man was working alone at a grain growing farm near Miling, riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on the host employer's farm when he rode into a wire gate. He was found lying on the road the next morning by a truck driver.
The man had not been wearing a helmet. He suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital two days after the incident.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne said today that the case should serve as a reminder that both host employers and labour hire companies had a responsibility to ensure workplaces were safe.
"Host employers have an obligation to ensure the workplaces in which workers are placed are safe and healthy, something that clearly did not happen in this case," Lyhne said.
"The court heard that the workers on the farm involved were riding the ATV without wearing helmets as a matter of course, and that the wire gate was difficult to see.
"There had even been a previous incident in which someone had driven into a wire gate. The gate supports had been painted to make them more visible after the previous incident, but they had faded over time."
The labour hire company that supplied the worker was also prosecuted and fined $30,000 last May, and Lyhne said no-one from the company had visited the farm at any time during the six months the man had been working there to check for hazards, identify risks and consider control measures.
"As a result, the labour hire company had no idea that the host employer had not provided the worker with a helmet or that there had been a previous incident involving an unseen gate," she said.
"Host employers need to be aware of the responsibilities they have in ensuring that their workplaces are safe for the workers labour hire companies send them."