Lidcombe business fined $300,000 over worker’s death

Ministerial Media Release | 09/11/2017

A Lidcombe business has been fined $300,000 – and its director fined a further $60,000 – after a worker was killed in an excavator incident, the Minister responsible for SafeWork NSW, Matt Kean said today.

Sydney District Court was told the 45-year-old worker died after he was crushed by an excavator at the Harris Holdings NSW Pty Ltd waste management facility in Arthur Street, Lidcombe, on November 26, 2015.

Mr Kean said SafeWork took Harris Holdings and its director Harry Zizikas, 47, to court for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) by exposing the worker to a risk of death or serious injury. Both the company and director pleaded guilty.

The court heard the incident occurred when an excavator used to sort waste moved backwards and caught the worker’s foot. It knocked him down, and he died at the scene.

Mr Kean said the penalty was a warning to businesses and bosses.

“This awful death is a stark reminder of the responsibilities employers have to make sure they provide a safe workplace,” he said.

“At this business, the risk of workers coming into contact with the excavator while sorting waste was significant, and the business should have had safe work systems to prevent it.

“The investigation found there was no traffic management plan or exclusion zone to separate workers from the excavator and no means for sorters to communicate with the excavator operator.

“Workers had received no training on the need for an exclusion zone around the excavator and no supervisor had been appointed to enforce an exclusion zone.

“The cost of addressing this risk would have been negligible as a communication procedure could have been quickly and easily developed, and implemented.

“Instead, a vulnerable worker has lost his life in a completely preventable incident.”

Download the PDF version of this release.

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