FedEx Australia appeared at the Werribee Magistrates’ Court this week, pleading guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace and failing to comply with an improvement notice.
WorkSafe inspectors issued an improvement notice at the company’s Derrimut site in July 2009 after they noticed workers were unloading and loading packages from steel cages in an awkward position that exposed them to risk of musculoskeletal injuries, the court was told.
The company had four months to comply with the notice, but when WorkSafe returned to the site in December 2009, they found the notice had not been complied with and work was being carried out in the exact same way.
Magistrate Hubble fined the company $15,000 without conviction and ordered them to pay $1500 in legal costs.
WorkSafe Manufacturing, Logistics and Agriculture Director, Ross Pilkington said improvement notices were issued to workplaces without penalty asking them to fix issues that could potentially expose their workers to injury or illness.
“It’s a legal requirement to address notices issued by a WorkSafe inspector and when this doesn’t happen, we will take appropriate action and prosecute,” Mr Pilkington said.
“Most of the time, the notices ask workplaces to fix issues that can be done at little to no cost. This case has shown that costs can significantly escalate into the thousands of dollars if they are not addressed.”
“We know there are a lot of businesses out there that can do without the financial burden but the primary purpose behind issuing improvement notices is to put a stop to hazards that puts workers at unacceptable risk.”
“We need workplaces to get on the front foot and not wait for an inspector to come to fix issues. Find the hazards, assess the risks and fix the problem before someone gets hurt.”
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