A Moorabbin furniture manufacturer who failed to address WorkSafe notices to fix serious safety breaches has been convicted and fined more than $22,000.
Leeming Furniture Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges under the 2004 OHS Act for failing to ensure its workplace was safe and without risks to health.
The company was fined $22,500 and ordered to pay $4027 in costs.
The Moorabbin Magistrates Court was told that WorkSafe inspectors visited the business several times between April 2015 and July 2016 and issued numerous improvement notices.
The first charge related to breaches that included failing to fit a non-conductive, non-flammable cover to an electrical switchboard exposing workers to risk of electrical shock; failing to correctly store flammable liquids; allowing employees to smoke in close proximity to dangerous goods; and failing to guard a high-speed rotating fan and situating it in a doorway.
The second charge related to failing to undertake regular housekeeping tasks, thereby exposing workers to the risk of slips, trips and falls, or coming into contact with hazardous objects.
WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said employers who ignored improvement notices may face prosecution.
“Improvement notices give employers a chance to fix safety matters brought to their attention by an inspector in a reasonable time frame if the inspector believes there is no immediate risk to employees,” Ms Williams said. “But they are issued for a reason, and any employer who ignores them does so at their peril.
“All the matters raised at this workplace were easily fixed and the notices could have been complied with at very little cost. Instead, the company risked the safety of their employees by ignoring them and have suffered the consequences.
“This conviction and fine should send a strong message to all employers that ignoring improvement notices is something that WorkSafe and the courts take very seriously.
“Employees have the right to go to work and not risk serious injury or death.”
For more information on WorkSafe inspections go to: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety/inspections
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.