A livestock transport company has been fined $5000 for not reporting a serious workplace injury that left a truck driver hospitalised for a week with a fractured skull.
The company, trading as Robertson’s Transport, pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court recently to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by failing its duty to report a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business.
Robertson’s Transport operates a small transport business specialising in livestock transportation. The court heard that on March 8, 2018, two workers employed by the company transported a broken-down truck on a tilt tray to a site in Wacol for repair.
While at that site, one of the workers fell from the tray of the stationary tilt tray truck, striking his head on the ground below. The other worker contacted the company director that same day to report the incident.
The injured worker was transported to hospital by ambulance where he was admitted as an inpatient for seven days and received treatment for a fractured skull.
The incident first came to the regulator’s notice on or around June 18, 2019, when Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WSHQ) was notified of the incident by the injured worker.
Magistrate Kay Ryan said the company had failed its duty to notify, through ignorance of its obligation, and observed the director was an older man who could be considered old-school.
“Her Honour noted that while ignorance of the law was not an excuse, it was a factor that could be taken into account to an extent,” explained WSHQ.
“Magistrate Ryan also took into account the company’s early guilty plea, its otherwise good character, having no previous convictions, and financial difficulties it had experienced after being defrauded by a former employee and as a result of COVID-19. Her Honour also had regard to the fact that the injured worker was back working at Robertson’s Transport, albeit in a limited capacity.”
The company was fined $5000 and ordered costs of $1100, with no conviction recorded.