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Employer Liable for Hay Bales Falling & Crushing Employee

Employer Liable for Hay Bales Falling & Crushing Employee​

JBS Australia Pty Ltd (JBS) was found to have contravened its health and safety duties under the Model Work Health and Safety Act when an employee was crushed by 2 falling Haybales while she was completing a moisture check. The Employee suffered serious injuries.

In considering whether JBS failed to comply with their duties under the Model Work Health and Safety Act to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of their workers, Judge Scotting found that JBS had failed to:

  • Complete an adequate risk assessment of the unloading and stacking of hay bales;
  • Implement and comply with safe work procedures in relation to unloading and stacking of haybales; and
  • Provide information, training and instructions on the unloading and stacking of hay bales.

In light of the above, Judge Scotting made the finding that JBS had breached its health and safety obligations to the Employee which was the significant or substantial cause of the Employee being exposed to the risk of death or serious injury.

The matter has now been listed for sentencing where JBS and its officers face maximum penalties of $1.5 million for body corporates and $300,000.00 for officers (directors).

(SafeWork NSW v JBS Australia Pty Ltd [2023] SWDC 382)

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