AMSJ » Employer takes responsibility for inexperienced worker fatality
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Employer takes responsibility for inexperienced worker fatality

Road tanker
Road tanker

A heavy vehicle company accepted blame for a low paid employee passing away while he was still learning on-the-job.

Marshall Lethlean Industries was recently convicted and fined $600,000 after one of its apprentices died.

The worker, who had only joined the company less than two weeks prior, left his welder and wire feeder inside a road tanker overnight back in the year 2018. When he returned the next day he continued his work and suffocated to death.

“[The equipment] was in a state of disrepair and leaked argon gas overnight, reducing oxygen,” WorkSafe Victoria said in a safety alert.

“The apprentice died of asphyxiation after entering the confined space of the tanker to conduct the work.”

Melbourne Country Court ruled the employer should have invited a qualified welding inspector to routinely check and maintain equipment. It also should have directed workers to store welders and wire feeders outside tankers when not in use. The argon gas main also should have been turned off at the end of the shift.

“This incident highlights just how important simple measures such as maintenance and storage procedures are to keeping workers and workplaces safe. Sadly a failure to do so in this case cost a young man his life,” WorkSafe acting executive director of health and safety Adam Watson said in a public statement.

Click here to read the full safety alert.

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AMSJ April 2022