Company tries to ‘wash it’s hands’ of workers death responsibility
After an employee was crushed to death under a home made lifting device a Melbourne recycling company has attempted to deregister itself to avoid prosecution. The four day trial ended in an $800,000 fine for the company, the company owners Daniel Guisasola and Marisa Giucamelli did not attend the court trial.
To add insult to the fatality the owners opened a new company only 9 months after the fatality doing essentially the same thing showing no regard for the consequences of their actions. The prosecution told Judge Wischusen that the failure to attend court proceedings and starting up a similar company highlighted the complete lack of remorse.
Earlier, the jury had been told that Australian Box Recycling operated a box recycling business in Campbellfield, which received used boxes from suppliers such as supermarkets and whitegoods retailers. Unwaxed boxes were recycled into briquettes, and waxed boxes in suitable condition were redistributed for re-use.
The jury was told that the manager had made a “box stacking lift”, which was used to create more space at the workplace. The box stacking lift comprised a cage in which boxes were placed and then raised enable more boxes to be stacked underneath them.
But the lift had a design fault – it couldn’t descend until operators removed the rear supporting cross bar, meaning they had to walk under the lift to do this and there was no mechanical bar to break the lift’s descent in the case of hoist or cable failure – which is what happened on 22 August 2014.
Worker Steve Bower was attempting to remove the rear supporting cross bar when the lift cable snapped and the 240kg load fell and crushed him.
Worksafe pointed out that workers had been put in extreme danger on a daily basis when using the home made equipment.
The important take away from this tragedy is that you shouldn’t use home made equipment unless you are an engineer and you never escape the consequences from failing to provide a safe workplace.